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The Monday Gate Drop Presented By Yamaha Motor Canada

Well, we did it. We made it through the summer and into September. Which, historically has been one of the best months in Canada for riding. In our house, September is also important as both my wife and son have birthdays. I hope this is a great month for you and your family, and best of luck to all of our moto kids who are returning to school.

The track for the opening round of the SMX Playoffs is starting to take shape.

This coming weekend is a big one in our sport as we’ll get to witness the first-ever SMX Playoff round in Charlotte, NC. The track maps for the three SMX Playoff rounds were released last week and they definitely look interesting. With the exception of Eli Tomac, all of the top riders will be on the starting gate this weekend so the racing should be exciting. Although there hasn’t been too much talk of this move, we’re also expected to see Cooper Webb aboard his new Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha in Charlotte, One thing that is certain, is the overall fatigue that some of these riders are feeling right now. Most of them have been going strong with their training since last November, and since early January they’ve completed 28 races. It’s an insane schedule and as cool as these final three playoff races are for the fans, they’re going to be difficult on the riders. Anyway, the gate drops at 3pm on Saturday and I believe the race schedule for the 450 class will consist of two 25-minute motos to determine an overall winner at each round.

Like last year, this incredible arena will be the host for the final round of the 2023 Triple Crown Series SXTour which kicks off at Gopher Dunes on September 23rd. Photo by James Lissimore

Sadly, there will be no Canadian riders on the starting gate in Charlotte, but as we speak, a large group of them are starting to think about the upcoming Triple Crown Series SXTour. This three round series begins on September 23rd at Gopher Dunes, and then has the final two rounds on October 21st in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and November 4th in Calgary. By the sounds of it there are going to be a number of top riders lining up including Jacob Piccolo, Mitchell Harrison, Tanner Ward, Quinn Amyotte, Tyler Gibbs, Daniel Elmore, Sebastien Racine, Preston Masiangelo, and even Tyler Medaglia. Also, I heard that Cole Thompson is back riding now and if he’s able to get some good training in, I can’t see why he wouldn’t be on the starting line at Gopher Dunes. It should be an exciting series to watch with all of these names, and it’s great to see so many of the teams supporting it. Like they did last year, the Triple Crown Series crew are taking most of the teams bike out west in their trailer. This means that all the teams need to do, is fly in and out of Medicine Hat and Calgary, instead of having to take their own truck and trailer out. It’s nice when everyone pulls together to make things happen in this country.

One of our top riders who unfortunately won’t be lining up at Gopher Dunes on September 23rd is our 250 class National Champion Ryder McNabb. As you may recall, Ryder was supposed to race the Ironman National last weekend, but a mid-week practice crash left him sore and unable to race. Today, Ryder is back home in Manitoba helping out with the family farm while he recovers from a long summer of racing. I spoke with him last night, and while you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the full interview, I can share with you now what he said about his 2024 plans. Right now, Ryder has the details of a potential ride in the USA with the AEO KTM Team to race the SX Futures, as well as the 2024 Pro Motocross Championships. However, Ryder and his agent are still waiting on a few details to fall into place before that deal gets finalized. He also has a deal in place to race in Canada again for the Red Bull KTM Canada Team, but it has a clause in the contract that will allow Ryder to go race in the USA as long as it’s on a KTM. Ryder told me that he doesn’t think anything will get finalized, one way or the other, until the first of October. Either way, he’s going to be KTM mounted in 2024. Obviously, I’d love to see Ryder head south to pursue his life-long dream of racing the pro class in the USA. He turns 18 at the end of this month, so in some ways it’s now or never if he wants to go to the USA and find success, especially in SX, which right now isn’t one of his strengths. However, there is also a selfish part of me that doesn’t want him to leave Canada, simply because I just love watching him race and there’s no doubt that Ryder is a great asset to the Triple Crown Series in Canada. But, I also think he’s an incredible role model to all of our younger riders. On the track, his smooth style combined with his never give-up attitude makes him perfect to try and emulate if you’re a young rider. Off the track, his laid back and humble demeanour makes his very approachable for any young rider or fan. Ryder is the complete package, and it would be a shame to lose him to the USA. Anyway, look for the full interview with Ryder tomorrow on this web site.

Where will Ryder McNabb be racing in 2024? Photo by James Lissimore

With today being a holiday, and also the final day before my son heads back to high school tomorrow, I’m going to cut this week’s column short. However, before I go I want to pay tribute to one of our incredible moto mom’s who sadly passed away over the weekend. Lynn Marie Thompson, who was also affectionately known as “Momma T” passed away at Bluewater Health Hospital in Sarnia. I want to send my condolences out to Justin, Kyle, Jay, Jeff, Cole, Kevin, and the entire Thompson Family. Here is the link for the funeral mass as well as the visitation:

Thompson, Lynn Marie | Steadman Brothers Funeral Chapels


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