FeaturesMonday Gate Drop

The Monday Gate Drop Presented By Yamaha Motor Canada

Greetings everyone! I hope it was a great weekend for all of you, and as we look ahead to the final weekend of March, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Easter! So, the clocks have moved ahead an hour, Easter is upon us, April is just around the corner, to me, this means that despite the crappy weather most of us had to suffer through last week, Spring is here! My son was in a hockey tournament this past weekend in Oakville, and the arena was just a few blocks North of Lake Ontario. While waiting for his final game to begin yesterday morning, I drove down to the water to take a look. It was a cool morning, but the sun was shining and you could hear the birds chirping as the waves slowly rolled into the shore. It felt and sounded like Spring, so now Mother Nature has convinced me that Winter (for the most part) is history!

Spring is once again in the air in Southern Ontario!

One part of North America that rarely sees winter as we know it, is the Pacific Northwest. However, they do go through a change of seasons and usually the Winter precipitation falls in the form of rain. March for instance, is the fourth rainiest month of the year in Seattle where it rains on over 50% of the days (November is the rainiest in case you were curious). So with all of this information at our finger tips, it begs the question as to why the city of Seattle would replace the old Kingdome with a stadium that doesn’t have a roof. Anyway, it’s too bad that the Monster Energy Supercross Series won’t come to Canada anymore as BC Place in Vancouver would make for a great replacement venue for Seattle. Thankfully, on Saturday the forecast turned out much better than originally predicted, and while the track was incredibly challenging, it wasn’t a complete write-off. Actually, the 450SX main event ended up being one of the best races of the season so far, as the battle for the win between Cooper Webb and Chase Sexton went down to the final corner. In the end, Webb held on and moved to within 16 points of Jett Lawrence. This coming weekend is another Triple Crown format in St Louis, so it should make for some more exciting racing. Also, I’m sure all of the riders are looking forward to a race with great dirt, and more importantly a roof!

Cole Thompson was back on the track in Seattle and ended up having his best result of 2024. Photo by Matt Wellumson

In the 250SX West class, Levi Kitchen rode great in front of his hometown fans to take the win, and more importantly build on his points lead. It’s been a solid year thus far for Levi and the Pro Circuit Kawasaki Team, and it certainly reinforces his decision to leave the Star Racing Team and join Team Green. Our Canadian riders had mixed results in Seattle as only Cole Thompson was able to qualify for the main event. Julien Benek, who was back racing the 250SX West Series after healing up from his previous injuries, ran into some bike issues in the LCQ and was unable to finish inside the Top 4. St-Cyr, rode well on the challenging track, but also was unable to crack the Top 4. Cole Thompson, who used the break in the series to both freshen up and heal up, ended up having his best result of 2024, finishing 10th in the main event. If you look at the riders who were in front of Cole, as well as right behind him, this was a remarkable finish. The 250SX West class is tough, and it was great to see Cole once again in the fight. Hopefully, another solid result is on the horizon for this weekend in St Louis. Historically, Triple Crown events have not been kind to Cole as his starts haven’t been great, and then he runs out of time in the shortened races. However, confidence is a wonderful thing, and I’m sure his Seattle result will help him in that regard.

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Kevin Tyler is still looking for a 450 rider to fill the spot that Shawn Maffenbeier left vacant when he retired last season. Photo by James Lissimore

Moving onto the 2024 Triple Crown Series and the rider line up for this summer. We are just over two months away from the opening gate drop in Calgary ( I get excited just typing those words) and almost all of the teams are set. The only remaining spot to be filled is who will ride in the 450 class for the MX101 FXR Yamaha Team. Kevin Tyler and his crew have had the feelers out to several riders during the past few months, but so far they’re unable to find the right fit. The latest name to come up is Coty Shock, who recently made headlines by racing in Indy a few days after having surgery on his broken collarbone. Coty would obviously be a great addition to the 450 class in Canada, however, he, like most fast American riders, would like to remain there and race the Pro Motocross Championships. Also, Zach Osborne was in play at one point, Mike Alessi has shown some interest in travelling north again, Mitchell Harrison was also talked about, as I said, there has been a few names in play, but sadly no ink has been put to paper. As far as Canadian riders go, as we sit here today the only names I can think of who could be a good fit are Daniel Elmore and Julien Benek. Elmore is currently training in South Carolina and plans on racing a Yamaha this summer on basically his own deal. I know he has received some help from Troy Lee Designs for 2024, so that would have to change if he joined the MX101 Yamaha Team. I’m a big fan of both Elmore and Benek, and I think they deserve some support in 2024. However, whether or not they fit with Kevin’s program, and what he and his sponsors want to accomplish this summer remains to be seen. The time hasn’t completely run out on KT’s search for a 450 rider, but the clock is certainly starting to tick louder and louder. It has to be frustrating for KT as he’s sitting there with a great bike, a solid team, and some budget to work with, and so far he’s unable to find a 450 rider. I’m sure he’ll get something done here soon, and then all the spots will be filled and we can continue to get excited for the Triple Crown Series. Maybe, KT should have a different “celebrity” rider come in for each round and build a story around it. Ross Pederson could come back for a race, I’d love to watch Doug Hoover race again, perhaps Matt Goerke wants to race Gopher Dunes once more, Kyle Thompson could represent us Vet riders for a day, Steve Matthes could race in front of his Manitoba fans again, even KT himself could suit up at the SDL National? As a media guy, I love this idea as the content would be endless!

Moto Park hosted a MXGP on Canada Day weekend in 1984. Photo by Bill Petro

Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week, and I hope the Easter Bunny is good to you. Thank you for reading this week and if you have any questions or comments please email me at www.editor@mxpmag.com. Finally, look at this incredible Bill Petro photo from the 1984 MXGP at Moto Park. I remember that weekend like it was yesterday, as I was an 11 year old standing at the fence watching. The sound of the 500cc bike blasting off the MP gate in the opening moto was amazing. The ground was shaking as some of the best riders in the world charged down the hill of the old MP start. What a great moment it was in Canadian moto history and thank you to Bill Petro for capturing it all!

Chris Pomeroy

1989 Rookie-of-the-year and former nationally ranked pro racer who turned into a dirt oriented scribe

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