FeaturesMonday Gate Drop

The Monday Gate Drop Presented By Yamaha Motor Canada

Greetings! I hope everyone is having a great Easter weekend. For some, it’s back to work today, but for others, including students, it’s one more day to relax before your week officially begins tomorrow. My family and I had solid weekend. Saturday would’ve been my Dad’s 81st birthday, my Mom and Aunt were visiting with us so we all celebrated his first ‘Heavenly Birthday’, and then yesterday, we made the hour drive North to Motopark for an afternoon of riding. We haven’t been to MP for two years so it was nice to go back to a track that has a lot of memories for our family. Back in the early 1980s Motopark was the site of my first ever race in the 80cc B class, and then since 2013 my son has enjoyed many races at MP. Thankfully, even though it was cool outside, Zeb Denis and the MP crew had the track in excellent condition, and we had a great afternoon of riding.

It was great to see Eli Tomac grab the win in St Louis!

Now, onto the St Louis SX. I think we can all agree that two weeks ago the 450SX Championship was Jett Lawrence’s to lose. Meaning, he had won three races in a row, and at that time, looked unbeatable. But now, after two sub-par races Jett Lawrence’s points lead has shrunk to just eight and Cooper Webb is knocking on the door. With a weekend off, Webb now has plenty of time to formulate a plan of attack on how to first get into Jett’s head, and second, how to continue to finish in front of the young Australian. On the other side, Jett (with help from his Brother who just happened to finish on the podium this weekend) have to figure out how they’re going to overcome Webb’s impending attack and get Jettson his first 450SX title. With five rounds to go, uncovered stadiums, and two races (Foxborough and Philly), where April showers still bring May flowers, which rider would you want to be right now? Would you rather be Lawrence or Webb? The hunted or the hunter? I think it’s a tough call right now. Assuming Jett is okay after being torpedoed by Barcia on Saturday night, he is about to be on the receiving end of Webb’s famous mental attack. A weekend off probably couldn’t have come at a better time for both riders. 

The St Louis finish line jump was the site of some drama in one of the 450SX races.

Unfortunately, St Louis wasn’t without some drama as multiple riders got docked for jumping the finish line on a red cross flag. In my opinion, yes, rules are rules and the riders of course should’ve been penalized. However, in that instance, and on that particular jump, I don’t think you can just put a red cross flag out and expect every rider to see it clearly. With the exception of Jason Anderson, who they said jumped on the red cross flag two laps in a row, the others just missed at the checkered flag. Meaning, they knew it was the final lap and once they exited the turn, their eyes were focused on the jump face, which at the time had some ruts in it. I get it, as a rider you know it’s the final lap so you don’t bother to expand your vision too wide heading up the face of the finish line double. Judging by Jett’s reaction after he landed, he caught a glimpse of the red cross flag as he took off of the jump face and was like ‘Oh no, did I really just jump on that flag.’ So, like I said, at the end of the day it’s always up to the riders to see and react properly to whatever flags are being waved. The officials, in most cases don’t have a lot of time to figure out the best way for the riders to see the flags. At that moment, the most important thing is the rider or riders that are down, as well as the individuals that are assisting them. However, this is not the SX Officials first rodeo as they say, and their resources are limited to just one or two officials. This is Monster Energy Supercross Series, and these are some of the best Officials on the planet. They should be able to quickly recognize how hard it’s going to be for the riders to see a certain flag in a particular section, and then do something to get the riders attention. In this case, they could’ve waved the red cross flag with a little vigour, that would’ve certainly grabbed the eyes of all of the riders, or they could’ve had an official waving a yellow flag as the riders were entering the final corner. This would’ve pre-warned them of the trouble ahead. Situations obviously happen quickly in SX, but having a rider down in the middle of the finish line double isn’t a new thing so you’d think the Officials would’ve had a plan that could been implemented at a moments notice. At the end of a day, it’s just an unfortunate incident and hopefully we see some adjustments made in the future. In the meantime, riders, it’s up to you to see the flags and take the appropriate actions. 

The one positive outcome from all of this was that Eli Tomac was able to cruise to the overall win in St Louis. It’s been an up and down season so far for ET3, so it was great to see him get a win. He mentioned in the post-race press conference that he’s been dealing with a tweaked ankle since Daytona, and that has made riding these technical SX tracks challenging. A week off will no doubt only improve Tomac’s health, and that is great news for the fans. Will we see more wins from Tomac in the final five rounds, and then perhaps some outdoor races this summer? Even though he hasn’t been winning, he doesn’t look like he’s done with racing. Obviously, I’m not privy to what is going on behind the scenes, but he doesn’t appear to be ready to call it a day after SLC.

Cole Thompson had a rough opening main event in St Louis, but rebounded nicely the second two races. Photo by Matt Wellumson

For our Canadian boys in St Louis, they all had mixed results in both the 250SX West Class, as well as the SX Futures main event. Cole Thompson had a rough opening main event and crashed hard. Thankfully, Cole was okay and was able to return and ride well in the final two races. Cole would end up finishing 15th overall, which was actually impressive considering his crash in the opening main event. St Cyr, was unable to qualify for the night show after an 11th place finish in the LCQ. Dylan Rempel and Ryder McNabb both showed solid speed in the SX Futures main event, but crashes kept them out of the top ten. For McNabb, this was his first race of 2024, and I think he looked pretty good in St Louis, He qualified 6th, which was great considering his limited SX preparation. Obviously, things happen faster in the main event so his timing might have been off slightly, but it was still great to see McNabb back on the race track. Finally, in the KJSC race, young Zenon Perzan finished up with a very impressive 4th overall. This is one of the best finishes by a Canadian rider since the KJSC program began years ago. So congratulations to Zenon, and all of our Canadian riders who made us all proud in St Louis this weekend.

Noah Viney came to Canada last summer to get his feet wet in the pro class. Will we see more kids come North this summer? Photo by James Lissimore

I will finish up this week with some more Canadian news. We could see some fast young American kids coming up this summer to compete in the Triple Crown Series. Drew Adams, who won the SX Futures race in Daytona and St Louis, is hoping to travel North and compete in a few rounds of the 250 Series, Since he is Kawasaki mounted in the USA, Adams will receive some assistance from the WLTN Kawasaki team as far as support at the races, but since he doesn’t share all of the team’s sponsors he’ll most likely be pitted beside the rig. This is a great opportunity for Adams to get some experience racing in a pro series against some very fast riders. This will no doubt help prepare the young Team Green rider for his entrance to the pro class in the USA in 2025. Another young rider who also may be attending some Canadian races this summer is Tiger Wood. I’m not sure of the details on what support Tiger would receive up here, but when I was chatting with him and Dylan Wright in Florida last month, they both mentioned that Tiger might be coming up to Canada to race some events. It would be great to have a few of these fast young American kids up here this summer. I don’t think any of them are fast or experienced enough to win motos in the 250 class, but they would be in the battle and no doubt fun to watch.

The opening AMO race in Southern Ontario is fast approaching.

Well, that is it for me this holiday Monday. I hope everyone has a great week, and also Happy April 1st to you all. Racing will be kicking off in Canada in a few weeks with events in Ontario and BC. AMO Racing announced a ‘King of Ontario’ pro series last week, with a decent sized purse. Hopefully this will attract top Ontario pro riders like Tanner Ward, Quinn Amyotte, and Wyatt Kerr to compete in the entire series. Thank you for reading this week, and if you have any comments or questions, please email me at editor@mxpmag.com.

Chris Pomeroy

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

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