FeaturesMonday Gate Drop

The Monday Gate Drop Presented By Yamaha Motor Canada: Race Season Is Here!

It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the halfway point of April, but we have and with it is the official beginning to the 2024 race season in Canada. Both Ontario and BC will see their race series kick-off this coming weekend, and other Provinces will soon follow. As always, this is an exciting time of year as everyone is more than ready to drop the gate. My family and I will be at Gopher Dunes this weekend so you will get the full scoop right here. Good luck to everyone as we prepare for the adventure of yet another race season, I hope it’s a safe and successful one.

As it has for the past several years, Gopher Dunes with host the opening race of the Ontario MX season. Photo by James Lissimore

My weekend was pretty low key as I’ve been doing my best all week to get over a nasty spring cold that I seem to have caught. On Saturday, the weather was matched how I felt so, other than doing some bike work, I watched the Master’s all day. Thankfully, the weather improved yesterday as we were back at Gopher Dunes trying to get some last minute preparation in before the big race this weekend. With Gopher Dunes obviously being a sand track, it’s almost always in great shape during this time of the year, and yesterday was no exception. Under sunny skies and 20c temperatures my son had a great afternoon of riding, as he was able to spin some laps with pro-riders Tanner Ward and Max Filipek, as well as several other fast Ontario riders. It was fun to watch, and speaking of Tanner Ward, he appears to be in a really good place both physically and mentally heading into the 2024 season. Not only does Tanner have an all-new 2024 KX450 under him, but he also has a new suspension package with TCD, as well as Steve Simms as his new Team Manager. Steve has been around a long time, and has served in a multitude of roles with several teams. Basically, he has experience, and if you’re Tanner Ward or Quinn Amyotte, you need someone like Steve in your corner. Anyway, I’ve been watching Tanner closely during the past two weekends and my feeling is that he looks better than he ever has on the bike. After several gate drops here in the next few weeks, he should be ready to go for Round 1 in Calgary. For more on the WLTN Kawasaki Team, as well as the rest of our talented Canadian Pro Teams, check out my Team Update Presented by Sailun Tire.

Cooper Webb grabbed the early lead in the Foxborough 450SX main event and never looked back.

So, did everyone enjoy the 450SX main event from Foxborough on Saturday evening. It was a great race from start to finish, and now we have dream points scenario with four rounds to go. How Cooper Webb has clawed his way back into title race is just an amazing story. After the Daytona SX, Webb and the rest of the 450SX field looked completely out of it, and Jett Lawrence appeared to be on cruise control. A week later in Alabama, Jett again cruised to victory, and the larger than normal lady was warming up her voice backstage. But, things have come around 180 degrees, and on Saturday evening it was Webb who got out front early and cruised to victory. Well, it was no picnic as he had Sexton and Roczen attached to his rear time for the final few laps, but, it was still a big win, and now he and Lawrence are tied in points. We shall see in the coming weeks how Jett is going to handle the pressure of being the hunted instead of the hunter. Even though Jett is a multi-time 250 Champion, as well as enjoying a perfect 450 outdoor season last summer, nothing he’s experienced before will be like the pressure he’s about to feel in the next four races as he goes head-to-head with Cooper Webb for this SX title. Jett showed a little weakness on Saturday night as he didn’t get off to a great start in the main event, and then appeared to be super tight during the first half of the race. He pulled things together in the closing laps and almost passed Jason Anderson for fourth. Also, it’s my feeling that none of the established 450SX Series riders (Tomac, Anderson, Roczen, Barcia, Sexton, and most certainly Webb) don’t want to see Jett win this title. I think it’s partly due to the fact that he’s a rookie, and if you’re one of the veteran riders, you don’t want to see a rookie come in and win this title. But also, it doesn’t appear like Jett is really liked right now among his peers. I’m only speculating of course, but it just doesn’t seem like there is a lot mutual respect right now between Jett and the other top riders. So, my point is that it’s not just Webb that Jett will have to battle in the final four races, it’s the entire top five in my opinion. These final four races are going to be fun to watch. First up is Nashville this coming weekend.

All signs point to the new 2024 SX Futures Champion Drew Adams coming north to race several Triple Crown Series rounds.

As you saw in my Triple Crown Series Team Update story, one spot remains to be filled and that is who will ride a 450 for the MX101 FXR Yamaha Team this summer. Kevin Tyler told me that he’d have an answer to me today so hopefully that holds true. From what I’m hearing the list is now short, and is made up names like Mike Alessi, Preston Kilroy, Ryan Breece, Daniel Elmore, and NZ rider Hamish Harwood. With the exception of Alessi and Elmore, who KT and I have spoken about, the other names are ones I’ve only heard through the grapevine. It might not be deadline time for KT, but it’s certainly getting close, and that is why I’d expect some big news coming very soon. In other news, Julien Benek has found a home for 2024 as he signed with the MVP Sky Racing Husqvarna Team to ride in the 450 class. I love this signing by Al Dyck as Benek has shown some great potential and serious work ethic in the past year. Remaining healthy has been Benek’s biggest issue so far in his pro career, but that always improves with maturity and experience. Benek has made gains in both areas so he should be really good this summer in the 450 class.

Kevin Tyler is still searching for a 450 rider. But he tells me that he’s real close. Photo by James Lissimore

Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week, and thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please email them to me at editor@mxpmag.com. In the meantime, ride safe we’ll see everyone this weekend at Gopher Dunes for the opening AMO race of 2024! Pitter Patter, let’s get at’er!

Chris Pomeroy

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

Related Articles

Back to top button