Over the past two weekends at Gopher Dunes we most certainly witnessed a lot of highs and lows as our Triple Crown Series riders navigated the challenging tracks of the 2021 SXTour events. We saw multiple crashes, mishaps, unfortunate injuries, and just about everything else. However, along the way we also saw some great racing and some unforgettable moments. There was the flawless riding at all four rounds by Cole Thompson as he won every 450 main event. In the 250 class, everyone in attendance was thrilled by the exciting and unpredictable race action. But as I pointed out last week with regards to Westen Wrozyna, we also saw a few riders find their back into the spotlight of the 2021 Triple Crown Series.
This James Lissimore photo was taken on Friday evening at Round 3 of the SXTour at Gopher Dunes. As you can see Davey Fraser and Westen Wrozyna are celebrating their second and third-place finish in the 450SX class. And while reaching the podium this past weekend in a somewhat depleted 450 class might seem insignificant to some, I’m going to tell you why it really does mean something!
To take in the full scope of what I mean we have to go back in time to 2001 and the Listowel Supercross. This little-known race took place in July of 2001 in the small Ontario town of Listowel and featured riders like Ryan Lockhart, Chuck Mesley, Bill Wallin, and Sean Hamblin. For Hamblin, he was coming off a great rookie year in Canada where he won the 2000 125 West Championship. However, in 2001 he had switched to the Two Wheel Kawasaki Team and had struggled through the first part of the National Series. Before the race in Listowel Hamblin’s confidence was shaken and he was having trouble running up front in the highly competitive 250 class. But that would all change after this small race in Listowel.
That night Hamblin and his Kawasaki teammate Lockhart dominated and even though the race was located in a small town, the fairgrounds were packed and everyone there was loving the fact that supercross racing had come to their town. All of the riders were treated like celebrities that night as the local fans thought they were superstars. After winning the main event and going through a podium celebration just like the one in this photo, Hamblin’s confidence skyrocketed and he left Listowel feeling like he could take on the world. In fact, the following weekend he travelled to Moncton, NB, and won the second 250 moto at the Riverglade National. It was a turning point in Hamblin’s career. Also, as you may remember, Hamblin would go on to earn a factory Suzuki ride in the USA soon after and would have a short but solid few years racing down south at the highest level. The last time I spoke to Hamblin about that night in Listowel was back in 2009 and even eight years later he still credited that race with giving him a renewed confidence to seek out success.
When I look at this photo I see the exact same thing with Fraser and Wrozyna. The confidence they could take moving forward from this experience might propel them to new heights in 2022? At 32 years old this could be exactly what Fraser needed to remain motivated to race for a few more years. For Wrozyna, he could also reap the benefits from these past two weekends and go into 2022 feeling better than ever. At the end of the day, we all love to find success and get rewarded for it. I mean, who doesn’t love to spray champagne all over a crowd of people! These Triple Crown SXTour events definitely gave some riders the opportunity to get some much needed television time and podium time.