Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. As we witnessed a few weeks ago the Star Racing Yamaha Team came away with two 250SX Championships in the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series. Both Justin Cooper and Colt Nichols rode great all series long against some very stiff competition in the 250SX West and 250SX East classes. This was each rider’s first-ever 250SX title and now both are busy preparing for the challenging Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships which will begin on May 29 in California.
So with the Outdoor Series getting ready to kick-off in the USA at Fox Raceway in California, all of the riders have been busy preparing. With the opening round on the West Coast, it’s given most of the top riders a chance to train and test close to their team headquarters. It’s also allowed them to practice at the very track that they will be racing at on May 29th. We’ve all seen videos from Fox Raceway in the past week of the top riders pounding out lap after lap as they try and build up their endurance for the long outdoor motos. For the most part, preparing at the track that you’re going to be racing on in two weeks is a great situation as nothing can acclimatize a rider better than riding in the same dirt, the same air, and at the same elevation. It’s great to have the opening round back in California and I’m sure the riders are very excited about it.
So who is your pick to win the 250MX and 450MX Championships? Can Justin Cooper back up his 250SX title with an outdoor title? He’s won a bunch of motos in the past few years so he has to be one of the favourites. His teammate Jeremy Martin came close last year to winning this title so you know he’ll be fast as well. Then there is the Lawrence Brothers who appear capable of anything right now. Jett won the final outdoor national in 2020 and by all accounts, his brother Hunter is a better outdoor rider than he is a SX rider. Either way, this class is going to be a lot of fun to watch all summer long.
In the 450MX class, it will interesting to see how Eli Tomac handles his final few months as part of the Kawasaki Team. The word is that he’s headed to Star Racing Yamaha for 2021 but that has yet to be confirmed. In the past few years, Tomac has been a beast outdoor and if it wasn’t for his SX Championship hangover last summer, he most likely would be the defending champion heading into 2021. Of course, that’s not to take anything away from Zach Osborne who rode brilliantly last year to win the 450MX title. But the big question to me is how will Tomac approach this series? Will he want to leave Kawasaki on a high note or will he save himself for his next team? Also, how will Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen be after their SX battle a few weeks back? Both appear to be healthy and motivated for the summer ahead. Of all of these riders, Webb has the most to prove this summer as it’s time for him to show us something outdoors on a 450. With two SX titles under his belt winning at least one outdoor title is a must as all of the greats in our sport have. Even the greatest SX rider of all time Jeremy McGrath found a way to win an outdoor championship way back in 1995. Anyway, like the 250 class, the 450 riders are also going to be fun to watch! Also, word is that Tyler Medaglia and young BC rider Burg Gilliomee will be lining up at the opening round at Fox Raceway. It will be fun to have a couple of Canadians to cheer for next weekend. Stay tuned as I will speak to both riders this week and see how they’re feeling.
Back here in Canada, it’s still unclear when our Regions will be able to open up to go racing? In Ontario, our Stay at Home order has been extended until June 2 and until then no outdoor activities will be allowed. There currently is a big push to open up golf courses this week but I cannot see that happening. I don’t think golf is the issue as like riding it’s proven to be completely safe! It’s the fear of people moving around to different areas that our health officials don’t want. However, with more and more people getting vaccinated each day by early June things will have to open back up, this time for good. So with that in mind, I can see our first race in Ontario taking place on the June 12,13 weekend, which is basically when the opening AMO round was last year. This also means that the opening round of the 2021 Triple Crown Series will take place as scheduled on the Canada Day weekend at Walton Raceway. From there, let’s all hope that it’s a normal summer as everyone can begin to get used to some sort of normal. Even if things open and the Triple Crown goes as planned, it’s still going to frustrate me that there won’t be any fans allowed at the races. To turn on the NHL playoffs this past weekend and see fans cheering in the stands while we here in Canada are currently lockdown, and won’t be allowed any fans at outdoor sporting events this summer is so sad. Anyway, let’s hope that racing in all Regions right across Canada can begin sometime in June.
Another cool event that is being planned in Canada for September 11th is the Nitro Circus “You Got This” Tour which will take place at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, ON. As of right now, they’re planning on having fans in attendance so again, let’s hope we have normal summer and then this event can go off as planned. We at MXP Magazine are a proud media partner of this event so please stay tuned for more details as well as ticket giveaways in the coming months.
Finally, late last week our second issue of the year went to press and for the first time, we’re featuring a GASGAS dirt bike as well as Sam Gaynor on the cover. We’re very proud of this cover and it’s not only celebrating this cool new brand in Canadian moto but also Sam’s new TLD/ GASGAS/ SSR Racing Team which Steve Simms put together for 2021 and beyond. On that note, I hope everyone has a great week, and thank you for reading! Please stay healthy and have a safe Victoria Day long weekend!