Yamaha Motor Canada Presents The Monday Gate Drop

Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. This past weekend Blu Cru rider Shawn Maffenbeier tied the knot to his longtime girlfriend Robin Hutchinson in London, ON and by all accounts, it was both a beautiful ceremony as well a typical motocross riders reception and party afterward. Unfortunately, Shawn missed the final round of the Triple Crown Series with a knee injury so I don’t think we’re going to see him lining up this coming weekend at Gopher Dunes. Hopefully, he heals up soon but in the meantime, congratulations to Shawn and Robin as they begin their life together as husband and wife.

While Shawn and Robin tied the knot in Ontario I was lucky enough to travel out to Calgary for the 2021 Red Bull Outliers Event. As you may recall, I competed in this event back in September of 2019 when it was a two-day race and the first day consisted of an Endurocross in downtown Calgary. The second day was supposed to be a Hard Enduro type race out in the Badlands near Steveville, AB but it had to be cancelled when an unexpected September snowstorm blanketed the area with a foot of snow. Well, after having to take last year off due to Covid-19 restrictions the Red Bull Outliers was back this past weekend with a one-day race out in Dinosaur country.

This section of the 2021 Red Bull Outliers course went down the steep hill and then right back up on the left side.

This time around I didn’t compete in Saturday’s race but I was lucky enough to be there and witness all of the extreme riding over some of the craziest terrain I’ve ever seen. This area of Alberta is very unique as it sits about 30 minutes north of Brooks and right on the banks of the Red Deer River. I found out from the locals that it’s called the Badlands because many years ago as the settlers made their way up the river looking for a place to set up shop, they came upon this section of land that was extremely hard to traverse. Due to the difficulties they had trying to get through it this region quickly got its name. Anyway, that is a brief history of the Badlands, and thanks to one of our off-road legends Shane Cuthbertson who rides there a lot, Red Bull picked it as the perfect spot to host this Outliers event.

This steep uphill section didn’t open up until the final lap of the race and it gave a lot of riders fits.

With the drive out to the track being almost 2.5 hours I didn’t arrive there until just after the riders had completed their qualifying session. This session was for basically gate pick in the main race and it consisted of one lap around a tamed down portion of what they would be riding in the afternoon. As I walked through the paddock one of the first person I saw was Lexi Pechout who was there to compete against the men in the amateur class. Lexi is one of those talented all-around riders that we have in Canada and she ended up finishing third overall in his class in the main race. During the race, I was fortunate enough to sit up on one of the many ridgelines watching Lexi and her fellow competitors make through the challenging sections. Lexi rode smart and used her riding talents and strength to guide her Husqvarna around the course, at times even making the conditions look somewhat routine. As I said, Lexi ended up finishing third overall in the Amateur class while Canada’s premier off-road rider Trystan Hart won the Pro Class.

Congrats to Lexi Pechout who finished third overall in the Amateur class.

Trystan Hart has had a great summer competing in various events around the globe and he capped it off with a win on Saturday. During the past few months Hart, who hails from Invermere, BC finished 7th overall at the Red Bull Romaniac’s Event in Romania, then he flew to the USA where he wrapped the 2021 Hard Enduro Series with a championship. After that, he finished third overall in the Red Bull TKO event before returning home to win the Red Bull Outliers race this past weekend. It’s definitely been an unforgettable summer for the 24-year-old and his season isn’t done yet. This fall he will be competing in the Endurocross Series in the USA, which will be back inside Arena’s again beginning on September 18 in Tulsa, OK. This was the first time I’ve seen Hart ride in person and really it’s no different than watching Ken Roczen or Cooper Webb ride SX. To watch him navigate up the steep hills with the precision of a brain surgeon was truly impressive. Obviously in an event like this certain sections were more challenging than others and some riders simply couldn’t make it through some of them. Since the race was run on a course if you sat in one section too long you would end up getting lapped by Hart and his fellow pro riders. To see a group of amateur riders exhausting themselves time and time again trying to make it up a tough climb, only to get halfway up, crash, and then have to turn around and come back down to eventually try again was tough to watch. But then Hart would come around and with a few blips of the throttle and maybe a foot dab, he would reach the top of the hill and be gone. As I said, it was very impressive watching him ride and all of the other competitor’s race in some pretty crazy conditions. Here are the top three riders from each class:

OFFICIAL RESULTS 2021 RED Bull Outliers

Pro 

  1. Trystan Hart
  2. Spenser Wilton
  3. Branden Petrie

Expert

  1. Jeff Stebnicki
  2. Tom Bodrovics
  3. Aaron Richardson

Veteran 

  1. Jack Sawatzky
  2. Wayne Reimer
  3. Michael Dobovich

Amateur

  1. Russ Phillips
  2. Dominik Bafia
  3. Lexi Pechout
This was taken moments before the start of the 2021 Red Bull Outliers race on Saturday.

So that was my weekend spent in some of the most unique landscapes that Alberta has to offer. While I was away I received an email from Carl Bastedo that contained a press release for our 2021 MXoN Team featuring Dylan Wright, Tyler Medaglia, and Jacob Piccolo. It’s funny because I was talking to a few people at the Walton TransCan and no one seemed to know if we were going to send a team or even if the event is going to run in late September. It’s rumoured that with the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in North America and Europe that the USA will announce soon that will not be sending a team to Italy. Also, with the MXGP still taking place well into September and October, some of the top riders there have announced they will not be going to this year’s MXoN. I have two thoughts on us sending a team this year and here they are. 

Lets go Canada!

First, I think it’s an incredible team with three very fast and talented riders and we have a great shot of a Top 5 or even perhaps a podium finish in 2021. I know Dylan Wright is just chopping at the bit to perform on the International stage and with his speed and tenacity, look out MXGP riders! If they don’t know who Dylan is now then they’re going to find out quickly and they probably won’t like him by the end of the weekend. Racing in the MX2 class is our new 250 champ Jacob Piccolo who without a doubt has the speed and fitness to run up front in Italy. Then we have our old trusted warhorse in Tyler Medaglia. Tyler is actually headed over to Italy now to compete in the ISDE event so no one right now has as much International experience as Tyler does. Tyler is probably not going to win the MX3 class at the MXoN but he’s going to give it everything he has and if the conditions suit him, he could also be a podium guy. This is a great team and like every Canadian, if we send a team then I’m quite confident that they will go over and make us proud. 

However, there’s a high cost to send a team to an event like this and the only issue I have is that at the pro level there appears to be very little industry money available in Canada to fund an MXoN Team right now. Riders, teams, the series, the tracks, media outlets, just about everyone has taken a massive haircut financially in the past year to try and make racing happen in Canada. Even though bikes, parts, and just about everything else have flown off the shelves since May of last year, marketing budgets are less than they have been in years and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. In fact, not to pick one rider out and use as an example, but since he’s one of our top guys then I will. We just watched in utter disbelief that Jess Pettis had to race the final round at Walton Raceway with a few fractured vertebrae and a cracked sternum just so he could hold on to a top-three overall series finish and the bonus money that came with it. It was an incredible performance by Pettis and one that hopefully won’t have to be duplicated in the future, but my point is that even our top riders aren’t making the money they deserve to right now. Times are tough and they no doubt will be for the next few years so I hope that our 2021 MXON effort, as cool and as exciting as it is, is more privately funded then industry-funded. Because if this industry has any extra money to spend on racing at the pro level right now then I’d rather see it be spent on racing in Canada. With this event just over a month away I’m quite sure there will be some fundraising to do as Carl Bastedo and his crew gather funds for this adventure. Here is the official PR from Team Canada. 

Speaking of pro racing in Canada, this Friday the final Triple Crown Series races will kick off with the four SX rounds at Gopher Dunes. In the past, the SXTour Series has always been exciting as most of our riders are very good at riding SX. In the 450 class, the battle at the front of the pack between Dylan Wright, Cole Thompson, and Marshal Weltin should be entertaining, to say the least. In the 250 class, our new champion Jacob Piccolo is very good at SX as is Tanner Ward and Marco Cannella. Ryder McNabb struggled a little last year, especially in the whoop section, but I’m sure he has the kinks worked out by now. Throw in riders like Julien Benek, Guillaume St-Cyr, Tyler Gibbs, and Darian Sanayei (I’m not sure what kind of SX rider he is), and like always this class will have everyone on their feet. It all goes down this Friday and Saturday and if you’d like to go and watch please visit the Triple Crown Series website for tickets. (www.triplecrownseries.ca)

It’s time for some Triple Crown Series SX this weekend. Photo by James Lissimore

In closing, if anyone out there is looking for a mint condition 2021 KX100 then please contact me as I’m selling the bike my son raced this summer. You can email me at chris@mxpmag.com or text me at 905-867-2095. I hope everyone has a great week and a safe week riding. See you at Gopher Dunes on Friday.