Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. This past weekend at the final round of the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships and Star Racing Yamaha rider Justin Cooper came oh so close to winning the 250 title. Even though Cooper finished on the podium at all 12 rounds of the series and he went 1-1 at Hangtown on Saturday, it still wasn’t enough to win the 250 title. Cooper won the 250 West SX Championship earlier this season and he was hoping to take home the outdoor title as well. However, a couple of bad motos late in the series as well as some incredible riding by Jett Lawrence kept Cooper off of the top step of the final series podium. Now Justin Cooper and his Star Racing Blu Cru Team will take some time off before starting their preparation for the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Series which kicks off in January.
As I mentioned above, the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships wrapped up in style on Saturday with a return to the popular Hangtown track in Northern California. Jett Lawrence didn’t have his best day but his results at the final round were good enough to clinch the 250MX Championship. In doing so Jett becomes the first Australian to win a 250MX title in the USA and he now joins Chad Reed as the only Australian to win National Championships in the USA. At 18 years old Jett obviously has a bright future ahead of him both on and off of the track. In the 450 class, Dylan Ferrandis had already clinched the title last weekend at Fox Raceway most of the riders were just trying to finish the season safely.
As I reported last week Tanner Ward and his mechanic made the long trek out to Hangtown so he could race in his first-ever Pro National in the USA. I think growing up it’s every young racer’s dream to compete in either your first SX or national in the USA so it was great to hear that Tanner Ward was headed to Hangtown. After qualifying well on Saturday Ward put in two solids motos to finish up 22nd overall in the 250 class. He even scored some points in Moto 1 with a 19th place finish. In Moto 2, Tanner once again was inside the Top 20 but a hard crash put him back to 27th. Still, I think the day was a huge success for Tanner as it’s never easy to just jump into a series, especially one as challenging as the Lucas Oil Series. I’m not sure what is in the immediate future for Tanner but I know from talking to him last weekend that he’s planning on racing a few rounds of the Monster Energy Supercross Series next year.
This past weekend for me was an exciting one as on Saturday I played in a local golf tournament with my son and two other young Ontario MX riders. Our foursome consisted of myself, my son Ayrton, Intermediate rider Josh Bryan, and former Junior rider Andrew Cunningham. We ended shooting a one-under-par as a group which considering how windy it was in parts of Ontario on Saturday, I think that score was decent. Then on Sunday, I was part of a really cool riding event up at retired NHL player Scott Thornton’s house. Scott has a large acreage near Collingwood, Ontario and on his property, he has multiple riding trails as well as a small motocross track. This event was called “Throttle Therapy” and it consisted of a few retired NHL players and a few ex-military guys. The purpose was to introduce riding as an activity to help their mental health as they continue to adjust to life either outside the NHL or the military. Some in attendance yesterday had ridden before while some had never even sat on a motorcycle. I was there to help with some of the instruction as was Lawrence Hacking, Lee Martin, Lance Webb, and Kenny Bland. We all had a great day of riding, telling stories, and just generally enjoying an afternoon of being around two wheels. KTM Canada and Mission Cycle even helped out with some 2022 demo bikes for some of the guys to ride so thank you to the Orange Brigade for their involvement. Moving forward Scott is looking at doing more of these events so I think it’s great for our sport and mental health. Here is a group shot of all of us at the end of a fun day of riding.
So with having to help out yesterday at the first annual Throttle Therapy event I was forced to miss the rescheduled 2021 Moto Park Cup event. From what I heard and saw on Social Media the MPCup this past weekend was well attended and the track and racing were great all weekend long. Congratulations to Zeb Dennis and his MP crew on a job well done! So from Moto Park, we move back down to Gopher Dunes for the return of the 2021 AMO Racing OPC Series this coming weekend. This popular AMO Series has been to Gopher Dunes already this year but this time the race will be on the backtrack where only the GDR Honda Team members are allowed to ride. I have only ridden on this track once when I tested Colton Facciotti’s CRF450R a few years ago but I can tell you that the dirt is excellent and the track design is a lot of fun. Registration is now open for this weekend on the AMO Racing website and the two-day event will feature practice and kids classes on Saturday and then the remaining classes on Sunday. The forecast for this coming weekend looks good with very warm temperatures returning to Southern Ontario.
Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week as we approach the midway part of September. I also hope everyone took a moment on Saturday and paid tribute to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. I cannot believe that it’s been 20 years since that fateful day. Like all of us who are old enough to remember that day I remember exactly what I was doing and how I felt when I turned on the television and watched the World Trade Centre towers fall. It was a crazy time in history and that day should never be forgotten. Anyway, please have a great week and I will see some of you this weekend at Gopher Dunes!