Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. This has been another trying year for everyone involved in motorcycling, but with 2022 coming up fast the incredible people at Yamaha Motor Canada would like to take this moment to wish everyone a healthy and happy new year!
Well, I mentioned it above, the beginning of a new year is fast approaching and if you bother to turn on the news (I suggest you don’t anymore) the end of 2021 feels and sounds a lot like the end of last year. However, the good news is that by now we’re a thick-skinned bunch, and now that we’re almost two years into this Covid-19 Pandemic, I believe that we’re either better at processing bad news, or we’re better at just turning a deaf ear and going about our lives. At the end of the day, we must still cling to the fact that there are better days ahead for all of us.
So, did anyone catch the 2022 Monster Energy Series preview show that aired on Christmas Day? It was a somewhat entertaining 60 minutes of the usual conjecture about who might win and who might be fast in 2022, but to me, it lacked some details that might have made it a little more interesting. For instance, what are Ken Roczen’s ongoing health issues? I mean, they don’t have to divulge any highly sensitive information but at least touch on what keeps happening each year when his stress levels are elevated. Roczen talked about it a little during the show, but no real details were given. Also, during the show, they made a big deal of the fact that Cooper Webb and Aldon Baker are no longer working together and that very rarely has a rider left Baker’s program and then been able to find the same success. But again, why did Webb leave Aldon, and what has he done to fill the void left but not having Aldon in his corner during this off-season. Marvin Musquin is another rider who isn’t training with Baker anymore and judging by his Social Media posts during the past two months, Musquin (along with Webb) has been spending all of his time in California. With a brand-new bike for 2022 maybe it’s a good thing that Musquin and Webb spent the past two months in California and close to their team’s HQ? Anyway, it’s always great to watch a show about Supercross on Christmas Day, I just wish there were more behind-the-scenes details given.
As I spoke about last week there will be a few Canadian riders on the starting at A1. Jess Pettis is obviously going to be there as he’s been training hard for two months at the Baker’s Factory in Florida. I caught up with Pettis last week and he spoke about how excited he is for Anaheim and the opening rounds of SX. He also spoke about the unfortunate wrist injury he received in late November. The injury wasn’t too serious but it did keep him off of the bike for a few weeks while he let it heal. But despite not being able to ride Pettis mentioned that Aldon had him doing a ton of off-the-bike training and as of last week he was feeling fitter than he ever has. Jess and the rest of the Baker’s Factory crew flew out to California yesterday to continue their preparation for A1.
Heading into the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross 250SX West Series I really think Jess Pettis is going to do well and here’s why: While we all know that getting any type of injury during the off-season isn’t a good thing, for a rider like Pettis, who in years past has been guilty of putting way too much pressure on himself. Heading into a high-intensity series like the 250SX West Series with an “I’m going to do my best at the opening rounds and then build from there” attitude could be a good thing for him. If Jess can manage his expectations early on in the series until he feels completely comfortable then I believe he has a great chance of doing well once the chaos of the opening two rounds subsides. Also, by nature Jess is a great starter regardless of who he is lining up next to, so this will no doubt serve him well as he looks for success next month against some pretty big name riders. As I said, if Jess can get through the opening two rounds in Anaheim and Oakland with some top ten finishes, then by Round 3 in San Diego he should be able to really make things happen. I cannot wait and I know everyone here in Canada will be cheering Jess on as well as he rocks his new #150 in the 250SX West class.
Another Canadian who will be on the starting line at Anaheim is Cole Thompson, who will be debuting his new Yamaha in the 250SX West class. In talking to a few industry people during the past week I was not the only person surprised to hear that Cole was thinking about lining up on a 250. However, last night I reached out briefly to Cole to confirm when he’d be making his SX Series debut and he told me that he’s going to be in Anaheim and that he loves his new 2022 YZ250F. He also said that he’s been having a lot of fun riding lately and that he cannot wait to go racing. This is great news as on the surface at least it hasn’t appeared like Cole has had much fun at the races during the past two seasons. If Cole can get his new YZ250F set up to his absolute liking then like Pettis, he could also be a force in the 250SX West Series once he gets comfortable. Without the two-plus months of preparation for this series like most of his competition, it’s not going to be easy for Cole to basically jump into the fire. However, very few riders are as naturally talented as he is on a SX track. If Cole is comfortable and having fun then he could be the surprise of the opening rounds! As for the remaining Canadian riders who are currently down south preparing for SX, Ward, Benek, and St-Cyr won’t be racing until the 250SX East Series begins in February.
Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week and a very Happy New Year! Tomorrow morning I’m heading to Walton Raceway for some important meetings with Brett Lee. So, look for some exciting news to be released later this week. I haven’t been to Walton Raceway since the TransCan back in August so it will be cool to see the Lee Family Farm again. Next year will be an important year for the Walton TransCan as the event will be celebrating an important milestone. I’m looking forward to talking tomorrow about that and so much more! Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading!