Yamaha Motor Canada Presents The Monday Gate Drop

Good day and welcome to the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. After two weekends of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series, Yamaha riders Justin Barcia and Justin Cooper hold the points lead and the red plates in the 250SX and 450SX classes respectively. With the series heading back to Anaheim this coming Saturday for Round 3, the Blu Cru is looking good so far in 2020.

Former Canadian pro rider Shane Drew is back is HRC Honda and has been instrumental in helping Ken Roczen find the correct bike set-up. Photo by James Lissimore

I don’t think you need to be a fan of this sport to know Ken Roczen’s story and to have the utmost respect for him. His massive crash three years ago in Anaheim made headlines around the world on every type of news channel. The crash and the injuries Roczen sustained to his arm were some of the worst we’ve seen in sport, and most in the industry figured he would never race a dirt bike again. However, as the days turned into weeks and months, Roczen slowly recovered, and whenever he spoke to the press, the tough German vowed to be back on the track the following season. Out of respect for him and what he went he went through with his arm injury, everyone agreed with him, although I’m not sure anyone really believed him. But a year later, Roczen was back on the starting line at Anaheim 1 with his rebuilt arm and a boat load of motivation. It was an amazing comeback, perhaps the greatest in modern day sport, but as he got back to racing Roczen told us all that his recovery wouldn’t be complete until he once again stood on top of a Supercross podium.

Well, since his return to Supercross in 2018 there have been a few close calls for Roczen. Remember last year, he lost a main event win to Cooper Webb by mere inches. However, he never lost sight of his post-injury goal of winning another supercross main event and this past weekend in St. Louis his dream finally came true. It will now be interesting to see if this is just the beginning of Roczen going on a well-deserved winning streak. After complaining that his suspension was too stiff during the opening round in Anaheim, Roczen and his crew went to a slightly softer setting as well as a different linkage for St. Louis and it obviously paid off. With this monkey off his back, Roczen will definitely be more relaxed moving forward, and now with the confidence of knowing that he can win again, this could be trouble for his competition. But for now, let’s just sit back and enjoy this glorious moment in sport. This is much like Tiger Woods winning again at the end of 2018 after all the injuries he’d been through. What a great moment in sports this is, and I hope Roczen can remain healthy and get some more wins in 2020.

The entire world was happy to see Ken Roczen win again. Photo by James Lissimore

Even though champions in each class go about their business quite differently during competition, the one common denominator they do share is their ability to bounce back from adversity. If you could pick one word to describe every champion it would be “resilient.” Champions, like everyone, suffer set-backs at various times in their careers, but the good ones regroup and in most cases come back even stronger. In motocross and supercross we’ve seen examples of this time and time again, such as Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart, our own Colton Facciotti just to name a few. This is a very demanding sport,  and to be the best, whether it’s for a day or for an entire season, takes a lot of sacrifice and determination. As Ken Roczen has shown us all, you have to keep keeping on!

Behind Roczen in the St.Louis main event was a pack of hungry 450SX riders all wanting a spot on the podium. Barcia, Anderson, Tomac (who came from way back to finish 4th) and Zach Osborne all battled hard throughout the main event. Even rookie pro Adam Cianciarulo was running up front until a a last lap mistake cost him a few positions. With two different winners so far in 2020 and multiple more riders with the speed to run up front, it’s looking like this series is going to be an exciting one.

After giving the win away last weekend in Anaheim, Austin Forkner came back this weekend and won his hometown race. Photo by James Lissimore

In the 250SX West class, it was Austin Forkner who redeemed himself with a great ride and a victory in St.Louis. Justin Cooper battled his way to second in the main event and will once again take the red plate into Round 3 in Anaheim this coming weekend. The track for Round 3 at Angel Stadium looks like it will be very technical for the riders as it features multiple whoop sections and a cool looking option section beside the start straight. I’m heading to California on Thursday morning to take in the Anaheim 2 festivities. On Thursday afternoon I’ll be at the Fox HQ with James Lissimore, Jay Moore and Drew Bezanson, then on Friday we’re all headed to Fox Raceway to ride. I’ll also be doing a WP Suspension test on Friday, and then of course on Saturday it’s race day at Angel Stadium. It will be a quick trip but obviously a very busy trip. I cannot wait as my three full days in California will involve a little bit of everything.

In Canadian moto news, the MRC released their Pro Package for the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series and there are a few big changes coming with regards to the AXTour and SXTour. For 2020, there will now be an A Main Event in each class as well as a combined 250/450 B Main Event (obviously for riders that didn’t make the A Main Event). Also, each class will feature two separate main events with the winner being determined by combining both main event finishes. This means more track time for the riders and for fans, they will get to see their favourite riders on the track more. I like this idea as both the AXTour and the SXTour needed a couple of fresh ideas for this year. I’m sure some of the top riders won’t like this idea as it means more risk for them. As a former pro rider I can totally understand where they’re coming from. However, since there will also be payout and points for the riders in the B Main Event, I’m sure these riders will be happy with this change. It’s hard to believe that we’re just over three months away from the start of the 2020 Triple Crown Series. If you follow some of our top riders on Social Media you’ll notice that one by one they’ll all be heading south now to begin their season preparation. The off-season is over and now it’s time to start training!

Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week, and since it’s supposed to be cold in just about every part of Canada, please stay warm. Also, make sure you follow us on Instagram (@mxpmag) so you can get all of the updates from my time in California as well as the race at Anaheim 2. Thanks for reading and have a great week!