Good day and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. As we near the end of February, this means the clocks go ahead on March 8th and Spring is right around the corner. Soon the snow will be gone and our tracks will be open for business. In Ontario, Gopher Dunes was actually open for riding yesterday as temperatures rose to 10c with the sun shinning bright. I don’t know about everyone else, but I cannot wait for Spring.
I will kick this column off with what went on Saturday night at Round 8 of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series in Dallas. This was the second Triple Crown event of the series and it seems like each time we have this format there is always a lot to talk about. The first item that stood out from the Dallas SX was the track and how it appeared to give the riders a lot of problems. Between Adam Cianciarulo, Cooper Webb and Broc Tickle, we saw three 450SX riders crash and get injured. Cianciarulo crashed and unfortunately broke his collarbone on the very tricky dragon back section before one of the triple jumps. Cianciarulo was having a great rookie year in the 450SX class and many felt that it wasn’t going to be long before he got his first win. However, lately he has been making a few mistakes, and sadly in Dallas he made a big one and now is out for a few weeks. Then in the second 450SX main event, Cooper Webb got the exact same section wrong and had a horrible crash, landing off of the track and on to the concrete. Thankfully, Webb wasn’t seriously injured as he mentioned after the race on Social Media that his back and tail bone suffered deep bruises. I didn’t see Tickle crash, but considering this was just his second race back after a two-year suspension, this is really bad news. We’ll have to wait for some news out of the Tickle and JGR Suzuki camps to see how long he will be out. After losing three 450SX riders to injury in one day, hopefully the series pauses this week and has a look at all of incidents from the past few races to see if there’s any safety improvements that can be made!
After Ryan Newman’s massive crash last weekend at the Daytona 500, I was reading an article that was talking about all of the safety improvements that NASCAR has made in the past decade, including adding the “Newman Bar” to all of their race cars. This bar was ironically designed by Ryan Newman (he has a degree in Engineering) and it’s basically an extra cross-member beam that is part of the car roof cage structure. Some NASCAR experts have speculated this week that this added bar helped save Newman from serious injury or even death. Also, in the years after Dale Earnhardt’s death, NASCAR built a safety centre in Concord, NC where all they do there is work to improve the safety measures for NASCAR. This initiative has been very positive for NASCAR as in recent years they’ve seen crashes and serious injuries to drivers down significantly.
Now, I’m not suggesting that Supercross go to the extremes that NASCAR has but after the past two weekends I hope they’re looking at things. I think the first thing they could do in the immediate future is avoid building the type of dragon back section they had in Dallas – one that had a jump right after it that riders had to clear if they wanted to build enough speed to clear the big triple jump, which was built at the end of the section. As we saw with both Cianciarulo and Webb (two of the best SX riders on the planet), they got kicked on the final hump of the dragon’s back causing them to clip the final jump with their front wheel, and then they were simply along for the ride. Cianciarulo crashed into the face of the triple jump, while Webb cartwheeled off the track landing on the concrete. As I said, both riders could’ve had life altering injuries. So, changing the track obstacles is one solution. The next change to consider is for sections that run beside the bare concrete floor, perhaps they should come up with some sort of padding that can be laid out, or even surround the track with some type of softer soil so if a rider crashes and flies off the track they won’t be landing on bare concrete. I actually cannot believe that this hasn’t been done already as over the years we’ve seen some big wrecks where the riders end up crashing on to the concrete. I don’t know, the Monster Energy Supercross Series is the top level of our sport and something has to be done.
When all was said and done in Dallas, Eli Tomac once again outlasted everyone in the 450SX class to take his second win in a row. Ken Roczen wasn’t far off in second and Jason Anderson got himself back on the podium by finishing third. In the 250SX East class, Chase Sexton took the overall win with 2-1-2 main event scores. After two rounds of the 250SX East Series, Sexton and Shane McElrath are now tied in points in what is shaping up to be an exciting championship chase. Joey Crown had another great weekend as he finished 7th overall, one spot ahead of where he finished last weekend. The SX Series now moves to Atlanta and then Daytona in the coming weeks, two of the biggest events of our sport.
In other industry news, Allan Jaggard has been named to the newly created OASA Board of Directors as the Director of Marketing and Communications. There will be more information about this coming in the near future, but for now here is the official press release:
“The OASA is pleased to welcome Allan Jaggard to the board of directors, Allan will also be assuming the official position of…
“Director of Marketing & Communications”
Allan is a veteran of the bicycle, powersports & media industry with over 45 years experience, bringing a wealth of knowledge and contacts to the OASA.
Allan is not only an MTB and e-bike enthusiast, but brings a long history in racing as a multi-time provincial motocross champion. Allan has a particular strong focus in the area of sales, promotions and marketing initiatives.
We are very excited to have Allan on the OASA team. He is sure to bring much needed media and diverse related industry attention. This will help the OASA obtain it’s goals of providing to the MTB & E-MTB community the most innovative and unique race events throughout Ontario.
To contact Allan for any details relating to marketing initiatives with the OASA, please call 416-201-1187 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
That’s it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great final week of February, and thank-you for reading my Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop.