Yamaha Motor Canada Presents The Monday Gate Drop

Good day and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. We hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and doing your best to remain positive during this pandemic. With their parts department back online as well as over 60% of their dealers open, Yamaha is doing their absolute best to provide as much service as they can during these challenging times. So, thank-you Yamaha Motor Canada and thanks to everyone for being so patient.

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray? It’s actually on television quite a bit if you’re ever flipping through the channels. Anyway, the premise of this popular movie is that the main character wakes up each day and has the same thing happen to him. Basically, until he breaks the cycle, it’s the same thing over and over again. Well, these days are starting to feel like that for most of us as we’re still under lock down and not allowed to live what used to be a normal life. Well, as much I believe it’s going to be a long time before we return to what we used to know as a normal life, I still maintain that come May we’re going to see some of these restrictions lifted. We’re already starting to see some unrest, because in certain areas workers are demanding to be allowed to return to work. Yes, this virus has been deadly for a lot of people in all parts of the world and it will continue to be for a while, but at some point, being able to work and provide for your family becomes a life and death situation as well.

We’re definitely counting the days until we see bikes back on the starting gate. Photo by James Lissimore

Unfortunately, for us motocross loving folks, as people ease back into the workforce in the coming weeks, the last thing that will most likely come back is events or large gatherings. So, while soon we may see some of our tracks being permitted to open for practice, it may be a few months until we have races. I would venture a guess right now that our late spring and summer race schedule is up in the air at best, on both the pro side as well as the amateur side. On the pro side, unless there is a miracle, I don’t see the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series beginning much before July at Gopher Dunes. It would be incredible to have some western rounds in June to kick off the MXTour series, but at this point it doesn’t seem likely. Unless a track like Whispering Pines in Kamloops is able to host multiple rounds, that would be the only way to make it worthwhile for the teams to travel west. Also, if the series does begin in July in Ontario, where does it go from there? Last week someone sent me a link to a Quebec Government Press Release where they said that no sporting events of any kind will be permitted until the end of August. So, unless the ECAN can get a special exemption (which is possible) or the Government changes its mind in the coming months, there will be no racing in Quebec this summer. Even the Riviere Du Loup AX, which has been running for 39 years straight with no breaks had to cancel their event for 2020. These are definitely crazy times! So, we could see a slightly shorter MXTour Series with most of the rounds in Ontario and one in Moncton, NB, and then a substantial indoor series in the Fall. As we’re seeing with most professional race series around the world, this year is all about getting done what you can. At this point, it’s far more important to make due and have a shorter, more hybrid series than no series at all. As for the amateur side of things, this will most definitely be a wait and see process. The tracks in Canada have to open first. Finally, I did read over the weekend that golf courses are opening in BC, so maybe other recreational facilities (like MX tracks) aren’t far behind.

Will we see the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series resume next month in State Farm Stadium in Glendale? Photo by James Lissimore

In other racing news, over the weekend the news broke on Social Media that the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series may resume sooner than we originally thought. A few weeks ago, we had Sean Brennen, the man in charge of Media Relations at Feld Entertainment, tell us that they were definitely planning on returning to racing in the Fall. However, over the weekend the news began to circulate that the series is looking at starting back up next month with all remaining rounds taking place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. I reached out to one of the top riders in the 250SX class and he told me that this news was just as surprising to him. He also told me that riders had given up on their SX training and for the past few weeks all they have been riding on are outdoor tracks. Now with this news, they will have to switch back to their SX set-ups and refocus on Supercross. I’m honestly a little surprised that Feld is looking at this now as racing anywhere in May does seem a little early. As of this week a few of the states in the USA are cautiously re-opening for business, so to go from that to racing a SX in a month, with or without spectators, seems very optimistic to say the least. I heard that the big race teams wanted to finish the SX series in May and have it all done by the time the outdoor nationals began. However, Feld has to do what is best for the series and if waiting until September is better for the series then that is how it should be. Other than the availability of stadiums being a challenge in the Fall, I can’t see why waiting a few months wouldn’t be better for everyone involved, especially if they plan to have fans in the seats? Anyway, the powers to be know more than I do so perhaps this is quite possible, and maybe, just maybe, this will be awesome. I’m not sure what it is about Arizona and why the Glendale area is being looked at, not just for SX but also for Major League Baseball to restart their season there. In fact, one idea the MLB is floating around is to bring all of their teams to Arizona and have the entire season right there. The players would be kept in a bubble at various hotels and shuttled to practices and games for the entire summer. Some players think it’s a great idea as they just want to play ball, while some, actually most, are against it. That is definitely some out-of-the-box thinking right there. So, we’ll wait to see what happens as I’m sure more news will unfold in the coming days. 

Here Dave Beatty holeshots a moto at the famous Copetown track just outside Hamilton, ON.

Like most of you, I’m sure, throughout this entire ordeal that we’re all going through, I’ve been doing my absolute best to remain positive and optimistic. Also, there have been certain aspects of this lock down that haven’t been that bad, as in most cases people have a little extra time to do things they normally can’t do. Well, one really cool thing I’ve noticed is, lately some of our fellow motocross friends have been posting a plethora of old racing photos on Facebook. Whether the photos are of old riders or tracks, they’re incredible, and they certainly get the memory wheels turning. For Ontario residents, we grew up riding tracks in the late 1970s and early 1980s like Moto Park, Big Bend, Hully Gully, Acton, Streetsville, Copetown and Wheatley, just to name a few. With so many tracks it wasn’t uncommon in those days to visit a track only two or three times a season. Also, one of the cool things was that each of these tracks were made up of different types of soil and layouts. For instance, Moto Park, in those days, was very rocky and hard packed most of the time, Big Bend, which was located not far from Gopher Dunes, was more loamy and sandy and featured an incredible layout, Hully Gully, which wasn’t far from Walton Raceway, was always tacky and rutted in the morning, and then hard packed in the afternoon. Also, if it rained at Hully Gully, look out, as the track was very difficult to ride because the mud was so sticky. In fact, I can still picture my Dad scraping mud off of the bike for hours at a time on more than one occasion. Acton, or Leathertown Raceway as it was called, was very rocky and the track was basically cut through a forest. It had very little soil mixed into the rock so at the best of times it was slippery and a nightmare on tires. However, it did have a full-blown BMX track on site, so in between motos all of the kids would be riding their bicycles. Anyway, I could on and on about all of these tracks and the memories I have of them but my point is that with people being home more in the past month it seems as though they’ve had time to dig up some of these incredible old photos. With our lives not back to normal quite yet I can’t wait see what photos are posted this week!

Let us all prey for Nova Scotia after the terrible events of this past weekend.

Well, that is it for me this week. As always, I hope everyone has a great week and thank-you for reading. As you may have noticed, late last week we went live with our new website. Our new site was designed around the current needs of our readers and advertisers to be more compatible with hand held devices and tablets. I hope you like it, and once again, thank-you for supporting MXP Magazine.