Good day and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. As we stated last week, over 60% of Yamaha Canada’s dealer network is open for business with curbside parts and accessory pick up. All you have to do is call, place your order, pre-pay, and then your parts will be either left outside or brought to you in the parking lot while you wait. At least, that is how it worked for me last week when I ordered some Yamaha parts for my son’s YZ85. It may not be a perfect scenario but at least it works, and it’s making the best out of our current situation.
So, what exactly is our current situation? Well, from a numbers game, things appear to be slowly getting better, and last week we finally had Provincial Governments talking about their plans to lift certain restrictions and slowly reopen our economy. With the Covid-19 Virus hitting each Province differently, it’s no surprise to see each region instituting their own plan. Obviously, this will be a step by step program right across Canada, and who really knows how long it’s going to take. The first thing that has to happen is people have to be able to get back to work, which includes the service industry, manufacturing, our OEMs and all dealerships. For this to happen the restrictions on large gatherings have to be either lifted completely or at the very least relaxed. Once this happens (hopefully in the next month) then we see some tracks open for practice and riding. I’m sure we’re smart enough as human beings to continue to practice social distancing at our local MX track. As the weather begins to get nice right across our great country it’s going to get harder and harder to keep people indoors. So, let’s open recreation facilities like golf courses, parks and MX tracks so we can enjoy ourselves while getting some exercise and Vitamin D.
As far as when racing will begin in Canada, I cannot see it happening until June at the absolute earliest. If everything goes well through May then I can see some regional races taking place in mid to late June, but that’s based on one giant ‘IF.’ As for the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series, I’ve been calling Jetwerx CEO Justin Thompson every Wednesday for the past few weeks to get an update. This past Wednesday Justin told me that the next press release won’t be out until May 1st. On that day an updated schedule will be released. Even though he wouldn’t completely confirm it with me, I would expect the opening round of the 2020 MXTour to be at Gopher Dunes in early July. In fact, on the same day, I received an email from the Blackfoot Inn in Calgary asking if we wanted to cancel our reservation since the race at Wild Rose MX Park was cancelled. So that would tell me that the chances of there being any western rounds are slim to none. Sadly, it appears that the MXTour will be a shorter series than normal this summer, but at this point I think we should all be happy that there’s going to be a series at all. The past few months have definitely been difficult on Jetwerx as this Covid-19 Virus has made for an ever-changing landscape as far as event planning goes. We’ll wait for the official word on May 1st, but if the Triple Crown Series consists of five outdoor rounds this summer and five rounds of indoor racing in the fall, that is pretty good if you ask me. Ten rounds (or so) of racing to decide the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Champions? At this point I’m sure everyone from riders, teams, fans and sponsors will take it!
Down in the USA the debate rages on about whether or not they’ll be able to start racing again next month. After the news broke last week that Feld Entertainment was now looking at mid-May as a possible date to resume the Monster Energy Supercross Series in Glendale, AZ, most of the riders returned to their SX tracks for practice. I love Feld’s optimism that this series could not only resume but also complete all seven remaining rounds in May. But as we sit here today, it does seem like a stretch as there still are a lot of health concerns everywhere, including Arizona. However, if they could find a safe way to pull this off, even without fans in the stands, then this would be huge for Supercross. Other than the UFC, who is planning an event in two weeks in Jacksonville, Fla., Supercross would be the first sport back on television since every sport was halted in March. I would say at best it’s a 50/50 bet as to whether or not they can pull this in less than one month’s time. The other side of this is, it would be a massive risk to Supercross if anyone was to get sick at a SX in Glendale in May. You can bet that these events would get extra mainstream media attention given that no other sports were open for business at the time. I can picture CNN being on site for their first-ever SX dressed in a hazmat suit just waiting (and almost wanting) for something bad to happen. I guess we’ll know in the next two weeks as everyone will have to make plans.
As for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships, that series is still scheduled to begin on June 13 in Florida. Below is their latest press release that came out on Thursday. I really do like how proactive MX Sports has been, both with their Pro National Series as well as their Loretta Lynn’s Amateur program. The “Safe-to-Race Task Force” is a brilliant idea as it will at the very least give participants some peace of mind whenever racing does resume and they decide whether or not they want to travel to a busy track. I mean, let’s face it, when racing does start up both in the USA and in Canada there are going to be riders and families that will be reluctant to return because of health concerns and may choose to stay home. The more information regarding the safety of our tracks the better, as far as I’m concerned. We are now living in a changed world and moving forward things are going to be different for a long time, and that includes our home life, work life, and racing life. Anyway, here is the latest MX Sports press release:
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—As part of its continued effort to host a successful 2020 season of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, presented by AMA Pro Racing, MX Sports Pro Racing and organizers for all 11 rounds of the series are actively adapting to the evolving dynamics associated with COVID-19, and the protocols that will become necessary implementations at events this summer. As a result, a collective decision has been made by all parties to implement a temporary hold on ticket sales efforts, with an emphasis on being properly prepared to address the safety and well being of those in attendance.
“There is nothing more important to MX Sports Pro Racing, the organizers, and the entire motocross community than the return of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, and we are making sure we do everything in our power to ensure that a successful 2020 season can get underway this June,” said Roy Janson, MX Sports Pro Racing Competition Director.
The ongoing development of protocols that will need to be implemented this summer are being spearheaded by the Race Leadership Team’s “Safe-to-Race Task Force.” This diverse group of individuals with specific expertise in areas of medical care, public health, government relations, information technology, and event promotion was created to build a framework for motorsports events of all kinds to make an anticipated return. In bringing together a collection of some of the most experienced, knowledgeable, and savvy minds in the industry, the unified development of an informational toolkit will help motorsports organizers at all levels, including national caliber venues and local tracks, navigate the complicated road to reopening.
“As states, counties, and cities across the country begin to take the initial steps towards a return to the resumption of normal life, the ‘Safe-to-Race Task Force’ is serving an invaluable role in the diligent efforts being made to take any necessary steps to provide a safe environment for the Nationals to take place,” continued Janson. “Alongside each organizer, the task force is working closely with the local government and health officials surrounding each venue to determine what the necessary parameters will be for welcoming fans during the 49th season of the world’s most prestigious off-road motorcycle racing series.”
While operational logistics regarding various social distancing measures and potential on-site testing for COVID-19 continue to develop with local officials, which could also require additional adjustments to the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship schedule, the temporary hold of ticket sales will allow for these updated measures to take effect without further complication. Fans that have already purchased tickets to a 2020 National will not need to take any additional action at this time, but should a refund be necessary, purchasers have until a week before their respective event to take action, even if it’s been rescheduled.
The amended 11-round series for the 2020 season is currently slated to begin with the Florida National, on June 13, and will be followed by the High Point National (June 20), the Southwick National (June 27), the RedBud National (July 4), the Thunder Valley National (July 11), the Spring Creek National (July 18), and the Washougal National (July 25). Following a two week break, the championship will return for its stretch run, beginning with the Unadilla National (August 15), followed by the Budds Creek National (August 22), the Ironman National (August 29), and the Fox Raceway National, which will end the season on Labor Day weekend (September 5).”
Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a great week and is staying safe and healthy. In case you missed it, last week I caught up with MX101 FXR Racing Yamaha rider Marco Cannella to see how he’s been doing during this crisis. Here is the link to our interview: https://www.mxpmag.com/yamaha-motor-canada-presents-mxp-chatter-with-marco-cannella/
Also, we were lucky enough to have Ryan Lockhart provide us with his Top 10 Racing Moments. Here is that link as well: https://www.mxpmag.com/honda-canada-racing-presents-the-friday-top-10-with-ryan-lockhart/
Again, have a great week and thank-you for reading.