Yamaha Motor Canada Presents The Monday Gate Drop

Good day and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. The Blu Cru is currently preparing for an all-out assault on the final seven rounds of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series. With Justin Barcia sitting 4th in the 450SX points standings, he will no doubt be looking make a push for the podium. In the 250SX West class, Dylan Ferrandis and Justin Cooper occupy the Top 2 positions, while Shane McElrath sits second in the 250SX East class. The Series gets back underway this coming Sunday in Salt Lake City and Team Yamaha will be ready.

Just six more sleeps until the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series resumes in SLC. Photo by James Lissimore

As I mentioned above, this coming Sunday all eyes will be on Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City as the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Series will be getting back underway. This exciting series has been off since mid-March when the Covid-19 virus shut the world of sports down. As you may recall, the Daytona SX had just happened and the series was getting ready to race in Indianapolis. Then in an instance, after one of the NBA’s players tested positive for the virus, all hell broke loose and every sport decided it would be best to shut down their seasons. Thankfully, after more than two long months Supercross and pretty much every other main stream sport are either starting back up or getting ready to. It’s definitely been a long road and if you think back to late March when all of this lock down stuff was new to us, one of the hardest things was being stuck at home and having no sports to watch. I’m almost used to it now, but back then it just felt so weird. Anyway, Supercross is back this Sunday and thankfully it represents one more step towards a normal life for us humans.

Will Eli Tomac be at the same level this weekend in SLC that he was back in March? Photo by Mike Vizer

With regards to Supercross, the big question to me is what level will we see the racing return to in the coming weeks? The last time the riders were on a race track was on a very rough Daytona circuit and that race was excellent. I know it was a long time ago and a lot has happened since, but in that race Ken Roczen grabbed the holeshot and took off looking for a second win in a row. Eli Tomac started slow in that main event but quickly found his rhythm and reeled in Roczen. Tomac then made the pass and most thought the action was over. However, to his credit, Roczen was smart enough to pick up on a couple of Tomac’s superior lines and by the final lap had caught back up to the Kawasaki rider. Tomac would hold for the win, but to me Roczen showed a little extra something in that race. But like I said, that was over two months ago and it seems almost impossible that these two will be able to pick up where they left off.

These first few races back will definitley show which riders were able to train the best during the shut down. Photo by James Lissimore

These past few months have not only been a confusing time health wise for these riders, but it’s also been a confusing time from a training point of view. When the series stopped back in March everyone assumed that after a few weeks it would start back up. Then, when it was determined that the shutdown would last awhile and that the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series would begin before SX resumed, at that point the top riders began to train for the outdoor nationals. With that new racing schedule beginning to take shape, the tables turned again and there was talk that the SX series was going to try and finish in late May and early June. And here we are! So from a training and preparation stand point the past six weeks have been very difficult for the SX series riders. With this in mind, I would expect the first few races back to be a feeling out process before the riders are comfortable enough to attack. Almost like the opening rounds of the series in January, but with much more at stake! It’s going to be fun to watch for sure, and not just the Tomac/Roczen battle. Cooper Webb will be fast, Justin Barcia, as well as Adam Cianciarulo, who is now healthy and motivated to get his first ever 450 win. It all gets underway this Sunday at 4pm EST.

Walton Raceway opened up this past weekend for practice. If all goes well they will have their first AMO event on June 28th.

So with SX returning and most of the tracks now opened in Canada for practice, things are slowly returning to normal….very slowly. But hey, it has to start somewhere and seeing people back riding at our local tracks is amazing. Also, like any business that was forced to shutdown by the Government, our public tracks have taken a real hit during what is usually a very busy spring riding season. I can only imagine how good it feels for our local track owners to have riders show up again and pay to ride. In Ontario, Gopher Dunes is now fully open, Moto Park, Sand Del Lee and Walton Raceway opened up this weekend for practice. Also, smaller practice tracks like Gore Road and Track 15 are now open for practice. It’s been long two months but at least there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The next step is obviously racing and when will it resume in Canada? I haven’t heard too much from other regions, but in Ontario AMO announced that in a few weeks they hope to resume racing with these events: Gopher Dunes on June 14, Moto Park on June 21 and Walton Raceway on June 28. After that the Moto Park Cup (not an AMO event) would be on July 4,5, Gopher National on July 11, 12, and Sand Del Lee on July 18,19. I know, this does sound like a dream I’m sure a lot of us have had during the past few weeks, but this, or at least this is now a possibility. I hope that this is the case right across the country as I know each Province is different. I know I said this back in April about the month of May, but June is a very important month in our lives and in our economy. Let’s keep being safe and continue to dig ourselves out of this mess.

I’m definitely going to miss moments like this from the Calgary National.

Throughout this lock down there has been important dates for everyone where we had something planned that got cancelled or postponed. Well, this week everyone was supposed to be heading out to Calgary for the opening round of the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown MXTour Series. It will definitely feel strange not flying to Calgary this week as our national series has visited Wild Rose MX Park since 2000. But that is the way it is for this year and I will be documenting some of the best racing moments from Calgary this week on mxpmag.com. This is one of the most unique races on the planet and it’s a crying shame that we’re going to miss it this year. Over the years, the Calgary National has become more than just a race, it’s become the most social event of the year in Canadian motocross (especially in the west) with people travelling to Calgary from all over just to hang out. The Blackfoot Inn, which is walking distance from the track, is full of motocross people on the weekend of the race, so you can imagine how much fun is had there. With the track’s location in the city, downtown is close, the Bow River is close, a lot of cool things are close. Not to mention, on a nice day you can be at the track and split your views between the racing, downtown Calgary, and of course the Rocky Mountains to the west. As far as location goes, Wild Rose MX Park is the most unique track in the world. Hopefully we are back there in 2021 for the opening round of the MXTour Series.

Well, that is it for me this week. In closing, I want to wish our American friends a Happy Memorial Day! I wish our two countries could share this holiday as we also need to honour our military as much as possible. Over the past two months our freedom has truly been tested and no one fights for our freedom more than the men and women of our Armed Forces. So even though it’s not Memorial Day here in Canada, lets take a moment and think about our Military personnel and their families. Have a great final week of May and please stay safe and ride safe!