Good day and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. With three rounds of Supercross already in the books in Salt Lake City and regional racing set to return this weekend at Gopher Dunes, there is definitely reason to feel excited. So as we near the mid-way point of June, let’s all continue to remain safe and healthy.
Before I get to what happened over the weekend, as I mentioned above, AMO Racing will begin their season this coming Sunday at Gopher Dunes. With everything that has been going on in the world with the Covid-19 Virus, to have racing coming back is a small miracle, in my eyes. A few months ago it looked like any racing at all in 2020 might not happen. However, with the Government imposed restrictions relaxing and the Provinces slowly reopening, we will now get a chance to go racing again. Obviously, these next three weeks of AMO Racing will not be like any races we’ve been to before as there are new rules in place that must be followed. Please visit the AMO website (amoracing.com) for all of the important details. Registration for Sunday’s race is now open and by the sounds of it racers are coming from all over for this opening Ontario Provincial round. Hopefully racing will return in other Provinces soon and we can all have fun this summer.
Hopefully most of you caught Round 13 of the Monster Energy Supercross Series last night as it finally had the excitement we’ve been looking for. Well, to be honest, the 450SX main event on Wednesday night was pretty good, too. But from a pure excitement and difficulty level, Round 13 had it all. Since the city of Salt Lake City sits at over 4000 feet above sea level it experiences a very similar climate to Calgary. Meaning, one day it can be blistering hot and the next downright cold. After a week of summer temperatures, the yesterday’s weather was almost winter-like. When the gate dropped for the 450SX main event, the temperature was 10 Celsius with light rain falling. At least the heavy rain had stopped, and as much as the track was a soft and rutted mess, it appeared to at least have some traction. The first main event up was the 250SX East class, but unfortunately Garrett Marchbanks crashed early and the race had to be red flagged. On the restart, both red plate holders, Chase Sexton and Shane McElrath, were up front and battling hard. The track was extremely challenging. Not only did the top riders have to deal with the deep ruts, but because the tackier racing line was very narrow, lappers were a big issue. A few laps in, McElrath crashed while leading and handed the lead and the eventual win to his rival Sexton. With two rounds remaining in the 250SX East series, Sexton now leads McElrath by just three points. This Wednesday night the 250SX West riders are back, which should be very exciting.
In the 450SX class, Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb proved that they’re currently on a different level than the rest of the field. Prior to this race I would’ve added Ken Roczen to the list but after his mid-week announcement that he’s been struggling with the altitude and is having trouble breathing, his 2020 450SX title hopes are pretty much over. In the 450SX main event last night, Tomac and Webb got out front early and from pretty much Lap 5 they battled for the win. The race was incredible as just when you thought one rider had the win, the other would make a pass. The difficulty of the track played a big part, lappers played a big part, and who wanted to win more played a big part. Their pace was amazing, and in the end the lead two lapped up to third place. I know the Salt Lake City track was on the short side when it came to lap times but to see Tomac and Webb so much faster than everyone else was pretty shocking. Also surprising was Tomac and his effort to take the victory, considering his big points lead over Webb and his closet rival in the standings (Roczen) was back in tenth. Tomac could’ve finish second and still been in a great spot with four rounds remaining. However, Tomac held tough and simply wouldn’t be denied the Round 13 win. To Webb’s credit, he did everything he could to take his second win in a row last night but he came up a little short. It was a great race and I’m sure it made everyone look forward to Wednesday night. The battle for the 450SX Championship might be all but over now, but the Tomac/Webb battle is the best we’ve seen in a long time.
So with the SX Series finishing strong in the USA and Gopher Dunes getting ready to host the AMO Racing season opener this Sunday, life almost feels normal again. I use the term ‘almost’ very loosely as I know we’re still a long way from being normal again. But at least it’s progress and really that’s all we can ask for right now. Finally, this past Friday I made my way to Walton Raceway again for one of their open practice days. This one had a little more spice to it as the track was prepared a little differently and more pro riders showed up. Dylan Wright, Cole Thompson, Tanner Ward, Marco Cannella and Sam Gaynor were just a few of the fast pro riders who were there. There was also a large group of amateur riders in attendance so it kind of felt like a mini race, all that was missing was some gate drops. I didn’t break out my stop watch but from what I heard Dylan Wright logged the fastest time of the day, with Cole Thompson not far behind. It was a fun day, and even though everyone was practicing social distancing and staying in their little bubble, it was great to see so many people out riding again. As announced ten days ago, the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series is set to begin at Gopher Dunes on July 25/26.
Well, I hope everyone has a great week, and even if you can’t ride, you still have to get out and enjoy this early summer weather. Also, please stay safe, and if you have any comments or questions please email me at email@example.com. Thanks for reading!