Yamaha Motor Canada Presents The Monday Gate Drop

Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. It’s hard to believe that this is the final column of August and the end of the summer of 2020. Where did the last few months go? Time flies and with everything that has gone on in our world during the past few months, we most certainly have a new appreciation of normal life. I hope it’s been a good summer for everyone and thank-you for supporting MXP Magazine.

Well, just like that we’ve now finished four rounds of the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown MXTour Series. So far it’s been an entertaining series in all classes and the new three moto format has been well received by the teams and the riders. I was talking to Jess Pettis yesterday after his big win in the 250MX class, and he was saying that racing three motos is more challenging from a mental point of view rather than a physical point of view. He said that in the past you just had to put all your focus into one raceday, and now with two it’s been a little more difficult. I think whatever Pettis has been doing has worked as this past weekend at Round 4 he again dominated the field. With three motos to go in the series, Pettis has a 48 point lead over Marshal Weltin. This means that he can wrap-up his second 250MX title with a moto win this Saturday in Deschambault. Pettis has been crazy good this summer and this past weekend at Sand Del Lee we saw much of the same. In all three 250 motos, Pettis was able to get off to an early lead and never look back. In fact, in Moto 2 yesterday he was able to keep an eye on the battle between Jacob Piccolo and Casey Keast for second. Pettis told me that he that there were a few sections on the track where he could look back and watch his two fellow BC riders progress throughout the moto. Pettis also said that he was more excited for them than he was for his moto win. Jess Pettis was on rails at Sand Del Lee and it was great to watch a rider compete at such a high level.

After joining the 2020 Triple Crown Series late because of the wrist injury, it was great to see Casey Keast finish third yesterday in the second 250MX moto. Photo by James Lissimore

As I mentioned, during Moto 2 of the 250MX class yesterday it was definitely a proud moment for the Province of BC. At one point during the opening laps BC had four riders inside of the Top 5 as Pettis, Keast, Piccolo, and Tyler Gibbs were all up front. During the moto, I was standing up in the SDL tower with BC’s most successful rider Colton Facciotti, and you could tell that he was impressed with what we were seeing. When the moto was finished, the Top 3 riders (Pettis, Piccolo, Keast) were all from BC and it was so cool to see them all hugging each other at the podium. In the final moto, Pettis was again out front, while Piccolo held off a hard-charging Tanner Ward for 20 minutes to take home another second place. In the end, Piccolo would take an impressive fourth overall (his opening moto 16th kept him off of the podium in the overall results) in the 250MX class, his best finish by far in 2020. Casey Keast, who is still recovering from an early-season wrist injury, he ended up finishing 8th overall at SDL. Tyler Gibbs, who held on for a solid 5th in Moto 2, he went 19-5-10 for 12th overall. That’s four BC riders inside of the Top 12 yesterday at SDL in the 250MX class. With Pettis leading the way right now, the future is bright for BC motocross. I will also add that young Julien Benek rode strong at Round 4 and went 20-28-18 for 22nd overall.

After narrowly winning the 450MX overall at Round 4, Dylan Wright will take a 24 point lead into the final round. Photo by James Lissimore

In the 450 class, it appeared to be an off weekend for the red plate holder Dylan Wright. On one hand, he did win the overall and extend his points lead over Phil Nicoletti, but along the way he made plenty of small mistakes and wasn’t riding up to the level we’ve been accustom to seeing in 2020. However, if this is what an ‘off” weekend looks like for Dylan Wright than I’m sure he’ll take it. With the muddy conditions that the riders had for Moto 1 on Saturday (Wright won that moto) the track for Sunday was very challenging. Yes, it did dry up as the day went on yesterday, but it got rough and had some soft spots in it all day long. It appeared like Wright was chasing a comfortable set-up on Sunday and when he didn’t have it, he did the smart thing and didn’t over push himself. In the final moto, Wright was sitting in third and was at risk at not getting the overall win, but he put in a few really strong laps, passed Shawn Maffenbeier for second, and that was enough to get the job done at Round 4. Now with three motos remaining in the 450MX class, Wright has a 24 point lead over Nicoletti.

Phil Nicoletti and his OTSFF Yamaha were dialed in yesterday as he easily won both 450MX motos. Photo by James Lissimore

It was a great day for both Nicoletti and Maffenbeier. Nicoletti dominated both motos yesterday and if it wasn’t for a first turn pile-up in Moto 1 and a shortened moto, he would’ve won his second race in a row. He was very fast this weekend and also very determined. Going back to Saturday, I have no idea why the MRC shortened the opening moto in both classes by five minutes? Yes, it was pouring rain and the track was a mess at 8 am when they presumably made the call, but the weather forecast was calling for the rain to stop and everyone knows the SDL track can recover and dry quickly. I asked Head Referee Paul Kingston at the end of the day why they shortened the first motos and he just said that in hindsight he wished they hadn’t. Anyway, the track did recover and the conditions were the best I’ve ever seen for yesterday’s 250MX and 450MX motos. The MX101 track crew did an incredible job yesterday of touching up certain parts of the track in between motos while keeping it challenging and raceable. As always the Sand Del Lee National was a memorable one and I’m glad we were able to go to his awesome track in 2020.

Jess Pettis once again won the 250MX class and will take a whopping 48 point lead into the final round. Photo by James Lissimore

So now we’re down to one more round in this unique 2020 Triple Crown MXTour Series. Traveling to Quebec to race dirt bikes has always an incredible experience for me and I expect this coming weekend to be much of the same. The Deschambault track is a favourite among the riders, and with sunny skies and moderate temperatures expected this weekend, the track should be in great shape. This is Championship weekend in Canadian motocross as the 2020 titles will be decided. As I said, Pettis leads the 250MX class, Wright leads the 450MX class, Eve Brodeur leads the WMX class, and Weston Wrozyna leads the Pre-Mix class. It’s definitely going to be a great weekend of racing in Quebec.

This weekend the 2020 Triple Crown Series heads to beautiful Deschambault for the final round.

Finally, have you been watching any of the racing in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships? This past weekend the series traveled to Ironman Raceway in Indiana for Round 3 and this coming weekend they head to the most famous track in the USA, RED BUD! This weekend will actually host a doubleheader as Round 4 will take place on Saturday and Round 5 will be on Monday. Also, the famous Baja Brawl is this weekend at Baja Acres so the State of Michigan is hosting some pretty awesome motocross events this weekend. Unfortunately, the Canada/USA border is still closed so we can only watch the races from afar. Either way, it’s going to be an incredible weekend of outdoor motocross in North America.

Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has had a great August and I hope you all enjoy your upcoming Labour Day weekend. Good luck to all the kids that are heading back to school, be safe, and make sure if any kids are struggling or having a hard time adjusting, that you take some time to help them out. Thank you for reading and if you have any questions or comments, please email me at chris@mxpmag.com.