Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. This past weekend we wrapped up the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series with the final two rounds of the SXTour at Gopher Dunes. Although it was a shorter series than in years past, it didn’t lack any excitement as the racing was as great as it always is. This past weekend we watched Cole Thompson and Marshal Weltin win the 450SX and 250SX Championships in style. We also crowned Dylan Wright as the 2020 450 Triple Crown Champion and Weltin as the 250 Triple Crown Champion. What a series it was and it’s very cool that the Jetwerx and MRC crew were able to pull it all off. Unlike previous years when everyone in the paddock was a little burnt out after a long season, on Saturday evening after the race there was almost a sense of sadness that this unique 2020 Series was over. Now it’s time to take a breath and then start the planning for 2021. Here are some James Lissimore photo highlights from the 2020 SXTour.
With no fans allowed or even Arena’s to rent, the 2020 SXTour was moved to Gopher Dunes. I think this facility and track worked perfectly for what the SXTour wanted to do and I think it’s something that would work under normal circumstances. The racing was great at all four rounds and I think if you gave the riders more time to prepare for SX, we would’ve seen fewer crashes. Unfortunately, with the MXTour finishing late this year there wasn’t a lot of time in between the two series. Next year should be different and I think we should go back to Gopher Dunes again for these races.
As I said, with a little more time to prepare for SX I believe that there would’ve been fewer crashes during this SXTour. On both weekends the track was technical and the soil wasn’t very forgiving. Hitting the ground at any speed hurt like hell and unfortunately, some of the riders got it worse than others. The award for the most spectacular crash went to Tanner Ward as he was forced to hit the injection button mid-flight in the rhythm section. Thankfully he was okay, very sore but okay. By the time the gate dropped on the final main event of the series, more than a few riders were sitting on the sidelines watching as the injuries began to stack up. Hopefully, everyone heals quickly and heads into 2021 healthy and happy.
I’ve always maintained that in motocross that we’re all replaceable and that the gate will always drop, regardless of who is there. However, two almost irreplaceable people are Head Referee Paul Kingsley and his humble assistant Daryl Murphy. Both of these gentlemen run our races with the utmost professionalism and I can’t imagine the series without them. Well done Kinger and Murph and thanks for your service. See you in 2021!
What can you say about these two that hasn’t been said a million times? Over the past two seasons, they’ve been calling the Triple Crown Series races on TV and as they’ve worked on their craft it’s gotten better and better. They both know the sport and the riders inside and out and they work hard to make even the boring races sound exciting. Also, they’re both a big part of making the races happen at all in 2020 and for that, we should say thank-you!
Even after suffering a fluke crash on Friday and injuring his knee, Dylan Wright was still able to cap off his dream season and win the 2020 Triple Crown Championship. Dylan rode great all summer long and with each lap during the SXTour he looked better and better. Although his knee injury isn’t serious, it’s still forced him to hobble around with crutches on Saturday and sit out the final night of racing. Also, since he had plans to race the final two rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship during the next few weeks, he’ll have to miss those races now. Anyway, let’s not focus on the negative as 2020 will be remembered for just how amazing this kid rode, especially with it being his first season on a 450.
Coming into the 2020 SXTour we all knew how fast Marshal Weltin was. However, one thing that stood out to me during these past two weekends was that this kid can take the pressure. In almost all of the SXTour main events, Weltin had to deal with one of his fellow 250SX riders right on his back tire. But through it all, he didn’t crack and he ended up taking home both the 2020 SXTour Title and the overall 250 Triple Crown Championship. Congratulations on a great season Marshal.
Coming into 2020 Cole Thompson had some very high expectations. With a productive off-season of training in the USA Cole was looking to have the most successful seasons of his career. However, just before the opening round of the MXTour Cole’s body began to shut down with a very serious infection. This led to him losing energy and missing races as the dreaded Epstein-Barr Virus ravaged his already weak body. Thankfully, Cole was able to get his health back under control and he entered the SXTour healthy and ready to win races. We all know what type of skills he has indoors and those were on full display during the four-round SXTour Series. Something tells me that this is going to be a very important off-season for Cole and if he can continue to figure a few more things out, I think 2021 could be his best season yet.
This past weekend marked Matt Goerke’s final race of his long career. Matt has had a lot of success in Canada, winning multiple 450 titles and countless races. He’s also been a great guy off of the track and it’s going to be sad to not have him here next year. Not many people can say that they won the final race of their career, but Matt Goerke can. He holeshotted the final 450SX main event and never looked back. Now he’s headed back to Panama City with his better half Erin to live a much quieter life. He had an amazing run in Canada and his success and longevity will be tough to match moving forward. Great job Matt and congratulations on an amazing career.
On a personal note, this was an unforgettable weekend for me as I had the opportunity to not only test out Tyler Medaglia’s factory KX450 on Thursday, but I also got to race it in the Vet Class on Saturday at the final round of the SXTour. This awesome bike took some time to get used, especially since I was riding on an SX track. But in the end, it was an amazing experience and I can’t thank the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki Team enough for allowing me to do this unique test riding story. Also, thanks to Tyler’s mechanic Kibby and my family for the support. Look for this cool story coming up in the next issue of MXP Magazine later on in October.
Well, that is it for me this week. Thank you for reading and I hope everyone had a great weekend. Sadly, I guess that’s a wrap on the 2020 race season. It’s definitely been a unique season to say the least and I think everyone deserves a ton of credit for being a part of it. From the MRC, to the riders, tracks, sponsors, and families. We’re a small but tight-knit moto family and we all pulled together to make something special happen amid a pandemic. Fist pumps all around as we’ve all earned it!