Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving long weekend. I’ve always loved Thanksgiving weekend, not because of eating Turkey, but more because it always came at the end of a long season of motocross. With everyone going wide open all summer long, Thanksgiving was always the first weekend since the spring that my family would all get together. Obviously, this year was a little different with Covid-19 as it was just our immediate family sitting down for turkey dinner. But it was still good to sit down as a family for a nice dinner. Even in this Pandemic State that doesn’t seem like it wants to leave us anytime soon, life is still moving way to fast.
As I said, my family and I love Thanksgiving and one thing we do to honour it is makeup five things that we’re thankful for from the past year. So here are a few things that I’m thankful for. First, I’m happy that so far through the past five months that my family has been able to remain healthy. My parents are getting to that age where they can’t handle getting really sick with anything, so we’re always worried about that. Anyway, cross our fingers, knock on wood, or whatever else I can do, so far we’ve remained healthy and I pray that it stays that way.
Second, I’m thankful that we had a race season at all in 2020. If you think back to April and May when Covid-19 had everyone in mass Hysteria, at that time it looked as though we might not have any racing, or any sports for that matter. Heck, during that period the media made us feel like if we left our home we were in grave danger. However, thanks to the MRC, our incredible tracks, as well as our die-hard racers, we were able to pull a race season off. AMO in Ontario was the first region to hold races and that started back in mid-June. Then, slowly other regions began to open up and we had ourselves a shortened but fun race season. And, it’s not over yet as the 2020 Future West AX Championships is kicking off this coming weekend in Chilliwack, BC.
In keeping with our 2020 race season, I’m also thank-full that there was a Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series this summer. I know, it was unfortunate that all of the races ended up being in Ontario. I love to travel and would’ve enjoyed having headed out west and also out east to Riverglade in Moncton. However, this summer the series did the best they could with what they had, and looking back now, I think it was as entertaining as it always is. Once the gate drops, racing is racing and sometimes it doesn’t matter where you are, it just matters who is there. From the opening gate drop at Gopher Dunes to the final checkered flag at Sand Del Lee, the racing in the MXTour was great. We saw dominating championship runs by Dylan Wright and Jess Pettis. We saw Tanner Ward get his first-ever national win at the track he grew up racing on, Walton Raceway. We saw some incredible hard-charging riding from riders like Marshal Weltin and Phil Nicoletti (just to name a few), and we were able to witness a few amazing rides from our young riders. Also, with how well Dylan Wright rode this past summer he made us forget quickly that this was his first year racing in the 450 class. With Jess Pettis moving up to the 450 class for 2021, I cannot wait to see he and Dylan battle on the big bikes.
As far as amateur racing is concerned, I’m thank-full that the Lee Family and the Walton Raceway crew were able to not only put on the 2020 Walton TransCan, but have it be one of the best, most organized events we’ve seen in years. With Covid-19 going on all around us, Walton Raceway was in a difficult spot as a host of people in their area didn’t want them to go ahead with the TransCan this year. Even one of Walton Raceway’s local businesses made it clear that despite the week of the TransCan always being one of their busiest of the year, they didn’t want anyone from the TransCan in their store. Thankfully though, that was just one business and in the end, the Walton Raceway crew did such a great job of crossing all of their T’s and dotting all of their I’s that the event ended up being a massive success. With all of the proper health and safety protocols in place, riders and their families travelled to Walton Raceway from all over Canada to battle for a Canadian Championship. For a selected few the Walton TransCan was their first race of this unique season. It was a great week of racing and to also have it bookend by the two rounds of the 2020 Triple Crown MXTour Series was special.
Finally, I could on and on about what I’m thank-full for but I’ll wrap this subject up by saying that I’m really thank-full for my family and that my son Ayrton had a safe and enjoyable 2020 season. He was a little bummed that his favourite track Sand Del Lee didn’t have an amateur portion at their two nationals, and that Dad sold his bike so quickly after Walton that he wasn’t able to compete in the SXTour Series, but all things considered, he had a great season. Like a lot of kids his age (just turned 13) he’s growing like a weed and when that happens your body becomes slightly off balance. We all recall that awkward stage in our lives and how challenging it was to still play sports through it all. Anyway, as I said he had a good season and he’s also thank-full that he was able to race in 2020. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this unforgettable race season happen!
Did anyone catch the final round of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships from Fox Raceway on Saturday? A lot was going on as both the 250 and 450 titles were decided and in sad news, the Geico Honda Team announced that they were shutting their doors effective today. This successful team has been around in some way shape or form from the Mike LaRocco days and it’s very concerning to them leave the sport. With their title sponsor Geico announcing a few months ago that they would not be renewing their deal moving forward, I suppose the writing was on the wall. But at the final round on Saturday they went out in style with not only their young superstar Jett Lawrence winning his first-ever pro national, but all three Geico Honda riders on the podium in the final 250 moto. When the day was over, both Dylan Ferrandis and Zach Osborne were crowned champions in this exciting 2020 series. This was both rider’s first-ever outdoor national championships!
Well, that is it for me this week. I hope you’ve all had a great weekend and as we prepare to move into the second half of October, I hope you have a safe rest of the week. As I mentioned earlier, the 2020 Future West AX Championships get underway this weekend in Chilliwack so we’ll be keeping an eye on that. I might be heading out there in early November to check one of the races. Also, this coming Saturday Gopher Dunes is hosting their annual Vet/ Vintage Race on their back practice track. If you’ve never seen the back track before at Gopher Dunes you’re missing out. The layout is fun and the dirt is made up of perfect sandy loam. It should be a fun day of racing and talking about racing in the paddock. Finally, I’m hosting a Female only riding school this Friday at my home track in Ontario. So if there are any female riders out there who want to do a riding school this week, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please have a great week and thank-you for reading!