Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. I hope everyone had a great Halloween weekend. Now we’re into November and one of the quietest months of the year, the days keep getting shorter and most regions in Canada will get reintroduced to snow in the next few weeks. To me, other than Remembrance Day on the 11th, November has always been 30 days that I just want to be over. Anyway, let’s get through this month and like I said, on November 11th please take moment and think about the men and women of our military, both past, and present.
Before I getting rolling here, I first want to congratulate Ryan and Randi Lockhart on the birth of their second son Bowen late last week. I’ve known Newf for over 20 years and it’s been great to watch him grow up and go from pro racer to an industry guy, to a husband, and now a father of two. It’s going to be a few months before I’ll be able to meet Bowen but I can’t wait.
Speaking of Ryan Lockhart, this coming weekend he and his Future West crew will be heading back to Chilliwack for Round’s 5 and 6 of the 2020 FW Arenacross Championships. The opening four rounds have been very entertaining and no doubt we’ll see much the same this coming weekend. Kyle Beaton, as always, will be constructing a new track for this weekend and yesterday it was announced that Colton Facciotti will be in Chilliwack this weekend and the 6-time Champion will be helping out with the riding schools. The weather also looks good for Southwestern BC this weekend so it should be another great two days of racing inside the Heritage Park Arena.
So let’s move from the present to the past and some of our past champions. Like everyone I’m sure, I grew up idolizing some of the past Ontario pro riders that used to show up at our local events and show us how all how to ride. Riders like Kevin Moore, Doug Hoover, and Glen Nicholson were just a few of the guys that I looked up to. Every time these riders lined up on the starting gate I was standing trackside watching their every move. When they weren’t on the track I would sometimes go over to their truck and talk to them. Even though I was just a young 80cc rider who was battling hard for Top 10 finishes, these top riders would always give me the time of day. How they treated me stuck with me years later as I began my pro racing career and when kids would come by my truck, I would always make time for them. As I mentioned, one of those riders was Glen Nicholson and on Saturday I had a chance to hang out with him, and also a few other top riders from the 1980s. Unfortunately, Doug Hoover wasn’t able to make it, but it was great to see old friends like Glen and also Steve Bulyovsky. I want to thank Lawrence Hacking for reaching out and inviting me to their little get-together. It was fun to hang out and bench race about old times.
I know we’ve done a few stories in this magazine on Steve Bulyovsky, but I’m not sure if you all realize what an incredible racing career he had. Back in 1983 and 1984, the 80cc class in Ontario was crazy fast and extremely intense. Names Marty Burr, Jeff Ruston, Todd Townend, Rick Tripodi, and Steve Bulyovsky were a few of the main players in this class during those years. These riders battled each other hard in every moto and in the process of doing that they made each other better. At the time Steve was the youngest of this group and as the rest moved onto bigger bikes, Steve remained in the 80cc class and began to dominate. In 1986, Steve travelled to BC and won the 80cc Canadian National Championship. A year later, Steve did the unthinkable by winning all three Junior class National Championships in Manitoba one weekend, and then all three Intermediate class titles the following weekend. You see in those days the 80cc and Junior class Nationals took place in one part of the country while the Intermediate class took place in a different province, usually on separate weekends. No one thought Steve could pull off winning the Junior class one weekend and then the Intermediate class the next. However, he did, and that allowed him to take a pretty good head of steam into his rookie pro season in 1988. Unfortunately, Steve’s first season as a pro rider didn’t go very well and he began to think about heading into a different direction with his life. I was good friends with Steve in those days and I remember him coming up to practice at my house near the end of the 1988 season. We started talking about racing and what the pro class was like, and then he told me as we sat on the tailgate of his new Toyota pick-up truck that he was pretty much over racing. I was blown away to hear him say that as he appeared to have the sport right where he wanted it. Oh sure he had a tough rookie season in the pro class, but no one could blame him for that. I assumed that he was going to regroup and then try and have a better season in 1989. But no, in his mind Steve was done and already thinking about going to University to begin his studies. At the time it was a huge blow for the sport as Steve Bulyovsky was on the fast track to being a multi-time pro national champion. It’s funny how things work out and the direction that life takes you in. Today, Steve is a family man, and for the past 25 years, he’s been just as successful in business as he was before that in racing. Anyway, it was good to catch up with Steve as well as a few other of our legendary Ontario riders. It’s been a while since I was the youngest rider in the room.
Well, that is it for me this week. As I mentioned at the beginning, I hope everyone had a fun Halloween and hopefully this first week of November goes well for all of you. In the USA, the new TLD/Red Bull/Gas Gas Team has been announced with Justin Barcia leading the way in the 450 class. In the 250 class, Pierce Brown and Michael Mosiman will make up the other two riders on the first-ever GasGas team in the USA. With the opening round of Supercross just over two months away, all of the teams, including the new GasGas team will be wide open as they prepare for 2021. Finally, with the weather improving in my area for this coming weekend, I will be conducting another all-female riding school this coming Friday. If anyone is interested you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great week and thank you for reading.