Yamaha Motor Canada Presents The Monday Gate Drop


Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. I hope everyone had a good week and I hope you took a few moments on Remembrance Day to pause and honour the men and women of our military. We most certainly wouldn’t be able to enjoy the freedom we have today without the daily sacrifice of our cherished soldiers. November 11th is without a doubt one of the most special days of the year!

Due to the latest rise in Covid-19 cases, the final two rounds of the 2020 Future West AX Championships had to be postponed until next year. Photo by James Lissimore

Well, speaking of our freedom. Let me begin this week with the current situation in our country and what is, after eight long months still controlling how we live our daily lives. As we all know, in recent weeks we’ve once again witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases and our local health experts and governments are once again getting concerned. So concerned that they’re now threatening us with tighter restrictions as well as another possible lockdown. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take this increase in cases serious, but I don’t think anyone (except for paid civil servants) can handle another lockdown. As much as our physical health is important, so is our mental health. The mental cost of what has been happening since March has been so great, and still, every time we turn on the news it’s the first story we see. Let’s keep taking care of our most vulnerable citizens, wearing masks, social distancing when we can, but let’s stay positive and give hope to those who need it most.

The reason I bring this subject up is because unfortunately, the final two rounds of the 2020 Future West AX Championships this past weekend had to be postponed until next year. As I said, with Covid-19 cases on the rises right across the country, including in the Chilliwack area, as of Monday the Fraser Valley Health Unit recommended that all large gatherings be postponed or cancelled. To get some clarification on what exactly happened I reached out to Future West Race Director Ryan Lockhart. Here is what Newf had to say.

Future West Race Director Ryan Lockhart was not happy that they had to postpone the final two rounds of the Series, but he knows in todays world it had to be done. Photo by James Lissimore

“It basically started last weekend when the new Fraser Valley Health recommendations were announced. We wanted to be pro-active so I tried to reach out to our contact person at Fraser Valley Health both by phone and by email. Of course, no one got back to me, and to be honest, as of right now no one has ever gotten back to me. Anyway, I feel like we’ve been doing a great job and following all of the health restrictions and our events have been running smoothly. As far as I know, there haven’t been any issues, so I thought we would be okay for the final two rounds. Anyway, on Wednesday the Heritage Park Arena received a call from someone at Fraser Valley Health saying that it might not be a good idea to hold our event with the new restrictions that we announced. Unfortunately, that was the nail in the coffin and we had to cancel. It’s too bad because everything was running smoothly and it would’ve been great to get the final two rounds in. We also found out that someone who was at the previous round phoned in a complaint to the Fraser Valley Health board so I think that got them looking more at our event. It’s a similar situation to what AMO had to deal with in Ontario this summer, people from within the event complaining about something at the event. This is the part I don’t understand. If you have an issue, come directly to us and we can try and rectify your concerns. Anyway, it’s done now, and obviously, since we want to hold more races in the new year we would like to stay in the good books with our local and provincial health officials.”

As you can imagine Ryan and his Future West crew are extremely frustrated with this sudden turn of events. However, he does know that this is the reality we’re currently living with. In other sad news, late last week it was announced in the USA that the JGRMX Team has closed their doors and will no longer be fielding a team for motocross or supercross. This North Carolina based team has been around for 13 years and at one time has had top riders like James Stewart and Chad Reed under its tent. Most recently the JGRMX team was Suzuki mounted and in the past few years that have carried the yellow flag very well. Unfortunately, they’ve had difficulty finding a title sponsor and after a challenging 2020 season, they decided to call it quits. This is not good news for the sport as this high profile race team now joins Geico Honda, as well as the OTSFF Yamaha here in Canada as teams that will not be in the paddock in 2021. We all hate to see this sport contract as growth is always the measure for success. I know that mainstream stick and ball leagues have revenue sharing among their teams, but imagine if one of those sports just lost three of their large teams in the span of a few months. However, like the Geico Team and the OTSFF Team, the JGRMX Team had a great run and they leave behind a lasting legacy in our sport. Two years ago I had the privilege of getting a full tour of both the JGRMX HQ as well as the massive Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR HQ. The tour took over four hours and it was so cool to see everything they do in-house. From the fabricating division to the gym, Joe Gibbs and his family believed in keeping everything under one roof. Above are a few photos from my visit to Joe Gibbs Racing back in December of 2018. 

Moving on to a completely different subject. Did anyone watch The Master’s Golf Tournament yesterday? With the weather being really bad where I live, there wasn’t anything to do except watch television. Anyway, by now I’m sure most of you have heard that Dustin Johnson won with the incredible score of -20, taking the ‘Green Jacket’ from the defending champion Tiger Woods. If you recall, last year Woods completed one of the greatest comebacks in sports by winning The Masters, his first major championship win since 2008. At 44 years old (soon to be 45) Woods has had multiple surgeries, including knee reconstruction and back fusion. As fit as he is and hard as he trains, his body, like most athletes his age is in a state of disrepair, and these days just getting himself ready for tournaments is a struggle. Basically, for every hour he spends on the golf course, he spends at least double that preparing his body and mind to play. Well, yesterday on the Par 3 12th hole, Woods misjudged the swirling wind and ended up putting three balls into the water hazard that sits just in front of the green. He ended up shooting a ten on the hole and incredibly the CBS stat machine quickly spit out that was Tiger’s first-ever double-digit hole score since he turned pro in 1997. The point of my story and how it can be related to our sport, or any sport for that matter, is that while shooting a ten on that hole certainly put Woods out of contention for the tournament win, what he did in the remaining six holes was simply amazing. With the tournament out of reach and the embarrassment of having lost three balls on one hole, Woods went on to birdie five of his next six holes to finish up with a respectable -1 score. Woods rebounded to finish strong not because he had to or because he needed to, he did it out of pride and simply because as an athlete that is what you’re supposed to do. This is how we all should be when the gate drops. Regardless of what happens during the race, we should try and do the best we can until the checkered flag is waved. Over the years, Tiger has been the poster child for mental fortitude and he once again demonstrated that yesterday and set an example for us all.

Anyway, that is it for me this week. I hope this finds everyone healthy and happy as we enter the final few weeks of November. As you might have seen on Social Media this weekend, our favourite half Canadian Dean Wilson married his longtime girlfriend Sarah Vanicek on Saturday in California. By all accounts, it was a beautiful ceremony and if you want to see a short recap of their special day, check out Dean’s Instagram (@deanwilson15). Have a great day and thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments please email me at chris@mxpmag.com.