Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. This week we profile the new 2021 YZ250F. With numerous updates including a new cylinder head, a wider intake port, revised frame thickness, a new front brake caliper, and new graphics, the 2021 YZ250F will no doubt find its way to the front of the pack. If you want more information on his new bike please go and visit www.yamaha-motor.ca.
Without any racing going on in Canada right now, we turn our attention to the USA and the 2020 Thor Mini O’s down in Florida. This USA Thanksgiving classic event has been going on since I can remember and over the years it’s always been a great bookend to the long season. It takes place at the famous Gatorback Raceway in Gainesville and features both a Supercross portion as well as an Outdoor portion. Even with the USA/Canada border being closed to foot and vehicle traffic, there are still several Canadian riders down in Florida, including Ryder McNabb, Dylan Rempel, Nathan Snelgrove, Brennan Schofield, as well as Tristan Dares. Evan Stewart is also down south and was supposed to race at Gatorback but he, unfortunately, broke his wrist last week. It should be a great week of racing at this long-standing event and we’ll be keeping an eye on all of our riders.
Speaking of Evan Stewart, recently I was looking through the results from the 2020 Walton TransCan and it reminded me how well Evan Stewart rode. Whether it’s been because of mechanic issues, injuries, or just old fashion bad luck, Evan has had some struggles at the TransCan in recent years that have kept him from winning titles. However, after spending most of the winter and spring down in Florida training at the Moto Sandbox Facility, Evan entered the 2020 TransCan as the favourite to win both the 85cc 12-16 class as well as the Supermini class. With all of this pressure sitting squarely on the young Ontario riders shoulders, Evan rode brilliantly at the TransCan and took home both championships. It wasn’t easy as he had to battle fast riders like Dylan Rempel and Tanner Scott, but overall he was the fastest mini bike rider, even logging the fastest lap time of the week in his classes. Now, Evan has moved up to the 125cc class and will continue to train in Florida this winter. Keep an eye on this kid as he definitely has a bright future.
Last week, it was announced that Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is now hosting a round in the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series. This race will take place on February 6th and will be Round 6 of the 2021 series. If the land border and quarantine situation ease up in the new year I’m sure the Indy rounds will be well attended by Canadians. Especially if Jess Pettis is going to be racing the 250SX East class in 2021! There will be an official press release coming from KTM Canada this week, but Jess is currently down in Florida and training at the Baker’s Factory. From what I’ve heard KTM USA is pretty excited about this deal also as it now gives them another high-profile rider in the 250 class. Right now they only have the young unproven rookie Max Vohland racing SX on a 250. Once the PR comes out and we can officially talk about it I’ll reach out to Jess to find out exactly how this came about. But regardless of how it did, this is great news as it will be exciting to have a Canadian rider to cheer for in the 2021 SX Series. This training at the Baker’s Factory will also help Jess prepare for his rookie season in the 450 class in Canada next summer. It won’t be easy jumping into the 450 class, but it sounds as though Jess will be ready for the challenge.
In other news, as we all prepare to deal with another Government imposed lockdown, the MMIC released their sales numbers from October. As you can see in this photo motorcycles sales are still going strong as we head into winter. Will they continue at this pace in 2021? I’m guessing that we’ll see the sales drop a little in the coming months, especially if this lockdown continues into the Christmas season. We’re sure living in interesting times and we have been since March. This morning the city of Toronto and its surrounding regions have gone into their second lockdown. With the holidays fast approaching another lockdown obviously couldn’t have come at a worse time. It’s hard to say if this will work or not as the first one didn’t appear to pay off in the long run. This is a confusing virus and it’s only been made worse by our mainstream media and the incompetence from all levels of Government. I guess we’ll all just keep doing our part and hope that it all improves sooner than later.
Finally, before I leave you I want to mention a cool product test I’ve been doing during this past week. I was supposed to do this story during the summer but things got moved to a later date. To help prove that the new Honda Ridgeline pick-up would make a good moto truck, Honda Canada has loaned me a new Black Edition Ridgeline to drive for a week and take to the track. So far this truck has been great to drive and on Friday I drove it out to my track and see how it worked with loading up a bike and doing all the things that we normally do at the track. Look for a full test report next week right here on mxpmag.com. I hope everyone has a good week and Happy Thanksgiving to our friends to the south. Stay safe and healthy and thank you for reading!