Good day, and welcome to the opening Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop of 2021. Yes, it’s a brand new year and let’s all hope that it’s an improvement over what we all had to deal with in 2020. The beginning of a new year is always exciting, so let’s drop the gate and see what is in store for us motocross loving people.
Since we’re only a few days into 2021 and most people have been on holidays for the past few weeks, there really isn’t too much to talk about today. One person that hasn’t taken a break over Christmas and New Year’s is Jess Pettis. In talking to him just before Christmas he told us that he and his fellow Baker’s Factory riders planned on taking a few days over Christmas to relax and enjoy the festivities, and then it was back to work and back to the grind. Things are starting to fall into place for Pettis and his 2021 SX program as he now has his trusted friend and mechanic Matt Deroy with him in Florida. Matt arrived just before Christmas and since he brought his girlfriend and new baby with him from Quebec, he’s happy and he doesn’t have to worry about anything back home. All is good right now in the Pettis camp and with only 10 days remaining before they have to be in Houston for pre-race Covid testing, it’s almost race time.
I suppose the big question on everyone’s mind is how will Jess finish in the opening rounds of SX against top riders like Christian Craig, Austin Forkner, and Jett Lawrence (let’s assume those riders are all racing the East Series)? Well, I think he’s going far exceed our expectations, and here’s why. For the past two months, Jess has been training at the best training facility on the planet with some of the best SX riders in the sport. Since Day 1 at the Baker’s Factory, everything that Jess has done has been monitored and analyzed to ensure optimum performance. Aldon Baker has been at this for a long time and his program has had a proven success rate. For an athlete like Pettis, there has been no guesswork or wondering what to do next? Everything has been laid out and all he has to do is grit his teeth and do the work. Now, I don’t by any means want to make it sound like a paint by numbers project. As I said, Pettis still has had to do the work and the workload is enormous at the Baker’s Factory. Actually, regardless of how Pettis does this year in the SX series, he should be commended for even getting through the Baker’s Factory ‘Boot camp’ as not every rider can even handle the severity of it. The overall goal of a program like this is to make all of the training during the week more challenging than what the rider will experience on the weekend. Nothing has been left to chance and that is why a program like this can work so well for a rider like Pettis. A rider who is talented, hard-working, and just on the verge of greatness. As I hope you’ve all read in my weekly Jess Pettis Reports, Jess has really embraced this program and he’s seen a massive improvement in his speed and fitness since he arrived in Florida back in November.
In less than two weeks when Jess takes to the Houston track for his first practice session I guarantee that he’s going to feel different than he ever has in the past. The Houston track, as technical as it’s going to be, will seem almost routine for Pettis after two months of training on tracks that are much more difficult. If the Houston track is soft and rutted, no problem, two of the SX tracks at the Baker’s Factory were soft and rutted. If the Houston track has a deep whoop section, again, Pettis will be ready. Basically, no section on the Houston track will surprise Pettis on January 16th. Because of that preparation that Jess has been doing at the Baker’s Factory, his fitness will be good, his bike set-up will be spot on, and this will allow his confidence to be at the highest level possible. Also, and this is perhaps the most important aspect when it comes to how Pettis will finish in the opening rounds. Because of the motos and the training that Pettis has done at the Baker’s Factory with top riders like Jalek Swoll, Dean Wilson, Cooper Webb, and Marvin Musquin, Pettis will be as prepared as he possibly could be for the intensity of racing. Every rider out there knows how difficult it is to recreate the intensity of the race environment during the week when your practicing. Regardless of how hard we try we just can’t practice as hard during the week as we race on the weekend. However, with a plethora of top riders under his watch, Aldon Baker has successfully found a way to make their mid-week motos feel like Saturday night main events. Now, you can never recreate the nerves and feel of an actual race, but with the type of training that has gone on at the Baker’s Factory for the past two months, the opening round at Houston will hopefully feel like just another day at Baker’s Factory for Pettis. With his solid few months of training, his large amount and talent and determination, as well as his ability to get good starts when it matters most, this is why I believe that Pettis will exceed our expectations when the gate drops on the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series.
In other news, last week I finished up my 2020 Golden Elbow Awards with Dylan Wright being my choice for Rider of the Year. Also, on our Instagram page, I posted some of the best moments from 2020 and I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to post what I think was the most memorable. For me, Tanner Ward winning his first-ever pro-national at Walton Raceway was very special. Winning a pro-national is not an easy thing to do as I’m sure you can imagine, but once you win one, your name goes into the history books and will remain there forever. Tanner’s win was special in several ways as it wasn’t just his first national win, but it was also the fact of where he did it. Tanner has been racing at Walton Raceway since he was a child so to come full-circle and win as a pro rider was something I don’t think anyone will forget. Congratulations Tanner, I hope there are more national wins in your future
Well, that is it for me this week. Happy New Year! I trust everyone has enjoyed their first few days of 2021, hopefully, the remaining 361 days are just as good. Thanks for reading and if you live in Ontario, or plan on racing any AMO events this year, you can now go to www.amoracing.com and purchase a 2021 membership. Here’s to a great year everyone!