Yamaha Motor Canada Presents The Monday Gate Drop

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Good day, welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. The Monster Energy Star Racing Team continued their march towards the 2021 250SX East Championship on Saturday night as Christian Craig took home the main event win. It was Craig’s second win of the season and along with his teammate Colt Nichols, the two Blu Cru riders have won 5 of the 6 rounds so far this season.

Last week I spoke about our latest round of lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions and how they were affecting our youth. Well, today I’m happy to report that in most areas of Ontario (including mine) the kids are back in the classroom for in-person learning. They’re exactly where they should be with teachers doing what they do best….teaching our kids. My son thankfully did well with home learning and I have to admit that were days when he was able to finish all of his work before lunchtime. During these days it definitely made us aware of just how much time is wasted at school. However, when all is said and done I believe that kids need to be in school to learn the way they always have. Also, the social aspect of being in school is so important for the development and learning of life skills. Hopefully, all goes well and the kids can remain in school until the year is done in June.

After their intense battle during the 250SX East main event, Jett and Colt sat down for a post race chat. Photo by Matt Wellumson

So was everyone able to watch the Supercross on Saturday night? This was the third round in a row at Lucas Oil Stadium and honestly, I thought it was one of the best races of the three in Indy. In the now watered down 250SX East class, Christian Craig took advantage of his teammates opening lap crash and rode off with the win. This was Craig’s second win of the season and it moved him back to within six points of the series lead. Colt Nichols as I mentioned had a big crash while leading on the opening lap and had to fight back from dead last. Nichols put in a spirited charge and by the end of the main event, he found himself in third place and still the owner of the coveted red plate in the 250SX East class. During Nichols’ come from behind charge he and Jett Lawrence had a great battle as the two riders went back and forth for a few laps. At Round 5 on Tuesday I was a little miffed that Lawrence didn’t ride the main event due to a shoulder injury suffered in his heat race. At the time, Lawrence was only 13 points out of the championship battle so my thinking was why not at least start the main event and see what happens. In that 250SX East main event, the leaders lapped up to 5th place so I’m assuming that Lawrence could’ve easily finished inside the Top 5. But he didn’t race and many wondered how he would be feeling at Round 6. Well, I was pumped with his riding on Saturday night and I especially liked how he didn’t just roll over when Nichols came up to pass him. Instead, Lawrence put up one heck of a fight and if it wasn’t for some bad luck with lappers, Jett would’ve finished on the podium. Jett rode with a lot of heart on Saturday night and it was good to see from the 17-year-old phenom.

The city of Indianapolis was definitely good to Ken Roczen. Photo by Matt Wellumson

In the 450 class, Ken Roczen rode another great race to sweep all three main events in Indianapolis. Roczen is most certainly on a roll right now and even though he admittedly didn’t have his best race at Round 6, he was still able to win. Behind him was the hard-charging trio of Justin Barcia, Cooper Webb, and Eli Tomac. For most of the main event, the Top 4 were pretty close and at one point all of them had a shot at the win. Then, with just a few laps to go Barcia and Tomac were trying to lap Vince Friese and for whatever reason, he got in Barcia’s way and caused him to crash and in the process, Barcia also took out Tomac. This late race incident allowed Webb to move into second and Marvin Musquin to climb to third. As I said, it was an unfortunate incident and one that we’ve seen too many times so far in 2021. In this case, Friese was still racing hard as he was doing his best to hold onto 14th, but he could’ve slowed in the mechanic’s area and made it easier for Barcia and Tomac to get by. Friese has a long history of having a lack of situational awareness on the race track and this incident is another sad example of that. Don’t get me wrong, age affects every rider in one way or another. But when you have a rider like Friese, who has made a career out of making bad decisions on the track, at 30 years old his racecraft is deteriorating much more rapidly than most. Also, he’s a rider that has very little respect among his peers, and to me, that is the saddest part of all of this. The fact that he was involved in yet another incident on Saturday evening I’m sure came as no surprise to anyone in the paddock as he always seems to be in the middle of something. Since we’re seeing more and more incidents this year with lapped riders getting in the way perhaps the AMA should look at doing what Formula 1 does with backmarkers. In F1 if you get in the way of the leaders as they lap you then the officials look at the incident and in some cases that lapped rider receives a penalty. The Friese incident from Saturday night was a perfect example of when the AMA could’ve issued a penalty as not only did he take out two riders, but he also could’ve caused injuries to those riders. Hopefully, issues like this one are addressed as the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series approaches its halfway point with the next three rounds in sunny Florida.

Jess Pettis is once again on the mend after having knee surgery last week. Heal up Jess and we can’t wait to see you back on the track later this year. Photo by Matt Wellumson

In Canadian moto news, Jess Pettis confirmed on Social Media late last week that he had successful surgery on his injured knee. This was the second knee surgery for Pettis in the past 14 months so I’m sure what he’s feeling right now is all too familiar. With a recovery time of anywhere from three to five months, Pettis will no doubt be working extremely hard to try and get ready for the start of the 2021 MXTour Series in early July.

PerformX Training – Motocross & Downhill Mountain Bike Training – YouTube

Shawn Maffenbeier, who is back with the MX101 FXR Racing Yamaha Team for 2021 has been training hard with Todd Schumlick to make sure he’s ready for the season. Todd has been doing a few YouTube videos lately and here is a link to his most recent one featuring Maffenbeier. As I mentioned last week, it’s going to be tough for some of our pro riders to get down south to train as they normally do. Right now I could count with one hand the number of Canadian riders who are currently riding in the USA right now. Well, maybe I would need two hands if I counted the amateur riders as well. Getting across the border right now is a difficult task and I don’t see it getting any easier in the coming months. With this in mind, let’s all hope for an early spring this year.

WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED THOR JERSEY FROM PETTIS OR THOMPSON WITH PARTS CANADA & MXP MAGAZINE – Motocross Performance Magazine

Well, that is it for me this week. I hope everyone has a safe week and a Happy Valentine’s Day to all this coming weekend. Finally, be sure to check out our latest Thor/ Parts Canada Jersey Giveaway Contest where a lucky person can win either a signed Cole Thompson jersey or a signed Jess Pettis jersey. Autographed jerseys like this are extremely hard to come by so be sure to check this cool contest out. Thank you for reading this week and congratulations to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on their big Superbowl last night!