Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. I hope everyone enjoys this final week of February as we all get ready for spring. Soon it will be riding season and in my opinion it couldn’t come soon enough. Down south, Yamaha continued their winning ways in the Monster Energy Supercross Series as Justin Cooper to the opening main event win in the 2021 250SX West Series. The next event in the Series is the famous Daytona SX on March 6th.
So, did everyone enjoy the Orlando SX on Saturday night? I thought it was a decent night of racing, although the 250SX West class didn’t get off to a great start as a few top riders went down on the opening lap. What were the odds of both Martin Brothers crashing and hurting themselves on the opening? Especially so much hype was made of them racing in the same SX Series for the first time in a while. From what I’m hearing, both will be okay and should be on the starting line in Daytona. Jeremy Martin suffered a dislocated shoulder and Alex Martin hit his head pretty hard and suffered a concussion, but both should also be okay. After these two crashes the 250SX West riders were forced to restart their main event and Star Racing Yamaha rider Justin Cooper rode off to what appeared to be an easy win. I’m a big fan of Justin Cooper’s riding and I have been since the first time I saw him ride at the Baja Brawl in 2016. In fact, I was so impressed with his riding that day in Michigan that I called Andy White and Kevin Tyler and suggested they should sign him for the 2017 National Series. As I recall, both spoke to Justin about coming to Canada for 2017 but he wanted to stay in the USA, ride out his final year as an amateur and go that route. I would say he made the right decision as since he turned pro in 2018 he’s been a consistent podium guy in the 250 class, both in SX and in MX. With some wins and a couple years of pro racing under his belt, the time is right for Cooper to win his first ever pro championship. It’s a long series but Saturday night in Orlando was most certainly a good beginning for the Yamaha rider. I think overall the 250SX West class is going to be exciting to watch as there a plethora and fast and aggressive rookies in this series. As the saying goes, these kids are most likely going to be either ‘checkers or wreckers’ as they learn the ins and outs of racing Supercross. I cannot wait to see what happens in Daytona in 12 days.
In the 450 class, their main event showed everyone watching at just how treacherous the Orlando 2 track was. Anyone who has been Florida to ride knows that the clay there is different than it is anywhere else on the planet. Since most of the State is sand whenever to find clay it always grainy and slippery. At the first Orlando round we didn’t see the track break down as much because of the rain and the extra moisture in the soil. But last night was a different story and by the 450SX main event the track was very unforgiving. I feel like the track on Saturday evening would’ve been a good one to walk after the 450SX main event as it most likely blow our minds at how bad it was. The whoops looked god awful, the faces of the jumps in the rhythm section after the mechanics area were chewed up, and the ruts in some of the corners were anything but smooth. Florida clay is a different type of soil to ride on and I’m sure the riders are excited that the two Orlando rounds are over.
After 8 rounds the 450SX class is still proving to be one of the deepest we’ve ever seen and I don’t think I’ve seen a season where a good start is an absolute must. On Saturday night, Roczen, who so far in the series has been nailing his main event starts, he admittedly got sucked into picking the wrong gate and that small mistake was it took to throw off his start. Roczen said on Social Media that when he picked his gate for the main event the 250SX West main event was still going and the Tuff blocks were still set-up in front of the gate for the mechanics area. When the 250SX West main event ended and the track crew removed the Tuff Blocks, under the one that was in front of Roczen’s gate there was a big hole. At that point there was nothing Roczen could do and during his start the moment he hit that hole his bike popped up. If you watched the replay of the 450SX main event start you can easily see what happen to Roczen. Anyway, the result was a bad start for Kenny and although he did a great job charging back to 4th, Webb took his second win in a row and now is within six points of Roczen. As it most in most years, the upcoming Daytona SX is going to be a pivitol of the SX Series. It appears that after such a strong start to the 2021 Series all of the pressure is now on Roczen to respond and stop the roll that Webb is on. Round 9 will be an exciting on as Eli Tomac is always good in Daytona, Jason Anderson appears to be building momentum, and Chase Sexton will be back and from what he said on Saturday during an interview, he will 100% and ready to challenge for wins. No championship comes without a little adversity and right now Roczen is facing just a little as he battles for his first-ever SX title. Well, maybe it’s not quite adversity, but it’s certainly a shift in the momentum of this highly competitive 450SX Series.
As I mentioned above, on the opening lap of the 250SX West main event, both Martin Brothers crashed and were forced to DNF. Jeremy Martin crashed coming out of the first turn and got driven into ground as someone landed on him from behind. His brother Alex crashed hard two turns later after the first triple jump. The camera’s never did show Alex’s crash so I can only speculate how or why he went down. Whatever happened, he must of hit hard and you could tell by the look on his face that he wasn’t sure if he was in Orlando or back home in Millville. As the 250SX West completed their first lap and came around to where Alex was still laying, yelllow flags, red cross flags, and even a red flag were waving and telling the riders that there was going to be a restart. Now, I’m sure what flags were waving in the area where Alex was down, or what Cameron McAdoo saw, but there’s no excuse for him not only hitting an Alpinestar Medical Worker, but also hitting the rider who was down, in this case Alex Martin. Between the two lapped rider incidents that happened in Houston and again in Indianapolis, and now this, what the hell is going on in Supercross? As I said, I’m not sure if this most recent incident was all McAdoo’s fault, but as a rider you have to be aware of what is going on around you, or in this case in front of you. I cannot think of too many excuses for hitting a paramedic and running over the rider who is being attended to at the time.
With all of the avoidable incidents that we’ve seen in 2021, is it not time for SX to get on par with other professional sports and let the riders run some sort of communication devices? Not only would they help in these type of situations (“Hey Dean Wilson, Roczen is lapping you.” or “Hey Cameron, rider is down in the corner after the triple and red flag is out.”), but I also think that it would add to the value of the television broadcast if they had the option of playing back some of the in race communication between say Roczen and his mechanic. Like I said, they do it in other high intensity sports like Formula 1 so why can’t they try in Supercross. There was talk of Feld allowing limited communication between the riders and teams during the races last year but for reason the idea never came to fruition. I don’t know what the solution is, maybe they just need better flagging in all areas? Whatever the sport of SX needs to do to fix these issues they need to do something fast as we’ve witnessed too many seemingly avoidable incidents in 2021. In sport and in life, anytime you allow things like this to fester they just keep compounding until something big happens, and we most certainly don’t want that in our sport.
Moving on from Supercross to the 2021 Triple Crown Series schedule that was finally released last week. Like last year, this schedule might change a few times before the get actually drops in June or July and I think we can all accept that notion with what is still going on in our World. But for now, it stands that the 2021 Triple Crown Series will begin in Alberta on June 19. From there, the Series will move to Manitoba and then to the traditional Eastern rounds in Walton, Gopher Dunes, Sand Del Lee, Deschambault, and Riverglade. The opening two rounds in the West will be double-headers with two motos on Saturday and then two more on Sunday. This has never been done before in Canada or really anywhere that I can think of so it will definitely be a challenge for the riders as well as the teams. Last year they got their feet wet with three motos over two days but four motos in a weekend is unchattered territory for a National Series. The closet thing that I can recall is back in 1994 when the new CMRC Series travelled to Walton Raceway for it’s final round. That year the pro class was part of the TransCan week so I remember racing two motos on Friday, two on Saturday, and then four on Sunday. It was a lot of riding and one of the days was in the Walton mud so that made things even more challenging. Anyway, the Jetwerx crew have been good at trying new things and thinking outside of the box. With Covid-19 still a part of our lives that is what’s needed right now. I’ve heard that the Series is considering shortening the motos at the opening two rounds to accommodate the two full days of racing, but I’m not sure if the riders will go for that. These guys train hard and pride themselves on being able to pound out multiple 30 minute motos each days. We’ll see what happens with the schedule as well as the race format in the coming months? For now, the Triple Crown Series Schedule is out and that is what’s important now. As you can imagine, despite bike sales being through the roof for the past 10 months, marketing budgets have been slashed and everyone from the riders, teams, tracks, media, as well as the Series are working with less money this year. However, like always, all of our racing regions right across Canada are doing their best to makes things happen in 2021. This Triple Crown Series Schedule is a reflection of that and I hope it goes as planned all summer long.
Well, that it is for me this week. I hope everyone enjoys their final week of February and let’s hope that when this month comes to an end, so does winter! I’m over it and I think everyone who is reading this is over as well. So please stay safe and thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, as many of you know, a group of us are doing the #roadtowalton fitness challenge and have been for the past five weeks. Anyway, here is a link to the latest fitness blogs from a few members of this group. #RoadtoWalton Week Five – This is real. #Roadtowalton (waltontranscan.ca)