Yamaha Motor Canada Presents The Monday Gate Drop

Good day, and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. As predicted, the Star Racing Yamaha Team had a great weekend in Salt Lake City as they capped off their incredible 2021 Supercross season. Both Colt Nichols and Justin Cooper rode smart in the 250SX East/West Showdown main event to clinch their first-ever Supercross title. Congratulations to them, as well as their team and of course all members of the Blu Cru.

The final two rounds saw some great racing in Salt Lake City. Photo by Matt Wellumson

Well, it’s hard to believe that the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series came and went so quickly. It seems like last weekend that my family and I were gathered in front of our television with eager anticipation to watch the opening round in Houston. Almost four months later, the series headed to Salt Lake City to crowned all three of its prestigious championships. The 2021 SX Series provided us with everything and anything we could ever want from a 17 round series. There were numerous battles in all three classes, multiple main event winners, great tracks, happy fans, and for the most part all of the top riders remained healthy for the entire series. Of the riders who finished inside the Top 10 at the opening round in Houston, only Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Brayton, and Zach Osborne were missing on Saturday night in SLC. Also, everyone was treated to all three Championships coming down to the final main events of the series. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen but considering the hoops that Feld Entertainment had to jump through to pull this season off, it was only fitting that the final round was Championship night in beautiful Salt Lake City.

What a season for Cooper Webb and his team.

Overall, I think the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series was unique as well as entertaining. From the racing on the track to the ‘Residency’ races in Houston, Indianapolis, Dallas, and Atlanta, to the back and forth battles each weekend, each round presented us with numerous surprises. In the end, Cooper Webb, Colt Nichols, and Justin Cooper were crowned Champions on Saturday night and no one can say that all three didn’t earn every bit of their success. For Webb, this was his second 450SX title and like his 2019 championship, this one all came down to the final main event. However, unlike 2019, when Webb settled for a safe third place at the final round. On Saturday night, Webb charged to the front of the pack in the 450SX main event and never looked back. Whether you’re a fan of Webb or not, I think you have to admire his ability to block out the pressure as well as his desire to win races. When you compare Webb to past SX Champions in our sport I feel like he most resembles Ryan Villopoto and Ricky Carmichael. All three riders, regardless of their situations, showed up each weekend with the sole purpose of winning. I know, you could argue that every top rider feels the same way when they enter a race. However, there’s something different about Cooper Webb as he appears to hate losing as much as he loves winning. In the final main event of the year, he proved it once again by hunting down Ken Roczen and Chase Sexton to take yet another win. Not to harp too much on Roczen’s performance on Saturday, I mean the guy gave it everything he had in 2021 but still came up short on the 450SX title. I think overall Roczen was still better than he was last year, so one would assume that he’s still trending upwards and will be better next year. However, with that said, Roczen’s ‘everything’ isn’t quite what Webb’s is and that is what decided this championship. Plain and simple, Cooper Webb wanted it more!

Justin Cooper and his teammate Colt Nichols rode solid on Saturday night and took home their respective titles.

In the 250SX classes, how good was it to see Colt Nichols and Justin Cooper win their respective titles? Both have pretty cool stories when it comes to how they got to where they are now. Nichols took the proverbial hard and windy road to the top, while Cooper went against the grain and actually finished high school and attended college before turning pro. Both riders are great role models to our younger generation of riders with their work ethic and determination. Congratulations to both riders as well as the Star Racing Yamaha Team!

So while Nichols and Cooper raced for the points and the championship, Jett Lawrence decided to go out with a bang and took home the main event win at the final round. Lawrence admitted on the podium afterward that he was suffering from a bad cold and before the gate drop didn’t think he could win. However, once the adrenaline took over Lawrence rode as well as he has all season long to take the win. Behind Lawrence was a solid Colt Nichols, who as I said, was only thinking of the 250SX West title. And then in third place was Hunter Lawrence who rode well to get on the podium with his brother. Hunter is probably the biggest surprise of 2021 as he not only won a main event but also remained in title contention right down to the final round. To be completely honest I didn’t think Hunter could ride SX as well as he did this season. However, he did and I think he got better as the series went on. I will add though that I didn’t like Hunter ghosting his bike after this third place in the main event. I know it’s great entertainment and that he was overjoyed to be on the podium with his bro, but I feel like a move like that is disrespectful to his mechanic, his team, his sponsors, as well as the fans. I know we want these riders to show more raw emotion and we jump all over them when they don’t, but a move like that not only displays emotion but also an attitude that ‘I don’t give a crap about my bike or the parts on it’. I’m sure his Team Manager Eric Kehoe has something to say to him after the excitement of the evening had subsided. Kehoe most likely sounded like the Manager of the team in the baseball movie Major League when he told Willie Mays Hays after his basket catch, “That was really cool but don’t ever F’in do it again.” Or something to that effect. Anyway, let’s not dwell on the bad from Saturday night. It was a great ending to a wonderful series and I’m truly sad that it’s over. Especially when racing in this country appears to still be so far away!

Despite suffering from a bad cold, Jett Lawrence entertained the SLC crowd with a big win on Saturday night.

Well, that is it for me this week. I’m going to avoid talking about the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and when racing might begin or even when our public tracks will be allowed to open once again. It’s truly a sad situation and like everyone, I feel bad for the track owners as well as our sanctioning bodies who are more than ready to host riders and hold events safely. But at least we have hope that a race season is in our near future. I was speaking to a friend of mine over the weekend and his son plays summer lacrosse in Ontario. Sadly, they didn’t have a season last summer and it’s not looking good for this summer either. Imagine this for a second. I mean, I’m not a lacrosse fan but for some kids, this is the sport they love to play. We love motocross and these kids love lacrosse. But for the second year in a row, these kids are most likely going to be denied a sport to play, even though it’s been proven that games can still take place with the proper health protocols in place. It’s really sad to see both the collateral damage that this pandemic has caused and also how our Government officials have handled it.

Best wishes to Iron Mike Treadwell (pictured on left) as he recovers from a big crash on the weekend. Photo by James Lissimore

Finally, as you might have seen on Social Media our good buddy Mike Treadwell had a big crash on Saturday and according to reports, Iron Mike suffered a broken pelvis and other internal injuries. Mike is not just a motocross legend on the track but he’s a champion off of the track as well. Of all of the people, I’ve met in this sport Mike is one of the nicest and most genuine individuals at the track. He’s the type of rider that you have a knockdown drag out battle with for an entire moto and he would be the first to shake your hand after the race. His personality as well as his enthusiasm for riding is truly infectious and I wish him all the best in his recovery. I hope everyone has a great week and if you’re able to get out and ride, please have fun and ride safe. Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions please email me at chris@mxpmag.com