2017 Women’s East MX Nationals Preview

By Jeff McConkey

Photos by Billy Rainford

After a very exciting and successful Women’s West National (not Pro) series, we can be even more excited for the start of the East series. Kennedy Lutz is arguably Canada’s fastest female racer. Kennedy hails from Saskatchewan but has chosen the East for 2017. Why the East? Well, Kennedy wants to race the best, and she feels that Eve Brodeur is the girl to beat.

Let’s face it, Eve has been very dominant over the last few seasons. Many challengers have come to take her thrown, but not one has succeeded.  Like I have said over and over, Eve doesn’t have one particular skill that stands out. The problem for Eve’s competition is that Eve does everything very very well. There aren’t many kinks in her armor. She is a very wise racer for her young age, and I think this new challenge will bring out the best in our young champion.

As for the rest of the field, we will have a good mix of veterans, along with the next batch of up-and-comers. Unfortunately in racing, “the real world” comes a lot sooner for females and we will be missing a few familiar faces as they step away to pursue other things.

This season, the East will be contested largely on sand-based tracks. You don’t like sand? Then the East is not for you. The “in thing” for the men to say on the West is that they can’t wait to head to the softer East tracks. Just like the men, many girls call themselves ‘sand riders’ and are looking forward to Gopher Dunes. Be careful what you wish for, Ladies.

Round 1 kicks off at Gopher Dunes this Saturday, and there won’t be any Instagram or Snapchat filters to save the weak. Let’s hope our top two contenders, Brodeur and Lutz, can stay healthy to make this an amazing series for all 4 rounds. I spoke with some of the contenders and this is what they had to say.

#1 Eve Brodeur

This year has been really busy so far for my dad and I. We made the trip to Florida in February and I trained at Club57 for a month-and-a-half, then it was the beginning of the WMX series in the US. So far, I raced at Daytona, Freestone, Pala, Vegas and Hangtown.

I also got to stay in California at the Grindstone compound for a total of a month and it was a great experience getting to ride on all the Pro days and practice on really rough and technical tracks.

I have been working really hard on and off the bike and developing a new lifestyle with healthy habits, which feels really good. My expectations for this year were to give the US WMX a real shot and really focus on that this year. So far it’s going great and I’m second in the championship, so it looks like I will be able to improve my number 6 from last year for 2018!

As far as Canada, I definitely want to win the championship again and with Kennedy Lutz as my competitor, it will definitely be an interesting year and my biggest challenge yet!

#2 Shannon Flemming

 Shannon couldn’t be reached by press time.

#3 Brittany Gagne

I have been spending a lot of time recovering from the knee reconstruction surgery I had this past fall. Although my knee is not 100%, the recovery has been going very well.

I had the opportunity to go down to Arizona for a few weeks and ride. I also did two rounds of the WMX series finishing 6th and 4th. I was really happy with that. Right now I am just focusing on getting back to where I was last year. I will be training with my brother Lane and my dad again, getting ready for the upcoming races. I am very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to be racing aside my brother (He is racing MX1) with Gagne Racing again this summer.

I am very excited to get back up to Canada and start racing the series. I am really bummed that Ulverton won’t be included in the series this year, that was one of my favorite tracks for sure!! I am excited to get on the gate and race with all the girls again.

I don’t really have any expectations this year; going into the series looking for good, consistent finishes at each round. Looking forward to participating in another great season with CDNWMX.

#4 Kim Normandin

In March I finished my school in accounting clerk and I’m now working on it. This year I will not race, I will just practice, because with my boyfriend we will build a house in autumn. I’m now in my adult life and I really enjoy this. I’m really happy with what I do in this sport and the result I got.

#5 Kassie Boone

Wont be racing the nationals in 2017. I’ll be sticking to the stunt riding for now. Possibly be spectator at Gopher cheering on the ladies!

#6 Madi Seguin

 Unfortunately, due to college and sports I will not be racing this year!

#7 Jacqueline Ross

Well, retirement in 2016 didn’t last long, perhaps I’ll refer to it as my season of rejuvenation. If anyone has learned anything about me within the past 9 years, one knows about my love for a two-stroke (the KTM150 in particular) and my integrity – neither will ever waiver. Needless to say, the unpleasant ‘gut’ feelings that came along with my decision to retire did not sit very well with me. Those feelings certainly, would not be cured with Probiotics or Tums. No pill or quick fix was going to help this, just a big heart and a lot of courage.

With that being said, I made my decision to swing my leg back over my bike and race once again. I’ve been taking up the gauntlet with 2017.  This has been one of the toughest years of my life. From learning how to cope with the loss of my grandfather in February. To follow that up, two weeks later at a local race I’m involved in a crash caused by another racer that leaves me with a broken nose and a messed up neck; it was brutal.  I was like a boxer, but not in the ring. Life was throwing the punches and I was getting hit pretty hard.

I started riding again at the end of April. Having a great day which ended with me on the ground, knocked out, and leaving me with three strained muscles on my scapula. As I type all of this out, it sounds like I probably should have my head examined. Perhaps a frontal lobotomy would do the trick?

After this shoulder of mine heals, I can’t wait to get back on the bike! I’m not rushing the healing process, I’ve actually been enjoying it. I’ve been growing through all of the pain and becoming a better person  throughout the process. I’m grateful.

At the end of the day, I just want to make myself proud and hope to have inspired a few humans along the way.

#8 Robin Hutchinson

It always seems like the series catches up to us so fast! I’m super pumped to have my number 8 plate this year, and definitely hope we can make some improvements.

During the off-season, we rode when we could – spending a few days down at County Line with Matt Crown, spinning a few laps on weekends and so on. I’ve recently become super interested in mountain biking, so I’ve been spending a lot of my time on the hills which is definitely a win-win!

I plan on racing all eastern rounds this year with the ultimate goal of bettering my number 8! Step one is definitely to keep it on two wheels, and most importantly have fun!

#9 Isabelle Thibault

This spring I went to practice in the United  States and I did some races in Quebec and I have good result. For the National I would like to make a top 3 and be as consistent as possible. And I must thank my new team for this season, PR-MX.

#10 Emile-Jade Leveilie

While off-season I rather try to do physical activities as much as possible because I not going in the south during the winter. Until now, my season start pretty well. I did some races in Quebec and I got the result I was hoping. I try to improve my endurance the better I can to be ready for the Dunes. This year, I want to stay in the top 10.

#31 Megan Brodeur

On my end, coming out of my snocross season, I took two weeks off and then got back training at the gym and started riding my dirt bike. At the same time, I am still at school so I have to study hard and get good grades.

The beginning of the season for me didn’t go as I planned. I had a concussion on the first race of the Challenge Quebec circuit at Deschambault. Because of that I had to take a break to recover so I kinda lost a bit of the past. It’s getting better now.

I am not going to the first Pro Women national at Gopher Dunes, but I will be at the next one, Notre-Dame du Bon Conseil for some good races.

#44 Kennedy Lutz

I’ve been at Real Deal MXTF since January, basically. I went home for a week in April but that was it. The training here is no joke, it’s a lot of hard work but it’s been so much fun. Our normal Monday to Friday routine starts with a warmup at 9, then riding from 10:30-2:00 roughly, a workout at 3:30 and then a road bike ride after that. At first it’s tough, but now it’s a routine that I enjoy, especially now that I see it paying off. I can last 20 minute motos now and I can battle with the B class guys.

I recently won a championship at Freestone which was pretty cool and now I’m doing Loretta Qualifiers before I head up for the Canadian Women’s Nationals! I plan on winning it this year!

#108 Liz Burke

This off-season started with a surgery to repair my shoulder after so many dislocations and was a 6-month recovery, which took a lot out of my off season training. After I was healed I was at the gym almost every day to get the strength back.

I ended up going to Florida and got to ride for a day and before starting our season went to Ontario for a week to ride a few different tracks where the women’s nationals are at.

The Atlantic region I race in started and it didn’t last too long before I crashed hard in the first MX2 Jr. qualifying moto which ended my day short.

I plan to ride as much as possible and attend all of the women’s nationals this year, hoping for an awesome season this year and top 5 finishes and no more injuries.

#138 Mariah Gauthier

I spent most of my off season from riding in school. This year is my final year of high school so I’ve been quite busy with that. I did manage to find some time to head south for a few weeks this winter. I spent about a month in Alabama training with Ryan Nolan for this upcoming season. This time was spent on & off the bike. The work we put in has definitely been paying off. I’ve attended only a couple of races so far this year, but we do plan to attend some more before the nationals begin.

I will be doing all four rounds again this summer. My goal for last summer was a top ten, at the third round in Deschambault I fell and dislocated my shoulder, this was a set back and sadly I never did attain my goal. Therefore, my goal for this summer will be a top ten overall finish. Overall I feel prepared for this season and I can’t wait for it to begin. I am so excited!

#184 Carrie Davis

I put in a lot of hard work this off-season and I’m feeling strong and fit heading into the series. However, because I’m working as a full-time RN now, all of my training has been in the gym and I haven’t had much seat time this year. Right now I’m just trying to work through arm pump and get comfortable on the bike again.

The plan for 2017 is to make it to all of the East Coast rounds and my goal is to be consistent and hopefully crack the top 10. Ultimately, I just want to have fun with it. I can’t wait for the series to start! There are a lot of fast girls and I’m excited to see where I stack up.

#196 Chloe Metcalfe

After the nationals were over last summer, I did some fall races like the Baja Brawl on Labour Day weekend. Shortly after that, I crashed practicing and broke and dislocated my ribs, which was a huge set back and actually took months to heal and maybe one of my most painful injuries.

Once I felt good enough to start riding again, I packed up my little Ford Ranger and headed to Florida for 2 weeks to race Mini O’s against the fastest ladies out there. I went into it with zero expectations so it was hard to be disappointed by my below average results (haha). It was such an amazing experience.

This winter I was awarded with a huge sponsorship from Starbucks Canada, which allowed me to spend several weeks training in North Carolina at Jimmy Weinert training facility in preparation for the Nationals.

This season is going to be a little different for me as I have a ton on my plate right now. I’m in my second semester of business marketing, working 3 jobs and living in the US working on my immigration to hopefully be a full resident of North Carolina in next couple months.

Unfortunately, with everything going on right now training hasn’t been my main priority. With only a month or so to go before Round 1 at gopher I’m hoping to get out to some sand tracks close by in NC and get some laps in.

I’m so excited to come back to Canada in a few weeks and race the nationals with my moto family. It’s always been my favourite time of year!

#732 Felicia Robichaud

My off-season was very similar to all of my previous off-seasons which meant back to school but I really focus on the gym and on what I was eating. I was doing really well, hoping to have good results by this time of the year. I also manage to go down to Florida twice during the winter and ride just enough so I remember how to use a clutch by the time the snow melted over here. (laughs)I definitely had high hopes for me this year as much on the mx side as in the woods.

I was planning on running the mx national and also the enduros in preparation for the ISDE in France at the end of the summer. Unfortunately, last week while practicing I broke my talus, my tibial plateau and tore partially my ACL which knocked me out of any possible championship running.

I will be back strong later this summer and hope to be able to attend a few races for fun.