Canada AX Tour – Calgary Photo Report
By Billy Rainford
Last weekend saw the final two rounds of the Canadian National AX Tour presented by Royal Distributing. When this series was announced, we weren’t sure what to expect from an arenacross series that was going to hit three Canadian provinces in the fall months. As soon as the first gate dropped in London, we knew this was going to be good. The top three riders – Jacob Hayes, Cole Thompson, and Chris Blose – established themselves as the ones to beat and from then on we were all glued to the racing whenever they hit the track.
Calgary would be rounds 7 and 8 of an 8-round championship series and would not disappoint. Hayes led the Lites and the Open classes but was down by 1 point in the coveted Clash for Cash class (this class determines the national numbers for the following season). Cole Thompson was leading the Clash and Chris Blose was within striking distance in the Lites class. It was a promoter’s dream!
Also, Parts Canada was putting up a whopping $25000USD to any rider who could win 3 of the final 4 Clash races and win the AX Tour Triple Crown. Only Hayes was in the running for this bonus. He won both in Penticton and only needed one more in Calgary. He failed to get it done Friday when he went down in the first turn with his teammate, so it all came down to the final race of the final night.
Here’s a closer look at the racing from the Agrium on the Stampede Park grounds in downtown Calgary, Ablerta.
We flew into Calgary Thursday afternoon.
As soon as we saw the Agrium floor and track design, we knew we were in for our best layout yet.
The Monster VIP lounge was in full effect Saturday night at the Agrium.
Let’s see what happened when the gate dropped…
Amateur registration was up too. Everyone joked that they thought every 50 and 65cc bike in Alberta must have been in Calgary over the weekend.
These two were this close every lap every time they hit the track.
It was fun to watch.
#424 Austin Watling and #184 Tanner Ward rekindled their rivalry in the Junior and Schoolboy classes.
They traveled with the Jetwerx crew and were able to race every round by working for the series.
Unfortunately, Watling fell and gave himself some serious ‘skier’s thumb’ and was forced to sit out.
This left Tanner to race alone out front. He found some competition in #114 Royan but then decided to sit out Saturday night’s racing.
#46 Tyler Gibbs was the class of the Supermini and 85cc classes. He was even jumping the massive Monster Energy finish line catapult double when he felt like it.
#200 Christiensen was the only rider to challenge Gibbs but this fall in the Race Tech Rockers left Gibbs unchallenged.
#19 Jessica ‘Longname’ dominated the Parts Canada Women’s All Star class until Saturday night’s main event where she just couldn’t keep it on two wheels. She was the only female rider to jump the finish line.
#101 Michael King is also part of the crew and was the fastest Intermediate rider. He could have done pretty well in the Pro Am class I think.
We saw lots of new riders line up for the Pro classes in Calgary. #92 is Jesse Bury whose best finish was a 7th in Friday’s Clash for Cash.
#207 Graham Klassen gave it the old college try, but we didn’t see him in any of the main events.
Intermediate rider, #322 Zach Roth, raced Pro Am Lites and finished 11th Friday and then a solid 6th in the final round on Saturday.
#94 Chris Colenut raced to 9th place in Lites on Friday night.
#150 Mat Scott had a solid Lites Main Saturday and took 7th.
On Saturady, #202 Blake Osatchuk took a scary fall after the finish line jump but would get up and walk away. Friday went better and his best main was a 7th in Lites.
#392 is Cody Littau. He finished an impressive 7th in Friday’s Pro Open class.
#237 Bryce Friess got his feet wet in arenacross in Calgary. He took 12th in Friday’s Pro Open main.
#118 Boston Calder left with a solid 6th in the final Clash race of the series. Oh, and I’m sorry for saying your name sounds like something you’d order in a nice seafood restaurant…
#177 Josh Nay finished 10th in Friday’s Pro Open main.
There were two riders with #613 that had me confused all weekend. This one ISN’T Kyle Skelton, I don’t think…
#819 Todd Sewell was in all 6 main events. His grabbed 6th in the Lites and Pro Open Friday night.
#90 Jared Stock raced this weekend. We joked that he brought his ISDE Enduro style to arenacross as you can see here when he stood through this entire corner.
He did well and ran 2nd in one main for a while and then found himself with the lead for a split second as Hayes and Thompson played cat and mouse on the first lap.
#55 Keylan Meston improved every time he was on the track in the western rounds.
He and #51 Brock Leitner were the two to watch behind the top 3 riders every race. Keylan finished 4th in all 6 main events.
Meston, Stock, and Leitner found themselves together often on the track.
When Chris Blose had front brake trouble in Saturdays Pro Open main, #51 Leitner snagged his first-ever Pro podium with a 3rd.
Chris Blose came to Canada to win a title but came up just short. He was always right there to capitalize on a mistake from the other two top riders. He was 3rd in 5 of the 6 mains but his brake problems gave him a DNF in Saturday night’s Lites main.
#148 Royal Distributing Fox KTM rider Cole Thompson found himself finishing just behind #100 Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki’s #100 Jacob Hayes.
Cole won the final Lites main after battling with Hayes. He won both Lites mains, Friday’s Clash and finished 2nd to Hayes in the rest. Cole will be #2 in 2016.
Jacob Hayes didn’t win every battle but he won the war. Jacob needed the final Clash win to take that title and the $25000USD AX Tour Triple Crown presented by Parts Canada. He didn’t get it done Friday but managed to do it in the final race of the series.
Jacob will be #1 in 2016 (shown here with his mechanic, Luc Caouette). We will also see a lot more of him this summer when he competes in our MX2 class for the same team. Congratulations to Jacob and the entire Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki team. It was an exciting series!
And by the time I’d finished interviewing riders and was ready to leave the building, the Jetwerx crew was already getting the place torn down and ready to move south for the start of the AX Tour in Bowling Green, KY, November 21st. Thanks for the opportunity to be involved in the production of the Valvoline AX Tour LIVE broadcasts. It was a blast!
Behind the scenes MVP honours go to Steve Anderson for his logistical input. Thanks for everything, Steve. See you at the races…
(unofficial after 8 of 8 rounds)
1. 100 Jacob Hayes KAW 179
2. 101 Chris Blose KAW 151
3. 148 Cole Thompson KTM 129
4. 20 Dylan Wright YAM 73
5. 55 Keylan Meston KAW 66
6. 373 Jacob Williamson KAW 61
7. 65 Scott Champion KAW 60
8. 727 Dave Blanchet KAW 56
9. 10 Nathan Bles KTM 52
10. 34 Westen Wrozyna HON 51
1. 100 Jacob Hayes KAW 180
2. 148 Cole Thompson KTM 173
3. 101 Chris Blose KAW 166
4. 373 Jacob Williamson KAW 68
5. 55 Keylan Meston YAM 66
6. 51 Brock Leitner KAW 59
7. 65 Scott Champion KAW 56
8. 34 Westen Wrozyna HON 51
9. 20 Dylan Wright YAM 48
10. 7 Bobby Kiniry YAM 47
10. 727 Dave Blanchet KAW 47
Clash for Cash
1. 148 Cole Thompson KTM 186
2. 100 Jacob Hayes KAW 188
3. 101 Chris Blose KAW 160
4. 55 Keylan Meston YAM 65
5. 51 Brock Leitner KAW 61
6. 34 Westen Wrozyna HON 58
7. 727 Dave Blanchet KAW 53
8. 20 Dylan Wright YAM 53
9. 373 Jacob Williamson KAW 50
10. 10 Nathan Bles KTM 50