Faces at the Races|Gopher Dunes National Round #5
By Billy Rainford
Photos by Tyler Spikman, Jeff McConkey, and Bigwave
Round 5 of the Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals took place at the famed sand track called Gopher Dunes in Courtland, Ontario, just 50 minutes from London. If you’re wondering what noise a gopher makes, it’s not the dubbed dolphin sound from Caddyshack, it’s more of a collective inhale to searing lungs followed by a quivering exhale that never quite seems to do the job.
Gopher Dunes is the track riders either fear like death or look forward to like a kid at Christmas – there’s really no middle ground on this one. No rider has no opinion on this round; you either love it or hate it.
Now let’s have a look at the riders who make this one a perfect example of what makes motocross the toughest sport on the planet in this week’s ‘Faces at the Races’ column.
After a long winter of training and racing, it was game-face time for Eve Brodeur at round 1. She won both motos…
Co-organizer, Leah Clarke, did a great job again this season. On to Ulverton!
Hey, look, it’s Brett Lee chatting with Jason Hughes. Bet it has something to do with their big money race in August. You should go.
Tyler Spikman ‘in the office’ at Gopher Dunes. Thanks for all the great shots, Tyler.
Pre-moto Kassie Boone.
#196 Chloe Metalfe had Nicky Beatty helping her out this weekend. He gave her some holeshot advice (good source) and she came out 3rd in the first moto.
Who doesn’t smile on race day?!
Chloe sans Nicky.
He came up and was talking to me and it took a few seconds before I even realized it was Nicky! Welcome back to the races.
Talk about a great game-face! Kim Normandin has it dialed.
On the other hand, five fingers and a thumb. No, no…but Shawn Maffenebeier likes to keep things lighter with Robin Hutcheson.
Getting the gate prepped.
Dawn McClintock was back in action this weekend. And I’m sure she meant this in the kindest way.
Getting Madison Seguin ready to go.
#31 Megan Brodeur takes her place.
Hey, lighten up, Rosses, you’re stressing me out!
Josh Snider with the 30-second board duties.
J-Ro at the podium.
#192 Isabelle Thibault is someone you just want to hang out with!
The Medaglias heading to work.
There are a lot of new parents at the races these days, and Steve Simms is one of them.
JC Bujold held a vote to see if he should race the black or red Honda. I’m not sure which one actually got more votes, but they went with the red plastic, forcing Eric to stay up late changing it out.
This looks like a stock photo a company would use for an ad of some sort, no? I love it!
The swag table for the Womens racers.
Brittany Gagne spends some time at the gym…
Duncan MacLeod is down with a bum collarbone.
Chris Barrett hoping there is a duck caller on the swag table for Dana Barrett to grab for him.
Sylvain Brodeur and Leah at the end of long day.
Mariah Gauthier went with the free tire.
Jeff getting a post-race interview with Megan Brodeur.
Cheers, Sylvain, you deserve it.
Er ma Gerd, the races were so awesome today!
There was no Vince Friese at the races last week. What are the odds we see him again this summer?
KTM Canada hooked Head Referee Paul Kingsley up with this sweet FreeRide.
Derek Schuster is another of the new dads.
Soon enough, Derek, soon enough…
The GDR Honda’s were pieces of art this weekend.
Connecticut’s #111 Lawrence Fortin III. Oh ya, Larry? You should hear what MY full name is!
#527 Jake Tricco is back after his wrist injury and is going to be tough to beat for the KTM East Supermini Challenge.
Ho hum, just another day of winning…
The Rockstar Gals.
The only person happier Jeremy was at the races than Jeremy, himself, was Adam Turner.
Cole Thompson gets a hug from Steph LeBlanc.
Drew Roberts grabs a Royal Distributing Holeshot Award.
This must have been early in the day because I don’t see footpeg scrape marks.
Was Davi Millsaps feeling it? You tell me.
Dylan Wright and Maff recovering. It looks like Maff got there first this moto.
MX2 Podium: Cole Thompson (1-1), Dylan Wright (3-3), Dakota Alix (2-4).
That’s the Mike Alessi we’ve all been waiting to see. He’s 3 for 3 heading into Ulverton.
Matt Goerke after a tough moto.
Donk celebrates the second moto win with Brett Metcalfe.
Seriously though, have you ever hurt ribs? How on earth can you race Gopher Dunes like that?! ‘Vitamin I,’ and lots of it, I assume.
JSR and Dakota.
Cale Foster getting Dylan’s bike ready.
You have to pet and speak to them just right.
Look at that thing! (Not the scrape)
Checking out some racing.
The Utah/Idaho connection.
Hey, have you guys seen a 1989 Buick Electra Estate Wagon named Carmen? Uh oh, who’s going to break it to Darren Pilling?
#42 JC and Eric Bujold.
Drew about to head out and grab a pretty major holeshot.
#34 Westen Wrozyna has to choose between the rest of the Nationals or Loretta Lynn’s. What would you choose?
CT at the line.
Robbie Feder and the Kawasaki gang really took care of Westen going into this weekend!
Braydon McNeil has a feeling it’s going to be a good season for KTM Canada.
I heard a rumour Liam O’Farrell doesn’t even own a dirt bike right now! He said he may be back in 2017.
And to think, some people don’t even spray their bikes down between motos!
Are Jack and Meg White exes or brother and sister???
Nope, Brads not even embarrassed using some feminine products.
#52 Vincent Lauzon was one of the many new riders joining the series this week.
Hey, I didn’t even SEE Kevin Urquhart on the weekend.
Getting Davin Grose ready for his motos.
Kevin Tyler looking like he has somewhere to be.
I still laugh every time I see Guillaume St Cyr’s name. Jeff thought it was ‘Gullimer.’
Not a great track onto head in with a sore wrist.
Taylor Arsenault prepping his gate.
John John Pauk showed up at Gopher Dunes and plans to race the rest of the series.
Mitch Goheen gets serious for a minute.
Wayne Carroll is new co-owner of the track as Frank Schuster enjoys his ‘retirement.’
You be sure to let us know if you hear a helicopter approaching, Derek Medaglia. (Mash/Radar reference. Google it, Bowker!)
Cole getting his TV interview.
Drew accepting his Royal Distributing Holeshot Award.
That’s about as serious as I’ve ever seen Tyler look.
“Hey, remember that time we were racing in Texas and…”
Well well well, look who finally got some graphics!
Nate about to watch Eric Jeffery run near the front in the first moto.
Tyler Rayner helped out his buddy, #85 Derek Ouimet, last weekend.
WHat do you do when you’re not at the races? This guy actually goes out and fights crime! That’s right, this is Batman.
“Was that the Bat signal” Does he also have Spidey Sense?
“Oh man, why did I pic THIS race to show up at??!!”
“Because we’re all crazy!”
Royal Distributing Triple Crown winner, Mike Alessi. That’s $1200.
A tired but content Matt Goerke.
#3 Brett Metcalfe took the 2nd moto win.
MX1 Podium: Matt Goerke (1-3), Brett Metcalfe (4-1), Davi Millsaps (3-2).
For those times when you aren’t concerned with making an art project, but just want to make sure everything is in focus.
If the Sears catalog still exists, this should be in there.
Logan Karnow made the trip to Gopher Dunes.
“Hey, dad, can you help me with my fade?” Remember, I can make hair jokes…because I have none!
Team Redemption racing.
Matt Klann #165 made the trip north.
Ron Cameron deserves better than this out of focus shot, but it’s the best of the 3 we took!
Watch for Vermont…ian Dakota Alix to be in the mix at whichever rounds he comes to this summer.
#3 Brett Metcalfe getting ready to have a good day.
Wow, another Steve Simms shot.
Mike Alessi checking out the riders meeting. Mark Worth is sitting beside him but looked to be sleeping, so I cropped him out.
Dylan Wright with Jeremy Medaglia and his ritual bowl of oatmeal.
It’s early, Doug Pettis. That had better be coffee!
John John Pauk says hi.
My name is Moto and I look like I’ll bite you but I won’t.
BC’s Dylan Delaplace.
Yes, you in the back, how many motos are you racing today?
Cade Clason trying to be serious…or is he trying to NOT be serious?
That’s Taylor ‘The Captain’ Arsenault.
Tyler Spikman was in charge of action shots for DMX on the weekend.
It was great to see Jay Burke back on the track.
Guillaume is a big Reggie Miller fan…or is it Bjorn Nitmo?
We had some website issues and that’s why you haven’t seen any Race Report yet.
Maybe the least gangster, gangster pose photo I’ve ever seen.
Shawn Maffenbeier was just here at HQ and even he had nothing for this caption!
Red Cross flag instruction from Daryl Murphy.
No, Graeme Brough isn’t after James Lissimore’s job. He’s recording his bikes to study the suspension.
Dan Robinson keeping an eye on #27, who got an impressive 9th overall.
I kinda caught this sequence. Let’s just say it could have been worse.
Mitch McColl with a face full of Gopher Dunes sand.
Cruisin’ the pits.
Hey, play that song where you say, “I’m goin’ to Wichita!”
Hey, what’s everyone doing back there?!
Unfortunately, Davey Fraser’s bike blew up in the first moto and finished his day.
Jeremy was happy to be back at the track.
Brad Nauditt is a meticulous gate packer.
#20 Jess Pettis getting set for a 6th place day.
It was cool that Jacob Hayes showed up to be with the team and greet the fans. He said he’ll start riding in August. And no, he didn’t have any surgery on the damaged knee.
#71 McCoy Brough.
Brent Halstead heading to the line to help Hayden pull off a solid 8th overall.
What should I say for this one, Shawn? “I can hold my breath for almost 2 minutes!”
I can’t repeat this conversation…
I’m just gonna step back and get out of Davi’s way now…
A content Matt Goerke.
Davi was impressed with the track’s roughness.
Watch for Colton to go very fast at Ulverton this weekend.
With Michael DaSilva sidelined, it was up to Christopher to hold down the fort. That’s Jay.
This is the only way you can sneak a photo of ‘Momma T’ without her getting mad.
That’s the new guy you’re rooting for – #529 Broc Loftus.
That’s 3 holeshots in a row now for Alessi.
It’s even tough when you win the races!
This looks like a shot from Weston Super Mare!
Donk with some advice.
…and some more. OK, that will do it for this round. Sorry we’re a little behind schedule here. We’ll get things back on track….NOW. See you at the races…