Frid’Eh Update #16 Presented by KTM Canada
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #16 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update Presented by KTM Canada. We’re currently calling the Molson Centre in Barrie, ON home as we get set to drop the gate on the final weekend of Rockstar Triple Crown Arenacross Tour, a double-header.
We made the drive up from London this morning and managed to miss all the Toronto traffic…well, almost. Traffic around the biggest city in Canada can be a chore at times, and, when you add in some spring construction, it adds up to trouble.
We were actually stopped a few times heading into the city and then it was bumper-to-bumper to the turn north, Highway 400, towards Barrie.
It only took us a little over 2 1/2 hours, door to door, so we can’t really complain too much. As we neared the arena just south of the city of Barrie, the sky darkened and the rain started. It wouldn’t normally be an issue, but the temperature dropped from 5 to 2 degrees C in a matter of a kilometer (That’s right, Americans, that’s how we speak!) and so there is a strong possibility of freezing rain developing, so be very careful on your drive here.
The big news this week is that last year’s Future West Moto Arenacross champion, Jess Pettis, is here to race the final weekend in Barrie. He’s been competing in the 250 West Supercross series (until he snapped his scapula out west) and now, with the series taking a swing to the east again, he’s here with his Royal Distributing FXR Yamaha teammate, #66 Marco Cannella, this week.
It works out perfectly that it’s his week for the Update.
We did, however, just catch up with him this week to talk about his fast qualifier, 2nd in the LCQ, 17th place in the main, in Seattle last week.
You can listen to that podcast interview here:
Without a whole lot more to talk about with Jess for this week, we’ll go out into the parking lot and take a few awkward photos of him and get a quote for today.
With Jess here, it should make the racing up at the front of the 250 Pro class a lot tighter than it has been lately. Defending Canadian MX2 champ, Shawn Maffenbeier, has proven he is the one to beat in this Arenacross season, but Jess usually had his number in the FWM series this past season…that is, of course, until Jess crashed and snapped his arm, taking him out of contention in Chilliwack.
Here’s our conversation with Jess during track walk:
Rockstar Triple Crown Arenacross Tour
It’s finally Friday and we have a lot going on in our neck of the woods. The final 2 rounds of the Triple Crown AX series go off Friday and Saturday in Barrie Ontario. With the exception of the first round (mud bog), the racing has been fantastic. There has been controversy, bar banging, and great racing. With the exception of Kaven Benoit and Mike Alessi, all of the big stars have been in attendance, and that’s a huge bonus for the fans.
So, last week in Sarnia, a lapper got into title contender Colton Facciotti and basically F’d Colt’s championship chances. Could Colton have done anything different? Well, he could have holeshotted and checked out, but he would still have been in danger lapping the slower racers every 3-4 laps. It’s a bummer for Colton and his team, but this is racing and anything can happen with 2 nights left of racing before we crown our winner of the AX portion of the Triple Crown.
So, Cole Thompson is our points leader going into the final 2 nights. I expected this coming in. Cole is super talented, super smooth and hungry to get that 100g’s. We still have a lot of racing to do before they hand out the big dollars, but Cole is still my strong favourite.
In the 250 class ( wow, that sounds so much better than MX2) Shawn Maffenbeier has been in complete control. Shawn is on a different level, in my opinion, right now and has almost made it look easy. But, a 6 foot tall, bald birdie may have slipped out that Jess Pettis has made his way to Barrie. Jess is that one rider that just gets better every time I see him. He’s fit, super fast, and very aggressive. Jess is also full of confidence after his recent SX adventure. Maff and the entire field will have their hands full with Pettis as he will be looking for wins.
One rider that has really caught on quick is the #66 of Marco Cannella. “Young MC” wasn’t supposed to race this series, but an earlier injury to teammate Pettis forced team manager KT (Kevin Tyler) to throw the young rookie into the deep end. Turns out, MC is a quick learner and an even better swimmer.
Not to be outdone by the rookie is the wily veteran, Ryan Lockhart. Hey may have had an off weekend in Sarnia, but you better be expecting a fresh Newf coming in hot to Barrie looking for 2nd overall in this AX championship. Will we see the another retirement speech from Newf at the end of this series? I personally doubt it. The guy is having way too much fun racing and that is awesome to see.
Here are my top 5 predictions for night one in Barrie.
1st Jess Pettis
2nd Shawn Maffenbeier
3rd Tanner Ward
4th Marco Cannella
5th Ryan Lockhart
1st Tyler Medaglia
2nd Cole Thompson
3rd Colton Facciotti
4th Matt Goerke
5th Cade Clason
Monster Energy Supercross
Down south, the AMA SX heads to Minneapolis, Minnesota. No matter what the track may be like, it will be a perfect 10 compared to last week’s slopfest in the Seattle mud. As a “fair weather rider,” it killed me to see the poor bikes and gear sets. I was cringing just watching. I know mud races are a part of racing, but I’d just hate to be an excited fan paying all of that money expecting to see the stars of the sport wow me, and then get stuck with a mud race.
I, myself, am not a fan of the open stadium races, the weather is too unpredictable this time of the year and I’d rather see them under a dome. Jason Anderson continues to lead the premiere 450 class and is still in complete control. Eli Tomac may run a few wins in a row, but Anderson is thinking about the big picture, and that is the championship. Like any type of racing, there are chance of a mechanical or even rider error taking this championship from Anderson, but I think he’s going to be able to pull this off.
Maybe next season we will get the 3 or 4 way championship battle we were hoping for in 2018 with Tomac, Marvin Musquin, Anderson, and Ken Roczen. Who knows, there may be another name or two that we could possibly throw into that ring. Maybe a Justin Hill?
Anyways, despite the non-stop injury train all season long in the 450 class, we have been blessed with some very good racing. It hasn’t been boring and it has definitely been full of surprises. In the 250 East class, I expect Zach Osborne and Austin Forkner to go right at each other starting in the first free practice. Austin knows he needs some luck, and he needs to somehow rattle the very solid Osborne. Zach will most likely go about his business as normal, but I expect him not to take any shit from the youngster.
Blackstock Motorsports MX Swap Meet
Rain, sleet, freezing rain or snow, If you are a racer or a rider in Southern Ontario, you will want to get out to Blackstock Motorsports ( formerly Asselstine Country) in Blackstock, Ontario, Saturday, April 14th for their annual MX Swap Meet and Open House. Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, this great event is a go. So ,you are invited to clean out the garage, race trailer and bring your used bikes, gear and parts to sell or swap. You just set up in the parking, and be sure to check out all of the great in store specials to get you and your bike ready for the fast approaching season.
For all of you young racers, they will have the all new 2018 Yamaha YZ 65 in attendance for you to talk your parents into, to help you take your riding and racing to the next level. Blackstock Motorsports has been a long time supporter of motocross in Southern Ontario, so be sure to make it out to this can’t miss event from 9am-noon Saturday April 14th. You may even bump unto former employee Larry Enticer.
That is it for me this week. Be sure to follow us on social media as we will be keeping you up to date on the latest from this weekends Barrie AX both Friday and Saturday. Before I go, I’d like to say congratulations to our close friend, Cade Clason, on his recent marriage. Looks like Cade won’t have to take is grandmother to any more functions as his date. Have a great weekend and #smileforBC, #liftwithscott, and #4ESTRELLA.
Thanks, Jeff. It’s always hectic trying to get scoops and stories on a Friday that we’re at a race. That’s certainly the case today here in Barrie for the final 2 rounds of the Arenacross Tour.
We walked around earlier and spoke with a few riders before practice gets underway here at the Molson Centre.
The track is moist like last week, but shouldn’t be the same. They said they will throw in some cement powder tonight to try and keep at least the faces of the jumps under rut control. It will be interesting.
It’s horrible day outside, as the temperature is hovering around the freezing mark and it dowsn’t seem to know if it wants to rain, snow, or sleet. Be careful on your drive over here today and tonight.
Here are a couple video interviews from earlier today:
#7 Dillan Epstein YAM
#3 Shawn Maffenbeier KAW
#179 Westen Wrozyna KAW
#114 Quinn Amyotte YAM
#497 Brock Leitner Out with Knee Injury
Bad news out of the Brock Leitner camp. The Summerland, BC rider planted a foot wrong and did a whole lot of damage to his knee. He will require surgery Monday to repair his ACL, MCL, and meniscus. This is a long recovery procedure and Brock has already said he’ll miss the Rockstar Triple Crown series.
Heal well, Brock, and we’ll see you when you return, stronger than ever.
OK, guys. We’re here trying to bring you some behind the scenes content from Barrie. Be sure to check in with all our social media channels for all the latest.
Live webcast from Barrie starts at 7:00pm ET. Here’s the link:
Have a great weekend.