Frid’Eh Update #17 | Chris Blackmer | Brought to You by TLD Moto
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #17 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week brought to you by TLD Moto Canada. This week finds Emily and I in Nashville, TN for what will be the last Supercross for the season that I will be able to be at myself. We had a good drive down the I-75, but I have to say I’m ready for a different highway. It seems I’m on the long, boring stretch between Detroit and Cincinnati much too often throughout the year. It never feels like I’ve gotten anywhere until I make it as far as Cincy, the Ohio River, and the “Florence Y’All” sign on the water tower at the top of the hill that tells me I’m in Kentucky and officially on my way somewhere south.
I always check in with Supercross photographer Rich Shepherd on my way through and this time I simply sent him a photo of the water tower. He told me that it actually used to say “Florence Mall” and it upset local businesses so it was changed to “Y’All” to keep everyone happy. I don’t know why, but I like origin stories like that.
Speaking of SX photographers and origin stories…
Did you know that Chris Ganz came up with his nickname, “Brown Dog Wilson” when he was signing up for something, Vital MX I think, and needed a username. He’s a former tennis pro and was sponsored by Wilson, so that’s what his dog’s name was. He looked out the window, saw Wilson, and typed “Brown Dog Wilson.” Another great origin story.
We stayed just north of Nashville last night and drove the rest of the way in this morning. It was raining like crazy when we first hit Tennessee on I-65 so we decided we’d seen enough and pulled over.
The weather has been pretty bad here this week so they put the track in late and we never got to see riders on the track for Press Day. We did, however, get to check out Ryan Dungey and his Ryan Dungey Foundation as he and a bunch of riders and MX personalities built Stryder bikes to be given away to some lucky little kids at local school, Shwab Elementary.
Ryan, James Stewart, Will Christian, Broc Glover, and a whole bunch of riders were there lending a hand for this great cause.
Mike Emery and I rode up the freight elevator to the concourse with Josh Cartwright and Dan Hubbard. Dan asked Josh for some more information on him other than the fact that he went to University full-time while racing so that he’d have something else to talk about. I went ahead and got in his head about the time I was supposed to stay at Josh’s place in Florida but couldn’t that particular night because he was “busy” and while I was sleeping at a local truck stop got totally run over by a transport truck. Keep an eye on Dan during Race Day Live and see if he stumbles a little when/if he talks about Josh. Haha.
As I was typing this, 2 people were just having sex in the porta-john not far from the van. Of course I grabbed the camera and waited for them to come out. Just like nudist colonies, it’s never the ones you want to see… Haha Welcome to Nashville!
#17 this season kind of surprised me when I saw that it was Chris Blackmer from Michigan. Chris came up and rode for the TLD SSR GasGas team last season and made an immediate impression on the results and on the fans. Everyone seems to love this kid! Whenever we post anything about him the entire Michigan motocross family seems to come together in support of him. It’s cool to see and seems to have spilled over into Canada.
He’s been dealing with a back issue but keps riding through the pain and even showed up at the Mini O’s, the Detroit Supercross, and then the AMO season opener at Gopher Dunes last weekend to race on a borrowed bike!
Here’s a look at his 2022 Canadian Triple Crown Series season:
We got in touch with him this week and here’s what he had to say:
Direct Motocross: Hello Chris. You’re from Muskegon, Michigan. Not quite Cheboygan but still a pretty good Michigan City name. What is your hometown most known for?
Chris Blackmer: Muskegon is mostly known for fishing. People come from all over the state to fish on Muskegon Lake. Other than that, there’s not a lot of excitement happening in Muskegon.
Let’s back it up to why you showed up in Canada in the first place and what you thought of us up here?
Marshall Weltin reached out to me asking about if I had ever thought about a motocross career in Canada, and honestly I had never considered it. After getting more information from him, I knew I had to give it a try. He set me up with Steve Simms and in a matter of days I was on my way to Canada with nothing but a bag and my bike. It was a wild experience to say the least. I had never even been to Canada before. I knew no one other than talking to Steve on the phone. I really enjoyed my time in Canada. Being able to ride on a team was something I have dreamt about my entire life.
You never made it onto an overall podium in 450 MX last summer, but you were always close. Can you tell us how you thought your outdoor season went?
I went into my season with little to no expectations, but anyone who knows me knows how competitive I am. When I saw how close I was getting it made me want it even more. Made it even better knowing I was doing something I loved. Overall, I thought my first outdoor season went well. I had a lot of lessons learned, met friends along the way, and I got the experience of a lifetime with traveling through another country for the first time.
Your SX/AX portion definitely had its ups and downs. How was it for you?
My training throughout my amateur career was never focused on SX/AX specifically. I would ride some local events for fun but nothing serious. I had always put my efforts towards outdoor/MX. It wasn’t until I was older that I became more interested in SX/AX. It’s a learning curve for me, but I know when I set my mind to something I can improve so that’s what I’m planning to do.
And then we thought you were off for surgery but then there you were at Mini O’s. Then we thought, OK, now he’s out for a while, and there you were at the Detroit Supercross! And then I thought for sure you were on your way to the hospital and you showed up at Gopher Dunes last weekend! Tell us what’s going on with your back and what’s happening next with it?
My journey with my back injury has been extensive. I have seen several specialists, physical therapists and surgeons to make sure I am doing whatever helps me in the long run. My surgeon used to ride dirt bikes as well, so he knows how important it is to keep me on my bike. The original plan was to get surgery right after coming back from the outdoor season in Canada, but my doctor had other plans. After more PT, shots and other remedies, we are now going a completely different route. The new procedure will involve cutting the bulge off of my disc rather than going in and placing a spacer between the disc. I am still getting surgery, but the date is getting pushed back later than I would have originally liked. In the meantime, my doctor told me I can ride for fun until the surgery is finalized. We are hoping to be back soon.
We already talked about Mini O’s and the SX you did, so let’s jump ahead to last weekend. You showed up on a KTM 300 2-stroke! You’d better tell us what that was all about.
I like to keep people guessing (haha). True North let me ride their bike for the weekend, so I took full advantage of the opportunity. It’s always such a different atmosphere when you’re going out there with no expectations or pressure. I have always enjoyed riding 2-strokes, so this bike was the cherry on top! I missed the tracks and people in Canada, so it was a great weekend.
You looked like you were in a tight battle with Wyatt Kerr and Tanner Scott. Take us through how the races went.
The races went good. Just focused on having fun and having a good time with the people I haven’t seen in a while.
Hey, while we’ve got you here, what’s your favourite Canadian track and why?
Deschambault. The big jump is my favorite and the dirt is very similar to what i’m used to in Michigan.
What’s the biggest difference you notice when you come up here to Canada compared to being in Michigan?
The biggest difference was the metric system. Learning km/hour compared to mi/hour was a learning curve, but when you’re given no other choice you have to learn quick. The other difference was the scenery. In Michigan we have lakes, sand dunes, and forests, but in Canada everything seemed much more grand.
You’ve got a really strong fan base in Michigan and everyone loves you up here too. Is that something you think about? Has it always been that coming up through the amateur ranks too?
I think about it all the time. I started racing at 4 years old, so I have grown up at the track. I think early on a lot of my fans started from my dad and my uncle who were my team manager and mechanic. They knew everyone from growing up in the area and racing themselves. They taught me everything I know and brought me to all of my races, both local and far away. They always taught me to be humble for my experiences and be thankful for my opportunities. I try my best to carry that with me everywhere I go. There are a lot of people that have been in my corner since I was a kid, and I can proudly say many of them are still standing by my side. It was crazy though when I came to Canada because there were all these fans that I had never met before and they were cheering for me. That is a feeling that’ll never get old.
So, what are your future racing plans? When and where are we going to see you next?
As I said before, my recovery with my back injury is taking longer than we originally thought. Once I am healed up, I plan on coming back stronger and in full swing. I have some plans for training, conditioning and racing as soon as I can. As of now, I don’t have a specific date and place to say where you’ll see me next, but don’t worry I’ll be back.
OK Chris, good luck and I hope to see you soon. Is there anyone you’d like to thank here while you’ve got the chance?
Definitely! Thank you for the opportunity.
I have so many people in my corner that have allowed me to have the opportunities I have today. I’d like to thank my family and friends back home who have supported me since day one, God, my dad and my uncle for keeping me safe, Matt Walker for years of training and guidance, Steve Simms for giving me a chance without knowing me.
No Nashville Supercross for Guillaume St Cyr
As you all know by now, #551 Guillaume St Cyr crashed hard at the Atlanta Supercross and will not be racing here in Nashville. As I was typing this Update, ‘Guac’ himself walked by and we got chatting about the situation.
He rode this week and actually felt fine. Unfortunately, he just didn’t have time to jump through all the doctor hoops and get cleared for this weekend, so that crash in Atlanta will be his final touch on a SX track down here for this season.
He’ll be racing the Riviere-Du-Loup Arenacross on May 27th, so be sure to check him out there.
Coming up on May 27th in Riviere-Du-Loup, QC, the oldest Arenacross in all of North America is one you don’t want to miss. I was just talking with #170 Devin Simonson from the Partzilla PRMX team and he’s heading there for the first time. I also heard that #519 Josh Cartwright and #848 Joan Cros are also going to be there racing. And you know local favourite Karl Normand won’t miss it! It should be a great race and an even better after-party! Here’s a look at the SXQC Series:
Events to come
2023 Canadian Provincial Race Schedules
British Columbia (Future West Moto)
Alberta (Alberta Championship Motocross)
Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Motosport Association)
Manitoba (Grassroots Motocross)
Ontario (Amateur Motocross Ontario)
Quebec (Challenge Quebec Motocross)
Atlantic Canada (Atlantic Motocross)
AMO Season Opener at Gopher Dunes and Canada’s #1
It’s always interesting to see who shows up at which local race before the big Canadian MX National season starts and people were treated to some pretty heavy hitters at Round 1 of the AMO Series at Gopher Dunes last weekend.
I was hoping to get through New York and into Ontario to maybe catch a moto or two on the way home but after the races went so late in the rain in New Jersey there was no way it was happening.
However, I did look at the results:
And now the fun part…poring over the lap times…
Racing opens up all across the country in the next few weeks.
Devin Simonson Talks about His First 450 Main Last Week
#170 Devin Simonson rides for the Canadian Partzilla PRMX team and made his first-ever 450 Main last week in the New Jersey mud. I grabbed him to talk about it today in the pits.
Ryan Dungey Foundation – All Kids Ride
As mentioned in the intro, here’s a look at the Ryan Dungey Foundation Stryder Bikes build earlier.
OK, it’s time for a weird Friday afternoon track walk and riders meeting here in Nashville. Currently it’s about 22C and the threat of rain is disappearing, but we’ll see what happens. It’s supposed to be nice tomorrow. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to set an alarm to watch all the action tomorrow.