Frid’Eh Update #19 Presented by KDEAM Optics
By Jef McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #19 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update Presented by KDEAM Optics. We’re on a short break in the racing action as we make the transition from Arenacross to Motocross, starting June 1st at Wild Rose MX in Calgary, Alberta. Sure, it’s great that we now have an Arenacross title to chase, but the real heart and soul of racing lives and breathes on the grueling motocross tracks in the summer months.
#19 for 2019 is Dylan Wright. Dylan just wrapped up the 4-round Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Arenacross championship and now sets his sights on the rest of the 3-part tour.
Dylan is the rider who we watched progress through the amateur ranks as one of the most eye-catching and flashy riders we’ve ever seen here in Canada. His scrubs and 2-stroke skills are things of legend.
He’s always been known as a rider with incredible raw speed, but consistency has been his nemesis over the course of his first couple Pro seasons.
He’s finally locked down his first-ever Pro title and now looks to head outdoors with the red plate and see see if he can carry his confidence and consistency to the hard core tracks of our Motocross series.
We got in touch with him from Drummondville, Quebec, to talk about the AX series and what he’s hoping for this summer.
Direct Motocross: We’ve been talking to you a lot lately, but here we are at Week #19, so we need to pester you some more.
Dylan Wright: Ya, obviously it helps when you’re getting the results that I’ve been getting. Ya, we’ve been talking quite a bit, so that’s always a positive.
I spoke to your dad (Bill Wright) because I was thinking of doing something different like interviewing him, but he was quick to say that I should ask you before doing that.
Ya. I think maybe you could interview my mom. I don’t know if Bill’s interview would be PG enough.
So, you’ve always been fast, but did you come into this season with a different attitude or approach that turned this into a consistent championship run?
I’d like to say I did change something but I didn’t change the way i was training or my program at all. I was riding with Colt (Colton Facciotti) at GPF. The only thing that really changed was maybe my mindset coming into round 1. Maybe I needed to take it back a step and just worry about being more consistent and not making as many mistakes.
“Dude, if you just ride like you do in practice, you’re going to do just fine.” ~ Colton Facciotti
What really changed was that I wanted to be there every weekend. Maybe not riding the fastest every weekend, but be a guy who could just put in solid laps and almost take a page from Ryan Dungey‘s book. If it’s a 3rd, it’s a 3rd. To do that on a bad day and then if the win is there you maybe take a few risks to take the win, but if it’s not there, it’s not there.
Kind of like how I rode the last weekend in Barrie. I had a rough day going into the main event. I knew the win may be there but when I got off to kind of a bad start I figured I’d just take a 3rd. I wasn’t going to push myself and risk getting hurt or going down. That mindset probably is what changed a little bit.
Has anyone around you ever sort of sat you down and said that maybe you should aim for that sort of thing?
I mean, people have been telling me that for a few years, but it’s tough when you’re out there. You’ve got to be thinking about that while you’re racing but, at the same time, you’ve got a thousand different things that you’re thinking about. so, yes and no. I don’t think anyone really told me to do that. I, more or less, kind of realized by myself.
Especially training with Colt. In practice, we ride together quite a bit and he says, “Dude, if you just ride like you do in practice, you’re going to do just fine.”
So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do is go into it with the same mindset like I would so I kind of mimic what I’m going to do on race day in practice. It’s been working out for me and it was kind of a nice thing for Colt to do — help me out a little bit in that sense. It gave me the confidence to do the same thing on race day.
Do you ever straight up ask Colton how he can go out there and win by over a minute on certain days?
(Laughs) Ya, I oftentimes ask him like what happened and he just says that he was on. That everything he was doing was working for him that day.
Sometimes you have those days where you go out and everything you do on the bike just works. You also have those days where everything you do on the bike doesn’t work.
He came into the season fired up and ready to go and I think he caught a few people off guard with his raw speed coming into the season. He was ready to hang it out and had a little bit more aggression, maybe, than a few other guys coming in.
He surprised me, that’s for sure!
What would you say is the main thing you learned from your parents over the years?
The first thing would probably be to always stay humble and remember your beginnings. That’s a big thing for my parents. Even though we had so many good results coming up through the amateurs they told me to treat everybody the same. Even though you’re out front it doesn’t change anything. You’re still the same person as the guy that would finish at the back of the pack. Treat everybody the same and stay humble. We know in this sport anything can happen, so that’s probably the biggest thing that they would have taught me.
They also taught me that hard work pays off. They worked hard for me when I was growing up to give me the program that I needed. That didn’t come easy for them. They worked their butts off and I can’t really thank them enough for that.
My dad was making me load the trailers every weekend because he knew that ultimately it would pay off for me to know how much work actually goes into a race weekend or into the bike. When he worked on the bike, I would most of the time be out there helping him.
I knew, even when I went pro, just how much work went into it and just could appreciate it more.
OK, we had 4 very different conditions at the Arenacross races this year. What was your favourite event?
My favourite was probably actually Calgary. The dirt was pretty dry and they had that technical little rhythm, the 3-5-3 there, the whoops were good, and it was big. All in all, I feel like that was a really good round. I liked the layout. The floorspace was a little bit bigger and it gave us more room to move around.
Barrie was pretty good too. The dirt was better but I don’t think the layout was as good as in Calgary.
So, this is your first Pro title. Where does this rank for you?
The first Pro title is, obviously, great to get. This one is going to rank at the top of my accomplishments. WInning a few outdoors is good and it ranks up there, too, but to actually wrap up a title is nice for me.
It was an Arenacross title and it was pretty short but just to put it together is nice and will give me a little bit of confidence coming into outdoors, knowing that I can put it together.
My main goal is to win the Triple Crown and the outdoor series, so it’s a medium-size win, but I think we have bigger stuff set for us coming into the rest of the season as well.
Did you have any memorable bar-banging battle that stood out?
You know what? It was pretty quiet which is surprising because in the past I’ve always had a good battle with someone or some controversy, but that’s another thing that’s different this year. I came in with a bit of a different mindset. I didn’t want to be that guy that’s kind of a dick or start bad blood with anybody.
I was getting good starts and didn’t really battle with too many guys all season. I was kind of in my own space a lot of the time.
Take us through the situation in Barrie. You had to do a full bike swap, right?
Ya, it wasn’t exactly ideal to do on race day. In the first timed qualifier I had a bike malfunction at the beginning of it so I pulled off the track and through the tunnel to grab my practice bike that we had there as a spare. In Arenacross you don’t think you’re really going to have engine failure but anything can happen.
I went out and rode the rest of that qualifier on the practice bike that had outdoor suspension. We had to switch all the suspension to make it out for the next timed qualifier and I have to give it up to Justin (Petker) and Kyle (Ward) for switching it over super quick.
You don’t really have a lot of time between those two qualifiers. To be able to get all that done and have it primo ready for me to go was pretty impressive.
What will you do between now and round 1 out at Wild Rose in Calgary on June 1st?
This week I was just riding at local tracks around my place here in Drummondville, so I rode quite a bit this week. On Sunday I’ve got to head back to Gopher Dunes to get a photo shoot done early next week. Then we’ve got a bunch of testing after that on our race bikes.
I’ll just put my motos in and stick to my program. It’s been working really good this year, so I’ll just stick to it and do the last few weeks of grinding before the season starts, so I’m 100% ready when that gate drops in Calgary.
We’ve got a lot of solid riders in the class again this year. What are you expecting?
It’s going to be a deep class. It’s going to be good. It’ll be close to the deepest 250 outdoor class, maybe ever, so that’s always fun. I’m the type of guy who likes to battle. I don’t think anybody is going to win every weekend. It’s going to be tough to do like a (Ricky) Carmichael and sweep. Obviously, that’s the goal but there’s going to be lots of good racing. It’s going to be tight between a lot of us. I’m looking forward to it.
I like to race. If (Adam) Cianciarulo was coming up to race, my mindset wouldn’t change. We’d have to beat him and we’d have to figure out what we could do to make it happen.
I feel pretty comfortable on the bike, so that’s always a bonus. I’m healthy and everything is good, so my mindset coming in is super positive. I’m going to have the program and the bike to make it happen.
It’s going to be a tough season. It’s going to be lots of fun racing. There’s going to be a lot of close racing, so it’ll be good for the fans and for our sport, for sure.
Adam may be coming up here after Las Vegas! What do you do to relax, by the way?
(Laughs) Honestly, there isn’t much relaxing going on. These last few weeks it’s been that grind time where you’ve got to make things happen. You have to put as much work in as you can right now.
If I’m relaxing, I like to just put a movie on the TV with my girlfriend and our dogs and just chill out and have a coffee or something.
Jeff McConkey got a photo of you before a race in Barrie. You had your headphones on and your eyes were closed. What were you listening to?
Chances are, I was probably listening to Wiz Khalifa. A little bit of rap but kind of mellow to just get into the zone. In that picture I was probably trying to have a nap because I’m a guy who likes to nap on race day.
Well, thanks for talking with us today and we’ll see you in Calgary. Who would you like to thank?
I’d like to thank the team, Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing and everybody that’s been putting the time in from the mechanics to the truck driver, Derek, Colton…I can’t thank everybody enough.
Happy Friday, everyone. Well, Monster AMA Supercross and our very own Triple Crown Arenacross series are over. Both had some ups and downs, but they both were exciting and gave us great racing. In AMA SX, this year we were blessed with 5 different 450 main event winners, 3 different West coast 250 winners, and 3 different East Coast 250 winners. That means that we were treated to great racing, and it wasn’t predictable. Yes, a few guys went on a roll, but you really didn’t know who was going to win. This season kept you guessing and that really made it enjoyable.
Just when you thought Austin Forkner couldn’t be beat, he beat himself with an injury. Adam Cianciarulo was 4 minutes away from a championship, and a small mistake on a 15-foot double stole his championship when his bike was too twisted to continue. I feel for both racers and their teams, but life is tough and champions never give up.
Now we are on to The Great Outdoors. Some guys that have been out of the SX championship picture have been prepping for outdoors for quite some while. But the racers that were still in the hunt, unfortunately, will come in behind the 8-ball. Congrats to our 3 champions: Cooper Webb, Chase Sexton and Dylan Ferrandis.
In the Rockstar Triple Crown AX series, we had some great racing as well. We had a few different winners and we have a great start to 2019 with our motocross about to start. I feel like we already have a few rivalries in the 450 class brewing, and that a few riders will butt heads this summer. We also have to remember that there are quite a few top level riders joining the series for outdoors. Colton Facciotti and Mike Alessi will be chomping at the bit to go racing in the 450 class. And let’s not forget defending 250 champion Jess Pettis and the Sky Racing and Redemption Racing 250 pilots. We will definitely have a ton of talent in both classes.
That’s it for me this week. Have a great weekend of spring riding and racing, and I’ll see you next week.
Thanks, Jeff. We find ourselves in one of our shoulder seasons, between AX and MX. This is a great time for riders to mend nagging injuries and get some solid prep work done before the grueling months of outdoor motocross begin.
Like I said in the intro, AX and SX are nice, but MX is what gets my blood pumping. It’s not a neat and tidy package. It’s all out war and a grind from start to finish.
We’ve lost one round in the western part of the country, and that’s really too bad for us hard core MX fans. We all know they’ve been talking about extending the SX season down south and shortening the MX series, and I’m sure the same conversations are going on behind closed doors up here in Canada.
Why wouldn’t the people signing the cheques want a series that is so much easier to package? Of course they do. It just makes good business sense. It’s so much easier to video, banner, and seat people that it must be an absolute nightmare for the crew to move over to the unpredictability of the outdoor series. I wouldn’t blame them if they went to an all indoors series in the future, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it!
What I’m trying to say here is that I’m really looking forward to the motocross season.
Who has done their homework and who hasn’t. There is no place to hide out there on these tough tracks, and weaknesses will be exposed and exploited.
We’re now only 3 weeks away from Round 1 on June 1st in Calgary, so riders know where they stand. Nobody is going to stand up and let the other riders know they’re not as prepared as they should be. Riders always keep their condition as private as their salaries. Nobody can know what’s going on, and then the gate drops…
Remember last year when Colton came out and simply put a beat down on the rest of the 450 class? Who would have predicted that? However, like I’ve said for many years now, whenever Colton is in a series, I find it very difficult not to put my money on him.
If Colton were to win the MX series this year, he would break JSR‘s number of 5 championships. Again, nobody is going to touch what Ross Pederson did in the 80’s and early 90’s, so the number 6 is kind of the realistic holy grail of our sport. 33 may just be a little out of reach…forever!
There’s a lot more to talk about as we head into the new outdoor season, so we’ll be sure to do a preview show in the very near future where we’ll discuss all the possible scenarios, so watch for that.
We’ll be taking the Moto Central Live Pre-Race Show presented by Sneaky Weasel Beer on the road this summer. We haven’t got all the locations sorted out yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know where we plan to be each week as we get closer to the start of the outdoor series. It’s going to be fun!
How about Women’s MX Nationals competitor Kassie Boone taking her freestyle moves on the road all over the word?! She’s living the dream right now and seeing places most of us can only dream of seeing. She’s currently floating around South Africa.
Keep it up, Kassie.
Registration is now open for the Walton TransCan.
Riviere-Du Loup Arenacross – May 25th
If you follow Kaven Benoit on social media, you know he’s not been sitting idle since he announced his retirement from professional racing last season, after injuries added up to sway his decision.
Not only will he be instructing a motocross school the day before the event, but Kaven will be lining up at the famed Arenacross in the town of Riviere du Loup, Quebec, coming up on May 25th.
We spoke with Race Director Paul Thibault and he gave us a very competitive list of riders! Check this out:
Davey Sterrit and three more from New Jersey and New York state.
Plus, a few more from Québec.
We spoke with Team PR-MX’s Julien Perrier and he said we can add Scott Champion, Justin Rodbell, and Josh Cartwright to the list.
That’s a pretty impressive gate.
Carl Vaillancourt has been named as honorary chairman.
If you’ve never been to this race and have the ability to check it out this year, make sure you’re in the seats because the atmosphere at this event is like nothing you’ve ever seen!
New Tracks, New Riders Highlight the Excitement
Surrounding 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
In just a matter of weeks, the world’s fastest riders will converge on the most legendary motocross tracks in the country for a summer-long battle of supremacy to capture the most prestigious championship in off-road motorcycle racing. The anticipation surrounding the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, continues to build towards a 2019 season filled with change, and it’ll all come to a head on May 18 with the Bell Helmets Hangtown Motocross Classic.
The 12-round schedule this season is highlighted by the addition of a brand-new venue that will bring the championship back to the hotbed of the Southeast, as well as a return to what is now the sport’s new Southern California home. Just two years ago, Jacksonville, Florida’s WW Ranch Motocross Park burst onto the global racing scene as the host of the USGP, and now the hugely popular track will add its name to an illustrious legacy of American motocross venues on June 22. Pala, California’s Fox Raceway is a familiar site to both riders and fans alike, when it served as the season finale of 2010 and 2011 seasons. Ever since, it has remained a popular destination for pros to churn laps testing and training, and now it returns to serve as the sport’s Memorial Day celebration on May 25.
Alongside these additions to the championship, the American motocross tradition will continue at the remaining 10 rounds, many of which boast a history that spans multiple decades.
These iconic venues will serve as the battlegrounds of what is expected to be a highly competitive battle for the 450 Class and 250 Class titles. A full slate of 24 motos lie ahead for each division, setting the stage for an array of unpredictable outcomes that will ultimately result in just two riders hoisting the Edison Dye Cup (450 Class) or Gary Jones Cup (250 Class), along with the coveted AMA No. 1 plate.
The premier 450 Class has been dominated by Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac the past two seasons, and the reigning back-to-back champion will once again be favored to defend his title for a third time. However, Tomac’s path to another season triumph is sure to be harder than ever with an ever-growing list of challengers ready to dethrone him. While his arch rivals of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin and Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen will be there every step of the way, so will Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS Racing’s Blake Baggett and Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia—both of whom are past winners—along with rising stars like Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing duo of Jason Anderson and Dean Wilson.
Adding to the intrigue of the 450 Class is the incoming of a stout rookie class, led by a pair of 250 Class National Champions in Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne and Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger. They’ll be flanked by Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy and JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Justin Hill, and now these four riders are ready to take their shot aboard the big bikes. As if the 450 Class wasn’t deep enough, the 2019 lineup of contenders is at an all-time high.
With defending 250 Class champion Plessinger making the move up a division, that leaves a wide-open opportunity for a new young star to step up and claim his first career title. For the first time in nearly a decade there will not be a past champion in the field, as two-time titleholder Jeremy Martin, of GEICO Honda, will be forced to sit on the sidelines in his continued recovery from a major back injury suffered last season. That means a long list of budding talent will be chomping at the bit from the moment the first gate drops.
JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Alex Martin and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo are arguably the most experienced riders in the 250 Class, and they will be expected to take the reins from the get-go. After breaking through with his first win on American soil last season, Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis will certainly continue to build off his MXGP experience and challenge for the title with Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing, while fellow first-time winners RJ Hampshire (GEICO Honda) and Shane McElrath (Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM) now know what it takes to win and are in a position to take the next step to becoming perennial contenders.
Joining these title hopefuls is an extensive mix of riders with tons of potential, like Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper, GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Michael Mosiman, along with multiple seasons of experience like Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner, GEICO Honda’s Christian Craig, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Colt Nichols, and Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Jordon Smith. Rookie Hunter Lawrence hopes his success in MXGP transfers to U.S. soil with GEICO Honda, as does American Thomas Covington, who will make his anticipated debut in his home championship with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, after spending several years racing MX2 in Europe.
Beyond the professional action this summer are exciting expansions to American motocross’ amateur segment of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. After a popular and successful debut last season, the 125 All Star Series will expand to include all 12 rounds of the championship in 2019, serving as a complement to the pros each and every Saturday this summer. Former stars like Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Sipes, Wil Hahn, and more joined the fray of 125cc battles last season, and there’s no doubt this celebration of 2-strokes will continue to grow with a full slate of races.
Additionally, the Amateur Racing Program at the Nationals will be bigger and better than ever. Amateur racers from all over the country will have an opportunity to race on the same track as their pro counterparts at all 12 rounds on the schedule, meaning last year’s total of nearly 10,000 participants will likely be surpassed, further strengthening the sport’s vital amateur racing scene.
The storylines entering the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship are endless, and the countdown to the opening round is now officially underway.
2019 Monster Energy MXGP of Lombardia TV Coverage
LOMBARDIA (Mantova – Italy) 10 May 2019 – The 2019 MXGP FIM Motocross World Championshipis back to racing this weekend for the Monster Energy MXGP of Lombardia. Now 5 weeks since the last round of racing in Trentino the riders, fans, and crew are all ready for the 5thround of the season at the Italian sand circuit of Mantova.
TV coverage for the weekend will be broadcasted through Youthstream’s TV partners around the world. The second Italian round of the season will also be LIVE in the host country for MXGP Race 2 on RAI Sport+ HD!
The event including Saturday’s Qualifying races and the additional classes of EMX2T and EMX125 presented by FMF Racing will additionally be streamed LIVE around the world on MXGP’s own online streaming TV service, www.MXGP-TV.com.
As always fans can also watch the 26min Behind the Gatespecial feature via our TV partners or on MXGP-TV the Tuesday following the event. To find out when, where, and how to watch in your home country check the listings below.
USA – CANADA
CBS Sports Network
Sunday 12 May – MX2 Race 2 – 10:00 am ET – Live
Sunday 12 May – MXGP Race 2 – 11:00 am ET – Live
OK, have a great weekend, everyone. There are a couple interesting things going on behind the scenes right now that we’ll be sure to keep tabs on and make public as soon as the time is right. Thanks for reading Direct Motocross.