Frid’Eh Update #22 Presented by Maple Ridge Motorsports
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to the 22nd Frid’Eh Update of 2015. This week it is presented by Maple Ridge Motorsports and belongs to the friendly South African rider, Liam O’Farrell. When Liam arrived and lined up at his first Pro National, he made an immediate splash and then fell in love with our country and its people – one in particular. He has since married the lovely Pamela Blam and is working in and around the greater Hamilton area.
Liam has been lining up at races around Ontario as the Pro series goes through its first 4 rounds out in the western provinces. Liam will line up at round 5 at Gopher Dunes and go from there. He can currently be found kicking butt in the MMRS KTM Provincial Series.
We grabbed Liam for a quick chat as he was working, “sort of,” as he put it. He has been busy working 10 hours per day, 5 days a week as an HVAC/Gas Fitter. He also goes to night school 3 days a week. He actually said he has “no time to practice anymore.” He plans to race the Motopark Cup on June 26th and then get ready to jump into the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals at Gopher Dunes for round 5 on his Orange Motorsports Scott KTM 250 2-stroke.
Watch for him to be at all of the 6 eastern rounds (actually not 100% about Moncton, yet). School is done for him the week after Gopher Dunes so he will have more time to be ready for the rest of the summer.
Liam wanted to thank Orange Motorsports, Scott, KTM Canada, MD Distributing, and Atlas Brace.
Thanks for the quick chat, Liam. See you back in Ontario. Now get back to work!
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Schrader’s Women’s West Nationals
Hey, guys. Round 1 has come and gone. After waiting a very long time, the CMRC Rockstar Energy Motocross Nationals are back. The action started Saturday when the girls took to the track for the first round of the Schrader’s Women’s West Nationals. Kennedy Lutz put it to the rest of the class, and bad! I had spent a lot of time at GPF a few years back while Kennedy was there, she was very quiet, but a very hard worker. I knew she was going to be the fastest going into this season, I just wasn’t sure where she would be at as a complete package. She was coming into Round 1 fresh off of back-to-back injuries and I had some doubts. Kennedy quickly erased all of the doubts I previously had. She was absolutely on fire.
2nd overall was Cycle North’s Sara King. Sara was very good, as expected, and will no doubt steal a moto win if Lutz falters. And in 3rd overall, we have Rachel Springman (my preseason title prediction). Even though Rachel finished 3rd and was a little bit off the pace, I still believe she is a strong contender. She missed last season due to injury and I feel her experience will keep her in this title fight. There was a fantastic turnout for the ladies, and you have to give it up to the main 3 co-organizers Denaye Arnett, Sierra Roth and Camille Bunko. They have all done a great job and have spent numerous hours making this all happen. And how about semi retired / new mom Camille Bunko riding herself to a very impressive 7th overall?! Super-cool!
Rockstar Energy MX Nationals
Up next we had the MX2 class. Canada’s Motorcycle FXR Yamaha’s Jimmy Decotis erased any doubts of ‘fitness issues’ with a very impressive 1-1. Jimmy has always had the talent, but was lacking fitness. It’s really cool to see that ‘Tha Rippa’ has put in some serious work and looks to be in this title fight all season long.
Honda Canada TLD GDR’s Jeremy Medaglia went 2-2 and maybe, in my opinion, played it safe and felt things out for Round 1. ‘J-Dags’ is a seasoned veteran and knows you can’t win the title at Round 1, but you can certainly lose it.
Following in a very close 3rd overall was reigning champ Royal Distributing Fox Racing KTM’s Kaven Benoit. Kaven too knows how to win and will no doubt look to eliminate some minor mistakes that hampered in Kamloops. I would keep an eye on Devil’s Lake MX rider Blake Savage and Monster Thor Kawasaki’s Cole Martinez for round 2. I think these 2 racers will be on par with the top 3 at Nanaimo.
After the MX2 class, we have the big boys, the MX1 class. Former champion Monster Thor Kawasaki’s #123 Brett Metcalfe put in 2 great rides, and looked to be in mid-season form. Brett knows our tracks and will be very hard to beat everywhere. Behind Brett, we had Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha’s #101 Matt Goerke finish 2nd overall. Matt made some mistakes and was a little gassed after the motos. He too knows our tracks and will surely be looking to put himself on the top step in week 2. 3rd overall was fan favorite Parts Canada Thor Husqvarna’s Tyler Medaglia. How can you not love this guy?! He gets overlooked each and every year, and then proceeds to go out and make us all look stupid. All in all, it was a great start to the season and I myself am dying to get to the races. Let’s take a look at my thoughts after Round 1:
1st Kennedy Lutz: Kennedy could possibly go 6-6 in moto wins – she is that fast this season.
2nd Sara King: Sara put in the hard work and will be there each and every moto. I just think Lutz has a bit more speed.
3rd Rachel Springman: Rachel shook off the cobwebs and will be much closer to the top 2 for the remainder.
4th Brittany Danyluk: It looks like Brittany is a tad off the pace of the top 3, but may just be the ‘best of the rest.’
5th Jamie Munro: Jamie will keep pushing hard and battle Danyluk for the ‘best of the rest’ title.
Biggest Stud: Kennedy Lutz, she was that good!
Biggest Dud: The creeps that stole #7 Dominique Daffe‘s race bike the week before round 1.
Biggest Surprise: I was really shocked with how far off the pace the second half of the girls were. Some of these girls like to call this a ‘Pro’ series. You can’t be 30-40 seconds a lap off the leader and be happy about it. Time to put in the work, ladies.
1st Jimmy Decotis: Jimmy rode great and didn’t slow towards the end. Can he keep it up for 9 more rounds?
2nd Jeremy Medaglia: Medaglia wasn’t willing to hang it out to try and chase down Jimmy D. He’s a smart rider and will be there at round 10.
3rd Kaven Benoit: Kaven made a few little mistakes, but was still very good. His 250 2-stroke will probably be a handful this weekend at Nanaimo, but Kaven is definitely strong enough and fit enough to challenge for wins.
4th Cole Martinez: Cole had a lot to deal with. Our series, our tracks, and our way of doing things are way different than he is used to. I think he will fight for a few wins when he gets use to us, eh.
5th Blake Savage: Blake had a very good round 1. And how cool was it to see his close friend Ken Roczen inquiring on how to follow the races on Twitter so he could keep tabs on his bud?!
Biggest Stud: Jimmy D is my stud. He went out and showed he had 30 solid minutes in him, twice.
Biggest Dud: Why do we have hardly anyone racing the Suzuki RMZ 250s? They are a great bike. Where are you, Suzuki?
Biggest Surprise: I was shocked Brad Nauditt didn’t holeshot. He is a great starter and on a rocket of a bike.
1st Brett Metcalfe: Brett killed it at round 1 and cemented his name as favourite.
2nd Matt Goerke: Matt had a good first round, but he’s better than that. I think by Calgary he will be fighting for the win.
3rd Tyler Medaglia: T-Dags showed everyone that he can’t be overlooked in 2015.
4th Colton Facciotti: Colt had a rough day for his standards. He is a multi-time champ and we will see why at Naniamo. It’s darn near impossible to beat him there.
5th Cole Thompson: Cole had a very off weekend. He has been away from the Nationals for a very long time. The real CT148 will be back at round 2 and on the box.
Biggest Stud: I was pumped with Brock Hoyer. The guy works, he has a fresh baby, and he rode great!
Biggest Dud: It was sad to see Teddy Maier have such a rough round 1. To his credit, he fought hard and rode his butt off. He never gave up and showed serious speed in both motos. He will be fighting for many podiums this season.
Biggest Surprise: Redemption Racing’s Eric Jeffery‘s first moto 11th was a nice surprise. I hope the team is able to keep American Cade Clason when the injured Nathan Bles returns.
Lucas Oil AMA Nationals
South of the border, the huge news is that Eli Tomac will miss the remainder of the season after injuring both shoulders. Eli was on fire winning all of the motos until his nasty crash. I don’t think he was riding over his head, I just think the nasty Colorado track bit him. That leaves the title up for grabs. Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen will be the automatic favourites. Some people are moaning that this could be another ‘gimme’ title for Dungey, but you gotta be in it to win it. And ‘The Dunge’ always has himself in a great position.
Davi Millsaps to Suzuki
News came out about Davi Millsaps new Suzuki ride. Davi will join the series at Red Bud. It will be nice to have Davi back, but I don’t even see Davi hitting the box. He has been away from racing and the nationals too much over the last few seasons.
In 250 action, it looks to be a long season of Jeremy Martin and Marvin Musquin swapping wins. It’s too bad Cooper Webb had to sit out a round, and that Adam Cianciarulo is not quite in race shape. I really think it could have been a 4 horse race. By Red Bud, Cianciarulo should be fighting for wins. Jesse Nelson may also throw his name in the hat, as he looks to be ready to challenge this season. The early surprise for me is Alex Martin. Alex has been fantastic this year, indoors and outdoors so far. I cant wait to see him at Millville.
MMRS KTM Provincial Series
Closer to home, MMRS will be offering a nice little Pro purse to the riders that haven’t gone west for the nationals. This weekend the race will be held at the beautiful Muttco Mountain facility. As always, the MMRS crew will offer open practice all day Saturday and racing on Sunday. The people, the track, and the atmosphere make this and every MMRS event a ‘must attend.’ I really hope to see lots of new faces out this weekend, so check it out.
That’s it for me this week. Have a great weekend and remember to always #smileforBC!
Thanks, Jeff. I finally made it safe and sound to Vancouver, BC where the sun is shining, the temperature is perfect, and the humidity is low. I’m at a buddy’s place in Kits by the beach. I asked him what’s new out here and he immediately said, “Well, the traffic is even worse and the beer is hoppier.” Pretty accurate summary given the headache I had getting in and the sharp taste of the beer we were served last night.
Here’s the forecast for Nanaimo:
That was a great wrap-up of the first round of the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals from The Wastelands in Kamloops, BC. Being there in person, it was pretty difficult to make any bold statements as to the rest of the season. I think we’ll have a better idea after Calgary. The Wastelands in the pace where Colton Facciotti is tough to beat.
In MX2, I think we’re going to see a battle between Jeremy Medaglia, Cole Martinez, and Shawn Maffenbeier develop for the wins. It’s a bit of a different surface and I think these three will be the ones out front. We’ll see…
It was a bit of a tough week for me, as many of you know. I haven’t had time for my usual mid-week wanderings checking out all the local tracks where Pros were hunkered down for the week. I have been dealing with a new van issue that has been resolved. Thank you to everyone who got involved – it made the difference. I will be sure to travel around and spin yarns this coming week between Nanaimo and Calgary.
Ross’ Place Outside Kamloops, BC
When the racing heads to Kamloops, you can be sure people will flock to Ross’ beautiful property outside the city overlooking the golf course and the lake. It’s a pretty spectacular setting. Once I had finally got my new van back, I pointed it towards Vancouver, but as I headed west, the sun came out and I wondered if maybe people would be riding out at Horsepower Ranch. I made the turn and headed that way.
Casey Keast at Washougal Loretta Lynn’s Regional
You won’t see young phenom Casey Keast in Nanaimo this weekend as he is down at Washougal competing at the Loretta Lynn’s Regional there. Good luck, Casey. If things go like they should, I’ll see you down in Tennessee!
KTM West Supermini Nationals
With Casey competing down south, that leaves the door wide open for young #81 Jake Piccolo and #234 McCoy Brough this weekend at round 2 of the 3-round KTM West Supermini Nationals. The two swapped 2nd and 3rd places last weekend so this should be a good fight for wins at The Wastelands. I don’t think the Utah native, Brough, is eligible for the KTM Canada grand prize so good luck to 12-year-old Jake Piccolo and the rest.
#51 Brock Leitner DNF-DNS
Brock Leitner was looking good at round 1 last weekend until a fall badly tweaked his ankle forcing him out of competition.
“Tore some ligaments on the inside of my ankle. Doing physio now and I will be ready for Calgary”
#74 Josh Allen 21-DNF
Kamloops local, Josh Allen, didn’t have the start to the season he wanted either.
“First moto, I couldn’t keep ‘er on 2 wheels (laughs). Second moto, I went down in the first corner and got up to 21st, then had an electrical problem.” 21-DNF
#57 Todd Minnie DNF-DNF
Todd Minnie told me yesterday that he had never DNF-ed a Pro moto until last weekend where he did it twice. He blew up his race bike in the first moto after his shifter went through the motor in a first-turn pile-up and then his practice bike let go in the 2nd.
#148 Cole Thompson 7-5
Cole Thompson was the victim of circumstance last Sunday. When Metcalfe went down in front of him, he had nowhere to go and was launched skyward as he jumped his bike over Brett’s. He said his back was a little sore and from that point on “just wasn’t feeling it.” I spoke with him today and he says he “a lot better this week” and that he is “back to 100%” and ready to go.
2016 Yamaha Bike Introduction
Parts Canada Walton TransCan ANQ’s This Weekend
Here’s where you need to be this weekend:
Central Ontario – GNC Allocation (1)
ANQ Events = 2
Saturday, May 30 at Runway Park
Sunday, June 7 at Providence Bay
OK, thanks for reading this week, everyone. Fairly neat and tidy this week. It’s been a tough one for me but it looks like I can see the properly aligned headlights at the end of this long tunnel. It has been an adventure each and every time I’ve driven across this continent! Have a great weekend and be sure to follow along on Twitter @directmx and Instagram @directmotocross for coverage from this weekend.