Frid’Eh Update #22 | Tyler Gibbs Interview | Brought to You by TLD Canada
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #22 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week brought to you by Troy Lee Designs Canada. This week finds the DMX Van in Edmonton, Alberta. Actually, to be more precise, we’re in Nisku and Leduc, Alberta, just south of the city next to the airport. As far as proximity to amenities goes, I don’t think you’ll find a better location for a race anywhere in the world.
I started my trek west on Monday afternoon. I always time these drives to best time the big cities. This trip it was Chicago I was worried about, so I left at 3pm so I would be well after the rush in the Windy City. However, I forgot that Monday was Memorial Day down in the USA, and my trip started with a problem at both the Sarnia and Windsor borders. Google Maps told me to head south on Highway 40 and take the ferry across the river at Walpole Island. I’d never done that before so I gave it a try.
With over 2-hour waits at the “normal” bridge crossings, I was happy to show up at the river with only one car ahead of me waiting for the ferry. After a 5-minute wait, the little boat showed up and we squeezed 4 cars and a motorcycle onboard and set out across the river.
Not only did it save me a ton of time, but I got a small adventure out of it. For $12 USD it was well worth it and I was on my way on the other side in Michigan.
This route drops you off in the pretty busy little beach area called Algoma and then the drive to the Interstate is a bit tedious, but I was still ahead of the game and likely saved about an hour.
I won’t bore you with much about the drive except for the bit in Chicago…
Gas is pretty expensive these days and as I headed through the little bit of Indiana you hit on I-94 West I noticed gas was about $3.59/gallon. I didn’t think it could get worse so I waited to see what it would be when I crossed into Illinois.
Wrong! It immediately went to almost $5.00/gallon and I was pretty pissed with myself. A kept rolling toward the city as the gas light came on and I started thinking about actually running out of gas at midnight 🎵 “On the south side of Chicago…” 🎶 Those are the opening words from the song, Bad Bad Leroy Brown, in case you were wondering. I knew I was in a famously rough part of the outskirts and really didn’t want to pull off, but running out of gas would have been even worse.
I left the highway and pulled into a very sketchy area and into the first gas station I saw, which was actually at the next stop light. Not bad…
I pulled up to the pump as the only car at the place. Two rather “interesting” looking individuals were standing like sentries on either side of the entrance to the ratty building. I was paying cash so I would have to go in to pre-pay. As I opened the door of the van, both of them got into a line and started toward me.
Nope. I closed the door and locked it and thought about my next move.
When I looked up from the dashboard, the two had returned to their posts but now there was an additional person leaning menacingly on the ice machine beside the entrance. He was a very big and tough looking dude, to say the very least!
Next, I did something I’ve never done before – I simply drove away into the night and took my chances with little-to-no gas.
Looking back, I’m pretty sure I avoided a mugging. The desperation I saw in these characters told me that they just didn’t care about anything else other than getting a few dollars, no matter the cost to me. In fact, I’m 100% sure I avoided being robbed, at the very least!
I clicked the display over to DTE (Distance to Empty) and was happy to see it reading 109 kms. I could make it through the city and out the other side to a slightly more favourable gas station and live to tell the tale!
I’m not sure my description does it justice, but if you know how much I drive around, the fact that I drove away should be enough to emphasize the danger I felt.
#22 is Tyler Gibbs from Mission, BC. The timing of his week for the Update Interview couldn’t be any more timely because a lot has changed very quickly for him this past week! Tyler and his former team parted ways and he was left wondering what to do with the first round of the 2023 Canadian Triple Crown Series MX Nationals just a week away.
We spoke with Tyler just after we got the news, and although he didn’t know how he was going to do it, he was determined not to miss the first round of the series here in Edmonton, Alberta. His younger brother Travis Gibbs will contest the FXR PreMix class so maybe he would have had to share a 2-stroke?!
Well, fast forward a few more days and Tyler has himself a bike…a Kawasaki 450. Not only has he gone out on his own but he’s now up in the “big boy” class! We spoke with him just after all of this happened for our #22 interview, so we’ll let him take us through the details. Here’s what he had to say:
Direct Motocross: Hello Tyler. Big changes going on with your program right now, but we’ll get to all of that in a minute. First off, I’d like to go back to the 2022 season. You had a couple 4th places in 250 MX last summer. Can you take us briefly through how that series went?
Tyler Gibbs: Yeah, last year outdoors was really good for me. I had my best finishes in the 250 class. I felt good all year and Steve Simms had a great 250f for me to ride. I’m happy how my riding was.
And then the AX/SX, which is your strong suit, didn’t go the way you’d hoped. Can you take us through that?
I had some good results and knew I had more potential but just made too many mistakes in my races. Injuring my back during the summer and then coming back so soon was difficult for me.
You didn’t race any Supercross this past winter. Why not?
It costs a lot of money and I had a couple teams reach out to me but nothing came together, but I’m trying my best and talking to teams to race more AMA this upcoming season. I do feel that SX is a strong suit of mine and would like to race more of it. I did get the opportunity to go to Germany for a Supercross race. That was a really great and exciting experience and I’m really looking forward to going back there this winter to race with for KL Motors. The team there was great and I’m really thankful for how they helped me.
You spent some time with our friends at Club MX. How was your time there?
It was good. I had some fun. I really enjoyed their gym program there.
You got to see Kaven Benoit first-hand while you were there. Since he’s no longer your 250 competition, can you tell us how you think the former 2-time champ is going to do in this stacked 250 class this summer?
I think his experience will definitely be a good asset to him. He has very good corner speed for sure. I think he’ll be a top 5 guy in the west but once we go out east he will definitely be battling for wins.
I’m not sure what you want to say about it, but you parted ways with the TLD SSR GasGas team pretty recently. Can you tell us what happened?
Yeah, Steve, Mary and the team really helped me a lot and I’m super thankful for everything. Ultimately, we had some differences of opinions that lead to a mutual decision to part ways. In the end, it was the right decision for my development. I’m feeling strong and I’m really looking forward to what this season has in store for me.
But you’ve landed on your feet and have made some pretty major changes heading into Edmonton this weekend! You’ll be on a Kawasaki 450 now. You’re going to have to tell us this story. How did this happen?
Yeah, I had a bit of an idea of what my options would be and the Kawi turned out to be the best route. I spoke to Brett (Lee) and Chad (Goodwin) from Walton Kawasaki and they were able to sell me a bike and help me get it in time for the races. I had a lot of other people step up to support me as well which exciting to see.
How is the bike? It was Justin Bogle’s practice bike. Will you have it set up for you with such little time?
The bike feels great. It came with some pretty good parts and suspension on it. I’m really happy with it so far.
What is your 450 racing history? Do you think it will suit your riding style?
I’ve never raced a 450 but I’ve practiced on them in the past and have felt comfortable.
So, you won’t be in the 250 class, but now you have to go up against some pretty proven riders in the 450 class. Have you looked at names and tried to guess where you’ll fit in? Have you set any goals?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’m going to focus on doing the best I can and see where that takes me. I’ve been working really hard on and off the bike all winter and I feel ready.
This hybrid track and 3-moto format should actually benefit you this week at RAD Torque Raceway. Are you looking forward to trying this new track design and format?
I’m very excited to ride the new track this weekend. I’ve gotten to take a look at what they’ve built so far and it looks very good.
Well, it’s almost go time and all our questions will be answered soon enough. Do you have any people you’d like to thank as we head into round 1? Good luck and we’ll see you soon.
MVP Racing, CAPITOL Motosports, WLTN Kawasaki, Fox Canada, Shift Canada, 100%, Ryno Power Canada, Lime Nine Graphics, Matrix Concepts and all of my supporters.
What a wild story! To make that many changes just one week before the start of a new season is amazing. We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on how this all plays out for Tyler and his dad.
We can use a couple more fast guys in the 450 class and Tyler moving up will help do just that. With him and WLTN Kawasaki Seven rider #20 Jeremy McKie moving up, that’s a couple more riders who will be nipping at the heals of our established top 4 of #1 Dylan Wright, #15 Jess Pettis, #5 Tyler Medaglia, and #3 Shawn Maffenbeier. I would think Tyler should be in the group just behind these guys with McKie and #25 Daniel Elmore.
In the 250 class, I see on Instagram that #173 Hunter Schlosser will join our series in the 250 class. I’ve gotten to know Hunter a little over the past couple seasons and he should fit into our series very well. He a really nice guy and fast. His best finish in SX this past season was a 17th in Glendale 250 West. I think he made some really good progress in the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, too, so he we’ll have to see if he can get his name in the conversation up near the front in this deep 250 class.
I’m going to head over to the track now. The rain stopped last night at around 7 and there’s not a cloud in the sky this morning here. They’ll be fighting the dust this weekend, not the mud.
I went over yesterday to see what was going on but only a few of the rigs had parked and the rain was pretty steady so there wasn’t a whole lot going on.
There’s a Press Conference today at 4-6pm Eastern Time (2-4 local time) so we’ll be sure to ask a few questions and get some interviews to post up before racing starts tomorrow. You can watch the PC live on RydeTV.
Also, here’s a little Need to Know for this weekend:
Press Release: TRIPLE CROWN SERIES DRAWS TALENT FROM ACROSS NORTH AMERICA FOR THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED 2023 SEASON
Top Athletes in 250 and 450 Pro Class Prepare for Season Kickoff at RAD Torque Raceway
BRIGDEN, ON (May 31, 2023) – Talented racers from across North America will make their way to RAD Torque Raceway in Edmonton, Alberta for the Heavy Metal Triple Crown SMX National. This will serve as the first round of the highly anticipated 2023 Triple Crown Series that has been established as the premier race series for both professional and amateur racing in Canada.
The 2023 Triple Crown series is excited to announce exciting changes implemented to create a safer and more competitive race environment such as:
- A newly revamped rule book with more definitions to improve clarity as well as additional chapters that outline the event and race procedures.
- Mandatory tech inspection has been reinstated for the 250 and 450 classes.
- Updated 250 (Pro/Am) eligibility rules for previous champions with more clarity on racers with AMA results.
- Introduction of the “72 Hour Rule” that prohibits professional riders from practicing on a scheduled event track within 72 hours of the event (Press related activity is excluded).
- New exemptions for Canadian Amatuer Nationals
- Removal of Fuel Rules for 2023
- Intermediate riders are now permitted to have white numbers with black backgrounds displayed on their number plates.
- Updated Protest and Appeals process (with new forms required outlined in the 2023 Rulebook)
The Triple Crown Series will continue to be sanctioned by the MRC. The collaborative aspirations from Jetwerx and the MRC stems from a desire to enhance both the professionalism and safety of the Triple Crown Series.
“Every year we seek to make improvements and adjustments from previous year’s events, race scenarios and look at areas of opportunity for progression. During this off season, we knew we had some work to do and with the collaboration from our partners and stakeholders, I feel we have put ourselves in a great position to have one of the best, and most talked about Triple Crown Series yet! With more clarity, open dialogue and focus on safety with the support from our partners, I feel that 2023 will be a big year not only in terms of the racing, but behind the scenes as well working alongside some of the most amazing people supporting the progression of the sport, all while never being afraid to try something new and learn along the way.”– Daryl Murphy, MRC Safety Marshall/Official
“We’re only days away from the first gate drop of 2023 and we couldn’t be more excited to get the season underway! There are so many positive changes this year that we hope will create an elevated experience for riders, both pro and amateur. The Triple Crown series was created with the goal to be the premier race series in Canada and we feel that the improvement for this year help us do just that.” – Kyle Thompson, Jetwerx COO
A press conference will be held on Friday, June 2nd from 4:00 – 6:00 LOCAL MOUNTAIN TIME (6-8pm EASTERN TIME) to give the media the opportunity to hear from top athletes and team personnel about the preparation done leading into this first round and their thoughts on the season ahead.
Pro racing will take place on Saturday, June 3rd, 2023 with qualifying starting at 1pm. The Pro Pit Party returns to give fans the chance to get up close and personal with their favourite athletes. General admission tickets can be purchased in advance here. Amateurs will have the opportunity to race the following day. A full weekend schedule can be found here.
Coverage of the races will be available live on Fox Sports or on the RydeTV app by visiting RydeTV.com.
|450 PRO CLASS PREVIEW|
|Dylan Wright –Gopher Dunes Racing HondaDylan Wright will return to defend his title in the 450 Pro class. A force to be reckoned with in 2022 as he went undefeated and holds five championships to his name, he will be on the hunt or more in 2023.|
|Jess Pettis – KTM CanadaThis will mark the third season of racing in the 450 premier class for the KTM Canada Factory Racer. He holds two 250 Championships from 2018 and 2020 and looks to stay healthy and be a title contender in the 450 class this season.|
|Tyler Medaglia – Thor GASGASProving to be one of the most versatile riders on the circuit, Thor GASGAS rider Tyler Medaglia will line up 450 Pro class for the 2023 season. With two outdoor championships under his belt in the 250 class, his experience gives him a competitive edge in the demanding season ahead.|
|Shawn Mafenbeier – MX101 Yamaha Seen as a veteran in the 450 class, Shawn Mafenbeier returns for the 2023 season. It is rumored this may be his last season in the class before retirement.|
|Daniel Elmore – SSR GASGASDaniel has spent the winter down south training to prepare for his first year with SSR GASGAS. He secured a handful of top five finishes in 2022 and is looking to use that as momentum into the 2023 race season.|
|Jermie Mckie – Walton Kawasaki SevenCapping off his 2022 season with a few podiums, Jermie Mckie will make his debut in the 450 class with a new team for 2023.|
|250 PRO CLASS PREVIEW|
|Ryder Mcnab – KTM CanadaNewly signed to KTM for the 2023 season, the 2022 MX2 Champion seeks to defend his title again this year. Being one of the youngest riders on the gate, Ryder Mcnab has shown he has what it takes to be a title contender.|
|Kaven Benoit – KTM CanadaThis former MX2 champion is returning to racing after stepping away in 2018. Kaven Benoit is looking to prove he still has what it takes against the stacked 250 Pro class.|
|Mitchell Harrison – Thor GASGAS Returning for another year with the Thor GASGAS team in the 250 Pro class, Mitchell Harrison is fired up for the 2023 season after finishing behind the championship chase in 2022.|
|Sam Gaynor – SSR GASGASSidelined by a wrist injury in the 2022 season, Sam is returning to the 250 Pro class with his sights set on a healthy season ahead.|
|Sebastian Racine – MX101 Yamaha Proving to be a title contender in his rookie season, Sebastian Racine has signed with MX101 for the 2023 season.|
|Tanner Ward – Walton Kawasaki Seven Tanner Ward has opted to move back down to the 250 Pro class and has high expectations as he returns with the Walton Kawasaki Seven team for 2023.|
|Jacob Piccolo – Gopher Dunes Racing HondaThe 2021 250 class champion Jacob Piccolo has signed with GDR Honda for 2023. He is looking forward to being teammates with multi-time and defending champion, Dylan Wright.|
|Austin Jones – MX101 YamahaReturning for this third season with the MX101 Yamaha crew, Austin Jones has spent the off season recovering from injuries sustained in 2022 and looking to battle up front in the upcoming season.|
As I was leaving Planet Fitness just now, I bumped into Marc Dionne and #126 Kaven Benoit in the parking lot. We talked about all kinds of things, including my “dislike” of Nickelback, and I won’t mention everything we talked about, but I will give you this little tidbit.
I straight up asked him who his pick for the 250 class title was this summer and, of course, he raised his hand. Kaven feels good and is feeling very little pressure heading into this championship. The 2-time champ may be hard to bet against!
I then asked him to pick who gets second place and he said 2022 champion Ryder McNabb.
Yes, you would expect a rider to pick himself and then his teammate, but, if you know Kaven, he would probably have picked someone else if he weren’t feeling fast enough, so I take his picks with more than a grain of salt.
I’ll head over to the track now and do my first ‘Bigwave’s Walk and Talk’ of the year through the pits and around the track. I have a lot of fun doing these things and it’ll be good to catch up with anyone and everyone I bump into as I wander around in the….SUNSHINE!
Yes, the sun has come out and we’re looking at sunny skies and a forecast of 23 today and 24 on Saturday for the Pro racing. Sunday’s high here at RAD Torque Raceway is 28C with a 40% chance of less than 5mm of rain. We’re looking good for round 1!
If you’re racing Amateur Day on Sunday, here’s some information you should have:
You’ve also already heard the big news out of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship that #23 Chase Sexton won’t be racing Round 2 at Hangtown on Saturday. After his crash at Fox Raceway and then another during the week, he says he’s not only banged up his head but that he’s contracted MONO. Truthfully, if he’s got mono he’s probably out for a little longer than just this week, but we’ll wait and see.
Here’s his post from Instagram:
Let’s hope someone is able to step up their game and give #18 Jett Lawrence at least a bit of a challenge. #14 Dylan Ferrandis is likely the only rider who can for the full motos, but we’ll see if this weird season lights a fire under anyone’s butts.
OK, We’ll leave it there for this week and I’ll head over to the track. Have a great weekend and enjoy all the racing Saturday! Remember, qualifying doesn’t start until 4pm Mountain/6pm Eastern.
If you can’t watch it live on RYDETV, you can follow the LIVE TIMING HERE.
And if you’re looking for something else to watch while you’re waiting, Greg Poisson and I did our previews for both the 250 and 450 classes:
Off I go…for real this time…