Frid’Eh Update #23 Presented by Race Tech
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Race Tech has a history of capturing wins and championships around the globe and for 2017 they will be fielding an extremely competitive group of talent in the Canadian Motocross nationals. With a roster stacked with talent aboard Race Tech Gold Valves, there should be no shortage of outstanding results for the World’s largest aftermarket suspension modification company.
Welcome to Week #23 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update, this week brought to you by Race Tech. The number belongs to the rider we got to know pretty well the past few years. Ryeley Gallup is the stylish rider whose skill level seems to be steadily rising. In fact, Ryeley almost ended up on the box last summer at round 4 in Regina.
Here’s a look at his 2016 season:
As I was driving across the continent this past week, I gave Ryeley a call and asked if he’d mind if I fired over a few questions for this intro. To be honest, he sounded pretty down about the possibility of not being able to do the series this season. He left it up in the air, leaving the door slightly ajar for a last-minute trip to Kamloops for round 1. Pre-registration goes until the end of Friday, as Lloyd Christmas famously said, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”
Like many riders in Ryeley’s shoes, the cost/benefit analysis starts to weigh heavily when you hit a certain age, have little financial support to race, and the damn ‘real world’ starts creeping in and cramping your moto lifestyle.
Trust me, Ryeley, the future can wait a couple years. I remember being young and thinking there’s no way I could ‘waste’ a year off from school before enrolling in university. Truth is, the future is long! Do the things you love now while you can.
We didn’t hear back from Ryeley in time for this Update intro. Let’s all hope that means the speedster is in the truck driving from Brooks, Alberta, to be on the line this Sunday.
Hey, guys, Happy Friday. Well, the 2017 CMRC Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals are just a couple days away. We are going into the season with 2 of the most stacked classes ever in Canada. We have fast Canadians, Americans, and even a former World Champion Frenchman. It doesn’t get much better than that.
ROCKSTAR ENERGY MX NATIONALS
Once again, we will race 10 rounds coast to coast on some of Canada’s best soil. Riders will have to battle the elements on the West Coast to start the series, then the real judge of fitness and heart comes when we swing East at Gopher Dunes. The series continues further East to the land of techno music and poutine on its way to the laid back Maritimes before the finale in Central Ontario. Some riders start off hot and fade, while others pick up steam along the way. Here are a few of my thoughts on the eve of the 2017 season:
Round 1: Kamloops: Everyone will be nervous, anxious, and full of jitters. This is the round where most riders realize that their bike setup is way off. Let’s be serious, this is Canada and not everyone gets to test. What worked on ‘Billy-Bobs’ local track is probably the furthest from what will work at any National track, but hey… at least you tried. Normally, the guy who leaves Round 1 with the red plate and the points lead, isn’t the guy that finishes with the Championship. I’m a strong believer in the saying, “You can’t win a series at the first round, but you can definitely lose it there.”
MX2 Class: Last season, the MX2 class was very weak after the top 10. The depth just wasn’t there. This season the class looks to have a ton of talent chasing Cole Thompson and his number 1 plate. Last year, Cole was a man among boys and honestly dominated the entire series. I’m hoping 2017 will offer a little more resistance and challenges to Cole, so he doesn’t run away with it again. I, personally, think Jacob Hayes and Cole will be going at it right off the bat. They have a history and are both fierce competitors and will make things exciting. Dylan Wright will be fired up to prove himself after finishing strong, and I’m willing to bet that Dylan will not be pushed around by anyone this summer. I think that the battles from 3rd through 6th are going to be super tough and very exciting for all 10 rounds.
MX1 Class: Once again, MX1 will be stacked. I even think 2017 has a little more depth. There are going to be former race winners and podium guys struggling to get into the top 5. Yeah, it is that stacked. We are going to see the regulars in the top ten week in and week out. I don’t see any ‘unknowns’ throwing down an epic podium ride. There are just too many good riders for that to happen. Christophe Pourcel and Matt Goerke are going to go back and forth at round one with Mike Alessi in tow. Colton Facciotti will show us that he still has it and throw his hat in the ring as well, and he will make things interesting. The MX1 class will show everyone that there aren’t going to be any easy motos in 2017 for anyone.
Ladies West: The big question was, “What coast are Eve Brodeur and Kennedy Lutz racing?” Not trying to disrespect the Champion, Shelby Turner, and the rest of the West Ladies, but that was the big news. Well, Brodeur and Lutz have chosen to go East, so the real race will be with defending champion Turner and #3 Lexi Pechout. These two ladies have incredible speed and will be long gone. It’s a shame that former champ, Sara King, is stepping away for a bit, but I understand and wish her the best. There should be some solid battles from 3rd to 7th, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the top 2 lap well into the top 10.
Here are my predictions for Kamloops:
1st Shelby Turner
2nd Lexi Pechout
3rd Dominique Daffé
4th Madi Watts
5th Kristin Tse
1st Cole Thompson
2nd Jacob Hayes
3rd Dylan Wright
4th Jess Pettis
5th Josh Osby
1st Matt Goerke
2nd Christophe Porcel
3rd Mike Alessi
4th Colton Facciotti
5th Kaven Benoit
Short and sweet for me this week. I’m on my way to Motopark in Chatsworth, Ontario. I’ll be riding our Yamaha Canada YZ 250 2-stroke and floating like a cloud on my MP1 Suspension. Good luck to everyone lining up in Kamloops, and I will see you guys next week. Have a great weekend and #smileforBC and #liftwithscott.
Thanks, Jeff. Yes, this is the best week of the year, if you are a fan of Canadian Motocross. All the prep over the winter will be on the line to see who did the most work. We’ve got proven winners and up-and-comers ready to put their names in the record books as race winners.
Like everyone else, we did our PRE-SEASON PODCAST this past week to discuss what we thought people should expect to see this year at the races. It’s always a difficult thing to do because we are a small industry up here and it becomes like an extended family – you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Having said that, there are only 10 riders who can be in the top 10, so some riders’ names aren’t on the list. Jeff, Andy White, and I did our best to go through who we think should be the cream of the crop in 2017. If you didn’t listen to it, you can here:
WHAT THIS SPORT TAKES
What do you think? I think the interesting thing will be to see who raises their game to become one of the top riders. The top guys will be the top guys, but who is still getting faster? Who did more than head south to burn gas over the winter? Who actually put in the necessary work to win at this level? If you want to make it to the top, it’s not fun. Fun means you use your natural talent and love of the sport to hit the races and have a good time. Not the top riders.
No, this is a job and a job takes hard work. When you’re out at the practice track and it’s hot, dry, and dusty and you really would rather be on a patio somewhere, you do your second moto and work on things. You’re not just counting down laps for the sake of saying you did it. No, you are driving into that tight corner at the end of the high-speed straightaway and seeing if you can possibly brake a little later. You’re thinking back to that time you got a good start only to watch the top guys go around you on the outside and wondering what you could do to get to that same pace.
The good thing is that as you come up through the ranks, you are improving at a fast rate. Like any sport, the improvement curve is sharp to begin with and then tapers off – it has to. The Facciottis of the world find it more and more difficult to get much faster. They are already up there at the edge. Its the riders outside the top 10 who can realize the biggest gains. That’s just the way it goes.
When you’re out there wondering how you’re going to do any more laps with the same top-level intensity, realize that everyone finishing ahead of you on race day is doing just that.
Motocross isn’t for the faint of heart. This is the original ‘Extreme Sport’ and should be respected as such. Things can go very wrong in a heartbeat, so we need to find that fine line between the the ragged edge and control. It’s out there, but it can be hard to find.
I hope everyone put in the work the last few months and comes out swinging this week at Whispering Pines. Who will be this year’s Kaven Benoit and emerge as a legitimate contender? This is why I love our sport. It’s the unknowns. Nobody (exaggeration) thought Kaven would be as fast as he was in his ‘rookie’ 450 year and now he’s a become a guy who we all think could challenge for the MX1 title. Sport is awesome!
For me, it’s the stories behind the results that intrigue me. The families who’ve dedicated their lives to getting to this level. It’s a grind. It’s a commitment. It’s a gamble. It’s amazing.
I just drove from Ontario to BC through some rather boring geography to get here…again. This sport is a sickness with no cure. You just have to let the fever run its course and see what happens.
Like I said, this is the best weekend of the year for Canadian Motocross and I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Good luck to everyone who is taking a chance and lining up here in BC. Yes, just getting here is a feat in itself, but let’s see just how far you can go. Let’s do this!
2 BRIEF ROAD TRIP STORIES
Speaking of driving all the way out here, a couple things happened on this drive west that I wanted to share, before I forgot.
Yes, it actually happened. An American actually did this.
I was grabbing a bite to eat in a small town in Wyoming. I paid for my food and received some change that included a few pennies. I told the guy that we’ve actually done away with the penny in Canada and it’s the best thing we’ve ever done. He thinks for a second and says, “Canada? Cool. Do you know….The Wurtles?” Yep, that happened.
I said to him that Canada is actually a pretty big country and that the chances are pretty slim. He said, “Ya, but I think they’re a pretty big family.”
No, I don’t know them.
Then, as I was heading north from Spokane, WA over the Sherman Pass, I stopped for some gas in the very remote town of Republic. As I came out from paying an old guy in a beat up mid-70’s pick up says, “Canada? Cool. We don’t get many people from Ontario through here.”
He had a friendly, weathered look, so I asked him if he lived around there. He said that he did. He moved there in the late 1960’s. So I joked, “Oh, and the authorities never found you?”
A look came over his face that basically said that I’d nailed it. I wasn’t sure how this was going to end but then a change came over his face that had a hint of, “Ya, I was a bad ass.” I really wanted to ask him more questions about what had actually brought him to hiding out in this hidden part of the world, but instead I offered his a bunch of bananas that I wasn’t going to be able to finish before crossing the border in 30 minutes.
Like I always say, travel is the best was to make memories. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Wait, maybe that was Ferris Bueller… Anyway, I thought it was a cool story.
HOW TO WATCH KAMLOOPS
You’ll need to download the CONX2SHARE App first. Then follow CMRC RACING. You will then have access to 5 hours of FREE, LIVE coverage throughout the day.
Saturday – Amateur Day – 9am to 5pm
NATIONAL DAY SCHEDULE
– 7:30am Pro Riders Meeting
– 8:00am MX2 Pro Practice – Group 1
– 8:17am MX2 Pro Practice – Group 2
– 8:35am MX1 Pro Practice – Group 1
– 8:52am MX1 Pro Practice – Group 2
– 9:10am Track Maintenance
– 9:20am MX2 Pro Timed Qualifier – Group 1
– 9:40am MX2 Pro Timed Qualifier – Group 2
– 10:00am MX1 Pro Timed Qualifier – Group 1
– 10:20am MX1 Pro Timed Qualifier – Group 2
– 10:40am Track Maintenance
– 10:50am MX2 Pro Timed LCQ
– 11:05am MX1 Pro Timed LCQ
– 11:20am Track Maintenance
– 11:50am Opening Ceremonies
– 12:00pm MX2 Hot Lap
– 12:10pm MX2 Moto #1
– 12:45pm Track Maintenance
– 1:10pm MX1 Pro Hot Lap
– 1:20pm MX1 Pro Moto #1
– 2:00pm Track Maintenance
– 2:30pm MX2 Pro Hot Lap
– 2:40pm MX2 Pro Moto #2
– 3:15pm Track Maintenance
– 3:45pm MX1 Pro Hot Lap
– 3:55pm MX1 Moto #2
Stu McQueen 250-300-9857 / firstname.lastname@example.org
HOW TO WATCH LUCAS OIL PRO MOTOCROSS – ROUND 3 THUNDER VALLEY
7 am – 2 pm Will Call
7:30 am Mandatory Riders Meeting
7:45 am Chapel Service
8:15 am – 8:30 am 250 Class Practice Grp A – 15 minutes 5 Free/10 Timed
8:35 am – 8:50 am 450 Class Practice Grp A – 15 minutes 5 Free/10 Timed
8:55 am – 9:10 am 450 Class Practice Grp B – 15 minutes 5 Free/10 Timed
9:10 am – 9:25 am Track Maintenance
9:25 am – 9:30 am 250 Class Grp A Start Practice – 5 minutes
9:30 am – 9:45 am 250 Class Practice Grp A – 15 minutes – Timed
9:50 am – 9:55 am 450 Class Grp A Start Practice – 5 minutes
9:55 am – 10:10 am 450 Class Practice Grp A – 15 minutes – Timed
10:15 am – 10:20 am 450 Class Grp B Start Practice – 5 minutes
10:20 am – 10:35 am 450 Class Practice Grp B – 15 minutes – Timed
10:40 am – 10:55 am Track Maintenance
11 am – 11:10 am FMF Dream Invitational 2-Stroke Practice
11:15 am – 11:30 am 250 Consolation Race
11:30 am – 11:50 am 450 Consolation Race
11:55 am – 12:15 pm FMF Dream Invitational 2-Stroke Race
12:35 pm – 1 pm Opening Ceremonies
1 pm – 1:10 pm 250 Class Sight Lap
1:10 pm – 1:45 pm 250 Class Moto #1
1:45 pm – 2 pm Podium Interviews
2 pm – 2:10 pm 450 Class Sight Lap
2:10 pm – 2:45 pm 450 Class Moto #1
2:45 pm – 3 pm Podium Interviews
3 pm – 3:10 pm 250 Class Sight Lap
3:10 pm – 3:45 pm 250 Class Moto #2
3:45 pm – 4 pm 250 Winners Circle
4 pm – 4:10 pm 450 Class Sight Lap
4:15 pm – 4:45 pm 450 Class Moto #2
4:45 pm – 5 pm 450 Winners Circle
5 pm – 5:30 pm Press Conference [code][/code]
Did you know, Marvin Musquin‘s win at round 2 at Glen Helen makes him the 5th Frenchman to win an AMA Pro Motocross race and the first since David Vuillemin at High Point back in 2001?
BRAD NAUDITT UPDATE
OFFICIAL MXNATIONALS.CA PREVIEW
2017 Round 1 Kamloops National Preview
For the third year in a row, Round 1 will take place at the Whispering Pines Raceway in Kamloops, British Columbia, located in the south central part of BC along the banks of the Thompson River. The racetrack, surrounded by the Monashee mountain range, is full of man-made obstacles and has a sand base mixed with loamy black earth that gets very rough and choppy as the day progresses. The track will be raced in the opposite direction it was last year, which is how it was run in 2015.
Racers and their teams will switch from preparation to race mode this weekend as all their off-season training and testing is finally put to the test. The championship cannot be won at the first round but finishing well gives riders momentum to carry them into the next round, and getting through the opener in one piece is essential in the quest for the championship.
Rockstar Husqvarna’s Christophe Pourcel of France will make his highly anticipated Canadian National debut, and like Davi Millsaps last year, race fans are divided on how he will perform. Some put him at a disadvantage because he has no knowledge of the tracks, plus they wonder about his commitment. Pourcel has an international resume better than any previous rider to compete in Canada, but there are lingering questions about his health. Christophe is on the same factory race bike that is winning races south of the border and has proven in the past that he can adapt to different track conditions. Look for the former World Champion to be a title contender, and don’t be surprised if he is on the top step of the podium this weekend.
Finishing second in each of the last two seasons at the opening round, Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Matt Goerke will be looking to win this weekend on a track he rides well. Goerke is always strong on really rough racetracks, and smooth lines are not easy to find at Whispering Pines. Matt won the season opening moto last year and will be looking for a repeat performance on Sunday as he begins his quest for his third National title.
KTM Canada Thor Racing Team’s Kaven Benoit will no longer be a rookie as he kicks off his second season in the MX1 class. In his first race in the premier class, Benoit finished fourth last year in Kamloops, but comes into 2017 with not as much preparation after injuring his ankle during the winter. Kaven won a lot of races during his career in MX2, but is still looking for his first victory at Whispering Pines.
The combination of a better motor and better suspension should help Monster Energy Alpinestars Kawasaki’s Mike Alessi reach the top step of the podium again. Alessi was fifth at last year’s season opener and will be looking to find the magic he had in 2014 when he won five times and finished second in the series.
One of the biggest question marks coming into 2017 is Honda Canada Racing Fox GDR’s Colton Facciotti, who will be going after his fifth National title. Facciotti has not raced in 10 months after suffering an injury at Round 8 last summer. Colton finished on the podium in Kamloops last year and won there in 2014.
Nova Scotia’s Tyler Medaglia changed teams for 2017 and joined the newly formed Royal Distributing Motovan Pillers Race Team aboard a Honda. Medaglia has finished on the podium twice as an MX1 pilot in Kamloops and will have to adapt to his new bike and team quickly if he wants to be on the box this weekend.
Redemption Racing’s Cade Clason is coming off his best season to date in Supercross and will be lining up this weekend still hunting for his first podium finish in Canada. Canadian Keylan Meston will be sporting a single digit on his number plate this year after finishing eighth in the series in 2016. The talented Calgarian will be back on a Yamaha under the RM Motorsports tent.
After filling in for the injured Brett Metcalfe last season, Quebecer Tim Tremblay will be racing for Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha in 2017. Tremblay is well known to Canadian race fans and notched two top five finishes in the MX1 class last season, while competing in only three races.
American Kyle Chisholm and Canada’s Nathan Bles will also be a part of the Royal Distributing Motovan Pillers Team. Chisholm is no stranger to racing in Canada and finished 5th in the MX1 class in 2014, which included a win in Quebec. Bles has multiple top 10 finishes in both classes at the National level.
KTM Canada Thor Racing Cole Thompson’s run to the championship last season was really impressive. Thompson topped the podium in 7 of the 10 rounds, however not in Kamloops, although he did win the second moto there. Cole is clearly the favourite coming into Round 1 and will have a target on his back. The only major change in his program for 2017 is a new mechanic, as the talented 23-year-old Canadian attempts to win back to back championships.
Last year’s MX2 winner in Kamloops Shawn Maffenbeier has switched over to the MX101 FXR Yamaha team for 2017 and feels that he has found those few missing pieces from last year. Shawn appears to have made a quick transition to his new team, and comes into Round 1 well prepared and looking quite comfortable on his Yamaha.
In one of the biggest off-season signings, 19-year-old Dylan Wright joined the Honda Canada Racing Fox GDR Team. Wright had a breakout season in 2016 and it all started with a win in the first moto at Whispering Pines. Race fans have been waiting with anticipation to see how Dylan will perform on his new bike, and if he has what it takes to compete for the title.
British Columbia native Jess Pettis is back with the MX101 FXR Yamaha Team and hopes to get off to a good start like he did last year in Kamloops. Pettis finished third in last season’s opening moto and was close to finishing on the podium in Moto 2 before suffering a mechanical breakdown. Jess will also be motivated knowing that Round 2 this year is in his home town of Prince George.
Monster Energy Alpinestars Kawasaki Team’s Jacob Hayes will have to clear his head of any bad memories he has from last year’s opener in Kamloops. Hayes suffered a season ending injury in the first moto, so Canadian race fans did not get a chance to see this talented American race in 2016. Jacob has to be looking to get through Round 1 clean, as many people believe he could be the biggest threat to Cole Thompson repeating as Champion.
Kamloops is known for its beautiful climate and the forecast for this weekend’s season opener at Whispering Pines is calling for nothing but sunshine. If you haven’t already purchased your tickets you can buy them online easily at www.mxnationals.ca/tickets. If you are in another part of the country and are unable to attend the race you can see all the action live by downloading the free Conx2share app or logging on to www.conx2share.com and live stream every moto on either your mobile phone or computer.
With all the new talent coming north this year to take part in the 2017 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals, as well as the returning riders and champions, this could be the most competitive and highly anticipated series to date. The first round always has that extra level of excitement as it is the first opportunity for the riders and teams to see how they stack up against the competition, and for the fans to see their favourite riders again. Ten rounds of adrenaline filled, bar banging action will cross the entire country and new champions will be crowned in late August. It all starts this Sunday, June 4th.
Links and social media:
Event info: http://www.mxnationals.ca/event-info/
Live Streaming: www.conx2share.com Twitter – @Conx2share
RPMA FXR TEAM PULLS OUT OF CANADIAN NATIONALS
- rpma_fxr_racing_promx_teamIt brings me nothing but sadness to report that the #rpmafxrracingteam was forced to shut its doors yesterday afternoon. This is just as much of a shock to me as it is to you. While on the cusp of an extremely possitive year, I Alexander Ratner was forced into closing down and refraining from moving forward as planned this year. There were members of the team and some outside influence who wished to capture control and alter several existing agreements #rpmaracing had with other riders and more. With the events that unfolded 3 days prior to the start of the season I was no longer comfortable with the situation. How it unfolded or some people’s desire to seize control and effect not only other riders but the image of #rpmaracing as a whole. I am very sad this is what had to happen however upon this disagreement some riders felt they no longer needed or wanted any further assistance from RPMA Racing. Thus the decision for me to separate from the riders and close our program was made for me. I wish the former riders good luck and will still try to help some riders who were not involved in the situation. Even though some riders are still racing the #rpmafxrracingteam is no more #canadianmotocross #motocrosscanada #pronationals #promotocross #theendofagoodthing
I just spoke with Michael Fowler and he confirms they have parted ways but added that he has the riders with him and they are nearing Kamloops for round 1! Great news. Good luck, guys.
OK, this Pacific Coast time zone is tricky, so we’ll put an end to this one here. There is so much to do this weekend. Let’s go racing!
Be sure to follow us on Instagram @DirectMotocross, Twitter @DirectMX, and Facebook @Direct Motocross for updates and live videos all weekend long. Also, we are going to try a shorter recap video like the MXGP and AMA do for their series this summer. It will be 5-7 minutes of racing highlights with a voice over. That should keep the younger, short-attention-span viewers happy.