Frid’Eh Update #24 Presented by Blackfoot Direct
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to the 24th week of the Frid’Eh Update, this week brought to you by Blackfoot Direct in Calgary, Alberta. It’s hard to believe we’re already almost halfway through 2015, but, with 52 weeks in a year, the 24th puts us pretty close. It’s also hard to believe the unfortunate turn of events that hit this week’s honoree, #24 Kyle Swanson. As is coming back from a broken femur wasn’t tough enough, some jerk(s) broke into their trailer Saturday night before the Sunday national at round 2 in Nanaimo, BC and stole his race bike. They were even sleeping in the front end of the thing!
If you’ve ever met the friendly rider from the state of Texas, then you know he’s not one to dwell on the negative side of anything – remember, the first year he came up to Canada, he and his mechanic slept in the front of his pick-up truck! Although he’s sitting well out of the position he belongs, in 12th, you can be sure that as the season rolls on he’ll get that number well inside the top 10.
We grabbed him for a quick chat and here’s what Kyle had to say:
Can you give us a brief overview on where you grew up and what your amateur racing career was like?
I grew up in San Antonio Texas. Wayyy down south where the dirt is perfect always (laughs)! My amateur career was pretty good. Looking back now, I wouldn’t have changed a thing! I rode for Honda of Houston my last four years which helped to make it the best end to my amateur career! I won my only two championships in my last two years with them and got a top 5 in 250 A at Loretta’s and top ten in 450 A as well! And we finished it off at Monster Cup with a 7th in Amateur All Stars!
What did you do when you first turned Pro?
When I first turned Pro, I moved to San Clemente, California, with the Schehr family where Cari Schehr was my manager and her husband, Bryan Schehr, was my mechanic. They took me through Loretta’s, Monster Cup then into my first full season of Supercross!
This is your 3rd year in Canada. What keep bringing you back?
Besides Canada being my favourite place in the world, I keep coming back because I feel as if I never got to give it all I had! First year I slept in my truck for 3 months by myself, went to every round sleeping at the last round in the open field until it was time to head to the next round, and that year was actually my best, finishing 6th in the series! The following year, I got a ride from Prairie Hill MX and the Millar family and we blew up 7 motors, so I honestly only got to finish half the races, blowing up my last motor on the line for the first moto at Walton!
And now this year I was given everything I needed by the Danyluk Racing Suzuki team and I broke my femur 52 days before the first round! So, coming into Kamloops I had only ridden 7 times and still couldn’t take my leg off the peg (laughs), so it’s been another year of catching up for me and I think it’s also a huge reason why I keep coming back…unfinished business!
How has your summer been going so far?
So far, the summer has been going better then worse (laughs). The first moto of the year, I did lose a chain but since then we have continued to move forward, getting 9th overall last weekend putting me a couple points out of tenth which was our main goal dealing with my leg and no training or riding. If we can just leave the west in the top ten it gives us 3 weeks to build on what we have built in 4 rounds and we should be where we want to be going east!
You actually had your race bike stolen from the back of your trailer while you were sleeping in the front. Can you take us through what happened and what you’ve been doing for a bike since?
(Laughs…a lot) Man, OK, so this year has been more rough than usual, I keep forgetting! So at the second round Saturday night before the race my race bike was stolen out of our trailer as we where sleeping in the front living quarters! I woke up and noticed the gate was dropped and my bike was missing! At that moment we made the decision to ride Brittany Danyluk our women’s Pro rider’s bike, so from then till now I have been racing Brittany’s bike!
What’s it going to take to get you up into the top 5 in the MX2 class?
As far as getting in the top five, it will happen sooner than later, but, like I said, up until about a week ago I wasn’t able to do much on or off the bike because of my leg, so at this point it’s at about 90% and I’m able to start making progress as far as my riding and conditioning goes.
What’s your favourite Canadian track?
My favourite Canada in track would have to be Motopark. Now, as for my favourite track on the circuit, it would have to be Ulverton!
Will you race SX again this winter?
I will race Supercross again this year. For the first time, I will actually be able to put it all in and not just be riding once or twice a week at random sx tracks! I have chosen to move to Zack Bell‘s house where his dad, Chuck, will work with me for a few months before east coast sx and, with that being said, I’m pretty sure he will be able to put me in a position to do what I have wanted to the whole time!
You’re actually not that long from a broken leg. Can you tell us what happened and how it feels now?
Back to the broken leg (laughs)! I broke it at Milestone SX during the east/west break for Supercross. I went down in the whoops, went over the bars, bike drilled me in the back of my leg making my leg looked like the letter Z (laughs)! I had surgery that day and was released 3 days later. We drove to Texas in the back seat of a dodge, “that was hell!” Once I got home, I went straight into therapy to try and get ready to race in 4 1/2 weeks! 4 Extreme Health’s Nick Milnor, like always, defied the science of the body and made it possible for me to be able to ride one week before Kamloops! As of right now, I’m able to do everything I was before except run for longer than one minute (laughs) and nac-nacs with my left leg! Besides that, she’s good to go!
Thanks for the chat. Are you looking forward to a mudder in Regina? LOL Who would you like to thank?
(Laughs) I’m always looking forward to mud and I think for the last round of east it’s going to be great for points and overall really even the playing field! My leg will also appreciate not getting hammered lap after lap going wide open!!! First off, I would like to thank DMX for giving me the opportunity to share all my exciting adventures and stories always (laughs) and as for everyone that makes riding my dirt bike for a living possible, I couldn’t thank them enough. It’s been a dream come true all the way through and I really hope it get to continue for years to come!
And these people are my dad for never giving up on me and pushing me through the hard times and being behind me not matter what. Without him, none of this would have ever even been thought of as being possible, the whole Danyluk family, FXR, Spy, Proven motors, Factory Connection, Dubya, Mika, DT1, Works Connection, Ride Engineering, Speed Graffix, Down at Deanos, Moto Shack, FMF, Rekluse, Stamina, 2UNDR, Red Hawk Designs, VP Race Fuels, Blackfoot Direct and the whole McRae family!
Good luck, Kyle. It’s not what happens to a person that makes them who they are, it’s how they deal with it. See you in Regina.
This week’s Update is presented by Blackfoot Direct:
Blackfoot Direct is Canada’s leading Husqvarna dealer with the largest in-stock selection of both OEM and aftermarket parts for both MX and Off-Road riders.
As a specialized off-road centre, we pride ourselves on the knowledge to provide customers with the best products at competitive prices.
We are are also a Beta and Sherco motorcycle authorized dealer and exclusive Airoh Helmet importer for Canada.
Rockstar Energy MX Nationals
Hey, guys. It’s finally Friday again and we are ready for Round 4 of our CMRC Rockstar Energy Nationals. The powerful MotoConcepts Race team showed up for Round 3 in Calgary and I, myself, like many, expected Mike Alessi to battle for the win. Unfortunately, Mike has been dealing with some injuries and had to pull out. That didn’t phase teammate Vince Friese has he rode to a moto win and the overall in the super-stacked 450 class. Vince is a very good rider with lots of talent and fitness, but I never saw this win coming in a million years. Yes, I knew Vince was a race-winner in the MX2 class, but never did I see him as a 450 winner over this stacked class. It really is too bad that the team didn’t choose to contest the entire series as I truly believe they would have had 2 title challengers. Either way, I am very glad that they are doing a couple.
So much for doubting our champ. Although Colton Facciotti has had a slow start, he now sits in 2nd place just a mere 4 points behind red plate holder Matt Goerke. Colton still hasn’t won an overall this season, but give him time. He came into this season a tad behind the eight ball and is still finding his groove. Colton is a champion, he knows how to win races, but, more importantly, he knows how to win championships. I would be very shocked if Colton isn’t rocking the red plate at some point this season. The guy is just that good. It won’t be an easy task though. Both former champions, Brett Metcalfe and Matt Goerke know our tracks, and know how to win the MX1 title in Canada. Throw in wildcard (my championship pick) Cole Thompson and it is going to be an action packed 450 class all summer long.
MX1 Point Standings after 3 of 10 Rounds
In MX2 action, Kaven Benoit and his trusty 2-stroke hold the red plate as the points leader after 3 rounds. The super-consistent Jeremy Medaglia trails in 2nd with 144 points and Jimmy Decotis sits 3rd with 135 points. We all knew Benoit was going to be fast everywhere no matter what bike he chose. Most said Jimmy would be up front in the East but doubted him in the West. This guy is a great supercross racer and, guess what? SX isn’t sand! It’s pretty hard-packed, and might have a small roller section of sand or a sandy corner. This guy has some serious talent, period! He isn’t the best all around MX2 racer this season in my mind, but he is definitely the most talented, straight up. This guy is going to be there each and every weekend, and come July 12 at Gopher Dunes, we are going to see where his fitness really is compared to Benoit and Medaglia. Speaking of Medaglia, Jeremy has been on the box every moto but one. And his lone moto finish off of the podium was a 4th. If he can keep that up, the championship will be in his grasp come Walton. I, myself, am waiting for J-Dags to hang it out a bit and collect that first win of the season.
MX2 Point Standings after 3 of 10 Rounds
Women’s West Nationals
The Women’s West Nationals have come and gone. Kennedy Lutz was the fastest, Sara King was fast and consistent, and Rachel Springman was very good, but just a tad off the top 2. I was impressed with the gains Brittany Danyluk made. I’m very proud of how well Dominique Daffé rode and handled herself after her bike and gear was stolen right before round 1. Not to be out-done was Camille Bunko. Camille is a new mom and hasn’t been riding much at all, so to see her finish 8th overall was great.
All in all, it was a great series and all of the girls rode well. Some sad news came out this week, Denaye Arnett and Camille Bunko will be stepping down from their positions as co-organizers. These 2 girls busted their butts and did everything they could to give the West coast ladies a very respectable series. I’d like to personally thank Denaye and Camille for doing a great job with the series, and always being there when DMX called. Enjoy your free time, ladies. I hope to see you at a race soon.
Here is the post on the Canadian Women’s National Motocross Series Facebook page:
If you haven’t heard the news yet Camille and I have just finished our last round as organizers of the Canadian Womens West Series. After 4 years of building and helping Canadian Women’s Motocross grow, Camille and I have both built lives outside of the racing community that have made it difficult to do a great job at both. The series deserves 100% dedication and we feel that it will be taken care of by the next group that steps up to help.
We would like to thank everyone who has been a part of the series whether that be as a rider, sponsor, media, supporter, our husbands and anyone else who has taken the time to pay attention to what we were doing in the sport. It has been a great 4 years and we couldn’t be more proud of the women riders and the level of racing that was brought to a side of the sport not many people had followed before.
We wish nothing but the best to all of you. You deserve to be treated with the same respect as any male rider out there.
Thank you for the many years of people saying its not possible as we have thrown it right back in your face and have gone out with a bang!
The future of Women’s Motocross is looking brighter then ever!
Love you all♥. See you at the races !
Denaye & Camille
Women’s West Final Standings
Women’s East Nationals Start July 11th at Gopher Dunes
From series organizer Leah Clarke:
With the Western rounds of the CMRC Canadian Women’s Nationals wrapped, up I’m looking forward to getting the ball rolling for the East series. I’d just like to point out a few reminders for the girls intending to ride the East Women’s Nationals:
* Sign-up is going to be done the Friday nights before the National event. If riders cannot make it to sign in Friday, they need to notify me or Sylvain Brodeur so we can have their names and CMRC numbers written down for CMRC officials Friday night. Exactly where and what time (probably 7-8pm) sign-in is going to be done at the track will be decided and announced closer to the date, whether it be at the CMRC trailer or mine. Sylvain and I can be contacted easily on social media through the “Cdnwmx Canadian Women’s Motocross National Series” Facebook page.
* All riders must have a transponder. No sharing transponders! They will be available to rent if you don’t have one. If you do not have a CMRC license, you may get a day pass for the day.
* Last names and numbers must be clear and visible on the backs of the ladies jersey’s/chest protector and need to match the number on the riders bike.
* There will be a mandatory Women’s riders meeting following the amateur riders meeting Saturday morning
For more information, please see the Women’s National Info package on the CMRC website: http://www.cmrcracing.com/womens-national-info/
And check out the cdnwmx.com website/ Facebook page.
TwoTwo Motorsports Closes its Doors
South of the border, the big news this week is TwoTwo Motorsports closing its doors. Rumor has it, Chad Reed will show up sometime later this season aboard a factory Yamaha. That, paired with the news that James Stewart will be back for 2 more years, makes me a happy fan.
Lucas Oil AMA Outdoor Nationals
In 250 action, Jeremy Martin and Marvin Musquin are the 2 racers to beat. I’m willing to bet that they will swap the points lead all season long. Finally healthy Adam Cianciarulo is slowly getting back up to speed and might be able to challenge for moto wins soon. In the 450 class, Ryan Dungey is leading the way. Ken Roczen looks to have gotten over some early-season injuries and is looking to battle with Ryan. I honestly don’t see the great action dying off anytime soon!
AMA Point Standings
MMRS KTM Provincial Series
In local Ontario action, the MMRS KTM Provincial Series takes a weekend off. They will be back at it next weekend at Rocky Ridge. Don’t let the name scare you, it’s not that bad, but you might want to bring out the old hand guards.
Be sure to check out this weeks On the Radar with Shayne Mercieca, and Out of the Blue with Jessie Jenkins. Jessie went down hard at round 2 in Nanaimo and did some damage to her pelvis and wrist. We all hope she has a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her back on the track. That’s it for me this week, have a great weekend and always remember to #smileforBC!
Thanks, Jeff. Like you said, th big news of the week was the appearance of the Smartops MotoConcepts team in Calgary. Both Mike Alessi and Vince Friese lined up in the MX1 class. Mike said he crashed hard the previous Tuesday and hit his head and his sternum pretty hard. He’s been to a chiropractor in an attempt to get his chest to “pop” but it just didn’t seem to want to. It left Mike in pain and without the ability to breathe properly. He tried to race but had to call it a day after it just wasn’t happening for him.
However, his teammate, Friese, went out and qualified 2 seconds fastest in the very competitive 450 class! We saw his speed in 2014 as he battled with Kaven Benoit for the MX2 championship but I don’t think anyone expected a class-winning performance out of him. Well, except his mechanic, Robbie Feder, who flashed me a wry smile when I asked him earlier how Vince would do.
The only controversy I saw where Vince was concerned was between him and #761 Cade Clason in the second moto. Cade snuck up on him and put an aggressive inside move on Vince in a 180 turn. This seemed to wake the Honda rider up as he dug deep and upped his pace to retake the position. The two had a brief conversation just after the checkered flag and then another in the pits. Nothing too exciting happened and everyone went on with their lives.
The team will next head to Budd’s Creek and then return to Canada when the eastern swing of the series gets underway at Gopher Dunes. Can you imagine the battle between Alessi, Matt Goerke, Brett Metcalfe, Facciotti, and Cole Thompson (who was leading before a fall in 2014)?! It should be an epic battle, not to mention Friese won the MX2 class there last year. If anyone remembers Goerke’s win from a couple years ago, it’s hard not to think of him as the odds-on favourite. Be sure to be at Gopher Dunes July 12. It’s going to be a good one!
Faces at the Races
Since we didn’t have a chance to post our normal ‘Faces at the Races‘ feature from Calgary yet this week, I’ll include it here. These are all Clayton Racicot photos.
Casey Keast OUT for Loretta Lynn’s
After his great showing at the Loretta Lynn’s Regional qualifier in Washougal, Washington, Kelowna, BC rider, Casey Keast, returned to Canada to compete at his final Canadian National Amateur Day of the summer. Unfortunately, Casey crashed and then got run over by a few riders in the Intermediate class.
I was standing beside him as they braced his right arm and it was pretty obvious his upper right arm was broken. He was in a lot of pain but took it like a champ, even though neither of his parents happened to be in attendance on the weekend. Kudos to you for that, Casey.
Here is the result of the crash from his dad, Dean, on Facebook:
I’m sure you all know by now that Casey broke his arm and got run over a few times in Calgary battling for the lead with the fastest Intermediates in Canada bla, bla, bla,… but the real heart break for us and our sponsors is we will not be able to race Supermini at Loretta’s and it was our last chance in his life to be able to race that class as he will age out being one of the fastest Supermini riders in the USA and Canada. Will have to do with out a Loretta race. We will re-group and hope to kick ass at the Monster Energy Cup in Vegas Oct 17th or so. Yeeee Haaaa.
Man, that news really sucks. The Monster Cup will be Casey’s last race in the Supermini class. It’s so rare that Canada produces riders who can actually compete for titles down south and Casey is for sure one of those. Get well soon, Casey.
Kennedy Lutz Injury Update
As you probably heard, odds-on favourite for the Women’s West National championship, Kennedy Lutz, was unable to race the final round in Calgary last week after injuring her knee during practice the Wednesday prior. She is another Canadian who was looking to head south to Loretta Lynn’s this summer and compete for titles.
We gave her a call today and caught her just as she was leaving her appointment with the surgeon. The news is about as bad as it gets hen talking about a knee injury, but it’s also the one we were sadly expecting. Kennedy has a torn ACL and did some meniscus damage.
They can’t schedule the surgery until she gets full range of motion so she’s hoping that will happen sometime later this month or into July. This also means Loretta’s is a definite ‘no go’ and she also mentioned Mini O’s in Florida probably won’t happen either, and that’s always one of her favourites.
At only 15, she will heal fast and strong and be back doing what she loves in no time. Of course, it will feel like an eternity to her. Look for her to be a spectator this weekend in her home province of Saskatchewan as the National series heads to Moto Valley in Regina. Good luck with your surgery and subsequent recovery, Kennedy. Hey, look on the bright side, at least your dad can bank some holiday time for when you get back!
Revy Riders Video
We stopped in at Revy Riders MX in Revelstoke, BC (if that’s not the coolest name for a mountain town, I don’t know what is!) to check out some Pro riders practicing as they made their way from Nanaimo to Calgary. #30 Kyle Keast, #291 Dylan Delaplace, #690 Brad Nauditt, and #803 Florida’s Marcus Nilsen were there when we arrived. #49 Brock Hoyer was also there but in town getting some things done when we were there so we never saw him riding. Bug thanks to Chris Pawlitsky for the invite. Next year we’ll stay longer. Here’s the short video we shot of our time in Revelstoke:
I don’t care what your beliefs are, but do whatever you think you need to get the clouds moved away from Regina! We DO NOT want a repeat of what happened last year.
OK, it’s time to head east on the TransCanada Highway towards Regina. Hey, Maffenbeiers, put a pot of coffee on. The DMX van may have to make a pit stop in ‘Speedy Creek!’ Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay tuned to Direct Motocross Sunday for updates etc. from Moto Valley in Regina for round 4! Twitter: @directmx Instagram: @directmotocross Facebook: Direct Motocross.