Frid’Eh Update #24 Presented by Race Tech
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #24 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update, this week presented by Race Tech. Week #24 goes out to the rider out of Victoria, BC who will continue to win over fans across the country by finishing up near the front on his Yamaha 250 2-stroke.
#24 Ryan Lalonde is the quiet racer who may have you checking your program a couple times. He finished with the #24 from 2016 and finished 20-15 for 16th in Kamloops last week. He will be closer to the front this week in Prince George. We grabbed him for a chat to get to know him a little better. Here’s what he had to say:
Happy Friday. We are one round into our outdoor series, and there are still so many questions to ask and plenty of time for answers.
WOMEN”S WEST MX NATIONALS
The top two finishers in Women’s West MX Nationals were pretty much a given. But behind defending champion and round 1 winner Shelby Turner and runner up Lexi Pechout, it was anyone’s game. With 3 of last years’ top 10 finishers not racing, and Kennedy Lutz going East, that gives the rest of the West a chance to step up.
I think the biggest surprise in Kamloops would have to be the #9 of Kristin Tse. She didn’t make it easy on herself with 2 poor starts, but she battled hard and instantly becomes a front-runner for Most Improved.
Going into round 2 in Prince George, I expect the veteran Dominique Daffé to reinsert herself as the next best girl behind the top 2. Kate Lees will also show that she has podium potential and make things interesting. Here are my predictions for Round 2:
1st Shelby Turner
2nd Lexi Pechout
3rd Dominique Daffé
4th Kristin Tse (Kristen will not attend round 2)
5th Kate Lees
ROCKSTAR ENEGY MX NATIONALS
In the MX2 class, I have to admit that the two dominating rides from Shawn Maffenbeier were a bit of a surprise. Maff is a great rider and all around great guy, but I just didn’t think he had it in him. I feel bad for not even putting Shawn in my top 7 or 8 during our pre-season predictions. I honestly forgot about him, and then wasn’t quite sure where he would fit in.
He had a great 2016, finishing 2nd overall for the season and representing Canada at the Motocross Des Nations, but I somehow overlooked him or just plain forgot. I’m going to blame it on his consistency. Shawn normally isn’t a guy that will ‘wow’ you with crazy speed or style. Instead, he is that guy, that is going to be up there battling right until the checkered flag each and every moto. He has the speed, the fitness, and he’s on a really good bike and team. Shawn proved in round 1, that he is definitely a contender for the title.
Reigning champ, Cole Thompson, didn’t set the world on fire in round 1, but he certainly didn’t throw anything away, either. Cole is our defending champion for a reason and this may be his worst round of the season. Going into Prince George, Cole is a strong favourite in my eyes. He’s at home on the hard pack and he more than likely wants to prove a point. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cole spanked the rest of the MX2 class at round 2 and reminded everyone just how dominant he was in 2016.
Hometown boy, Jess Pettis, will have the locals on their feet and put in a big ride in his own backyard. Here are the rest of my MX2 picks for the weekend:
1st Cole Thompson
2nd Jess Pettis
3rd Shawn Maffenbeier
4th Jacob Hayes
5th Dylan Wright
In the big boy MX1 class, Dylan Epstein was the big surprise for me. I figured that he’d be a solid top 10 guy with a few flashes, but to win a moto at round one…..wow! Frenchie gave me a heads up that he was racing out series, and he seemed pretty excited. I now see why.
Also, it was great to see Tyler Medaglia continue where he left off last season. Tyler joined the new Huber Motorsports team and instantly rewarded them with a podium. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
As expected, Christophe Pourcel will wow us with his unbelievably smooth style. The Frenchman could make a whoop section look buttery smooth. It was nice to see Colton Facciotti back in the mix. This guy is so darn talented, he could be the only guy to match Pourcel, and even beat him straight up.
If round one is any indication, the MX1 class will keep us on our toes for all 10 rounds. I can’t wait to see what happens at round 2. Here are my predictions:
1st Colton Facciotti
2nd Christophe Pourcel
3rd Matt Goerke
4th Kaven Benoit (Kaven will sit out until further notice)
5th Dylan Epstein
KAVEN BENOIT TO SIT OUT FROM THE CMRC CANADIAN MOTOCROSS NATIONAL UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
KTM THOR RACING TEAM UPDATE
Kaven Benoit, MX1 KTM Thor Rider: “Put into racing context, my ankle didn’t react the way I was hoping for. I knew it would be tight timing but I was still trying my best to be ready for the beginning of the National Series. If I want to return before the end of the season and be able to get my KTM 450 SX-F on the podium, I will need to take some time off and really focus on healing 100%. I’m really bitter to be missing the next rounds but I think it will allow me better results when the series moves east.”
Jean-Sébastien Roy, KTM Thor Race Team Manager: “It wasn’t an easy decision to make. The way he raced during the first part of Moto 1 in Kamloops was what we expected from him and we know that if he recovers entirely he will be able to repeat this success. The whole team is supporting Kaven during this tough time and we wish him the quickest return possible”
That is it for me this week. Before I go, I’d like to send a big ‘Get Well Soon’ out to Carson Tse. Carson is a super-hard-working moto dad, and is a little under the weather. I hope he gets better soon and hope to see him back in Calgary. Have a great weekend and #smileforBC and #liftwithscott.
Thanks, Jeff. It’s too bad you weren’t able to be out here for the first couple rounds, but it will be great to have you out here next week in Calgary.
WHAT WE LEARNED IN KAMLOOPS
- Shawn Maffenbeier did his homework over the winter. Yes, he won round 1 last year, too, but that was without winning either moto. This year, he went out and demoralized everyone. He made passes to get to the front and then looked ultra-smooth and fast out front.
- Cole Thompson is as smooth as ever. He was angry when he came off the track after finishing a rather distant 2nd in moto 2. Cole is always angry at the flag unless he won by 30 seconds and everything went perfect. I guess that’s what champions do. He didn’t win round 1 last year, either. Let’s just watch and see what happens here in PG to get a better picture of where everyone stands, relative to the champ’s pace.
- Dylan Wright is going to have to minimize his mistakes and drama-filled motos. He can’t go down and handicap himself with 40th place starts anymore this season. He has the speed to win, he just needs to stay cool and the motocross ‘puck luck’ will have to come his way.
- Ryan Surratt is fast and will be a front-runner once he gets himself back in race shape after his forearm surgery that he had right after the Las Vegas SX.
- Josh Osby will win a few motos. He’s a great starter and his time will come…soon.
- Jacob Hayes was off the pace at round 1. I didn’t speak with him at the end of the day, but something didn’t look great with the #100 out there. Yes, he still finished 6-4 for 5th, but he and the team are here for wins. Let’s see how he responds this week. Of course, he didn’t make it out of Kamloops last season, so he wanted to tick that box first, and he did.
- It will be fun to watch the two rookie Pros, Casey Keast and Christopher Fortier, to see who comes out as the top newby. They both looked really strong, and with better starts will be in the mix.
- Jess Pettis is the rider with the most experience here on the Blackwater MX track here in Prince George. Watch for that knowledge and the hometown crowd to push him to the front this week.
- I didn’t even think Taylor Arsenault was heading west and he finished a very solid 7th at round 1. Watch for him to keep moving forward.
- There is a very good chance Christophe Pourcel could do what Davi Millsaps did last year. He has that smooth, fast style everyone talks about and it is going to make him very difficult to beat.
- Colton Facciotti looked very smooth and put in one of his classic late-moto charges in that 2nd race last week. With a good start and the need to win, he could be the one to challenge Pourcel.
- Matt Goerke needs to do something this week to get himself and his bike ready to go after these guys. He kept alluding to the fact that he was getting beat up out there on the track last week. He didn’t crack anything anywhere close to a smile after the 2nd moto last week. He also wouldn’t do an interview, and that means he was extra-pissed off! Watch for his results to change very soon.
- Dillan Epstein will be a crowd favourite with his talent during the races and his candid interviews afterward.
- Tyler Medaglia looks better than you’ve seen him in a long time. He held off all but 1 rider in that first moto and looked great all day.
- Kaven Benoit‘s ankle injury must really be making him angry. He had the speed to win at round 1, but a little get off send shooting pain to his ankle and it got the better of him. He needs to keep getting as many points as he can as his leg heals. *** This just in: Kaven will sit out until further notice. See PR here in the Update ***
- Something was eating Gilbert Alessi (Google it, Bowker!). No, seriously, Mike Alessi went backwards and just didn’t have the speed of the other top riders. His time off the bike this past winter will keep him improving as his fitness returns.
- Kyle Chisholm finished way up in 7th (10-6) with a fever! Yes, he has/had bronchitis and still moved forward late in the motos. How good will he be when he’s healthy?!
- Tim Tremblay looked good, too. Unfortunately, they suffered a mechanical and he took a DNF in the 2nd moto after running up near the front.
- Jeremy Medaglia still has the speed and looked genuinely happy to be back at the races on his own terms. I think a rider like Jeremy needs this kind of situation to bring back the fun and get better results as a…result.
- Keylan Meston will be the next guy to have a surprise finish up with the upper echelon guys. He was running up in 3rd for a while in moto 1 and then came from well back in the second.
- I was told Kyle Swanson will be here in Prince George this week, after some “flight difficulties” kept him home last week. He should have the speed to mix it up in the top 10-12.
ROUND 1 HIGHLIGHT VIDEO
The Prince George Track – Balckwater MX
LUCAS OIL PRO MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
The series takes a weekend off this week before heading to Highpoint, June 17th. Here’s a look at the points after 3 rounds:
Not a whole lot of time to work on the Update this week. Spent too much time behind the wheel of the DMX Van the past couple days! It should be a great weekend of racing here in Prince George. We are definitely up here in the wilderness, but if the people come to the track from town and the surrounding area, it could be an amazing round.
There isn’t cell service for Rogers customers (me) at the track so we’ll do the best we can to bring you information.
Have a great weekend.