Frid’Eh Update #27 Presented by Race Tech
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #27 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update Presented by Race Tech. I guess like all current Pro racers, we’ve watched Tanner Ward work his way up from the 50cc classes, through the amateur ranks, and finally to this year where he is a rookie Pro racer.
From an early age, Tanner showed he had what it takes to be one of the few riders who could make it all the way to the top in this tough sport.
It hasn’t been without its bumps in the road, as Tanner has had his share of injuries along the way. However, never did he consider hanging up his gear and calling it quits. He and his father, Jeff Ward, stuck together and are now seeing the rewards – Tanner is one of the top Pros in this country.
The family just lost older brother Jeffrey Ward this week, and so Tanner will be racing with added incentive this week at Sand Del Lee for round 5 of the Rockstar Triple Crown MX Tour. Our deepest condolences to the Ward family and all of Jeffrey’s friends, and thank you to Tanner for taking the time to speak with us for Week #27.
Here’s a look at Tanner’s summer, so far:
Calgary: 8th (8-9)
Popkum: 6th (7-6)
Prince George: 8th (9-9)
Minnedosa: 5th (6-6)
Tanner currently sits 6th in points, 21 behind fellow rookie Pro, #66 Marco Cannella.
Here’s our conversation with Tanner:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Tanner. Let me please start out by saying how sorry I am for the loss of your brother, Jeffrey. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us today, I know it can’t be easy. This is your first year as a full-time Pro racer, can you tell us what your expectations were heading in to this summer?
Tanner Ward: Hi, Billy, thank you so much, this has been a very tough week for my family and me. Coming into Calgary for round one, my goal was to be anywhere from 5th-8th and improve from there. My main goal was to become more consistent with my finishes and just build. So far, we’ve been following the plan, but I have a lot more in the tank!
You haven’t ended up on the podium yet, but you’ve snagged a few holeshots. How has your summer gone, so far?
This summer so far has been very different for me. Like you said, I haven’t hit the podium yet but surprisingly that hasn’t bugged me too much. I’ve been struggling to adjust to all the traveling then racing the following day and I have worked the hardest training during this past few months and still feel like I have more work to do. But we are only half way through this series and we are starting the east coast where I’m very comfortable, so I’m excited for these next 6 rounds.
When do you think we’re going to see #27 on the podium? Are you a fan of the sand?
Would love to end up there this weekend for my brother! But if that doesn’t happen I’ll just keep plugging away and learning from these guys. I’ll be content if I can get up there once this year. The rest of the year I will be learning and riding in memory of my brother, Jeff, for sure!
Yes, I do enjoy the sand and never realized how much I liked it until I rode those tracks out west (Laughs).
I like to make a big deal about the battle between you and fellow rookie Pro, Marco Cannella. So far, he’s gotten the better of you. What are you going to do to put an end to that as we head into the 5-week eastern swing?
Ya, Marco’s been solid all year and has that extra edge on me right now, but I’m not too far off and I know I am a lot better than what I have been showing. I’ll just be focusing on myself and bringing my practice speed to the races.
What track(s) are you looking forward to racing this summer?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say Deschambault. I’ve had lots of success there over the years.
I’ve seen a little bit of aggression missing in a few of your motos. Are you still getting the bike sorted out or are you purposely riding differently this summer?
Ya, this is funny. I was talking to my dad the other day and told him I fee like I’ve just been “riding” out there and not “racing.” We’ve been making changes all year and we’re learning as a team, for sure!
What did you get up to over the break?
I took the first week off of riding, it was a well-needed break and helped me mentally for sure. Week two I got back to Alpha and got back on the program. I started riding sand and doing the long motos in the heat. I was able to get a day of testing with Steve Beattie and I’m a lot happier with my bike.
This week, I haven’t rode or trained at all as it is important for me to be with my family right now; they need me as much as I need them!
Did you have any slight injuries that needed time off?
Thankfully, no. My body’s healthy this year so far, so I’m happy with that!
When we get to Walton, what placing in the standings will make you happy?
At this point, I’m not too worried about my end result for this year. As long as I’m learning and building, I’ll be happy.
What about the Supercross series? Are you racing it and looking forward to it?
I had planned on racing the SX series, but as of right now I’m on the fence. The races are close to home so you’ll most likely see me out there!
Will you do any more racing this year after our Triple Crown series?
I doubt it. I’ll take some time off and spend some time with my family and be there for my brother’s little boy.
OK, Tanner, thank you very much for talking with us today. Let me give you a big over-the-internet hug. See you this weekend, and who would you like to thank?
Thank you, Billy! I’d really like to thank my family and and, honestly, the entire motocross community for being there for us through this tough time. KTM Red Bull Canada, THOR, Parts Canada, WP, Motorex, FMF, Dunlop, Alpinestars, Karcher, DID DirtStar, Renthal, Acerbis, CL Brakes, ETS Race Fuel, Hinson Racing, Kite Hubs, Matrix Racing Products, M7 Designs, Mechanix Wear, Moto-Master, Oakley, Sella Della Valle, TM Designworks, Twin Air, Works Connection, X TRIG, Mobius Braces, Alpha MX & the Keast family & Team LTD.
Let’s all get behind Tanner and his family and really let him hear it when he rides by on Saturday. We’ve seen extremely sad stories like this before and it seems it’s always the same feeling: they would have wanted me out there racing as hard as I can. Go get it, Tanner!
Happy Friday, guys.
Rockstar Triple Crown MX Tour
The break is finally over and we are going racing tomorrow at Sand Del Lee. This is exciting for a few reasons: First, any time you get a mid-season break, it’s always exciting to see what riders put in the work to improve themselves and/or the bike, and what riders wasted this time and goofed off. Yes, there were probably quite a few guys that needed to heal up, but I’m talking about the guys that haven’t really made it yet. Yeah, the same guys you see out celebrating after each round. What are they celebrating week in and week out? Well, it shouldn’t be their results. Maybe it’s the fact that they still haven’t had to join the real world? Just my opinion. You don’t see the top guys out doing this, they are too busy getting results and putting in the hard work.
Round 1 of East (actual round 5) is a big deal. Our Motocross des Nations team will be chosen next weekend, and I think performances this weekend will have massive implications on the final team. My personal thoughts are that Kaven Benoit is a given to be our MX1 rider. If Tyler Medaglia has a good weekend, he would be my MX3 rider, and whoever wins the 250 class straight up between Shawn Maffenbeier and Jess Pettis should be our MX2 rider. With Maff and Pettis, I honestly think they both deserve to go and I’d be more than happy with either guy.
Another cool thing about this weekend is the fact that we get to see a bunch of new riders here on the East. The biggest addition to the series will be the #4 of Jeremy Medaglia. J-Dags was set to ride the East aboard a privateer Honda, but now he will fill in for the injured Mike Alessi.
I’ve worked for Jeremy and he’s one of my best friends. I still believe with the right circumstances he can win. 2-3 days on a new bike is definitely going to hurt him a bit, but talent and speed will still show and he should be fighting in that top 5.
Here are my predictions for all 3 classes for SDL:
1st Eve Brodeur
2nd Taylor Miller
3rd Liz Burke
4th Isabelle Thibault
5th Dominique Daffé
1st Jess Pettis
2nd Shawn Maffenbeier
3rd Joey Crown
4th Josh Osby
5th Tanner Ward
1st Kaven Benoit
2nd Matt Goerke
3rd Colton Facciotti
4th Tyler Medaglia
5th Jeremy Medaglia
A McConkey Rant
So with us being in the media and at the races, we meet a lot of parents. Some are great, some not so much. They all want their child to do well and live their dream and are willing to do anything they can to help their child do that. We get that. But, to be honest, there are usually a few things that hold some racers back.
Money and talent are the obvious two. It’s a very expensive sport and some people just can’t afford to support their children as needed to make it to the next level. It’s sad but true.
Then there’s the talent issue. Yes, your kid is talented, but, 9 times out of 10, the parents are way too biased.
As media and an industry person for many many years, we have seen a lot. More than most. We usually know about the fast kids and hot new prospects. By telling us how great your kid is, and who you think he’s faster than, well, that makes you look silly. Results speak for themselves. By you recapping little Johnny’s racing career and every mechanical and then playing the ‘blame game’… well, that’s just making you look bad.
Talent is a huge part and, honestly, sometimes your kid just doesn’t have enough. Yes, he has tons of heart, we get it, but to make it at this level you need the full package.
Now, this next part is going to rattle a few. The biggest issue is the parents themselves. You need to step back. You are the ones burning bridges for your kids. No team manager or manufacturer wants to deal with crazy moto parents. You’re worse than hockey parents, and are just too blind to see it. If your kid gets a part-time job flipping burgers at McDonalds, I’m willing to bet that you aren’t in the lobby telling everyone how he should be the manager and how he’s the best thing since sliced bread. Just back off, and if your kid is as great as you think he is, surely he will get some looks from the people that matter.
Short week for me. I’d like to send out our thoughts and condolences to Tanner Ward and family. Tanner lost his older brother, and will no doubt be riding for him. See you at SDL and #smileforBC.
Thanks, Jeff. I always like reading your rants. I know you are on the front line when it comes to talking with rider parents. For some reason, I don’t have that happen to me, and I’m OK with that. Yes, it happens from time to time, and I listen politely, but it happens to you a lot…and that makes me smile.
I got to spend this week at Emily’s aunt and uncle’s cottage on a lake in Mont Tremblant. I came and skied at Saint Donat when I was in high school but have never actually been to Tremblant.
One of the coolest parts of this job is that I can really do it from anywhere in the world, as long as I have my camera, laptop, and decent internet. SO, when Emily asked if I’d like to check out their new cottage for the week leading up to Sand Del Lee, it was a no-brainer.
On Thursday, our old buddy, Guy Giroux, made his way up from his house about an hour away and he took me on a great mountain bike ride on the challenging trails around the mountain. It was 35 degrees C (around 102F) and as humid as can be without actually raining. It was going to be a grind, but we went for it.
Having just been out in the western part of Canada for a month, attending the races and cycling whenever I could, I can say that this place is as cool as you’re going to find anywhere east of the Rocky Mountains! It has everything you could ever ask for, plus you get the added bonus of feeling like you’re in Europe because of the language thing. I love it here!
I’ve been on the bikes a lot in this crazy heatwave we’ve been enduring in this part of the country and I thought I’d reached my limit at the halfway point, but sort of got a second wind after Guy took us to an aid station that had cold water for us. It basically saved me.
Anyway, it was great to hang out with Guy for a few hours and have a sandwich at a really cool bike shop in Old Mont Tremblant Village called, Cyber Cycle Tremblant. Guy had a flat front tire to start the day and they just let him walk into the back and get to work on it. Thanks, guys. Check it out if you’re ever in the area.
So, last night a storm hit the area at around 10pm and we woke up to no humidity and temps in the high teens/low 20’s. What a crazy change! The forecast for Ottawa this weekend is for it to heat back up to around 30C, but I don’t know the story on the humidity factor. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
The longranger for Gopher Dunes next weekend is for 31C and some rain, but that will, no doubt, change a few times before we get there, but I’m betting it will still be hot!
RIP #789 Nathaniel Bosum
I’m going to start out on a horrible note and wish the family and friends of #789 Nathaniel Bosum more condolences on the loss of a true ambassador. Here is the story from CBC News:
Son of grand chief of the Cree Nation in Quebec killed in motorcross accident
Nathaniel James Bosum was ‘an outstanding rider’ and ‘an ambassador for Cree youth’
The 28-year-old son of Abel Bosum, the grand chief of the Cree Nation in Quebec, was killed over the long weekend while competing in a motocross event.
Nathaniel James Bosum died Sunday while at a competition in Baie Comeau on the north shore of Quebec, according to a news release from the Grand Council of the Crees.
“Motocross racing was one of Nathaniel’s major passions,” states the release. “It is with profound grief that the Cree Nation Government announces [his] passing.”
Police were called to the track after 4 p.m. on July 1, according to the Sûreté du Québec. Bosum was taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Race organizers said Bosum fell after swerving on the track.
“We are all in shock. We did not think it would happen here,” said Daniel Beaulieu, president of the Baie-Comeau Motocross Club, sending condolences to the Bosum family.
In a Facebook post, Beaulieu wrote that Bosum was appreciated by many in the motocross family and was “an impossibly nice” guy. He was the first to arrive for the competition with his fiancée Andréanne Nadeau.
He first became involved in the sport at the age of five.
“[He was] an outstanding rider in the motocross and snowcross disciplines,” said Beaulieu. “I was happy our spectators would get to see him [ride] again this year.”
Nathaniel was about to celebrate his 29th birthday. He had two brothers, Curtis and Reggie, as well as a sister, Irene.
‘An ambassador for Cree youth’
The release from the Grand Council said Nathaniel’s other passion was helping Cree youth. He had recently set up a new business focused on providing training to young Cree to help them get jobs in the mining industry.
He also had a love for hunting, fishing and the traditional Cree way of life.
“Nathaniel embodied the hopes and dreams of the Cree Nation for its future as a prosperous and healthy Indigenous nation,” states the release, calling him an “ambassador for Cree youth.”
“We will deeply miss his commitment, his energy and his growing wisdom.”
A funeral is planned for July 10 beginning at 10 a.m., at the Albert Mianscum Memorial Sports Complex in Bosum’s hometown of Oujé-Bougoumou. The ceremony will be live-streamed.
A visitation is also planned for July 9 between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Club de Golf in Chibougamau.
Rockstar Triple Crown Mid-Season Top 10 Report Cards
I handed out the report cards yesterday, so if you didn’t get a chance to see everyone’s grades, here it is again:
Triple Crown MX Tour | Top 10 Mid-Season Report Cards
By Billy Rainford
It’s that time of year when we look back over the first part of the racing season and hand out grades and report cards. Remember to have yours looked over and signed by a parent or guardian before heading out for practice this Saturday at Sand Del Lee for round 5 of the Rockstar Triple Crown MX Tour.
10th #17 Casey Keast YAM 7-7-7-DNF (C)
Casey came into this season rolling nothing but 7’s for the first 3 rounds. He knows he’s got more speed than that and is really hoping to get up front and race with the cream of the 250 class.
After crashing at round 4 in Minnedosa, he scored no points, going DNF-DNF. Obviously, that hurt him in the points but he isn’t out of the picture yet.
Casey would love a chance on one of the teams and prove he’s got what it takes. This is the year he will want to get that done.
9th #58 Teren Gerber KTM 10-10-9-7 (A+)
Some really solid overalls for Mr. Gerber have him sitting in the top 10 right now. I’d hate to say he’s over-achieving, but I didn’t expect him to be in this conversation right now, so good for him.
I finally tracked him down for an interview on Amateur Day in Manitoba and he seems like a great kid who loves the sport. Nothing but good things on his report card. He shouldn’t be afraid to show his parents when he gets home from school…
8th #43 Jared Petruska HON 5-9-17-6 (A-)
His results put Jared in that “the next guys” category in the class. He’s not quite there, speed-wise, with the guys ahead of him, but he could slow down and save fuel and still be ahead of the guys behind him. He rides alone a lot out there and it may be the early sign of an antisocial condition, I’m not sure…we’ll keep an eye on things.
He smashed his hand pretty good in Prince George at round 3 (hence the 17th 8-DNF) and he wasn’t sure he’d make it to Manitoba, but he did. He’s a tough guy and I’m sure hated the big deal I was making about his hand.
7th #12 Dylan Wright HON 14-13-1-12 (C)
Dylan doesn’t play well with others and it makes him a ton of fun to watch. He’s not out on the track to make friends, so get out of the way! Nah, I’m not really serious, but he really is the most fun to watch and he really doesn’t have time to mess around when he’s making passes. He just gets it done.
He has shown the speed to be leading this series, but some odd mechanicals have taken him out of contention early this season and that’s why his grade is suffering.
Watch for him to get himself up on the podium pretty consistently now that we’re on some softer tracks. Word around the water cooler says he’d love a 450 ride. That is something that will be fun to watch for years to come.
6th #27 Tanner Ward KTM 8-6-8-5 (B)
I haven’t seen the Tanner I’m expecting quite yet. He shouldn’t be falling behind those top guys so much, especially after some of the great starts he’s had.
Most teachers don’t send report cards home saying they want more aggression from their students, but that’s what I’m saying here. Watch for Tanner to pick it up as we head east.
I’d also like to send my deepest condolences to Tanner and his family for the loss of his older brother, Jeffery. We’re going to be cheering extra hard for you this week, Tanner.
5th #66 Marco Cannella YAM 6-5-4-4 (A)
I knew Marco was going to be an instant player, but those finishes surprise even me! I’ve watched him move up through the ranks and his move to the Pros has been a very impressive transition.
I think he’s just off the pace of the top few guys and ends up riding on his own a lot out there, like Petruska, but he’s going to keep getting faster this summer and in years to come.
4th #18 Josh Osby KTM 4-3-2-16 (A-)
I’m on record as picking Josh to win the series, so I can’t say too much. Josh hasn’t had that overall win yet, but you have to think he’s got some bugs sorted out and will be on top of the box soon.
He had two handfuls of problems at round 4 and that’s why he dropped a few points.
I think he should be hanging with the top guys more as the summer goes on. We’ll see…
3rd #335 Joey Crown KTM 3-4-3-3 (A)
To be honest, if Joey were healthy as we started this series, I think he’s your top guy. He’s been getting stronger as his knee heals but we still haven’t seen a top Joey.
He just pulled off a 12th in the 2nd moto at Southwick on his 350, so watch for him to be a handful at Sand Del Lee, Gopher Dunes, and Deschambault.
Joey’s time on top is coming.
2nd #15 Jess Pettis YAM 1-1-10-1 (A+)
What can I say? We knew Jess was turning into our fastest Supercross guy, but did you think he was going to come into the Moto season and be as fast as he is? I’m impressed.
He lost a bunch of points at PG when his motor blew with 2 corners to go in moto 1 and then came back for a second. That’s really his only blemish on his report card.
He can run home and show Doug this report card and be proud.
1st #1 Shawn Maffenbeier KAW 2-2-5-2 (A)
Shawn is the defending champ and has a 5-point lead over Pettis. Shawn knows it’s a long summer, but it’s shrinking. He can’t let up any more this season or Jess will race right through him for this title.
Shawn looks like the most calculated rider out there and will turn it up as we head east. This one is going to come down to the wire, I think.
10th #9 Cade Clason HON 8-17-16-8 (B-)
When Cade’s not finishing 8th, he’s taking a DNF. He definitely doesn’t want to be sitting 10th right now, but that’s his reality.
I’d say he’s got a chance to move 3 positions up and finish 7th this year, but he’ll have to step up his game to do so.
Cade is one of the friendliest riders in his class and they all seem to like him in home room. He’ll be fine.
9th #72 Kyle Keast HSK 12-11-8-12 (B+)
We always joke that Kyle can either pull the holeshot or start last and he’ll still finish 7-9th. It’s cool to see him doing the full series this year, as I sort of thought those days were behind him.
Kyle definitely gets an A for effort, but I’m giving him a B+. It’s going to be a good fight for the rest of the summer between the riders right above and right below him.
8th #10 Keylan Meston HSK 5-10-9-10 (B+)
We haven’t seen tears from Keylan since that great ride in his hometown at round 1, and it was pretty special.
He’s going to probably finish with a better number for next season and that’s what we expect from him, as he’s a guy who is still getting faster.
He’s fun to watch and you can’t really help but cheer for him.
7th #7 Dillan Epstein YAM 14-7-5-6 (C)
I have to give Dillan a C because we’re expecting a little more out of him. He seems to be fighting something and we hope he gets it figured out as we head east.
He’s still one of the nicest guys on tour, we just haven’t had the chance to see him interacting with the fans like we did last year. Hopefully, that comes soon too.
6th #800 Mike Alessi KAW 6-5-6-5 (B-)
We saw flashes of the old Mike Alessi (holeshot and lead the race) a couple times this summer, but not nearly as much as we should.
Mike just injured his shoulder and is out for the rest of the summer so I shouldn’t kick a man when he’s down. However, he and Danielle just had their first baby so he’s even Stephen.
Mike is getting on in his racing career, so you never know what’s in store for one of the sport’s legends.
5th #5 Tyler Medaglia KAW 3-6-3-7 (A)
Tyler is showing that he’s still in the top spot conversation. You cannot rule this guy out…ever.
He’s sitting in 5th right now, but he’s showing flashes of top speed and has almost won a couple of these things this summer.
I’d give him an A+, but I don’t want him to think I think he’s over-achieving…
4th #16 Cole Thompson KTM 4-4-4-2 (B+)
Cole is a guy who should have some 1st’s on that above results list. He came into the MX season after dominating the AX Tour and admits the MX wins aren’t coming as he thought they might.
We’ve seen him do very well at some of the tracks we’re about to see, so don’t be surprised if he starts making a push towards the top to keep his dream of the $100K alive.
3rd #26 Kaven Benoit KTM 7-8-1-1 (A)
Kaven came into the season with a back injury. He wanted to just finish and get as many points as he could. Well, he’s all better now and that is bad news for the rest of the class.
He’s won the last 3 motos and was 2nd in the one before that. He’s on a roll, so he just may move toward the top very quickly as we keep going.
For a guy who thought his summer may have been over before it started, Kaven is looking very good.
2nd #45 Colton Facciotti HON 1-1-7-4 (A+ and a B-)
If this were a Dickens novel it would be ‘A Tale of Two Coltons.’ We have seen two distinctly different Colt’s so far this season.
Like we said after his domination at the first couple rounds, you just never seem to know what you’re going to get with him. He’s either going to be on another level from the rest, or something will hold him back outside the top 3.
Since rounds 1 and 2, he’s had the pace to fight for wins, but he was downright ridiculous in those first couple and we just haven’t seen that again.
This is why he gets two grades. Ask me again after Sand Del Lee and I’ll maybe have another grade for him…
1st #1 Matt Goerke YAM 2-2-2-3 (A)
Matt is tied with Facciotti for 1st in the standings. He’s looked pretty good so far, but I think he’ll need to look even better if he wants to win this title…Kaven is coming!
We’re heading to Sand Del Lee where he should do well, then we head to Gopher Dunes where he’s been on another level with his crazy Florida sand skills.
He’s a guy that will never give up, and will definitely do whatever it takes to try and retain this #1 plate of his.
Poll Results: What Team Would You Send for the MXON?
We’ll leave the latest poll up for a few more days, but, so far, here’s what it looks like you want as Team Canada MXON for Red Bud this year (MX1/MX2/MX3):
Kaven Benoit, Shawn Maffenbeier, Colton Facciotti – 28%
Kaven Benoit, Jess Pettis, Tyler Medaglia – 18%
Colton Facciotti, Jess Pettis, Cole Thompson – 15%
Cole Thompson, Shawn Maffenbeier, Kaven Benoit – 12%
Kaven Benoit, Dylan Wright, Colton Facciotti – 7%
Keven Benoit, Jess Pettis, Cole Thompson – 7%
Other – 7%
Colton Facciotti, Dylan Wright, Tyler Medaglia – 6%
Get your votes in!
Kourtney Lloyd Undergoes Successful Surgery
Speaking of Team Canada, Team Manager, Kourtney Lloyd, had to have surgery to remover her gall bladder this week! The intention is still to announce the team at Gopher Dunes next week, but it will all depend on if she feels well enough to fly from BC to Ontario next Thursday.
I know people who’ve had the surgery and they were back at work 6 days post-op, so hopefully Kourtney will feel up to it.
Also, her dad, Randy Lloyd, was in hospital for what Kourtney called “a jammer” this week. Get well soon, both of you characters!
Montreal Supercross Joins Jetwerx
In a move that sort of had to happen, the Montreal Supercross will not be a special event in the Rockstar Triple Crown schedule. Now, what will this mean for the Quebec City round?
Well, my plan was to have some pit shots included here from Sand Del Lee, but traffic in Ottawa got me here late and the FXR 2019 launch is about to start.
Check back later tonight to see all the new bikes and riders who are entering the series here in Ottawa at round 5.
Have a great weekend.