Frid’Eh Update #29 Presented by Dragon Alliance

By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford

Welcome to week #29 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by______. #29 belongs to the rider who we’ve known well since he was racing little bikes. He’s come up through the ranks and races the big amateur nationals in the USA.

JC Bujold is a big, strong rider and his move to the MX1 class full-time for 2018 was a good one. Jeff has always said he’ll do better in the 450 class and I think he’s right.

So far this summer, JC has been at every round of the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals. Here’s a look at his results, so far:

We grabbed him today for a chat to see what he thinks of the season so far:

JC will be happy with a top 15 this summer, but will continue to push for better | Bigwave photo

Direct Motocross: Hello, JC. You’re a full-time MX1 guy now. What would you say is the biggest adjustment you had to make from the MX2 class?

JC Bujold: The biggest adjustment I had to do since I’m in the MX1 class was my training and to learn more about how riding my 450. I had to start training to do longer motos with a rougher track and a stronger bike. I had to learn a lot about my suspension and how to keep my momentum in the corners.

How about the competition? What’s it like for you to be racing against these top-level guys now?

This year, I think that the guys are very fast. Most of the top riders are factory so it’s hard for me to battle with them. I’m actually 15th in the championship and I’m trying to get some better results than that in the next rounds. With 7 riders in the top 15 coming from outside Canada, it makes for more competition.

When a rider like Matt Goerke goes by you at Gopher Dunes, do you try to follow him and learn? What tips can you pick up from these top guys?

When you’re riding and you doing your best and you’re getting lapped by these guys, you have to ask yourself what’s the difference between you and them, so yes, when they are passing I’m trying to stay focused and follow their lines.

You’re doing the entire series this season and we’re 5 rounds in. What has been your best race? How did it go?

My best overall result was at Calgary with a 15th overall. It has been good for my first season on the 450, as I just turned 18. I had to do some adjustments on the bike at some races because I was not feeling very good with my settings.

There has been a lot of talk about how tough the Gopher Dunes track was this year. What was it that made it different this time?

Yes. Gopher was something else this year. As every body knows, the back section was so rough and the sand in the landing of the middle triple was so soft it was hard to do during the all moto.

How did you like the new track in Prince George?

Prince George was a nice track, maybe not long enough but the layout was amazing. The track worker did a great job installing the deep sand on the track and the long start was great, but I didn’t have the starts that I wanted, mostly because of the concrete start but it’s part of the game for every body.

We’re heading to a new track this week. Have you ever raced there before? If so, how is it and what can we expect this week?

Yes, I already raced on this track a couple times but not since 2014. I used to like this track because of the jumps all over the track, but there are a lot of tight corners so will see what change they did on the track to make it better.

Be sure to say hello to JC and his dad, Eric, this week in Quebec | Bigwave photo

What is your favourite track on the circuit?

It used to be Ulverton, the mix of sand and hard pack was so cool over there with the big elevation. But since the track has been taken out of the series I would say Moncton. The dirt is very packed but if the track has been prepared a good way the ruts can get very deep.

Who have you found yourself racing against mostly this summer? How is the rivalry going?

I found myself a couple times with Jonathan Mayzak and Mike Fowler. Both of these guys are good riders but the rivalry isn’t a bad rivalry; we can talk during the qualification or the staging but on the track it’s all in.

What result would make you happy at the end of the year?

My goal for this year was a top 15 in the championship, but I will give my 100% to get a better result than my goal.

OK, thanks for chatting with us and we’ll see you in Drummondville. Who would you like to thank?

I’d like to say thanks to my Dad and my all familly who are always pushing me to get better in everything I do. Big thanks to the Black Rider program, Honda Canada, Claude Ste-Marie sport, Motovan, Zox Helmet,TCX boots, Shot racewear,oakley,KB5 , GUS Construction Champigny, and every body who’s cheering for me. And thank you, Billy!

Be sure to cheer for the #29 this week in his home province of Quebec.


Presented by Dragon Alliance.


JEFF McCONKEY


Rockstar Energy MX Nationals

Happy Friday in the East. The East portion of our series kicked off last week at Gopher Dunes. It wasn’t a scorcher like past seasons, but it was rough. The racing was fantastic in all 3 classes and as always the Gopher Dunes team had the place looking mint.

Women’s East MX Nationals

The Women’s East National series kicked off Saturday with their first round. Kennedy Lutz wanted to race the best, so the Saskatchewan native headed East to battle Eve Brodeur and the rest of the East ladies. Kennedy showed up at the Dunes fit, fast, and hungry. Eve Brodeur looked very good at times, but she made a few uncharacteristic mistakes. I don’t think she was rattled, but I do believe that this is new to her. Yes, she has had many great racers come and challenge for her title, but non like Kennedy. These two young ladies are going to go at it tooth and nail for 6 more motos.

As good as these two are going to be, we can’t count out the rest of the ladies. I think the one of the best battles will be between #3 Brittany Gagne and #9 Isabelle Thibault. I feel Gagne has the edge in speed, but Thibault has that never-let-up style. Thibault needs to work on her starts if she wants a chance to run with Gagne, and fight for a podium spot.

After those top 4, I think Liz Burke is the next fastest. After Burke, there is a bit of a gap, and then the next group is all really close in speed. Those next few girls, Hutchinson, Gautier, Leveille, Jones, and Davis will all be battling hard and swapping positions. Here are my predictions for the 2nd Women’s East round.

1st Kennedy Lutz
2nd Eve Brodeur
3rd Brittany Gagne
4th Isabelle Thibault
5th Megan Brodeur

Kennedy Lutz will win round 2 | Bigwave photo

MX2

In MX2 action, it is Cole Thompson‘s title to lose. Cole has a very healthy points lead and he’s been riding great to start the season. You don’t see Cole ride over his head, and you won’t see him throw it away. He will ride smart, but he’s not going to sit back and just take it easy. Cole hates losing and I can’t see him settling for 2nd very often.

Cole’s biggest challenger has got to be the #12 of Shawn Maffenbeier. Shawn worked his butt off this past off-season and stepped up his game, big time. The speed and fitness is on point, but the crashes have to stop for Shawn to able to claw his way back into this title fight. Josh Osby has shown the Canadian fans that he is for real. He had 2 good rides at Gopher, but I think he will be better this weekend and beyond on the less Gopher-like sand. Here are my predictions for this Sunday.

MX2 Class

1st Shawn Maffenbeier
2nd Cole Thompson
3rd Josh Osby
4th Dylan Wright
5th Ryan Surratt

Shawn Maffenbeier wins MX2 this week | Bigwave photo

MX1

The MX1 class has been very exciting this season. There hasn’t been a real dominant rider, but there have been many great rides by many different riders. Obviously, Matt Goerke and Christophe Pourcel will be great at every round and should be up front.

But heading further East, I’m expecting to see a pair of Kawis fighting up front. I had no idea how well Dillan Epstein rode the sand, but it is very impressive. He could get a moto win here or there and make things interesting. Mike Alessi is the other green bike up front. Mike came in to round 1 behind the eight ball on fitness and setup, but he’s worked his way to the front. If last week’s performance means anything, we should see great starts and strong rides from Alessi.

How about Tyler Medaglia?! This guy is going to win a moto. He just keeps pushing and gets better and better. We also can’t forget the #3 of Kaven Benoit. He’s very strong in the East and as long as his ankle is feeling good, he could shake things up. Here are my predictions for Notre Dame.

MX1 Class

1st Dillan Epstein
2nd Matt Goerke
3rd Mike Alessi
4th Christophe Pourcel
5th Tyler Medaglia

Dillan Epstein will take his first overall in Quebec | Bigwave photo


That’s it for me this week. Before I go, I’d like to ask people to keep racer Mikey Beaudin in your thoughts and prayers. Mikey has been around the series for a long time, and is a real good guy who is in a rough spot. Mikey went down off of the Gopher finish line and has some serious injuries. He’s still in the hospital in London, Ontario, and we all know how crappy that can be.

Let’s try and brighten his days and keep his spirits high. If you can send him a text message, or a Facebook message, or even an Instagram shout-out, I can promise you that it will mean the world to him and help Mikey push as he has a long road in front of him. Hang tough, buddy, we are all pulling for you!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and don’t forget to #smileforBC and #liftwithscott.


BILLY RAINFORD


Thanks, Jeff. I really am going to have to apologize for my lack of input this week, as I have spent the day sitting in Toronto traffic to get to Jeff’s house east of the city on our way to Quebec this weekend. We even left early, but apparently Toronto’s Friday rush hour starts at noon…


#1 Eve Brodeur Injured

I just spoke to Sylvain Brodeur and he has informed me that #1 Eve Brodeur has flat-landed the finish line jump at Notre Dame Du Bon Conseil and they spent the afternoon at the hospital with Eve not being able to put any weight on her foot.

They will see how swollen it is in the morning and make their decision then, but it will certainly let Kennedy Lutz enjoy herself out front this weekend, that’s one thing for sure.

Best of luck, Eve.

Eve Brodeur will assess her foot injury in the morning to decide if she will race this week or not | Bigwave photo


#266 Chris Fortier Injured, Out

First year Pro, #266 Chris Fortier, is forced to sit out the remainder of the Canadian Nationals with a head and neck injury sustained the week before Gopher Dunes while practicing near Detroit, Michigan.

Chris still raced at round 5 but didn’t feel right. He went to get checked out afterward and found out he’s got a concussion and a neck injury that will keep him out of action for some time.

This isn’t exactly journalism, but here is his latest post on Facebook, explaining his situation:

Rough day for me after going to my second appointment to find out I need to be off a dirt bike for at least 1 month. I hit my head hard the Friday before Gopher Dunes during trainning at a track in Detroit but didn’t lose conscience or anything just had a headache so I thought I was fine to go race and move on. After feeling very weak and having major headaches since then, I decided to get my head checked out and turns out it’s not good. I went today to consult with a traumatic brain injury physiotherapist to find out I have a neck injury and a serious concussion. The muscles that work with my eyes are very weak right now and I need to take some time off to be back to 100%. It’s a major bummer, but my brain is one thing I can’t gamble with. It could be really dangerous for my future to keep racing right now so I have to make sure my dome is okay before I ride again. Very upset to not be able to complete the east coast portion of the series as I thought I was making good progress and was ready to take it to another level in the next couple races. It was a hard pill to swallow for me with how Gopher Dunes went down knowing I’m better in the sand and that was my kind of track, but it is what it is and I look forward to be healty again and get back on my bike to race hard. I appreciate all the support and help from my parents, my girlfriend, and my friends so much. I also can’t thank enough all of my sponsors that made it possible for me to race the MX Canadian Pro National Championship this summer. Thank you everyone. @flyracingusa @scottmotosports @d_ginolfi @danielleg741 @vinyl126 @wwmotox @mrs.wwmx @fuelclothing @activeride @unifilter @decalworks @checkmatemx @sfortierjax @anitamutzl @club57mx #TTILogistics #JPSSport #JMSPerformance #CavalloCommunications #DotComComputers @randyfortier_ @ksrwheels

Chris Fortier is out for the remainder of the season with a head and neck injury | Bigwave photo


Sneak Peek at the Notre Dame Du Bon Conseil Track


Rockstar Energy Mid-Season Report Cards

By The Robe

 

 

Well class, it’s that time of year again when we send out our mid-season report cards. Now, if you could all take these home to your parents, have them signed, and return them to me as soon as possible, that would be great.

There is only one rider who can get away with a returned report card signed, “Epstein’s mother.” (Google it, Bowker!)

We’re halfway through the 10-round Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals, so let’s have a look at some of the riders’ grades as handed out by The Robe, shall we.


MX2

20. #614 Geran Stapleton C

Geran is a popular student; the rest of the class really seems to like him. He’s friendly and gracious. Unfortunately, Geran got hurt early and was forced to take some time off. Hopefully, his shoulder heals properly and he can make it back in time for finals.


 

19. #807 Drew Roberts C

Drew is a rider who has been around for quite some time now. He headed west and was all set to compete in the entire series when he took a hard crash and landed on something at the side of the track. He really hurt himself and was even forced to walk backwards for a while. He came back to racing at round 3 in Calgary and nursed his way to a 24th. He did very well last weekend at Gopher Dunes and his 13-13 motos actually gave him a top 10 overall with 9th. He gets a C because of his early season results.


 

18. #194 Kein Denzler B+

I didn’t know who #194 on the Yamaha was when I first saw him, but he started to pick up speed and was looking pretty good. He had a terrible crash Sunday and hurt his hand. He will miss the second semester, so if I could get a volunteer to bring him his homework, that would be great.


17. #59 DJ Burmey B+

DJ is a pretty good student who seems to be adapting well to his new surroundings. He’s from Winnipeg and had a great showing at round 5, so he gets a good grade. He crashed right in front of me and knocked the wind out of himself. I pulled his bike off him and he got going again as soon as he could. Good effort.


16. #24 Ryan Lalonde B-

I’m expecting a little more from the Victoria native. He looked (and sounded) great earlier this summer but his results have fallen off a little, lately. Watch for him to do better as the year moves on.


15. #223 Jonah Brittons B+

Jonah came into this season as one of the top-rated rookie Pros. He got off to a bit of a rough start but seems to be progressing lately. He should start to do better now that he knows what to expect. And someone get him a road bike for the group rides!


14. #119 Jared Petruska B

Jared came out to a slow start after missing an entire season when he crashed hard in Regina. He was picking it up with a couple great finishes but didn’t make the trip to Gopher Dunes, so it has affected his grade. Please have him come see me after class.


13. #47 Tallon LaFountaine B-

Tallon has all the skill and speed necessary to take this sport as far as he wants. He isn’t heading east with the tour and so he cannot get a higher grade than a B-. He should really be battling up with the leaders. Maybe next year.


12. #25 Taylor Arsenault B

Taylor is a rider who needs a little something extra to be a front-runner. He’s close but not quite there, yet. He’s in a tight battle with a cluster of riders on the outside of the top 5 looking in. He hurt his knee at Gopher Dunes and may be bringing a doctor’s note to get out of class.


11. #19 Hayden Halstead B

I’m giving out a lot of B’s this mid-term. Hayden is a rider who seems to have fun all the time. I had to move his desk up to the front of the class by me to keep him focused. He’s doing well, but I feel there is still some more speed hiding in there.


9. #266 Chris Fortier B+

Chris is a Quebec rider who lives in Florida. He’s come up through the ranks and just turned Pro. He’s in a battle for top rookie and will be there right to the end of the season. He is a nice student and seems to get along with everyone. If he stole someone’s lunch money, it may bring out the anger in him and get him closer to the head of the class.


9. #21 Davey Fraser A

Just when you think Davey isn’t studying, he pulls off a great exam. He’s not going to win a race, but he’s going to be right there fighting every time. He started the season with 3 13th’s in a row and then hit the top 10 twice. That gives this veteran rider his A. Hell, I have photos from the 2007 national at River Glade and he’s in them!


8. #16 Jess Pettis A-

It’s not cool to kick a student when he’s down. Jess was living up to his potential early in the year, but his untimely crash with another rider broke his collarbone and took him out. He finished 4th in moto 1 in Regina with the broken collarbone. That’s a pretty solid effort to earn him an A-.


7. #100 Jacob Hayes B+

Jacob was scoring right where he should early in the school year. He’s had a couple mechanical issues that weren’t his fault and he really should be out with an injury! I’d like to give him an A, but 37th and 12th took him down a notch, even though they weren’t his fault.


6. #33 Casey Keast A

Casey is performing very well so far this season. He’s sitting 6th in the points and I’m not sure you could expect any more than that for the first-year Pro. If he keeps improving, he’ll be a podium threat in 2018.


5. #14 Dylan Wright B

Dylan should have been fighting for podiums right from round 1 this summer. He’s got the speed but he’s been lacking the racing luck and that affected his score. He seems to be getting on a roll, so his grade should continue to improve.


4. #338 Ryan Surratt B+

Ryan came into the season after forearm surgery. You can’t expect a guy to hang on tight after something like that, so he’s been doing very well. He’s been off the pace of the top 3 riders, so he can’t get the A that we all want. This could change as the semester progresses. We’ll see how he does this week in Quebec.


3. #787 Josh Osby A

Josh is exactly where I thought he would be. He’s new to the series and is waiting for that breakout ride that will see him take the top step on the box. It’s coming.


2. #12 Shawn Maffenbeier B+

Let’s not forget, Shawn grabbed #6 in the MX1 class a few years ago. It should surprise no one that he’s fighting for this championship in the MX2 class. He did his homework and came into the season ready to win. A couple miscues cost him but he’s right where he’s supposed to be.


1. 1 Cole Thompson A

Cole is expected to be at the head of the class, and he is. He’s got a 40-point lead over the next two riders and is probably going to do exactly what we expect of him, win. Cole should win his second MX2 title and graduate to the MX1 class for 2018 where he will also challenge for wins.

Now it’s time to have a look at how the top 20 in the MX1 class have done so far this school year. We’re halfway through it and everyone wants to get he best grade they can, but we can’t all be class valedictorian! Here’s how the class of 2017 is stacking up, so far.

MX1

20. #58 Jeremy Medaglia B

I feel bad grading Jeremy when he’s been fighting to get to the bottom of an illness. He showed up at round 1 and made it through the first moto but sat out the second. He’s got the speed to battle for top 6-8’s and that’s where he’ll be if he gets his health sorted out. Yes, another B from me.


19. #72 Graham Scott A

Graham has missed a lot of school this year, but when he was in class, he performed very well. Seeing a #72 up in 12th spot was a surprise at the first 2 rounds. He would be fighting for a top 10 number if he were to be racing the whole series. Unfortunately, if he misses any more school, he’s going to be suspended.


18. #3 Kaven Benoit A

What can we say? Kaven came out and led the first moto at round 1 until he tipped over and aggravated his healing ankle. He sat out until round 5 and then had stomach cramps take him out of the first moto. He’s got the speed to do battle at the front, so we can’t really hold his injury against him. Kaven is the real deal in the MX1 class and it will show very soon.


17. #20 Kyle Swanson B-

Kyle missed the first round and then raced close to the top 10 for a couple rounds. If you look at the riders ahead of him, he was about where he should be. He’s probably out for the rest of the season and he gets a B-.


16. #41 Michael Fowler B

Michael is about where I expected him to be. B’s are flowing on this report card, but I don’t know what else to give him. He’s in that group of riders who seem to change places each week. It’s fun to watch and will be a fight right to the final round.


15. #29 JC Bujold C

JC is a rider on the rise and I would like to see him hang it out a little more. He’s a strong rider and has been hovering around the top 15. He had an off weekend at Gopher Dunes and it cost him a bit in the standings. I only give him a C because he should be steadily improving and I expect that to happen.


14. #501 Ryan Millar B+

It’s just great to see Ryan back at the races and having some fun. With natural talent to spare, he can get through a rough day on his skill alone. He’s about where I would think he’d be, so he gets a B+.


13. #56 Brock Leitner B

Another rider on the rise, Brock is in that same group of riders who exchange places each week. With a good start, he will crack the top 10 again this season. If you look at the riders ahead of him, he’s right where he should be…for now.


12. #195 Scott Champion B-

With a resume as long as Scott’s, he should be pushing for top 10’s every week. With a good start, he’s right there. He may start to do better as we move into the latter stages of this season.


11. #77 Nathan Bles B

Another B for Nathan. He wants to be in the top 10 every week but admits his ‘race aggression’ is what’s keeping him back. 10-12 is exactly where I’d put him, so that’s a B in my books.


10. #8 Keylan Meston B-

I would like to see Keylan continue to improve and make the next step to be battling with that group ahead of him, not the one behind him. Let’s see what he can do the rest of the season. He’s caught between the top riders and the rest and spends a lot of time alone out there.


9. #38 Tim Tremblay B-

I guess riders are kind of right where I’d expect them to be. Not many are surprising me during first semester. Tim is one rider who may be underachieving so far, so it hurt his grade a little. For such a big guy, he’s been kind of invisible out there – always close but never there…yet.


8. #111 Kyle Chisholm B-

Kyle Chisholm has been there, done that. He’s done better than 8th and expects to still be doing better than 8th. He’s had some bad luck and will be looking to creep up the rankings as we continue. For some reason, he’s just not been very noticeable out there.


7. #7 Cade Clason B

Again, Cade is another rider who is right where I expected him to be. B is what you get when you’re doing what you’re supposed to. Hey, I got into University with a B, so it’s not a bad thing! Cade wants to do better, but when you look up the rankings, it’s a pretty tall order.


6. #108 Dillan Epstein A

Dillan came into the season as a bit of an unknown. I’ve seen him race up through the amateur ranks, so I knew he was fast. He’s performing very well and gets extra marks for his effort with the fans at the races. A win is definitely coming for him.


5. #6 Tyler Medaglia A

If I were going to give out an A+, Tyler would probably be the rider to get it. Just when you think he’s peaked or plateaued, he surprises you with a 2nd place moto. I’m just not going to give out any A+’s yet. Saying he’s overachieving may not be exactly what I mean, but it’s close.


4. #5 Mike Alessi B+

 

Mike has been dealing with a pretty messed up knee and almost missed a round because of it. He toughed it out, came to Gopher Dunes, and won the darn thing! He’s Mike Alessi, after all, and it’s expected, so this isn’t an A+ performance. Let’s see if this win gives him the edge he needs to keep the ball rolling.


3. #10 Colton Facciotti B+

Hey, he’s a 4-time champion! A B+ would have got him into almost any school he wanted, back in my day. He seems to be coming on strong lately and will be on the podium whenever he doesn’t have a problem.


2. #377 Christophe Pourcel B+

Christophe was a World Champion back in 2006. That is not easy, and means he is f.a.s.t. He’s never surprised by anything and gives great answers when asked. This wily veteran is going to be there every single time and still may finish at the top of the class. I’d like to see him play with others more during recess. He keeps to himself a lot and this is Canada!


1. #2 Matt Goerke A

Matt is leading the class. He works as hard or harder than everyone else. He expects to win and that’s also what we expect of him, so this is an A performance. His first moto at Gopher Dunes was an A+ performance, mind you.


Now, if you could all take these home, show your parents, have them signed, and bring them to class Monday morning. If you’re not happy with your grade, keep in mind that there is still another semester coming. You can still get that A+ everyone is looking for.

Oh, and you can’t go out until your homework is done!


OK, vary short and sweet, this week. We have to put some more miles on the DMX Van. We’re just leaving Newcastle now with many miles to go before we make it to Drummondville for the weekend.

Mike Alessi says, “See you at the races…” | Jeff McConkey photo