Frid’Eh Update #3 | Shawn Maffenbeier | Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #3 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Yamaha Motor Canada.
Shawn Maffenbeier is the rider originally from Swift Current, SK who now calls Kamloops, BC home with his better half, Robin Hutchinson. The two are laying roots in the Interior city that is also home to my mom and sister! Would it kill you to check in on them once in a while, Shawn?!
Shawn rode for the Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha team that has now shut its door on the Canadian Moto scene. But fret not, Shawn has landed on his feet and is heading back to a familiar team for 2021. More on that later.
Here’s a look at Shawn’s 2020 season:
I have so many photos of Maff’s career that I could have spent the entire day sifting through them, trying to find ones that fit the story the best. I just wish I had a photo of him when he spent the night in a British jail cell. And now I’m disappointed with myself that I didn’t ask him to tell us the story again.
We got in touch with Shawn this week and he told us what team he’s headed for in 2021:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Shawn. Thanks for chatting with us today. I’m sure we’s asked you before but would you mind taking us back to your first number story? What was it and how did you choose it?
Shawn Maffenbeier: My first number was 92! It was my dad’s number at the time and I actually have no idea why we ran the number 92. It was on my bike till at least Intermediate where I had to change because my dad wouldn’t give it up.
You raced on the now departed Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha team last season. Let’s talk about the MX portion first. 5-6-3-3-4 is a pretty solid season for 3rd place overall. How would you say your MX season went? Were you happy with it?
The MX season had some ups and downs. Was a little behind with my speed coming into the season but made some changes and got more comfortable which lead to those couple of podiums that I wanted. All in all, I was happy but still want to better myself moving forward.
And then in SX you went 6-4-4-4. How did that portion go for you?
Supercross wasn’t great for me. It was tough with the limited time after outdoors to get the preparation that I would have liked. It was the same for all of us, but obviously wanted to do a little better. Had a couple big crashes and ended up backing things down to a pace that was going to get me through the end of the series healthy.
I met you for a coffee in Kamloops during the FWM AX series this past fall. What have you been doing out there since I last saw you? More home renovations?
The renovations are just about done! Robin and I have been putting in some long days to get our place to where we want it. Other than that, I’ve just been waiting on what’s been going on with our series.
We’ve heard rumours about your plans for the 2021 season. Can you tell us what the plan is for this coming season?
With Andre (Laurin) leaving the series Kevin (Tyler) and the MX101 squad took over the 450 program from Yamaha and I’m excited to say that I’ll be back with MX101 for 2021 on a 450.
That must feel sort of like going home for you! They’ve always just been a 250 team. How and when did this conversation start?
Obviously, there were a lot of moving parts in the fall with Andre closing his doors to racing and trying to figure out what is next for me. It was hard to really put anything in writing with anyone due to the fact that we currently don’t have a schedule or any idea of when we will be racing next. That part was disappointing but also understandable with COVID in our world. But I’m super happy to have signed with MX101 again and be working with the same guys that helped me win a championship.
Who’s going to be your mechanic?
When will this all start? What will your winter training and testing look like?
Everything is a tad bit up in the air right now. If the rumour mill of a July start for nationals is true, I’m not sure what that will look like for me. Bikes should be arriving soon and hopefully a schedule does as well so we can make some more plans.
We’ve got Marshal Weltin and Jess Pettis heading to the 450 class in 2021. What are you hoping for this season? Are you still getting faster?
Never stopped learning! I think some of the missing pieces from the OTSFF program will be taken care for me at MX101. I’m looking forward to seeing what I accomplish with the new team behind me.
How much longer will you continue to chase the Pro series?
Well, that’s an interesting question! I’ve gone all in for this year. I always wanted to see what I could do with MX101 with a 450 program, so for this year I’ve put everything I have into this year’s season. Unfortunately, our series and sport took a huge dive with the COVID pandemic and this is my job and I how I make my living. If things don’t improve, this may be my last year of racing. But who knows! I tell you more in the fall!
Have you imagined what you’ll do when you’re not racing the Nationals anymore?
That’s the million dollar question everyone wants to know!
Let’s get nostalgic. Looking over your career, what stands out as your proudest moment?
Des Nations and my 2017 championship are, for sure, my biggest and proudest accomplishments.
We just finished The Last Narc on Amazon Prime (watch it!). What should we be binging next?
I’d go with The Yellowstone! It’s entertaining.
Well, I always appreciate and enjoy our chats. Good luck getting ready for another run at the series. Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Thanks, Bill. Just a huge thank you to Kevin Tyler from MX101 for bringing me back home, Yamaha, the guys at FXR for always having my back, Rockstar, Joe Skidd from SSS suspension, Matrix Concepts for their continued support over the years, and my fiancé Robin for helping me tackle another year of racing!
Like I said, I could spend all day posting photos from Shawn’s career! I didn’t even get to the season where James Lissimore and I basically lived in the cab of their rig! Oh man…
Good luck heading back to familiar territory for 2021.
So, I just had to head outside to take a break and shovel a few neighbourhood driveways. Sometimes you just have to step away from the screen before you go cross-eyed. Fortunately, there were only a couple inches of fresh snow and it’s cold enough that it was pretty light.
Hey, are you crazy like me? Do you ever do things like this? As I’m shovelling the driveway I switch hands to injure my back equally on both sides. You ever do this?
In fact, a bunch of years ago when I was “managing” a skate and snowboard shop in Vancouver called Thriller, I went so far as to have “Left-handed Mondays.” I used to start my work days with the local crossword and Sudoko puzzles, so you can imagine how those looked.
So, I also just grabbed some lunch here at home and took Shawn’s suggestion and checked out a bit of Yellowknife Season 1, Episode 1 on Amazon Prime. For some reason, I pigeon-hole Kevin Kostner in the same category as Nicolas Cage and John Travolta. The series didn’t really grab me off the bat, but I’ll give it another try.
After I spoke with Shawn this week, I wanted to check in with MX101 owner Kevin Tyler to make sure he was cool with us spilling the beans, officially, about #3’s return to the team.
As always, KT was open and honest when talking about his plans. If he actually knows what his plans are, he’s never one to play games about it.
So, Shawn returns from a successful championship year back in 2017. The team is set to have 2 450 riders, 1 250 rider, and he plans on continuing to support both his other guys, Austin Jones and Jamie Powell.
Shawn is one 450, Marco Cannella is their 250 guys, so who do they go after to pair with Shawn on the big bike?
I asked him about Luke Renzland and he definitely said that his (and Yamaha Motor Canada’s) preference would be to hire a Canadian rider who has a chance at going for podiums. Of course, that’s a rather short list, assuming some of the usual American riders will be heading north again.
We’ll have to wait and see how things shake out as far as the 2021 series goes because I have a feeling it may just affect which satellite teams decide whether or not to chase it again this season. With that possibility in mind, there may or may not be some fast Canucks looking for rides.
Podcast with Hammertime
If you were around the sport between the years 2004 to, ohh, 2012, you will remember the dominance of MX Forum in Canadian Moto. It was a fun, free-wheeling time when internet presence was in its infancy and social media wasn’t what it is today. That said, forums were a big deal then.
Hammertime and Pillow were the two guys behind “The Pink Palace” and everyone wanted to get home from school or work to see just what kind of chaos had transpired during the day on the site. It was a blast, albeit frightening at times.
Hammertime was the king of controversy. He had such a beef with David Vuillemin at one time that DV had a jersey made up that read, “Screw + Hammer + Time” on the back! It was amazing. See for yourself:
Hammertime was a fast Pro rider back in his day and has kept one eye on the sport as he grew his real estate biz in Kelowna, BC. We’ve always kept in touch and I’ve always offered him a place to share his opinions should he ever feel the desire. Well, he finally caved and we were able to sit down and record a podcast.
“Review/Preview with Hammertime” is what we called it, and it was fun to crack a beer and shoot the breeze with someone who has seen it all and has the smarts to have an educated opinion on just about everything in our sport.
If you haven’t listened to it, you can check it out on our podcast platforms:
Subscribe to the platform of your choice and get notified when a new interview gets processed and posted.
That was a blast and hopefully we can get Greg Poisson to join us for future Review/Previews.
Dylan Rempel Joins Monster Kawasaki Pro Circuit Amateur Program
In our interview with Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit team manager Chad Goodwin last week, we mentioned that the team would be helping out amateur standout, Dylan Rempel. Well, it’s been officially announced on their Instagram page.
Obviously, this is a great step forward for amateur riders in Canada. When our factory-supported teams dip into the amateur pool, it helps our hot prospects reach their goals and be much more prepared when they make it up to the top ranks.
Supercross Round 3
We’ve got a 4-man battle (maybe 5) in the 250 class and a…what, 10-way battle in the 450 class? This season is living up to the hype and I think I speak for everyone when I was that I can’t wait for the night program again this Saturday!
In the 250 class, #29 Christian Craig still has the points lead by 3 points, but I think we say at H2 that wins will not come easily for anyone. Well, I guess #18 Jett Lawrence made that look pretty easy, didn’t he?
Jett is the breath of fresh air that our sport needs at the top level. He’s only 17 and has a huge personality. Like I said before, that big personality will definitely be rubbing some of his competitors the wrong way, and it means things will likely get interesting before this season is finished.
I like how #64 Colt Nichols is just quietly creeping in on the points lead. He didn’t get the hype that a few of the other top guys did, and he’s going to be there every week until this ins done.
#38 Austin Forkner is the fastest guy in the class that isn’t performing to his expectations. I’m sure they’ve had some serious talks over in the PC camp this week.
Having said that, I thing H3 is going to be a no holds barred battle between Lawrence and Forkner. It’s going to be good.
250 Podium Predictions
- 38 Austin Forkner
- 18 Jett Lawrence
- 64 Colt Nichols
In the 450 class, I think we’ve all been rolling the dice to pick a favourite. #1 Eli Tomac is the defending champion and really has to be the one at the top of the “safe” bets for winner.
#16 Zach Osborne won the final round of 2020 and looked great as he closed in on Eli in the main before making that uncharacteristic mistake, going down on the final lap.
#51 Justin Barcia won H1 and then held on for 9th place at H2 with only one gear! DO you throw him back in your top 3?
#23 Chase Sexton looked to have H2 under control out front until that awful crash coming out of the sand section. He’s out for at least this week:
#9 Adam Cianciarulo also looked great moving toward the front up in 2nd place early before going down and struggling his way to 12th place.
So, let me roll the dice for this week….
- Eli Tomac
- Zach Osborne
- Cooper Webb
What? It’s as good a top 3 as you can make! Let’s see you roll your dice.
Enjoy the racing Saturday night. Don’t forget to cheer #551 Guillaume St Cyr on as he tries again to make the 250 East main. We’ve been checking in with him after each round:
We’ll have a talk with him this Sunday, too.
I also want to wish #134 Jess Pettis the best possible result when he gets his left knee checked out. Unfortunately, he’s been forced out of action after that qualifying incident at H2.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend.