Frid’Eh Update #36 Presented by Yamaha Canada
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #36 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update Presented by Yamaha Canada. Week 36 puts us at what is now one of our short “off seasons” in Canadian Moto. The Rockstar Triple Crown MX Series has finished and we are a week away from the Supercross portion of that series as well as the Future West Arenacross series that doesn’t start until late November.
This week belongs to the rider we first got to know a bunch of years back when he won the coveted Bronze Boot award at the Walton TransCan. Taylor Arsenault is the racer from Ottawa who is sneaky fast and can usually be found battling in the very competitive 8-15 range in the results.
He’s got the talent to chase podiums, but it seems that life has caught up with him and he now has decisions to make about his future away from the sport.
With that in mind, we grabbed him for a talk to get his thoughts on this past season and find out what he has in store for the future.
Direct Motocross: Hello, Taylor. First off, could you tell us how you first got into Motocross?
Taylor Arsenault: It all started when I was about 10 years old and my dad bought me a KX 60 for Christmas. Ever since that day I have been hooked to this sport. I still remember him teaching me how to use a clutch on Christmas day on our snow-covered dirt road (Laughs), and then I continued to race throughout the years.
What was your first number and how did you choose it?
My first number was 777. I’m not sure why I picked that number, but I can tell you why I picked 257. I grew up watching James Stewart, he was the cat’s meow back then. I wanted to be close to his number growing up, so I took the 259 and changed it to 257.
Aside from James, who was your first Motocross hero? What rider did you look up to when you were a kid?
I looked up to the Medaglia brothers growing up (still do). They were always at Sand Del Lee practicing when I would go. They would always take the time out of their day to talk to my brother and me.
Where are you from and how old are you?
I am from a little town west of Ottawa called Carleton Place, I am currently 23 years old.
What were you like as a student?
I was an average student — B+ kinda guy. Always 90’s in all physical courses.
Who did you come up through the ranks battling?
I grew up with all the guys I race with now. Top dogs were Richard Grey, Nathan Bles, Cole Thompson, Jason Benny, Brad Dool, Dylan wright. I battled with Dylan and (Tyler) Duffy all through my Intermediate days.
What was the highlight of your amateur career? I’m assuming it was the Bronze Boot at the TransCan?
Yes, the Bronze Boot was a big one, especially since it was my first time at the TransCan and no one had really heard my name other than the people from my home track, which was cool when my name was called for the Bronze Boot.
What year did you turn Pro and how did it go for you?
I turned Pro after racing two years of Intermediate, which would have been 2014, I believe. My rookie year as a Pro I was side-lined due to a wrist injury. The following year, I returned at the Gopher Dunes national for the first round of the East coast which ended with number 53, which wasn’t to bad for my first year Pro.
You joined the series for the east rounds this past summer and finished 8th at Sand Del Lee (your best overall). How did the series go for you?
Yeah, I was stoked to see Sand Del Lee back on the map. It is my home track. I have put millions of laps down on that track. It was cool to come straight off the couch and get 8th overall at my first race of the year in front of all my family, fans, and friends.
Are you happy with your 2-stroke decision? What are the advantages and disadvantages, as you see them?
(Laughs) Of course I’m happy racing the 2-stroke, the fans love it and it’s more enjoyable to ride. Myself, being 185 lbs against 120lb kids on 250f’s, I think the 2-stroke keeps me competitive against all of my competitors. The only downfall is when I get to the hard pack tracks, it does lack traction. But regardless, the 2-stroke has treated me well and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Will you be racing any of the Supercross rounds?
No, I will not be attending the Supercross rounds. Unfortunately, we’re super busy at work at this time and haven’t had much time to ride.
What is it you do for your 9-5?
I’m a welder and fabricator. I work for my dad’s company called Black Anvil Iron Works.
What does the future hold for you, on and off the track?
Not 100% sure what’s going to happen with motocross. I will always be at the races and riding as much as I can. I will never fully step away from this sport. But my main focus right now will be working and making money, but we will see. Maybe you will see me lined up at a few nationals in the future.
OK, thanks for talking with us today. Good luck and who would you like to thank?
I’d like to thank my mom, dad, brother, Hanah (girlfriend), Wheelsport, Fox Canada, Shift MX, Moto Seat, Nihilo Concepts, Kutvek America, Imperial Motion. Thanks, guys, see you next summer!
Happy Friday, guys.
Yamaha Canada 2019 Motocross “Media Ride Day” at Motopark
We are writing to you today from the fantastic sights and sounds of Motopark. Bigwave and I are up here in Chatsworth, Ontario, for the Canadian media launch of the all-new 2019 Yamaha YZ250f. This Yamaha media ride day has become a favourite of anyone who has ever attended — great track and facility, amazing host with Yamaha Canada doing a great job like always, and an all-new 250f. I also have to mention how great the lunch was! I don’t want to ruin my product review on the new bike, but the thing revs to the moon and makes serious power!
Phil Nicoletti Signs with Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha for Triple Crown SX and the 2019 Series
Also big news, how about the signing of Phil Nicoletti? This guy is an instant title threat. He can ride SX, he’s fantastic outdoors, and ain’t nobody got nothin’ for old Filthy Phil if it’s a mudder. I’m very excited that he’s coming, but really hoping that the OTSFF squad is able to keep Dillan Epstein and Matt Goerke as well for 2019.
Gestev Montreal Supercross
Next big thing, how about the return of the Montreal Supercross? There have been some serious names invited, so let’s hope they are all packed and ready to come. Only time will tell if it’s a full-blown SX track or if it will be toned down.
Check out all the info HERE.
That’s it for me this week, I’ve got to run, Marco Cannella just wheelied by me on a YZ65! Thanks to Graeme Jones and everyone at Yamaha Canada and Motopark for the super fun day. Have a great weekend and #smileforBC.
Thanks, Jeff. As he said, this Update is coming to you from Motopark in Chatsworth, ON which is just south of Owen Sound. I’ve been riding here since I was a little kid. I remember getting one of my first-ever competitive wins at this place. It was a long time ago, but, yes, we only had one rear shock!
Today we’re here hanging out with the fine folks from Yamaha Motor Canada to ride the 2019 motocross line-up. The 250 is the one that gets the “all new” status this year, and I can’t wait to throw a leg over one.
Actually, Jeff will be doing the riding. I brought my gear bag, just in case my knee is feeling good enough to give this place a try. We’ll see how it goes, but I know what the next week will be like after I ride a few laps, and I’m really not looking forward to that pain. Truthfully, I haven’t ridden since I had my leg cut in half, wedged, plated, and rehabbed, so maybe I’m good to go! We’ll see…
These guys always put on a great day here at Motopark and just driving through the gates here gives me those butterflies you think you hate until you stop racing and miss them. Trust me, you’ll see.
As of typing this, we’re still waiting for the final entry list for the Montreal Supercross next Saturday. The list we, and everyone else, posted was the “Invited List,” not a finalized list.
Since the points gained here count toward the Rockstar Triple Crown cash, they had to make sure anyone with a mathematical chance at the $10K (250) or $100K (450) top prize was given a chance to register and race.
From the list in the 450 class, I know the following people are NOT coming:
Graham Scott, Ryan Lalonde, Jacob Hayes, Kyle Keast, and Ryan Dowd. This list opens the door to other riders signing up, so we’ll wait for that confirmation list.
We now know that Malcolm Stewart will be riding a SmarTops MotoConcepts Honda at the event. That’s a pretty cool signing for that team , and let’s hope it turns into a full-time Supercross ride down south.
Josh Hill will be there, too, on an OTSFF-tuned Yamaha 450. He hopes to get some redemption for the Calgary Arenacross when he crashed his brains out in the whoops this past winter.
We’ll be brief this week so we can get home and post some stuff this weekend. Here are a couple teaser photos from the Ride Day today at Motopark. Thanks again for the hospitality today.
OK, let’s leave it there. I’m actually pulled over at a Tim Horton’s in Durham, ON. They don’t have any outlets in the lobby so I’m starting to get close to having my laptop shut down on me. The wifi at Motopark was acting strange so we had to make a run for it. Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you all next week in Montreal!