Frid’Eh Update #46 Presented by Mobius Braces

By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford


Week #46 goes out to Pennsylvania native, Michael Fowler. – Bigwave photo

Hello and welcome to the 46th week of the Frid’Eh Update in 2015. This week, it’s brought to you by Mobius Braces and is dedicated to Beech Creek, Pennsylvania, rider, Michael Fowler. Michael has been coming up to race Canadian Nationals for a few years and we’ve gotten to know him pretty well. What we didn’t know is that he’s a Penn State University graduate! He studied there and then graduated in 2008 before turning Pro in 2011. We caught up with Michael to find out what’s new with him since we last saw him and what his future racing plans are.

Direct Motocross: Hello, Michael. We’ve kind of gotten to know you over the years up here in the Canadian east. For those who don’t know, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, my names Michael Fowler and I’m 25. I’m from a small town called Beech Creek in Pennsylvania. I started riding at 10 years old and racing at 13. I got into motocross through my family. My cousins all rode and raced so I wanted to do it. Once I started I fell in love and have never stopped.

When and why did you decide to head north to Canada?
I ran a few American nationals and things weren’t really going as planned in 2013 so I decided to try something new and race in Canada where I didn’t really know anyone and I could just focus on my riding and racing. I only got to run 3 races my first year in Canada but I loved the atmosphere and tracks so I decided from there to keep coming back.

Michael had a couple serious setbacks but said that, “After I was healed I decided to come back and go for my Pro license and I have been racing with the top guys trying to get to their level ever since.” – Bigwave photo

What was your big American Amateur National racing like?
My amateur career was nothing spectacular. I raced Loretta’s in 2007 in the Motocross C class and got a 5th overall. Then, later that year I went to Mini O’s and won the title in the Motocross C class. That following year I ran B class and I was doing fine and was going into my third motos at regionals looking to easily qualify for Loretta’s but I crashed breaking my back and ending my season for that year. Then, when I was out with my broken back my local district moved me to the A class so I came back from injury in a totally new class. It wasn’t 2 months after being cleared to ride that I crashed re-breaking my back and putting a hole in my lung. That pretty much ended that season, too. I feel like I wasted a solid year with continuous injuries. After I was healed I decided to come back and go for my Pro license and I have been racing with the top guys trying to get to their level ever since.
What has been your best Canadian experience s far?
My best experience was for sure in 2014 at Riverglade. I had awesome starts and felt great all day. I went 14-12 for a 12th overall, I believe [it’s true]. The highlight for me was being able to run down and pass some of the top guys in the late stages of the race when they seemed to be getting tired. That or coming out in the top 3 from a 36th gate pick at Sand Del Lee in 2014. That was pretty sweet running up front with those guys for a while.

“I graduated from Penn State with a bachelors in Electro Mechanical Engineering Technology. It hindered racing quite a bit. I didn’t get to ride or train near as much as I would have liked but I’m glad I have something to fall back on when that time comes that I can’t race anymore.” Bigwave photo

What have you been up to since we last saw you?
Since the last national this year I have been home working a real job, riding as much as I can. I just try to get out every weekend and most nights after work or get some laps in at my private track or wherever is open. I just want to keep riding but the M-F grind takes up most of my life.
What are your winter training/racing plans?
I plan to head south soon to start preparing for Supercross. I got the offer to ride for a new team on the east coast called Nash Motorsports. They gave me the chance to ride their bikes and race with them for the east coast rounds so I am going to do that and see where it leads. I have talked to the team owner and, who knows, you may just see another team show up in Canada next year if I can talk them into it.
Hey, I see you are a college grad. What did you study and did it affect your racing?
Yeah, I graduated from Penn State with a bachelors in Electro Mechanical Engineering Technology. It hindered racing quite a bit. I didn’t get to ride or train near as much as I would have liked but I’m glad I have something to fall back on when that time comes that I can’t race anymore. I have been working the last 2-3 years while still racing to afford everything, but my focus has always been racing and work has always come second for me (Laughs). Hopefully, I can keep racing as my number 1 for a long time to come.
What will you do when the time comes to hang up the ‘leathers?’
I guess when that time comes to stop racing I will have to get a full-time Engineering job and live a normal life. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen for quite a few years. I enjoy racing way too much to give up just yet.
Michael Fowler Jump

Fowler has made the switch to Yamaha’s for 2016. Watch for him in the east coast Supercross rounds and then we’ll see if he’s able to make the entire Rockstar Energy MX National series next summer. – Photo supplied by Fowler

What are your 2016 summer racing plans?
For 2016, I plan to run the nationals. I am hoping to talk my team into coming to Canada. They are still in talks with where they want to race and what class we will be in, but I would love to come back to Canada and do the full season. If not, I believe we will run the Nationals here in America.
Thanks for talking with us today, Michael. Who would you like to thank?
First off, I want to thank my parents and grandparents. If they didn’t do everything they did for me growing up, I wouldn’t even be talking to you today. Aside from them, I want to thank the Lord for keeping me safe throughout this journey I am on in life. I also want to thank all of my sponsors: Nash Motorsports, Alias, Bell Helmets, Rekluse, MX Graphics, Amsoil, Twin Air, Action Motorsports, Ride Live Be, Works Connection, 100%, PR2, Cycra, Sunstar, Dubya, Gaerne, Defiance Lifestyle, and all my friends and family that have ever done anything to help me get to where I am today. I want to thank you also for taking your time today to give me this opportunity to do this. Thank you.

How’s that for a dedicated and smart rider? I always like talking to the riders who have managed to be a traveling Pro while still taking care of their education. It never seems like it at the time, but Michael will reap the benefits when the time finally comes to stop racing at the Pro level. Good on you, Michael, and best of luck this winter. And who knows, maybe there will be a new team at our nationals next summer.



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Jeff McConkey

Hey, guys. Big week for Canadian moto! The 2016 Rockstar Energy MX National schedule was released. It will have many scratching their heads. The big news is Walton Raceway and Sand Del Lee are off and Pleasant Valley in Nova Scotia and RJ Motosport in Barrie are on. A lot of know-it-alls have been saying it was due to attendance. and if you believe that, you really need to open your eyes. These 2 rounds have been fan favourites for years. I, myself, am very excited for Pleasant Valley.  Mitch Cooke, Tyler Medaglia and crew have been putting on some great events over the last few years and will no doubt reel the spectators in.

RJ’s, on the other hand, has me scratching my head. I live just over an hour away from this track. I have not attended a race there, or practice day since the 2006 season. And it’s not due to the actual track itself. It’s the people! Ask Ryan Gauld why the AMO pulled its 2 races from RJ’s this season. He told me that he thought his customers shouldn’t have to deal with the bullshit and that it wasn’t worth it. Yes, I know Rockstar wanted the final round closer to a major city, but come on, guys. RJ’s will look like a crappy little parking lot midway carnival compared to Walton, which I would call the Canada’s Wonderland of the series. Rockstar just wanted the grand finale closer to a city, and keep Walton. So why axe it?

Racer X did a piece last week in their Racerhead and were left scratching their heads in disbelief. If they can see it from a distance, why can’t we?

2016 National Schedule PR

Bonus Rant…

We have been blessed with some great weather for fall riding. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to ride a groomed track this late into the season and not have to wear a snow suit. I made it out to Gopher Dunes yet again this past weekend and the conditions and weather were fantastic. Frank, Dig and crew had the track mint as always. I paid the daily ride fee, and loved every minute of it.

Then, I started wondering to myself, “Hey, why didn’t I have to pay a membership fee to ride at the Dunes this year?” Oh ya, that’s right, they aren’t greedy. Then it got me thinking… “Why in the hell are we forced to pay gate fees to practice at certain tracks and clubs. Isn’t our $30.00-35.00 enough?” Yes, I know the tracks and clubs need to make money, but do they really need to charge grandma and grandpa $10.00 each to come watch practice? If that’s the case, I want more bang for my buck. I’m going to expect epic track conditions all day long. Attention track owners and clubs: We will pay the money, but some of you need to pull up your socks and give us more value for our hard-earned money. There are tracks like Motopark, Gopher Dunes and Sand Del Lee that give us a great track each and every time without the excuses.

That’s it for me this week. Check out my ‘Out of the Blue‘ with rising off-road standout, Porsche Reynolds and my ‘On the Radar‘ with future star Jake MacDonald. Also, a birthday shout-out to my buddy, Cade Clason, who is getting ready for 450 SX before coming back up here next summer. Have a great weekend and #smileforBC!

Billy Rainford

Thanks, Jeff. As I sit here at my desk typing, I have one brain cell on what I’m currently trying to say and the other on the growing list of things we’ll need for our upcoming road trip down to the Mini O’s in Florida tomorrow. I’ve been to the event a bunch of times but never with the GF. We’re going to pitch a new tent and camp out for the week. What could possibly go wrong, right?

Mini O's or Bust

Mini O’s or bust! What are the odds the tent EVER gets back in that handy carrying case? PS Those are little kids in the photo and there’s also some parallax to consider (Google it. Bowker!) The tent isn’t Cirque de Soleil size.

I’ve literally spent the past two days in bed with some crazy fever. I actually went to a GP for the first time in about 20 years and had a check up. Everything is good, but when he recommended I get a flu shot, I flatly said, no. Not 24 hours later, I’m hallucinating in bed as my temperature goes through the roof. I think he spiked me when he gave me my first Tetanus shot in who knows how long! I haven’t had a fever since elementary school. It’s just suspicious, is all I’m saying.

AX Tour Starts in Bowling Green, KY Saturday Night

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We just finished the inaugural season for the Canada AX Tour and now the already-established American counter-part, AX Tour,  is set to begin in Kentucky this weekend. We’ll be driving straight through Bowling Green Saturday, so we’ve decided to make a stop and check out the action. Heck, if you tune into the live broadcast you may just find me as guest announcer for the event. I’d say that’s about 99.9% confirmed so that will either mean you’re now staying away from the broadcast or you might still check it out despite my efforts to trash it. 😉

We’ll be sure to post the direct link to the LIVE BROADCAST as soon as we have it. They have a pretty cool deal with Canadian gear company, FXR, who will be the title gear company. The 2015 series winner, Heath Harrison, will be fully outfitted in the brand giving them some great exposure south of the border.

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Kyle Partridge Retires from Competition

As we are all aware now, long-time Pro racer, Kyle Partridge, has made the decision to pull away from racing after suffering his 2nd neck fracture recently while practicing at Pala Raceway in Southern California. Check out the GoFundMe account that has been started to help with his medical costs if you see fit.

I found this old race footage from Kyle’s 2007 Gopher Dunes ride when he was temporarily Ryan Lockhart‘s teammate at the infamous sand track. It all started well, but the Dunes has a way of doing that…Check it out:

A Few Photos from the Milan Motorcycle Show

Photos by Andy White

Andy White from FXR Racing was over in Milan, Italy, attending the EICMA Motorcycle Show and was kind enough to fire over a few photos.


Cool to see the Canadian brand FXR making it on the international market.


Handing out swag at the Leo Vince booth.


Apparently, they just have women sitting around on the bikes all day.


Dignified side-saddle scooter ride.


‘Candid’ shot.


Check out the new Husqvarna Vitpilen (pronounced FUN).


I’m guessing those wheels are much lighter than they look???


Hey, at least there’s a dirt bike in this one!


That’s a pretty radical looking Yamaha. Thanks for the pics, Andy, now get back to work!

Rockstar Energy MX Nationals New 2-Stroke Rule

250 Two-Stroke Rule for 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals
The intention of allowing 250 two-strokes to compete in the MX2 class was to allow Canadian privateers an affordable way to compete in regional, provincial and national level events. That has been achieved in all regions of the country, apparent by the growing number of 250 two-strokes that line up every weekend to race. However, at the Pro Nationals where a substantial investment is made by all manufacturers to compete at the front of the pack, which is where all of the attention and publicity is gained, the set rules and eligibility guidelines have created concern among the manufacturers that do not produce and retail a 250 two-stroke.

Rather than jeopardize having 250 two-strokes eliminated completely from the MX2 class, there have been additional eligibility rules established that limit certain riders that will be competing for a championship. The new limitations insure that the original intention of the rule is maintained and the overwhelming majority of riders that compete on a 250 two-stroke will not be affected. Therefore, beginning at the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals, 250 two-strokes can be used for competition by Canadians only. Additionally, riders that had an overall finish in the top five at the National series in the MX2 class within the last three years will not be eligible to compete on a 250 two-stroke.

The MX2 ProAm class has always been considered to be a developmental class for up and coming riders, and not one for established, top level Pros. To insure this mandate is withheld, as of 2016, any rider that finishes in the top 5 in the MX1 class will not be eligible to compete in the MX2 class for the following three years.

Much thought and discussion has taken place to establish fair, clear cut rules that leave no grey area. These new eligibility guidelines are well defined, satisfy the manufacturers and will be well received by privateers throughout the country.
For the 2016 CMRC Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals, the following rules will apply to 250 two-stroke motorcycles in order to be eligible for competition:
1)     The bike must remain in stock form from the intake manifold to the exhaust port, and all engine parts between those two points. All engine parts (ie. cylinder, cylinder head, piston, rings, rod, etc.) must be OEM for that year model.
2)     Intake manifold is defined from the rubber boot clamps to the carburetor. No porting or headwork allowed.
3)     There are no restrictions on pipes or mufflers other than the fact that they must meet the sound rules.
4)     CMRC will conduct random engine checks throughout the series if necessary. CMRC will have a cylinder, cylinder head and piston from each manufacturer for comparison.
5)     Any bikes found to be modified will be excluded from the results of the day’s competition.
6)     Aftermarket pistons, rings and crankshafts are permitted providing they have the stock OEM specifications.
7)     Additionally, a rider may not switch from a two-stroke to a four-stroke or visa-versa. The type of machine on which a rider begins the series is to be used to the completion (ie. Start on a two-stroke, finish on a two-stroke).
8)     Modifications or replacement parts will be deemed illegal if they are not listed above.
9)      Any rider that had an overall series finish in the top five in the MX2 class at the CMRC Pro Nationals within the last three years is not eligible to compete on a two-stroke.
10)   Only riders that have a Canadian citizenship are permitted to compete on a two-stroke.
11)   Top five finishers of the MX1 class in the 2016 Nationals and beyond will not be eligible to compete in the MX2 class for the following three years.

OK, not all companies involved (read, ‘paying money to the nationals’) manufacture a 2-stroke – we get that. But whose fault is that? Can someone (Bruno, you got yer ears on?) go back to the days when Doug Dubach came up and killed everyone on a 4-stroke and get to the bottom of what happened? Cleaner running, already developing 4-stroke engines…

Remember when you could ride twice the 4-stroke displacement against the 2-strokes? Now, what are we saying…the tricked-out 4-strokes are just not fast enough to compete against a basically stock 2-stroke of the same displacement??? Well, yes, that’s exactly what we’re saying! Honestly, it’s 1 step forward and 2 steps back (I’m sorry if I just made you sing Paula Abdul).

Far be it from me to envy the person trying to make everyone happy with these decisions, but the tail is wagging the dog here, and I’m not even sure what that means. I am sure. Anyway, the rule is made and racing will go on here in Canada.

Mini O’s


Yep, I’m making that dreaded drive down I-75 all the way down to Gainesville, Florida, for the 44th Annual Thor Winter Olympics at Gatorback Park. I’ve been to this event several times and have a great time every year I attend. Going to these week-long races makes for a ton of work but it’s the best way to sort through all the amateur racers to see who’s the potential next Ricky Carmichael. Sure, there are those that argue only the wealthiest riders are able to make it to all these races and that there are many fast kids out there who will simply get overlooked due to proximity and lack of funds, but how else do you propose to do it?

We will try to keep everyone updated on how our Canadians are doing throughout the week with nightly photo reports and as many video clips as we can manage. Special thanks to Forma Boots, Valley Motosport, and FXR for helping out.



Be sure to keep us bookmarked and check often!

There’s lots going on in the sport right now but I’m out of time. Thanks for looking and have a great weekend. We’re losing our upper-teens weather here in Southwestern Ontario and will be hovering around the freezing mark…until, oh, April! Let’s get this road trip started…


This is the look Bret Metcalfe gave me when he heard I was driving to Florida AGAIN! See you at the races… – Bigwave photo