Frid’Eh Update #49 Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Hello, and welcome to Week #49 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada. Winter paid us a visit here in Southwestern Ontario overnight and we’re digging ourselves out from our first legitimate snowfall of the season. Say what you want, I love the snow!
Week # 49 belongs to the Ohio racer who made his Professional debut with us here in Canada a couple years ago. Kein Denzler is the rider we’ve watched work his way to becoming a solid top 10 contender every time he’s on the track.
He wasn’t able to race as much as he would have liked in 2018, but he will be back in action for the entire series in 2019.
Here’s a look at his shortened 2018 Canadian season:
We got in touch with him to talk about it, so here’s what he had to say:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Kein. OK, let’s start at the beginning. Where are you from? How old are you? And how did you get into Motocross in the first place?
Hey, it’s good to hear from you! I’m from Ohio and I’m 21 years old. Well, my dad was actually a quad racer (Laughs) and he got me my first quad when I was 4 years old, but he decided to throw me on a dirt bike when I was 7 years old ( best decision ever!).
What was your first number and how did you choose it?
My first number was 7. I actually picked that number because it’s the most used number in the Bible!
What was your first race, and how did it go?
My first race was at a local track, OIR. I raced 65 (7-9) and took 2nd. The first gate drop was an awesome feeling!
What was the highlight of your amateur career?
This is going to sound funny but I always think back to the race as being a “highlight” it was 2011, my birthday weekend. I raced a Supermini shootout race at Area 51 in New York and won it. That was my 1st big money race. I won $500 which was a lot as a 14yr old!
How did your Intermediate/B year go, and who were the top guys you were up against?
My 250 B year was actually awesome! I raced a lot and hit big races. The top guys at that time were Jordan Bailey, Max Markolf, and Tanner Stack.
What year did you turn Pro and how did that season go?
I turned Pro in 2017 in Canada. It was such an awesome experience to race rounds 2, 3 and 4 out west! At Calgary I had my best finish with an 8th overall. Round 5 at Gopher Dunes didn’t go as planned, as most people know I got tangled up with another rider over the finish line jump and I lost the tips of my 4th and 5th fingers, so my season came to an end. The west coast races went really good though, tracks are so sick out there and everyone is super cool!
What year did you first come up to Canada? Why did you venture north?
I came to Canada in 2015 as an Intermediate to race the Motopark Cups and Walton National. I was down south training in the winter and Tyler Duffy was training as well. He came up to me and told me I needed to come to Canada. We got our passports and headed up and had so much fun at Motopark and decided to keep racing in Canada.
What’s your favourite thing about coming up here?
There are so many reasons I love Canada. I think the atmosphere is so cool. Everyone is so cool and helpful, not to mention the sick tracks up there!
What was the highlight of your 2017 summer that earned you #49?
I would have to say the whole experience of being out west racing; finishing 8th overall at Calgary.
What is your favourite track in Canada?
Wild Rose MX (Calgary) is probably my favorite track. Deep ruts, big jumps is more of what we have in Ohio so I really felt comfortable there! Also having the city in the background was sick!
Your best moto of last summer came at Walton — a 9th. Can you take us through that one? Was it your best ride of the summer?
Yes, Walton was awesome! I finished 9th but there was a pile-up in the first corner that held me up and I had to work my way up from pretty much last place. So, working my way up to 9th I was pretty happy about. So I guess I would say it was my best ride for sure!
You ended up 22nd in Motocross with your best finish a 9th overall at the final round at Walton. You only did the last 3 rounds, but can you sum up the summer for us? Are you happy with your results?
We had plans on racing the entire series this year but came into some things that held our family back from doing that. So we made the best of what we could do. So I’m pretty thankful that my parents were able to make the last 3 rounds. I think I had a solid 3 rounds with 3 top 10 motos but gonna work harder for 2019 and get closer to the front!
You will be #55 in 2019. How do you feel about that number?
#55 it is for 2019 and I’m good with that. It’s gonna look steezy underneath Denzler (Laughs).
Were you ever planning on racing the Supercross portion? We haven’t seen you, where have you been?
Yes, I was for sure planning on racing the SX part of the series. But.. haha my last race of the season was the Can vs. America in New York. I won all 4 of my motos with a broken collar bone. I’m all healed up and working hard for ‘19.
How do you think the first season under new ownership/management went?
I honestly think they did an insane job! That whole family is one of the most dedicated moto families I know and they know what it takes to succeed at everything they do! And family is everything! It’s what my parents have taught me and Summer (Denzler).
What are your winter plans?
The plan is to hit an indoor winter series, race about 4-5 of those and then start riding outdoors once the weather shapes up in Ohio.
What are your racing plans for next summer?
I will be racing all of the Nationals in Canada.
What is it you do for your 9-5 job? What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I work with my dad installing fences. It’s pretty cool because I treat my work day as an extra workout. I’m definitely going to focus on racing as a career and hopefully get noticed by a team. After I hang my boots up I will most likely take over my dad’s business.
OK, thank you and good luck. Who would you like to thank?
First off, I’d like to thank the Lord Jesus Christ for keeping me safe; give a huge thanks to my dad, mom, sister for their support. FiveStar Powersports, FXR, 100%, Mobius braces, Ryno power, Bills Pipes, ODI grips, Backyard Designs and Factory connection. Thanks, Billy, for all your hard work and always making us racers look good!
Head over to Yamaha Motor Canada website and take advantage of all the savings on products and free shipping throughout the month of December.
Happy Friday, guys.
Jess Pettis to KTM Red Bull Thor Factory team
Well, the big news is finally out. The newly crowned 2018 MX National Champion and Triple Crown SX Champion Jess Pettis is going to the KTM Red Bull Thor Factory race team. I am happy for Jess, and his new team, but I am a little sad for Kevin Tyler and the MX101 team. This is now 2 years in a row that they weren’t able to run their well deserved #1 plate. Add in the fact that they lost the services of Dylan Wright the season before, and it will have you scratching your head.
I have personally worked for the MX101 race team, and it was one of the best experiences of my career. They are very professional, caring, and run a legit race team. Heck, they are the back-to-back defending 250 National Champions! MX101 has a great program, and they will continue to show it year after year.
The big question now is who will they bring in to capture the 2019 championship? This is where the keyboard warriors will scream how MX101 needs to give a young Canadian a shot. I strongly disagree. These guys need to go after a winner. Nothing against a young Canadian like Jake Tricco or Sam Gaynor, they are both great kids with lots of talent, but they aren’t going to challenge for a championship in 2019. Don’t get me wrong, I hope to see both of these young guys on one of the big teams in the near future, but unfortunately racing is a business, and results pay the bills.
A few names I wouldn’t mind KT and the crew kicking around would maybe be a Jesse Wentland, Josh Cartwright, maybe even bring back Dylan Wright. We all know Shawn Maffenbeier is moving to the 450 class, so his 250 ride at Huber is vacant. I’ve heard Dylan Wight as a possibility, I even heard a while back that Mike Alessi was inquiring about a 250 ride for 2019. Same for Huber, as MX101, GDR, and KTM Canada, they need to pick a guy that will win races and contend for a championship.
Cade Clason and the FWM Flagger are OK
There was a really scary incident last Saturday night in the Future West Moto AX series. A flagger was involved in an incident with our close friend and racer Cade Clason. Cade was also injured in the crash, but the good news is that both Cade and the female flagger are going to be OK. Let’s hope something like this never happens again.
That is it for me this week, have a safe weekend and we will see you next week. #smileforBC
Thanks, Jeff. What a week it’s been for Canadian Motocross. We’ve all been waiting for the official announcement that Jess Pettis has signed with the KTM Red Bull Thor Factory race team for the next 2 years.
Remember when Jess was that young, little guy who moved up to the big bikes and had to have his bikes modified to fit his small stature? He did not look comfortable that first year on his 125.
Then, all of a sudden, he grew a few inches and has been our ‘Most Improved Rider’ 3 years running and is the rider we talk about most of all! It’s crazy how things work in our sport.
Kevin Tyler and Johnny Grant over at MX101 just seem to churn out the young talent and have brought home the 250 championship the past couple years, with Shawn Maffenbeier and now with Jess. The question now is who will fill Jess’ shoes?
I spoke with Kevin this week and he is in good spirits (or at least he’s a good phone actor). He, as much as anyone, knows Motocross is a short career and riders have to do what they can to keep progressing and make as much money as they can in a short period of time. Yes, he understands that, but it probably still doesn’t feel great to not be able to run a #1 plate for the second straight year.
He said there is no shortage of riders who would love to take Jess’ place on the team, the problem is trying to find the right fit — a Canadian would be great, but someone who can win is at the top of the importance list, I think.
They’ve got returning riders Hayden Halstead and rookie sensation Marco Cannella, but it’s not likely that either of these riders is ready to take that top step on the podium…not yet.
I did a podcast interview with Jess Thursday evening (you can click on it on our site or over at iTunes) and we joked (but seriously) about the possibility of seeing his new brother-in-law, Jesse Wentland, back on the team and going for podiums on the team.
Jesse made a pretty dramatic departure from the main racing scene south of the border a couple years ago, but is still fit and ready to go.
It would be a good fit, but he is only half Canadian (he recently married Katelyn Pettis), so we’ll have to see what the guys decide.
Oh, I should probably give you the link to the 35-minute podcast:
Or listen to it on Soundcloud:
Jess has signed on for 2 years and the plan is for him to run the #1 plate in the 250 class in 2019 and then make the move up to the 450 class from that point on.
He joins Cole Thompson (450) and Tanner Ward (250) and the deal will see him able to race the West Coast 250 Supercross series again this winter. He said he was talking with all of the teams and felt the KTM family was the best fit for him and the future of his racing career.
Good luck to Jess and good luck to MX101 as they try to fill the title threat shoes over there at MX101.
#4 Ricky Carmichael at the Torino, ITALY, SX December 15th
Ricky Carmichael – just doing the Head to Head races, apparently
Khoun – Sith Vongsana
And more… (according to their website: http://torinosupercross.com/)
Tyler Gibbs Also Racing Supercross Futures
Canadian Bjorn Viney will be lining up for all 8 of the Supercross Futures races this winter with the support of the PRMX team. Bjorn is the rider from Ottawa, ON whose family moved to California for work and racing a few years ago.
We interviewed Tyler Gibbs from Mission, BC Thursday and he informed us that he too will be on the line in the B class when the gate drops on the Supercross Futures season.
I’m sure there are more Canadian riders to list here, but we don’t know all of them yet.
You can check out our ‘On the Radar‘ interview with Tyler here: http://www.directmotocross.com/on-the-radar-tyler-gibbs-scott-sports-canada/
10-Year Neck Brace Study Results
*Far be it from us to ever tell you what optional safety gear to wear. This study’s results were sent to us so we thought we’d share.
Oh, why not, let’s dig into this a little bit again. If we can’t have some fun in the off season, when can we?!
It’s that time of year again when it’s unlikely anyone is going to pick up their phones when they see my name pop up, so I was a little shocked when I heard and actual human on the other end when I called Adam ‘Disco Stu’ Robinson of the Monster Energy Alpinestars Piller’s Kawasaki team this afternoon.
I’m only joking when I say people don’t answer their phones. I think people out there know that if they don’t have anything official to say, I’m not going to publish anything other than as a rumour.
However, as I was chatting away with Adam, I received a text message from Derek Schuster of the GDR Honda Fox Racing team that simply said, “No Comment.” Haha.
Both teams are in the middle of some negotiations and neither wants to say too much ‘on the record.’
For Derek, the questions are three-fold: What will Colton Facciotti‘s program look like in 2019? Will he race all 3 disciplines or will he go to a ‘Motocross Only’ season?
Next is the rumour that Mike Alessi will bring his skills to the Honda team. As Jeff mentioned, we’ve heard he’s inquired about a 250 ride but we assume he’ll be the other 450 guys at GDR.
And the third thing is that Dylan Wright is the Canadian rider with the best chance at challenging Jess Pettis for 250 wins, in my opinion. He was rumoured to be interested in a 450 ride but I would guess GDR is in the process of locking him down and taking a solid run at 2019 with him as their 250 guy. There’s also the chance that Stu and the MEAPK team are still in the market for Dylan’s services, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens here.
UPDATE: As soon as we pressed “submit” on the Update, Dylan posted the following video announcing he’s re-signed with GDR for next season:
What teams are also waiting for is the finalization of the eligibility rule for American riders.
It sounds like instead of Top 20 riders not being eligible that it was drop to only the top 10 who wouldn’t be allowed to race the 250 class. That means riders like Dakota Alix and many others are now possibilities for Canadian rides.
With this possible new rule, will MX101 go looking for a guy south of the border, too?
Stu wouldn’t say much because he is a professional and wants to respect the riders and the other teams as they work their way through their own deals as we near the end of the calendar year.
He did admit that the team would be going as close to the limits of the new eligibility rule as they can to ensure their best chance at winning all three titles in 2019. He said he’s not interested in anything other than wins and they are going to do what they can to achieve them.
One quote I told him I was going to use is this: he said, “I have no names in front of me right now.” However, he was driving so that could be his loophole.
It’s a pretty exciting time to be a Canadian Motocross fan, and we’ll have to see how this all shakes out.
Also, we should have the finalized 2019 Rockstar Triple Crown schedule in our hands in the very near future, Kyle Thompson of Jetwerx told me today. There are just a few little things to iron out before it gets set in stone. I’m guessing that the Montreal Supercross and which western round is announced as the one being cut from the schedule are two of them.
2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross TV Broadcast Schedule
|Sat., May 18||Hangtown Classic* – 2nd Motos||6 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sat., May 25||TBA* – 2nd Motos||6 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sun., June 2||Thunder Valley National* – 2nd Motos||4 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sat., June 15||High Point National – 2nd Motos||3 p.m.||NBC|
|High Point National – 2nd Motos||4 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sat., June 22||Florida National – 2nd Motos||3 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sun., June 30||Southwick National* – 2nd Motos||10:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sat., July 6||RedBud National – 2nd Motos||3 p.m.||NBC|
|RedBud National* – 2nd Motos||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sun., July 21||Spring Creek National* – 2nd Motos||1 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Sat., July 27||Washougal National* – 2nd Motos||10 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sat., Aug. 10||Unadilla National – 2nd Motos||3 p.m.||NBC|
|Unadilla National*- 2nd Motos||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sat., Aug. 17||Budds Creek National – 2nd Motos||4 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Sat., Aug. 24||Ironman National* – 2nd Motos||11 p.m.||NBCSN|
**NOTE** All qualifiers and motos will stream live and commercial free on NBC Sports Gold
Future West Moto Arenacross
Future West Moto (FWM) kept us all up to date on how the flagger involved in the incident at Chilliwack Heritage Park last weekend was doing, and it was great to hear she will be fine after 6 weeks of recovery from her injuries. Fortunately, her injuries are ones that will heal and she did not incur any head trauma.
I spoke with Lesley Reid from FWM today and she me that Denise will make a full recovery and the fact that she doesn’t have any head trauma means she actually remembers the entire incident.
She was knocked unconscious on impact from Cade Clason (it’s really nice that the body does that for us) and Lesley said that had it not been such a skilled rider, the impact could have been much worse. She added that Cade made some split second decisions in the air that resulted in the lessening of the impact.
She also said that the Pro practice got started 10 minutes early and that the flagger thought she was late and so rushed to get back to her post and made that error that caused all the trouble.
Lesley also said that “some good will come out of this horrible situation.”
By that she means more strides will be made to improve safety for both flaggers and the riders. For example, they will now be looking into having helmets for all the flaggers as well as the possibility of radios for each.
She also mentioned the desire to have a group of properly trained flaggers who would be a permanent team to work the entire series.
The flaggers all get training beforehand and all are well versed in their duties. This incident was just the result of someone making a poor last-second decision that nearly cost them their life!
I was also worried that perhaps the owners of the Barn would be over having dirt bike racers in their facility, but Lesley assured me that “they’re fine” with it. They have been solid partners in the development of riders out west and across Canada for years and she doesn’t see this as anything that will jeopardize this relationship.
Lesley confirmed that the series will be back in action in February, stronger than ever, saying, “we’ll be good to go in February!”
That’s great news out of BC.
We received some snow here in London last night and the grass is completely covered. It’s time for me to head out and give the driveway its first real shovel of what is looking like it’s going to be a very long winter season.
When I look out my window, it’s hard to believe that Gopher Dunes was open just 5 days ago!
Anyway, we’re heading straight into the Christmas season and there aren’t many shopping weekends left. If’ you’re one of those poor suckers who stresses out about having enough presents for someone, I pity you. Emily and I get a kick out of going to the malls simply to watch idiots freaking out because they aren’t sure if they’ve spent enough money on everyone yet. I can’t even imagine being a parent.
On the one hand, you don’t want to bring your child up to be a spoiled brat, so you even consider just giving each other hand-made cards for Christmas. And on the other, you don’t want to send your poor child back to school empty-handed as one of “those kids” whose family has decided to buck the tradition of spending until you’re broke just so little Johnny or Jenny has the latest and greatest…thing. How can they need another new phone when you’re still talking about how good Blackberry Messenger (BBM) is on your Pearl!?
I fell sorry for you parents out there. That will be us sitting in chairs and laughing behind our coffee cups at the crowded mall this weekend. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Let’s end it there — you should really be out buying presents right now! OK, OK, that was the last time. Have a great weekend, everyone.