Frid’Eh Update #52 Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to the DMX Frid’Eh Update #52 Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada. There are 52 weeks in a year and so #52 is always a special number to get in our Canadian MX Nationals each year. This year, this honour goes to Quebec rider, Vincent Lauzon.
Vincent raced all 6 of the eastern rounds of the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals in 2016. He finished 18th overall in the MX2 class and will be #34 when the gate drops next spring. Here’s a look at his results:
We grabbed him for a quick chat today to find out what he though of his 2016 season and what he’ll be doing when the snow melts next spring:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Vincent. For starters, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Vincent Lauzon: My name is Vincent Lauzon, from Montreal, Quebec. I’ll turning be 21 in two weeks and I’ve been working as a carpenter full-time for the last 2 years. I started riding and racing dirt bikes when I was 7 years old.
You raced the entire eastern Pro series in 2016. Your best finish was a 12th at Gopher Dunes. Can you take us through that round?
2015 was my first time at Gopher Dunes. I was very impressed on how rough the track was on race day. In 2016 I knew what to expect and was more prepared, My KTM 250SX works great in these type of conditions. I got good starts and kept it on 2 wheels and made a top 15… Let’s just say I LOVE SAND!
You were always near the top 12-16 except for at Pleasant Valley. What happened there?
Pleasant Valley was definitely my worst weekend. The concrete start pad killed me and the track was really tight, making it very hard to pass and make up time. I also crashed a couple of times. It was a weekend to forget.
What did you do after the Pro Nationals season ended?
I raced a couple of local races and rode a little in the sand pit with my friends. I just took it easy!
What are your Christmas Holiday plans?
A little bit of snowmobile riding and spend some quality time with my family.
What are your plans for the winter for riding and racing?
There’s not really any riding or racing during the winter months, as I’m working full-time, but I can’t wait till the spring and will will put the time in to be ready for the provincials and eastern Nationals.
Is AMA Supercross your ultimate goal?
It would definitely be a dream but it’s simply not something that can happen while working 45 hours a week. I would have to win the lottery (Laughs).
What are your plans for next summer?
I’ll race the Quebec Provincials and Eastern Nationals. Who knows, maybe try and lower my national number 34 for 2018.
You were always in or around the top 15 last summer. Was there someone you were always battling?
No battle in particular. I was always with the same group of guys but no specific battle with anyone.
What are your goals for next year?
My ultimate goal would be to make top 10 at every round.
How old did you say you are you?
I’m still 20 years old for another 2 weeks, then I’ll be legal in the US (Laughs)!
You will be #34 in 2017. Are you happy with that?
It’s awesome! I work hard all the week at my job and only get to ride once a week. I’m very happy to ride with the #34 in 2017.
Ok, thanks for talking with us today. Happy Holidays and is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I would like to thank all the people that are behind my program for next year. A big change for me is I will be back with Motovan and will be part of the Black Rider crew for 2017. Also, thanks to KTM Canada, Mathias Marine Sport, Ventilation Benoit Léveillé, my weekend mechanic, Sylvain Brodeur, and a special thank you to the person that has made this possible for years now… my father, Bob Lauzon !
Thanks a lot, Billy and Direct Motocross. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Happy Friday and Merry Christmas, everyone. Christmas is in 2 days, New Year’s Day is in 9 days, and A1 is in 15 days. It’s honestly crunch time for all 3. For A1, these next 2 weeks are very crucial. Race bikes will be finished and broken in, and the jitters kick in. “Did I put in the work?” That will be on the minds of most racers.
Like the past 2 or so seasons, the 450 class will start off very stacked. There are a few big questions: Can Ryan Dungey make it 3 in a row? How good will Ken Roczen be on the new Honda? And with his mediocre starts, can Eli Tomac challenge Ryan and Kenny? This are the top 3 questions, and in my opinion, the top 3 racers. Something new to the mix this season will be that the races are now going to be timed plus 1 lap compared to the traditional 15 lap 250 main and 20 lap 450 main. I, personally, am looking forward to this.
With some of the lap times under 50 seconds, the races were way too short. Will the longer races effect the outcome? I can’t see it making a big difference. The tracks will get beat down a little more, and the leaders will get deeper into the lappers. At this level, these guys hopefully have figured out their fitness and will be able to race hard the entire main event.
In the 250 class, we will once again have too many “lifers.” Yes, I understand that people need to make money, but the 250 class is a regional class and should be used as a stepping stone to the premier class. Unfortunately, there are some racers that just don’t want to move up. Whether it be a money issue, lack of rides or maybe they’re just pussies? Either way, I’m still super-excited like always for the upcoming season.
DMX Toronto SX Parties at the Houston Bar and Grill
With the season just a mere two weeks away, that also means that the planning for the annual DMX Toronto SX Pre Party and After Party at Houston has begun. From the first email that I have received regarding the parties, I can honestly say that this is 100% a can’t miss event. Mark it on your calendars and get your butts to Houston and be a part of the action.
5 Lap Sprint | Christmas Edition Part 3
Over the last week or so, I reached out to a variety of moto friends – Racers, mechanics, and industry. It’s always a fun time to pick their brains and hear their silly answers to my silly questions. There will be a couple more coming up over the Holidays, so give them a look. Here’s Part 3:
What is the best Christmas gift you have ever given and why?
Leah Clarke – Women’s East Nationals Co-Organizer
I’m not sure, to be honest. With finishing my undergrad and starting my Masters Degree, my budget is pretty tight. Does my presence count?
Brad Nauditt – National #15 and Honorary Canadian
Honestly, I don’t know (Laughs). My girlfriend has gotten some pretty wicked gifts.
Meli Perrier – Women’s East #744
Umm, that’s a tough one. I’d say I get most excited giving gifts that are moto related. Who doesn’t love fresh gear?
What is the best Christmas gift you have ever gotten and why?
When I was 5, I got a Polaris 120 for Christmas and that was the best! It never broke and my family used it for years. It was the first motorized thing I ever drove.
My first mx jersey when I was 10 and I probably wore that jersey for half of the year. 100% cotton and which is about as warm as most hoodies today.
Definitely, a trip to Cali with a fresh YZ125 calling my name!
To be honest, I can’t pick one in particular because it’s not what I get on Christmas morning it’s what I’m given all year. It’s the gift of love and support that my parents provide me with day after day. I couldn’t be more thankful for them and all the people supporting me.
The best Christmas gift by far was the year of 2003, my brother and I were very young. Connor woke me up at 3 am to go check out the loot Santa brought us and I remember walking downstairs together to see what was under our tree. Coming down those last few steps I started to see the tires of a KX 60 and a KX 50 lined up perfectly beside the tree. Christmas to remember, for sure.
The best Christmas gift I have ever received is probably my Kitty Cat from my parents when I was a child. I still remember the excitement to this day!
What is your favourite part of the holidays and why?
It’s a break from working 27/7 and I get to see my family and eat tons of good food. What’s not to love?
My favorite part of the holidays is the family time and snow since I live in the mountains in Washington.
Quality family time, and Larry the Cable Guy Christmas Carols.
My favourite part of the holidays is being with my family and not having to stress about school or work. Every year we spend Christmas in Florida. It’s nice to enjoy the time off with my mom and dad and get some riding in at the same time. I also love turkey and stuffing so I will admit that I always look forward to a good Christmas meal.
This is the first year in 6 or 7 years we have been home for the holidays. We are usually down in Florida this time of year. But I do enjoy hanging out with my family and friends when I am home. It’s good to be home this year, but It is also cool to be down south with my leg over my dirt bike (Laughs).
My favourite part of the holidays has to be reuniting with friends and family celebrating the Christmas holidays.
What was your biggest highlight for 2016?
My biggest highlight from 2016 was graduating my undergraduate program and being accepted into grad school. The 2016 Canadian Women’s East Nationals were a huge success as well.
My biggest highlight be far was finishing 2nd overall at Regina this year.
Traveling the entire East Coast and having the privilege to be out at every Ladies National.
I actually have two: the first one was actually being able to ride the East Coast nationals. When I broke my arm in April my doctor told me that I probably wouldn’t have full movement of my arm until 6 months post-surgery. Meaning that I wouldn’t be able to ride or likely hold on to my bike. So, being able to ride was a huge highlight. The other highlight was my finishes at the last two rounds. Deschambault is a track I have always struggled with and never really liked. I ended up 16th overall one spot out from breaking the top 15. The following weekend at RJ’s I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the track but with the rain the track got challenging and I broke the top 15 with a 12th in my second moto. After my injury and little training and time on the bike from April to August I was extremely pleased with how the last two rounds went.
My biggest highlight would be my trip out west. Showing up to the second round not knowing how I would finish and where I belonged in the nationals was a big surprise at Nanaimo. Finishing with a 9th overall was an amazing feeling. Especially just coming off a head injury. Western side of Canada is the most beautiful place I have ever been and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
In 2016, the biggest highlight for me was having the opportunity to experience the Red Bud National on the July long weekend with a group of amazing friends, riding and racing motocross. Met a lot of amazing people and had a blast! It was an amazing experience.
What are your goals and plans for 2017?
Next year I plan on getting all of my experiments done for my Masters degree, and having some fun riding in my spare time. I plan on managing the 2017 WMX Nationals in the background, as I probably won’t be able to make it to each round due to school. I will help with sponsorship and making sure things run smoothly, but doubt that I will be there on race day. I am still looking for more help next year to make this series happen, so if anyone out there would like to help, please contact me.
My goals for 2017 are to just enjoy whatever races I do. Obviously we all want to win races, but at the end of the day, nothing beats just great day on a dirt bike .
Not to break any bones, but continue riding dirt bikes! My goal is to achieve better results than the year before, and have fun doing it!
My goals for 2017 are to finish inside the top 10 consistently and finish out the year inside the top 15 with no injuries. With school being so busy I won’t be able to head south until the end of April. My plan is to spend some time down south while the tracks near me air out and he the snow melts. Get some on the bike and off the bike training in everyday and come back stronger than last year ready for the 2017 race season and the East Coast Nationals.
I will be headed south to train at Millsaps Training Facility in February for a month and a half, hopefully. My goals are to do the nationals for the 2017 season. I’m hoping to finish inside the top ten week in and week out and hopefully maybe break top 5 and to enjoy the sport of motocross. This year was amazing. The things I have seen, the memories I have made, the people I have met. All of this will never be forgotten.
My goals for 2017 are pretty simple… My goals are to continue travelling with friends and experience different MX tracks, hit up a few races. Good time, making memories.
No rant for me this week. It’s too hard to stay pissed off over the Holidays. I hope everyone has a safe and happy Holidays and I’ll see you next week. Be sure to check out my conversation with American Carrie Davis, and ‘Out of the Blue‘ with Melissa Legge, and ‘On the Radar‘ with Austin Tremblay. #smileforBC and #liftforscott!
Thanks, Jeff. It’s going to be short and sweet for me this week as I make my way north to Kirkland Lake, Ontario, for Christmas again. The town sits 3 hours due north of North Bay and is the hometown of Alan Thicke, who recently passed away while playing hockey with his youngest son. Last year was the first time since my dad emigrated from England to the small northern Ontario town that there wasn’t any snow. It was weird. Since we’ve already got quite a bit down in Southwestern Ontario, I don’t think this will be an issue.
I grabbed a quick coffee with Chris Pomeroy as I passed through his hometown of Shelburne. It was nice to have a quick catch up and chat about a few of the bigger stories going on in our sport. Neither of us really had the solution to any of our perceived problems, but it was good to hang out for a few minutes with a fellow moto guy.
Kade Walker Undergoes Knee Surgery
We mentioned a few weeks ago that Canadian racer, Kade Walker, who has been living the moto life dream in Europe, was in bad need of knee surgery. Well, it looks like step one of his process has taken place. Good luck with the rest of it, Kade.
Here’s what he had to say on his Instagram page @kwalker651
1st Annual ‘Most Influential People in Canadian Moto – People’s Choice
Time is running out for you to cast you vote! We are closing it down at midnight, December 24th. That means you have one more day, so get on it!
Who is the most influential person in Canadian Motocross?
ROCKSTAR EXTENDS CONTRACT FOR THREE YEARS AS TITLE SPONSOR OF NATIONALS
Stouffville, ON – December 22, 2016 – Stallybrass Promotions Inc. (SPI) is pleased to announce that Rockstar Inc. has extended its contract with SPI for an additional three years as the title sponsor of the CMRC sanctioned Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals.
“I couldn’t be happier about the extension of the contract with Rockstar and its commitment to the Nationals. It is a great company to work with, and the Rockstar team is very supportive of our direction to continue building and improving the series. The contract extension proves Rockstar is more than satisfied with the return of exposure and marketing value. This motivates our team to increase the deliverables of sponsorship benefits to continue this positive partnership,” stated Mark Stallybrass, SPI/CMRC President.
Dave Giancoulos, Vice President, Rockstar Energy Canada added, “We have seen significant growth of the series since we joined as the title sponsor in 2014, and it has resulted in increased value to Rockstar when promoting our energy drinks to race fans and consumers across the country. The series is very important to us because it visits seven provinces providing a countrywide reach, which is why the 10-round motocross national series is Rockstar’s most impactful marketing property in Canada.”
The Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals will be entering its 25th Anniversary in 2017 with the opening round taking place in Kamloops, British Columbia on Sunday, June 4th. Plans are in place to continue the positive momentum surrounding the series and increase general awareness, on-site attendance, and to provide fans of the series easier access to follow each round as the tour unfolds.
2017 ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MOTOCROSS NATIONALS – SERIES SCHEDULE
Sunday, June 4 Whispering Pines Raceway, Kamloops, British Columbia
Sunday, June 11 Blackwater MX Track, Prince George, British Columbia
Sunday, June 18 Wild Rose MX Park, Calgary, Alberta
Sunday, June 25 Moto Valley Raceway, Regina, Saskatchewan
Sunday, July 9 Gopher Dunes, Courtland, Ontario
Sunday, July 16 Motocross Ulverton, Ulverton, Quebec
Sunday, July 23 Pleasant Valley Motorsport Park, Truro, Nova Scotia
Sunday, July 30 Riverglade MX Park, Moncton, New Brunswick
Sunday, August 6 Motocross Deschambault, Deschambault, Quebec
Sunday, August 13 RJ Motosport Park, Barrie, Ontario
About Stallybrass Promotions Inc. (SPI):
SPI established the CMRC sanctioned Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals in 1993, successfully executing the series to become a world-renowned championship tour attracting top competitors from numerous countries. SPI is the Executive Producer of the outdoor motocross television coverage that receives exposure domestically and to seventy countries worldwide via The Extreme Sports Channel. The company’s continued commitment is to raise the level of professional motocross racing in Canada with the intention of attracting new riders, fans and sponsors to our great sport.
Rockstar Energy Drink is designed for those who lead active lifestyles – from Athletes to Rockstars. Available in over 20 flavours at convenience and grocery outlets in over 30 countries, Rockstar supports the Rockstar lifestyle across the globe through Action Sports, Motor Sports, and Live Music. For more information, visit: www.ca.rockstarenergy.com
Catching Up with… Austin Watling
By Billy Rainford
Corunna, Ontario, Intermediate racer, #424 Austin Watling, has been working his way through the ranks the last few years and has risen to the point where his name is mentioned with the top up-and-coming riders getting ready to hit the Pro level after 2017.
With just one more year left to run the yellow plates, Austin will use this final year of amateur racing to prepare himself for the biggest challenge of his life – The Pros. To do this takes complete dedication as a rider and unwavering support from your parents. In 2017, Austin and his family will be receiving additional support from the new Amateur Support Program on the Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing team.
We got in touch with the speedy youngster recently to get his take on this latest development in his racing to see what it all means and what his plans are for the coming season.
Direct Motocross: Hey, Austin, how are you doing?
Austin Watling: I’m just doing some school stuff and I’m tired.
When did you first start talking about this new deal with the Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing team?
It’s been in the works for a while. They kind of helped us out at Walton this year, as people might have seen. I don’t know exactly when we started talking about it, but after I was down south for Mini O’s, Derek (Schuster) gave me a call. I came back a week after Mini O’s and I was supposed to stay down for another week and ride, but I came back and did the photo shoot and looked over the contract and everything. I looked it over with my parents and once everything was good we signed it.
We spoke with Derek and he mentioned a racing calendar for you in 2017. Are these all races you had already planned on doing?
Most of them. I don’t think we’re going to do Daytona this year, but we’re going to do Oak Hill and Freestone and stuff, and then we’ll do Walton and Loretta’s still. We’ll come up to Canada and do stuff to support them in between, but I think the only difference is we’re going to do a couple Nationals as Intermediate. I think we’ll do 2 or 3 of those. Same schedule as we were going to do.
How will this change the program you’ve already got? A little more support, a little bit of pressure off your parents? What do you think?
Ya, definitely. I’m trying to keep my mind off things like that. They’re definitely going to help, I just don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. It’ll help me train better. I want to do better with better support behind me, but I’m always going to train and do my best. Ya, it’ll be a little bit off my parents’ shoulders. My dad probably won’t have to work as hard, but I don’t know if that’s good for him. He’s always working on my bikes anyway. It should be good.
What’s next for you?
Right after Christmas, we’re going to head south. I think we’ll go to Real Deal for a month and then after that we’ll go to GPF with Colton (Facciotti) and Dylan (Wright). That should be good. I’m looking forward to riding with those two. Hopefully, it’ll improve my program a little bit and from both of them I’ll learn a few new little tricks. From there we’ll go to Oak Hill and Freestone and some of those, and then I might stay down a little bit longer until spring and then we’ll probably do some area qualifiers while we’re down there and then come back.
So, I assume your goal would be to do your last year in the amateurs and then hopefully there’s a spot for you on the Pro team, right?
Ya, that’s the ultimate goal right now. I’m going to push as hard as I can and try to ensure a spot, but it kind of rides on what I do this year, so it’s kind of a big year for me. I want to just prove myself in the beginning of the year and have some good confidence and then try to stay consistent at all the nationals. Then, hopefully in 2018 we’ll be on the Pro team with GDR.
So, looking back at the Mini O’s, how did that week go for you?
It went pretty good. It’s kind of hard to tell by looking at the results. Supercross went all right. I got together with some people and had some bad luck. I went outdoors and qualified pretty good. I finished with a 5th, a 7th, and a 7th. That 3rd (from a photo we posted) I think I got mixed up with Austin Winslow. I think they thought that was me. I think it was pretty good, considering most of the guys up there were on factory bikes – Team Green and all that stuff.
It’s kind of hard, looking at the results, because you look and wonder why I got 7th but half the guys…from where I was last year, I think I improved a bunch and I was happy with where I finished.
Ya, without a great start, you’re sort of screwed in that group.
Oh, definitely. Like in Supercross, once you get one or two bad starts it gets in your head. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. And with only 5 laps in Supercross, it’s kind of hard to make your way back. Outdoors, I got a bunch of good starts and I felt like I could run with the guys.
You mentioned racing a few Canadian Nationals as an Intermediate. Which track are you most looking forward to racing? Is there a track you’re looking forward to?
Probably Gopher Dunes. I think that’s the plan as to where I’m going to debut. I think it’s good, obviously because I’m riding for them and I think I ride pretty good there. I just need to be confident going in and not go to the starting gate thinking about how I’m racing all these guys and let my confidence get down. I need to go in with a good head and get a good start. I think from there I can run with some of those top 10, top 5 guys.
Isn’t there a track you’ve never been to like out east that you are thinking, “Ooh, I can’t wait to ride that one!”
I think I’ll probably do Ulverton but I’ve never been out there…never actually really seen the tracks, so it will be good to go out there, but I think I’m just excited for Gopher because I love the track and I’m comfortable with it. I think I can do really well there.
So, where will we see you take your first gate drop with all your new sponsors?
I think Oak Hill is the first one and then.
So, have you got all your cool new Fox casual gear yet?
Ya, for sure. They’ve been hooking it up. Jay Moore is a really good guy and I’m glad to have him behind me.
Well, congrats on this latest development for you. It’s a big deal.
OK, thank you.
OK, like I said, short and sweet this week. I still have 6 more hours of driving ahead of me. Thanks for reading and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season. Stay safe out there!