Frid’Eh Update #6 Presented by FXR
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to a very snowy and cold DMX Frid’Eh update #6 this week presented by FXR. It may not be cold where you’re reading this right now, but our fairy tale green winter has come to an abrupt, and seemingly permanent, end here at DMX Headquarters in the heart of Southwestern Ontario. As I sit here typing, the temperature is a frigid -13 degrees Celsius. It’s actually going down to -23 overnight around here. That’s nostril-hair-freezing levels, right there!
The rider who earned #6 this past year at the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals knows a little something about cold winters, as he hails from Ohio. Sure, he now calls the warmer area of Club MX in Chesterfield (I thought Americans didn’t use that word?!), South Carolina, home and so sees much less snow, but I’m sure he remembers.
I got to know Cade Clason back in 2011 when I spent 3 months in Florida spreading the gospel of MX Ranking. He was just a hair off the pace of riders like Adam Cianciarulo and Zack Freeberg (Hey, where is he these days?! I used to enjoy yelling, “Play Freeberg!!!” (Google it, Bowker!) every time they said his name.)
OK, OK, I just used the Googling apparatus to find out what Zack is up to these days:
From his Instagram:
zackfreeberg Had a blast in 2015, but a lot has changed for 2016! I have decided to take a step back from professional racing. I have a lifetime of memories and wouldn’t take anything back. Going into the new year I will be a track owner, I have recently purchased a local race track called @tampamxtrack . It feels great to be able to give back and help all the young kids and family’s as they come up threw the ranks where I once was! There are endless people/family’s/sponsors that have helped me get to where I am today and I can not thank them enough for EVERYTHING they have done big or small! Ready to help make my @tampamxtrack riders and family’s make the great memories I have!! Make sure to follow our progress @tampamxtrack !! See you all at the track!!✊?
Wait, this is Cade’s time, not Zack’s.
Cade proved back then that he was a hard worker and you knew he had what it takes to keep improving. I sort of lost touch with what he was doing as he made his way to the A Class and then to the Pro level, but then spoke with Redemption Racing’s Josh Snider about Cade filling in for the injured Nathan Bles on the 450. I was quick to tell Josh it was a great idea and Cade proved me right by taking a very impressive 6th overall in the 2015 MX1 class. (Let me clarify that I’m not saying Cade riding for Josh was my idea. I just thought it was a great fit.)
Cade proved very quickly that he was the right guy for the job and he showed he was a rider that would be right there if one of the top 5 riders slipped up the slightest bit. He actually tied #7 Bobby Kiniry for 6th in points but since he had a better finish, Cade got the number.
Cade’s 2015 results:
6-8-5-7-7-17 (DNF-10)-16 (7-29)-5-7-9=342 points
These days, Cade can be found trying to, and succeeding in, qualify for main events in the ultra-competitive 450 SX class. He made the last 2 mains in Anaheim and Phoenix. We grabbed him for a quick chat as he prepares for Sand Diego 2 this weekend.
Direct Motocross: Hello, Cade. I know you’re super busy getting ready for Supercross, so thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. First off, an you tell everyone where you’re from and how you got into motocross in the first place?
No problem I love doing stuff like this. I grew up in Ohio on a horse farm just living the dream really and one of my parents client’s kids raced and I wanted to try it, so I hopped on my CRF 50 and really just never quit.
How did you do as an amateur? I saw you at some of the big Amateur Nationals. What was your best finish? How about Loretta Lynn’s?
I was OK, nothing special, sadly. I have a few seconds at Mini O’s and loads of top 5’s. Loretta’s never really went well for me. I crashed out while leading one year. Broke my goggle lens while battling for my first podium in my very last moto in 2013 in 250 A. I mean, I had top 5’s and 10’s but as a kid I always wanted to win Loretta’s.
What year did you turn Pro, and what did you race?
Right after Loretta’s in 2013 I raced the last 3 outdoor nationals and in 2014 I did east coast Supercross and 450 outdoor.
So, then you came north to Canada for the 2015 Rockstar MX Nationals. Can you tell us how that all came together?
A good friend of mine ended up getting hurt and at the time my deal in the US was falling through and they happened to call me up at the perfect time, and it’s just been smooth sailing ever since.
What did you know about our series before you came up?
Not much. I watched a little on YouTube and stuff like that but besides that I was pretty in the dark coming up.
How did it stack up? Can you sum up your summer for us?
It was great. I loved the team and the tracks were a lot of fun. The racing was just really laid back and it made it so much fun to be at the races. Yeah, we still took racing seriously, of course, but just the atmosphere was way more fun I think than in the states.
You tied with long-time Canadian racer, Bobby Kiniry, for 6th in points. How was the racing up there near the front of the MX1 class?
It was a lot of fun. I got comfortable on my bike really fast and being able to battle with those guys was sweet. All of those guys are fast and being able to run with them gave me a lot of confidence for my future.
And now you’ve been racing 450 Supercross. You made the last 2 main events, right? Take us through your Supercross experience so far this year.
I struggled a bit at the beginning. Each weekend got better and better. I still had mistakes that kept me from the main but the last two weekends have gone well. I’ve gotten in the mains but not ridden anywhere near my potential in the main. I should be anywhere from 18th to 15th and by the end of the season I know I can get there.
Your team is the K1 Go Kart track team. Who is the hotshot on the kart track on the team? Do you get to hit the tracks much?
As much as I want to say me, it’s not. I’m getting better, but my teammate Kyle (Peters) has me beat almost every time we go. We go as much as we can but being busy restricts us a lot.
What would you consider a success at the end of this SX season?
Being healthy and plenty of top 20 finishes.
You’re scheduled to come back to Canada and race MX1 for the Redemption team again. Can you tell us little about the team and your experiences there?
Yes, I’m excited to come back. The team is great. It’s honestly like a big family – everyone wants the best for everyone and they want me to win as bad as I do, so they do everything for me to make that happen.
All the top guys will be back, and then some in 2016 (Alessi and Friese added in), what will you do to get yourself closer (or in) the battles for podiums? Can it be done?
It should have been done last year, I just couldn’t quite get there. But my fitness is so much better than last year, I think. I’ve really been working hard and I just need to put it all together. I know I can run with those guys, I just have to do it for 35 min.
Is there a certain rider you always ended up battling with?
Yea it was Bobby (Kiniry). Someway, somehow, we would always find each other. Whether I was fading or he was, we would end up going at it the rest of the moto.
What was your favourite race last summer and why?
Calgary. It was fun being by the city and my family got to come, plus, I rode really well so that always helps.
What did you work on this week going into San Diego 2?
Honestly, every week I’ve been pounding out lap after lap and after the race this weekend I felt like crap. So, this week I did some pretty easy motos and worked sections to clean up things I’m bad at (corners). So, I’m hoping to come into the weekend fresh!
OK, Jeff and I will see you in Atlanta. Have a great weekend and thanks for the chat. Who would you like to thank?
I get to see Jeff? Gosh, it’s been a while…he must be like 80 by now! But I have to thank my family for one, they always have my back. They call me and annoy the heck out of me but whenever I need something they always have my back! Also, I’ve go to thank K1 Speed, BWR Engines, SSI Decals, Race Tech, Bell, 100%, AXO, Club MX, Mika, plus I have to thank Honda, they’ve been helping us with whatever we need at the races and I appreciate it a lot!
Good luck this weekend in Sand Diego, Cade, Canada will be watching. It will be interesting to see what another solid winter of racing will do for his results in the MX1 class this coming summer.
From FXR Racing Brand Manager, Andy White:
“Supercross is marking some pretty exciting times here at FXR. We at FXR decided that it was time to move the needle on the MX program and branch out into Supercross. We contracted a few good riders that were excited about representing us and they are proving themselves as solid competitors in the Monster Energy Supercross series. Alex Ray #314 qualified for the 450 main last weekend at the Phoenix Supercross round and our west coast 250 rider Zac Commans #103 transferred to the final in San Diego. We are more than thrilled at the outcome of our guys and can’t wait to see what this weekend holds.”
Hey, guys. It’s Friday, once again. The weather is actually pretty nasty here in Southern Ontario right now. I’m hoping this is one last hurrah, and it’s nearing the end. This is an exciting time of year: Supercross is in full swing, Toronto SX and the DMX Pre and After Parties are just around the corner.
It’s also the time of the year when some lucky riders are down south breaking in their new rides. Some riders are on new teams, different bikes and with new gear sponsors. GDR Honda announced that they have signed a multi year deal with Fox Canada. I’m very excited for this as I love seeing riders in the gear. This is almost like a homecoming for Colton Facciotti and Jeremy Medaglia. When I picture Colton, the first thing I see is him in Fox gear. Colton was part of the Fox family for many years with the mighty Blackfoot Yamaha team, and then during his brief stay at KTM Canada. Jeremy had some successful years in the Fox brand, first with KTM Canada, then during his time with RM Motorsports. I’m sure both riders are very excited and I can’t wait to see some of the combos that Jay Moore from Fox Canada lines up for these two as they both chase championships in their respected classes. So, what does that mean for the teams currently wearing Fox? Only time will tell.
As I said earlier, some riders are already down south breaking in their rides. I noticed on social media that young Ontario Pro, Westen Wrozyna, is down at County Line MX shaking down his new Kawasaki ride. Westen has been riding red since getting on 85’s, so it will be a bit of an adjustment to see him on green. Also switching colours is French first-year Pro Guillaume St-Cyr. He will be making the switch from red to Yamaha. Keep an eye open for pieces with these two racers in the coming weeks.
In Supercross action, Ryan Dungey looks to extend his points lead this weekend in Sand Diego. It’s not that the other riders are riding poorly, it’s just that Ryan is at what could be the prime of his career. Not willing to simply hand Dungey the title are Ken Roczen and Jason Anderson,to name a couple. Roczen picked up his first win of the season, and Anderson’s 2nd win is coming very soon. In 250 West action, Joey Savatgy and Cooper Webb go into this weekend’s action sharing the red plate. Cooper has been the fastest all season, but the perfect season is long gone. Let’s take a look at my predictions.
Holeshot: Cooper Webb
1st: Cooper Webb
2nd: Joey Savatgy
3rd: Mitchell Oldenburg
4th: Jimmy Decotis
5th: Colt Nichols
Holeshot: Andrew Short
1st: Jason Anderson
2nd: Ryan Dungey
3rd: Ken Roczen
4th: Cole Seely
5th: Chad Reed
Thanks, Jeff. We should really go back over Jeff’s predictions this year and see if a monkey would have as much success as he’s had so far this season. The wins have been pretty easy to pick, but the top 5’s, maybe not. Anyway, if you’re taking Jeff’s thoughts over to your bookie each week, I’m sorry, but this is all for ‘entertainment purposes only.’ One thing I know Jeff would be as good or better at than anyone in the entire moto industry is telling you what gear brand and model each of the top 20 in both classes rode in at each round. Seriously, he’s got that skill set! It’s uncanny.
Get Well Soon, Chris Pawlitsky
If you’ve ever stopped in at Revy Riders for a rip on their picturesque moto track out there in the middle of the mountains of BC, you’ve, no doubt, talked with Chris Pawlitsky. You would be very hard-pressed to find anyone on this earth with more positive outlook on life – the guy is a saint!
When I heard that he’d recently injured himself while skiing, I gave him a call to see what the extend of it all was. Check this out!
Red Bull Cold Rush was in Revelstoke that weekend and Chris is an ex-Pro skier. He wasn’t entered in the event but when the 3rd of 3 events was canceled due to the weather he went out on a pair of mellow skis and put them a little past their limits.
“It was a high speed fall where I went from 50mph to zero in about 2 feet. It actually spun the liner out of my helmet. I ‘scorpion-ed’ myself, but I thought I was OK. I went to the after-party, went to work twice, and even went skiing with my wife that week. I also kept trying to work on my basement reno.”
It was a nerve affecting his arm that finally forced him to go get checked out properly. It turns out he had 3 broken vertebra in his neck! His doctor told him he was about a millimetre away from being A LOT worse off. He is in a firm ‘Aspen Collar’ neck brace and will head to another specialist in Kelowna soon.
On the upside, he’s excited (of course) to have some time to get to work on all the upgrades they have planned for the Revy Riders track in the coming months. If you’re ever in the area, be sure to check it out.
Good luck with your recovery, Chris.
Jess Pettis Update
There are a lot of fast riders who appear to be left standing when the music stopped this off-season. #20 Jess Pettis from Prince George, BC is definitely one of those riders worthy of a top-level ride. He earned our ‘Most Improved Rider’ award for 2015 and looks to be gaining momentum as his career progresses.
We gave the likable rider a call this afternoon to see what he and his family have decided to do for the 2016 season. I was happy to hear that he has pulled the trigger and solidified his ride for 2016 in a rather gelatinous Canadian moto scene.
You will see the #20 on a Prince George Motorsports Parts Canada Thor Yamaha 250F at round 1 in Kamloops, BC this coming June. Jess will head down to GPF this year instead of his usual destination of California to train with Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing‘s Colton Facciotti. Colton reached out to the ever-improving rider last summer at Ulverton and when he offered Jess a place in Georgia to train Jess jumped at the opportunity.
Jess spoke with several of the ‘major’ teams but when nothing solid came of the talks, he and his family were forced to put a plan in motion. Good luck, Jess, and we’ll see you down at GPF in a few weeks.
Team Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki IS Confirmed
We’ve all heard the rider list for the Monster Thor Kawi team out of Kamloops, BC: Mike Alessi, Vince Friese (MX1) and Jacob Hayes (MX2) but since I hadn’t seen an official Press Release yet I wanted to give team owner/manager Jason Hughes a call to make sure everything was still a go.
Yep, the team is locked down and the riders have even been testing the bikes already, when they have time during their busy winter schedules. In fact, Mike already has over 25 hours on his practice bike! They are just waiting for a couple tweaks to a few sponsors before they send out the announcement.
Also, they will be supporting Kamloops rider, Josh Allen, again as well, so watch for the friendly rider to make regular appearances in the top 10-15 in MX1 this summer.
Before Jason mentioned Canadian Josh Allen, I asked him if there wasn’t still an unwritten rule about having a Canadian on your team. Things in Canadian Pro Motocross have gotten so competitive the last few years that this isn’t a ‘rule’ CMRC owner, Mark Stallybrass, is going to be enforcing.
Business as Usual for MX101 in 2016?
If you’re wondering what’s up over at the Motorcycle Canada FXR MX101 Yamaha team, we grabbed Kevin Tyler and Johnny Grant (sort of) for a quick chat. We’d seen that MX2 rider Dylan Wright was down in California getting ready for the 2016 season, and we all know where their other 2015 MX2 rider, Jimmy Decotis, is…the 250 West SX, 6th in points!
Dylan will be back with the team next summer, but what about Jimmy who is riding for the mighty Geico Honda Team? Well, I asked Jimmy when I saw him out in California and he basically confirmed he’ll be on the line when the gate drops in Kamloops next June. However, who really knows what will happen? Kevin Tyler said that he is pretty confident Jimmy will be going for an MX2 title in Canada next year, but, as always, we’ll have to wait and see what happens. Having said all that, I would put money on it that we’ll see Jimmy ready for action in Canada this summer.
OK, that will do it for this week. Have a great weekend, wherever you are. If you’re in Ontario in anyplace other than Windsor or Leamington, stay inside because this could be our coldest weekend of the winter! Kinda makes you miss the weather forecast for Sand Diego, eh?
As busy as those trips south get, it never takes long to be chomping at the bit for the next one. It looks like Jeff and I will be making an appearance in Atlanta and then GPF, Daytona, and Club MX. Things are about to get very busy again, and that’s just the way we like ’em! Thanks for reading.