Frid’Eh Update #7
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Week #7. | BIgwave photo
Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing
Happy Friday, everyone. The last few weeks we have actually had some excitement from Canadian Moto. The most news has been from the GDR Honda team. First, they announced the signing of rookie Jake Tricco to the squad. This is a great move as Dylan Wright is getting close to moving to the 450 class, and Jake is the hottest prospect in Canada at the moment. I have been able to watch Jake from 65’s all the way up to his first Pro race last season. He is a good kid and certainly has the “wow factor.”
Watching Jake ride, you can tell he has a ton of passion and skill. Even better, it looks like he is loving riding and racing his dirt bike. Too many kids get burnt out by the time they are ready to hit the Pro class, but I think Jake is different. Will he win races this season? No, I don’t think so, but top 5’s should be expected, and he should fight for a podium here and there. He will have the guidance of 3 great teammates, and they will definitely help him along the way.
But wait, Derek Schuster wasn’t done with just Jake Tricco. He also added the #800 Mike Alessi to the squad. This is a great move for GDR, and Canadian racing as a whole. At one time Mike was the best in the world, and he is still arguably the best starter ever. He’s great with the fans, great with the young riders, and he’s still got a legitimate chance at winning the outdoor championship. He has been oh so close a few times, but the GDR FOX racing Honda could be the missing piece.
I’ve gotten to know Mike over the past few seasons and I can honestly say he is doing this for the love of the sport. His passion for winning hasn’t gone anywhere either, so you can add the #800 to a serious title contender instantly.
Royal Distributing FXR Yamaha
The next seat to be filled is the 250 ride with the mighty MX101 Yamaha team. These guys have won the championship 2 seasons in a row, and then lost the chance to run the #1 the following season. Why you ask? Well, it isn’t because they are hard to ride for. Kevin Tyler and the gang are some of the best in the pits. They have a great attitude, great atmosphere under the tent, great program and they have a bike that wins races and championships. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about Kevin Tyler and his team, they are top notch in every aspect.
Lots of people think they should pick a young Canadian. I disagree. There really isn’t one deserving of the top spot on any team at the moment. They need a rider that can win races, get podiums and contend for a championship. There are some big shoes to fill…. Jesse Wentland, Jimmy Decotis, Dylan Wright, Shawn Maffenbeier, and most recently Jess Pettis. That is some serious talent!
We have heard the name Luke Renzland, I have heard the name Jesse Wentland again, I have actually thrown the name Josh Cartwright into the mix myself. And who knows who else Kevin Tyler has in mind. No matter who ends up getting the ride, you can bet they will be a contender.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross
South of the border, we are heading into round 7 for the AMA SX series, and round 2 for the 250 East. In the 450 class we have had different faces winning mains, and different faces leading the points. It’s actually quite nice to have this much competition in the 450 class. Usually we have 2-3 powerhouses that take turns winning, and the rest just followed. This season we have had 4 different main event winners, and we have had 5 different red plate holders including the defending champion Jason Anderson at Round 1. Add in some top notch 450 rookies, and you honestly don’t know who’s going to end up in the top 5. Rookie Zach Osborne will finally make his debut in Arlington after a late off season collarbone injury. Word was that Zach was flying at the test track before going down with injury, but it may take him a little time to get up to speed.
In the 250 East, Austin Forkner looked pretty damn dominant in the opener. He has always been fast, but let’s admit that he was also out of control and squirrelly at times. He looks to be the favourite early on, but he has to prove that he can stay on 2 wheels.
Jordan Smith is going to be very fast, and very dangerous as well. He has been very close to winning the championship in the last two seasons, but just couldn’t make it happen.
Chase Sexton looks like a championship caliber rider as well, but I don’t think he has it in him to hang it out if necessary for a win.
No matter who steps up, there will be some serious challengers every weekend, and we will be blessed with more great racing. Here are my Arlington predictions.
1st Austin Forkner
2nd Martin Davalos
3rd Jordan Smith
4th Justin Cooper
5th Chase Sexton
1st Ken Roczen
2nd Eli Tomac
3rd Cooper Webb
4th Marvin Musquin
5th Blake Baggett
That is it for me this week. Have a great weekend and #smileforBC.
Thanks, Jeff. I’m going to have to admit it, I’ve been down with the flu all week and really haven’t been able to do much. I’ve always been one to get a cold maybe once a season but never the flu, and it sucks! I guess I caught it form the flight home from Abbotsford, BC this past weekend after checking out the final rounds of Future West Moto Arenacross Championships.
#476 Collin Jurin from Monroe, Washington took both Pro class championships and 15-year-old #19 Kiana Sache won the Ladies title, both for the Cycle North team.
It was a successful season for the Cycle north Powersports team at this year’s FWM Arenacross. Championships. | Bigwave photo
#179 Westen Wrozyna Interview
We had Jess Pettis in the 250 West and now we’ve got #179 Westen Wrozyna waving the maple leaf in 250 East.
Westen just raced round 1 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week and we grabbed him for a short conversation as he was making the short 3-hour drive from their base in Oklahoma to Arlington, Texas, for round 2 this Saturday.
Top 20 Canadian Riders and Teams for 2019
We’re starting to get a clearer picture of where everyone is going to be for this coming season, so let’s have a look a what we know.
2. Matt Goerke – Monster Alpinestars Piller’s Kawasaki 450
3. Shawn Maffenbeier – Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha 450
4. Jeremy Medaglia – Has a bike of his own that he’s just enjoying
5. Tyler Medaglia – Monster Alpinestars Piller’s Kawasaki 250
10. Keylan Meston – Club MX Redemption Yamaha 450
11. Davey Fraser – Carlson MX Husqvarna 450
12. Cade Clason – Sky Racing Husqvarna 450
14. Tanner Ward – Red Bull Thor KTM 250
15. Jess Pettis – Red Bull Thor KTM 250
16. Cole Thompson – Red Bull Thor KTM 450
17. Cheyenne Harmon – Manluk Racing Yamaha 450 MX
18. Dillan Epstein – retired
19. Dylan Wright – Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing 250
20. Joey Crown – looking for a ride south of the border
26. Kaven Benoit – retired
45. Colton Facciotti – Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing 450
46. Marco Cannella – Royal Distributing FXR Yamaha 250
90. Jacob Hayes – racing south of the border
800. Mike Alessi – Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing 450 MX
Jeff mentioned the MX101 team and how they’re looking for someone to replace Jess Pettis who can challenge for the 250 title. Well, I just spoke with Kevin Tyler and he informs me that a deal has been signed but we won’t get the official announcement until likely Tuesday.
MX101 has signed their man! | Bigwave photo
Well, I apologize for my lackluster performance throughout this week. I haven’t left the house in 3 days and should be back to normal by tomorrow. Have a great weekend and Jeff and I will see you at the Toronto Motorcycle Show Saturday afternoon. I had planned to be at the show today to check out the MRC meeting, but this sickness has made it so I’ll have to wait another day and see how I feel.
Kevin Lepp says, “See you at the races…” | Bigwave photo