Gopher Dunes Arenacross Practice Photos

Photos and Captions by Billy Rainford

I knew riders would be around Ontario somewhere looking to train a little bit between Sarnia last week and Barrie this week. I got in touch with Derek Schuster over at Gopher Dunes to see if anyone would be taking advantage of their Arenacross track. He told me the best day to see some action would be Wednesday, so that’s when I headed over.

It was only about 4 degrees Celsius and there was intermittent snow mixed with rain. It wasn’t the nicest spring day I’ve ever seen, but it was OK for guys to spin some laps and get ready for the final round of the Rockstar Triple Crown Arenacross Tour this week.

Here are some photos of the Pro riders who were there.

After signing in at the Pro Shop and seeing a bunch of Pro riders’ names already registered, I knew I’d come to the right place. #9 Cade Clason was pitted under the shelter to block the wind and get out of the garbage the clouds were sending our way.

Mr. and Mrs. Simms were going to spin some laps on the Motocross track.

#27 Tanner Ward is only 2 points out of 3rd in the AX standings. He spun a bunch of laps.

Jay Thompson from MX Schools gives #411 Duncan MacLeod a few pointers.

Leading 250 rider, #3 Shawn Maffenbeier, also put in his laps.

It doesn’t look like anything can be done for #10 Keylan Meston who missed the 450 Main in Sarnia out of the LCQ after a couple riders lined up who weren’t supposed to be in it. He’s not thrilled about the situation, but life goes on.

Maff is looking forward to lining up against Jess Pettis this weekend in Barrie.

#5 Tyler Medaglia was docked 2 positions in last week’s 450 Main after it was determined he gained an advantage when he was forced off the track in the whoops at the start in Barrie.

Davey Fraser and Keylan have been calling the Gopher Dunes pits home since Sarnia.

Cade Clason will line up again this weekend to see how far he can climb up the standings.

I’ve seen Duncan MacLeod racing SX at the Mini O’s for years. He’s no stranger to tighter tracks.

The whoops were in good shape Wednesday, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t give the riders some problems.

Cade probably wishes there were 4 sets of whoops coming up in Barrie. He was arrow straight and up on top of them every time.

Keylan is a tall rider and that really helps in the whoops.

Maff got on top of them most times, but I think he could have grabbed another gear. He’s gonna have something to say about this caption…

Tyler admitted he was a little jealous of the guys with longer legs for this section.

It s short AX track so I tried to find a couple new angles.

Working or no?

Either way, here’s one more.

#157 Wyatt Waddell knows he has the speed, he’s just got to be more consistent and limit his mistakes.

#72 Kyle Keast was there, too, with a couple of his riders.

Tanner blitzing the whoops in his fancy KTM vest. It was pretty cold. Of course, it’s 16 today…

I found myself standing in this corner a lot. It was the closest one to my van.

#243 Eric Schildt was there working on his AX game. He’ll be in Barrie.

My flash wouldn’t fire, so let’s pretend I was trying to drag my shutter on this one…

You’ll see #191 Ross Thirnbeck lining up this weekend in Barrie, too.

Only guys riding Husqvarnas could hang out here.

#28 Sam Gaynor avoided killing some deer and got in a car crash a few weeks ago.

He’s got some bumps and bruises so they hit the track to see if heading to Barrie is in the cards. I’m betting he gets dealt in.

It was great to see #800 Mike Alessi back in Canada and spinning some fast motos on the Motocross track.

I remember being a Junior rider and being on the track at the same time as Bob Hannah, once. This is pretty close. I guess Alessi came around and filled him with roost. He said it was fine because it was Mike. 

Everyone did a few practice starts.

Colton Facciotti put in his share of laps. Nobody dared talk to him about “The Sarnia Incident.”

I joked with #7 Dillan Epstein that I was still waiting for his breakout ride. He said, “It’s coming!”

There’s a hill that wraps around the AX track that lets you see the entire thing from one spot. It’s a great setup.

Dillan found the ground a few times but they were working on things, so watch for him to come out of the gate swinging this week.

“Hey, isn’t that the 4-time Canadian champion?”

Yes, it is.

Hey, how’d the guy on the Yamaha sneak into this formation?

Josh Cox and Steve Simms work with Dillan on some stuff. I wasn’t eavesdropping, guys. You were just standing right in front of my van!

I’m gonna check Wyatt’s Facebook page later and see if this shows up as his new profile pic.

If you can’t get people and signage in your shot, try to get the rider pulling a tear off. Moto Photographer’s tip #1.

Trying to get artsy with a couple trees. Meh…

Mike will give you this shot, once. If you miss it, he’s not going to do it again, and I can appreciate that.

There are worse ways to spend a Wednesday afternoon.

OK, it’s almost time to hop back in the van and make my way to Barrie. It was a great day at Gopher Dunes and the guys put in a bunch of laps. This should be good for the final 2 rounds in Barrie. See you at the races…