ICYMI | Catching Up with Blair Nauta
By Billy Rainford
Blair Nauta is the friendly racer who grew up close to the Ontario/New York border in the small town of Wainfleet, which is near Niagara Falls. He spent his amateur racing days across that border in the USA. I remember Randy Wiebe talking about this fast kid who grew up racing over there but was about to head home to Canada for his Pro racing. That happened in 2019.
Blair raced the entire Canadian Triple Crown MX series in 2021. He came close to cracking the top 10 overall in the competitive 450 class but will have to wait until 2022 to make that happen.
Here’s a look at his 2021 series:
Here’s what he had to say when we spoke with him this week:
Direct Motocross: Hey, Blair. Can you tell us how old you are, where you’re from, and how you go into MX in the first place?
Blair Nauta: Hey, Billy. I am 20 years old, actually just turned 20 this month. I’m from a small farm town called Wainfleet about 20 minutes from Niagara Falls.
My dad used to race way back in the day and as soon as I was born my dad was taking me for rides on his bike and letting me do the throttle. I didn’t even watch any kid shows, I just wanted to watch Crusty Demons! Then, when I was 2 he got me my first bike and he couldn’t get me off it. I wanted to ride all day and night!
What was your first race number and how did you choose it?
So, before I started racing, my parents let me choose my number and it was 691 and it’s actually still on my first helmet, but when I started racing I choose 91 because that was my dad’s number from when he raced. I used that number all the way up until my first national, then I had to get a 3-digit number and thought it would be pretty cool to get to run my first number that I choose when I was 2!
I know you grew up racing mostly across the border. Why was that?
I grew up racing in American because I live so close to the border and there are 6 good tracks within an hour from me. Also, back then our dollar was way better so it was cheaper to go there.
Who did you come up through the ranks battling down there?
I grew up battling with mostly American kids: Zack Dobbs, Trevor Schmidt, and Blaze Cremaldi.
Did you hit any of the big US Amateur Nationals back then? And, if so, what was your best/favourite?
I tried for the Loretta’s every year but just bad luck with one of 3 motos, either I’d crash, have bike problems or I folded under the pressure in the last moto, but towards the end of my amateur career I was able to go to the Loretta Lynn’s and my best finish there was a 5th. I have ridden most of the east coast national tracks in America. I do have to say Red Bud is my favourite track over there. In Canada, I would definitely say Deschambault is my favourite.
But now we’ve been seeing you in Canada a lot. Why the change?
I switched to racing in Canada because I started going down to Club MX to train in the winters and I became friends with a bunch of guys who raced the Canadian nationals and told me how sick the tracks are here (before racing the nationals I’d only ridden one track in Canada which was Gopher Dunes), so I talked to my dad about it and he said, “Well, let’s give it a shot.” Now, here we are! I’m glad I made the decision to come here.
What year did you turn Pro?
I turned Pro in 2019 and raced the MX2 class for one year. I only did the east coast rounds. Then, after that in 2020 I raced the MX1 class, same with this year. And I will be doing so again in 2022.
Looking at 2021 results, you raced the entire MX series and almost cracked the top 10 in a couple. How did your season go? What was your best race?
There was definitely a lot ups and downs this year. My best overall finish was a 13th and best moto finish was a 10th, which was at Deschambault. The next day for round 2, I ended up qualifying P9 and was hoping to get that single-digit finish but that ended real quick with a big first turn pile-up and my bike went flying into the trees and if I’m not mistaken almost hit you! My bad.
It was the 250 moto where I almost got hit. I moved across the track for the second motos and got that photo of you in the trees. But then we didn’t see you for Supercross. Why not?
I made the decision to not race Supercross but instead go get a job and save up so money before I head down south. If everything goes to plan for 2022 and I get the results I want, I would love to give Supercross a try!
What is it you do for work and what have you been doing since the series ended?
After last year’s race season in 2020, I got a job controlling traffic for the rest of the summer/fall. Then I was planning on heading down south but COVID kinda wrecked that, so then I stayed with the company D&D and started cutting concrete all winter long and spring. They were kind enough to let me take some time off to go race the nationals and as soon as they finished I started working for them again, cutting concrete and controlling traffic.
On some weekends my brother-in-law started his own business installing garage doors, so I go help him when I can. That’s all that I have being doing since nationals, pretty much. I try to get out on my dirt bike once or twice a week if I can.
What are your winter plans?
I am heading down to Florida with my girlfriend (Malia Garant) December 14th to go ride some tracks down there and go to the beach and maybe some amusement park‘s. Then, January 1st I will be heading to Club MX to train there for 5 months before the nationals start.
What are your racing plans for 2022?
I plan on doing the west and east coast Canadian National in the MX1 class and maybe trying some American nationals, Red Bud, High Point and maybe Unadilla!
Awesome! OK, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Good luck and who would you like to thank?
Marry Christmas to you as well, and thank you for having me on here! I would like to thank my mom and dad, Just Revive It, Titan Racing, Ryno Power, Gary Micheal, Bell Helmets, FXR, Guts Racing, Scott goggles, Mobius, Twin Air, Mika Metals, Dunlop, Odi, Mission Cycle, and Royal Distributing.