Live Video for the Parts Canada TransCan – We Talk with Brett Lee
By Billy Rainford
The gang over at Walton Raceway in, you guessed it, Walton, Ontario, are always doing what they can to move the sport of Canadian Motocross forward. The Parts Canada TransCan at Walton Raceway has grown over the years to become one of the biggest amateur motocross events on the calendar – 2nd only to Loretta Lynn’s in Tennessee.
For 2015, it looks like they’ve taken things up another notch and will be presenting the ‘Finals Day’ – Saturday – in LIVE VIDEO. Just like all the major events south of the border, the final motos on the final day of the week-long event will be shown live online.
We wanted to get the story from co-owner, Brett Lee, to find out how this came about and what we can expect to see. Here’s what he had to say:
We talk with Walton Raceway’s Brett Lee about the LIVE VIDEO planned for the 2015 Parts Canada TransCan. – Bigwave photo
DMX: Hello, Brett. We haven’t spoken a whole lot lately and I know you’ve usually got something up your sleeve with regards to improving the Walton Raceway facility and bringing new and exciting ideas and innovations to our sport. Spill the beans, what is this latest news I’ve been hearing about? Is it true that the 2015 Parts Canada TransCan is going to be streaming LIVE VIDEO?
Brett Lee: It is true. We will be streaming video of the entire Championship Saturday at this year’s Parts Canada TransCan. Every moto on Saturday, which is a championship-deciding moto, will be streamed live for people from not only Canada, but the world to see Walton Raceway and more importantly the amazing athletes who compete here for a Parts Canada TransCan Championship.
I know we tried this a few years ago with the free Ustream application. It was OK but was pretty spotty due to internet connection. Are you doing something to combat this problem?
Yeah, it is tough. To stream video you need a dedicated point and the ability to move a lot of data up and down. Most motocross tracks, us included, are rural based so that level of connection is not readily available without significant cost. This year, we, ourselves, are paying for fiber optic cable to be run all the way up from the village of Walton. It is costly for sure, but we see it as an investment in not only the Parts Canada TransCan, but all of the different events we have going on.
So how will the whole thing work? Who is hosting and who is sponsoring this big project?
One of the cool things that happened this year is we got together with a lot of industry partners at the Toronto Bike show. Manufacturers like KTM, Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki were really seeing this as something to help elevate the event.The big push started there. Of course we have Parts Canada on board. We have such a unique relationship with them that we are able to share ideas freely with them. We were able to talk with Parts Canada and they were behind this big time. We have been really fortunate with sponsors, we have new partners like Valvoline and few others that have given us the confidence to make this happen. Truth is though, we were doing this regardless. We believe our athletes are world class. We also believe it is our job to make Walton a world class event, and give riders world class exposure.
To answer hosting and such, it will be done with Hills Production who handles the Rockstar Energy National Motocross Series, and their streaming partners.
So it will be all day coverage of the finals day on Saturday, right?
Yeah that is right. We plan on have all the motos and podium interviews from Saturday live. It is going to be a long day. I know people are going to come and go, but I think it is going to be special for families across Canada to see it all.
Our plan is to break down motos after in post production, and share that online via YouTube so people can go back and look at this for years to come.
And I assume there will be live results going at the same time?
For sure. We have done this for 3-4 years now so we will continue with that. I think for any large national event that is the minimum that should be offered.
The Parts Canada TransCan is going LIVE. They’re ready, are you? Bigwave photo
We tried it with one camera mounted in the tower back then. How many cameras, etc. will there be with this?
Like I said, Hills Video, who has produced the Rockstar Energy National Series for years, is the big piece of this puzzle. They have done a great job with that series and are really keen on this project. For now it will be 3-4 cameras, similar to what is used to produce the Nationals. I really think this is going to be a great production.
When we did it back in 2009, our main point was to prove that it could actually be done with the technology of the day. Now we’re 6 years further down the road. Do you see this as something that will/should be standard at events? What about at our Pro Nationals?
Well, of course as a fan, I want this. I really believe a live online presence is as important as traditional television these days. Sports, in my opinion, is the last true form of entertainment fans want live. We love our sports live and to be able to share that experience with friends as well. Be it motocross or hockey or golf, we want to see it live. I know if I can’t watch a sport live, I look for it somewhere be it Twitter or whatever. So I think it is important.
That being said, it tough to make stable strong connections in some locations. Satellite connections work, but they are expensive. Fibre optic isn’t an option for every facility nor is having hard line connections. Figuring that out will take some work and time.
I don’t know what the program is for the National level, but I am sure it is something that will happen. I think it has to happen at all rounds when it does roll out and that is going to take some time to get the infrastructure and money in place to produce an entire series.
What else do you have going on over there at Walton Raceway?
Well, we start our school programs next week for Edge of Walton. We have a lot of school kids coming out for challenge course and team building exercises.
Then we head into preparation for the mudbog, practices, races, sports camps and of course TransCan.
You guys brought is so much sand last year for the TransCan. Can we expect any changes for this coming season/National/TransCan?
We were talking about this yesterday. We have invested in the facility a lot each year, some of it is noticed like the sand, some isn’t. There will be investment, whether that is in the actual track, the online presence, or the night entertainment, there is going to be investment and changes. How we spread that out, I am not sure yet.
How have things been going at the ANQs that have been run so far this spring? Do we have some strong candidates for the Alpinestars Bronze Boot yet, that you see?
The ANQs have been kicking off across the country and we are working to hype those races and riders up. We want to see the ANQ series be something that riders can take pride in doing well at, whether they come to TransCan or not.
I really don’t know who is going to “be that kid” this year. Mackenzie Machan, last year’s champion, really put it together at Walton last year and dealt with all the pressure so well. That impressed me how much he has matured as a rider. There are so many fast kids who will be on the line in August, but a lot of things need to fall in place to win that award. That is what makes it so cool.
Well, thanks for the quick chat. Is there anything else you’d like to mention or anyone you’d like to thank?
Hey, thanks for talking to us, and everything you do with DMX. I just want to remind people to follow us on Twitter @waltonraceway and @transcan and Instagram @waltonraceway. We try to repost and retweet things that are tagged #ANQ or we are tagged in to share everyone’s story.