McThoughts|Women’s East Championships Round 1
By Jeff McConkey
Round 1 of the Women’s East Nationals started its season at Gopher Dunes Saturday. It was one of the smoothest Gopher tracks I have ever seen and it allowed for great racing. This year’s group of talent has a few Americans in it, and they are all podium threats. It’s by no means going to be an American sweep, but it will definitely force our Canadian girls to up their games.
It was nice to see a happy Jacqueline Ross back. ‘J-Ro’ will be there looking for wins every moto. Fellow American, Shannon Fleming, showed that she’s here to battle and took a nice 3rd o/a in her first Canadian appearance. But it was young Eve Brodeur who stole the show with a nice 1-1 performance. Let’s take a look at the results and my thoughts.
1st Eve Brodeur (1-1): I doubted the champ, and I’d like to apologize to Eve and her dad, Sylvain. This was the fastest Eve I have ever seen. She really looked that good and her bike sounded great. Like I’ve said a million times, Eve doesn’t do anything great, but she does everything very very well. She will be very hard to beat this season, she’s riding that good!
2nd Jacqueline Ross (2-2): Jacqueline and her dad made the long trip from Florida and she looked very good on her 250 2-stroke. Eve got away from her a little in moto 1, but J-Ro kept her honest in moto 2 until a small crash. You can see the speed and talent just oozing out of Ross, and you will see her take a win and overall very soon. Welcome back, Miss JQ.
3rd Shannon Fleming (4-3): Shannon is a great addition to the series. She came in fit and fast and ready to shake up the podium. We should see her on or around the podium at every round.
4th Julia Krzemien (3-7): Julia came up for a Walton qualifier and was talked into racing Gopher. She looked great in the first moto and rode the sand great. She has qualified for Loretta’s, but hopefully we will still see her for another round or 2.
5th Kim Normandin (5-5): Kim made the switch this year to the 450cc bike, and it seemed to work. I was a little worried that the bigger bike may tire her out late in the motos, but Kim held strong an battled hard right to the end. Look for her to steal some holeshots with the big 450.
6th Brittany Gagné (9-4): Gagné went down twice in the first moto, but had a great 2nd moto. She has really busted her butt and changed up her program and it’s paying off. She was one of the rare girls hoping for more laps at the end. I think she would have gotten Fleming had there been another lap. Once we hit the harder dirt, Gagné will be on the podium.
7th Kassie Boone (6-6): Kassie had a solid day at the Dunes. I think her style suits the hard pack dirt and we will see her closer to the front at a track like RJ’s.
8th Isabelle Thibault (8-8): Isabelle was the girl that everyone scratching their head saying, “who is that girl?” In both motos, she caught my eye, and I was impressed with her speed and grit.
9th Robin Hutchenson (11-9): Robin made the off season switch to a four-stoke KTM and is still finding it “awkward” to jump. She had two solid motos and should be inside the top 10 every moto. Plus, her dad absolutely killed it on her graphics!
10th Madison Seguin (10-10): Madi made the switch to the dark side and is now riding the four-stroke. I personally like what I saw and think it will help her. She will be sneaky fast all season long.
Biggest Stud: Eve Brodeur gets stud status. She just looked so good everywhere. Very impressed.
Biggest Dud: My dud would have to be some of the lappers. You have every right to be out there, but when you are 30-plus seconds a lap off the pace, you have to expect that the leaders are coming by hot, and coming by often.
Biggest Surprise: Kim Normandin was my surprise. She handled the big 450 very well and didn’t let up late in the motos.
Thanks for reading, see you in Ulverton.