By Billy Rainford
It’s nice to have made it back to snowy London, Ontario. You know how they always talk about the weather predictions in the Farmer’s Almanac or whatever? Well, they called for an unusually high amount of snow for this winter and they apparently nailed it. As I sit here typing, snow continues to fall at about a 45-degree angle out our front window. And it just won’t stop…
This past weekend, I was planning on driving to round 1 of the 2018 Amsoil Arenacross Series in Dayton, Ohio. My plan was to do a one-day trek, in and out. Yes, it’s a ridiculous plan, but it’s just the way it is, sometimes.
Fortunately, I got a message from Terry Doherty saying he was planning to head to Dayton from Kingston and could pass through London on the way and pick me up. It would mean leaving Friday and not returning until Sunday, but to have someone else to drive with on the 6-hour drive made a lot of sense. Kieran Doherty was set to make his Pro Arenacross racing debut, and, of course, his dad wasn’t going to miss it, and neither was I.
As I sat here at my place typing the Frid’Eh Update and waiting for Terry to arrive, I couldn’t help but notice it had been snowing for a few hours here in my home town. I fired Terry a text telling him to be careful because the roads were sure to be a mess around here.
He received my text and replied that he was only about 40 minutes away. How could that be??? Traffic would surely be at a standstill in these conditions, no? Terry added that he’s been cruising along at full speed under crystal blue skies the entire way and was closing in on London in record time while I, literally, couldn’t see out my front window. That’s the snow belt for ya, folks.
You see, London sits just east of the lower end of Lake Huron. The prevailing winds take moisture off the lake and drops it right here on our heads in London like clockwork. If you look at a winter radar map, you can watch the “streamers” blow off the lake directly across our path. Seriously, Terry didn’t see any new snow until he was inside the London boundary. And there was a lot!
As we decided which highway to take to get across the border into Michigan – Port Huron or Detroit – bogged down snowy traffic here in the city made the decision for us. We weren’t going to hop in the bumper-to-bumper, Friday afternoon traffic and head back across the city toward the 401, so the 402 to Sarnia and Port Huron was chosen.
Now, the 402 tends to get hit by a lot of storms, so I messaged Kyle Thompson in Brigden (just outside Sarnia) and asked him how bad the weather was. He sent back a photo of bluebird skies! How could this be???
Well, the entry to the 402 at London was closed and that meant finding a back road route to an on ramp to the 401, but the weather was going to make this pretty tense.
Guess what? As soon as we started getting outside London, you could see the sun start to brighten in the distant sky. When we were just 10 minutes outside the city limits, the sun was up, the snow had stopped, and the roads were bare and dry. It’s amazing what the Great Lakes will do to certain areas around here! It was smooth sailing and the rest of the very boring drive down I-75 was a breeze.
(I really wanted to type something about the fact that Terry hates seat belts and has a bad habit of sitting in the left lane, but I won’t…)
Round 1 took place in the Nutter Center on the campus of Wright State University. Wright State is named so because of the Wright Brothers. It’s called the Nutter Center because Ervin J. Nutter put in the initial $1.5M to get the building started back in 1986. The Wright Brothers are considered the first name in flight and were residents of Dayton.
The series hadn’t been to Dayton in 6 years and everyone agreed that this building was one of the nicest on the tour, and they were happy to be there.
Check out the full house for round 1. The MC asked everyone to turn on their phone flashlights to honour the colour guard, and it was a pretty cool effect.
We had two Canadians making their Pro Amsoil Arenacross debuts, Kieran Doherty and Tanner Ward.
#664 Kieran Doherty:
Qualified 79th (top 30 move on to the night program)
No Night Program.
*As I was typing this, I received a message from Terry Doherty: “Broken wrist – may need surgery. Casted the entire arm for now.”
Good luck, Kieran.
#184 Tanner Ward:
Qualified 24th (top 30 moved on to the night program)
Heat 2: 9th
Qualified 28th (top 30 moved on to the night program)
Heat 2: 13th
The series moves on to Worcester, MA this coming weekend.
We will have a full photo report on the site later, so we’ll leave the details of the Pro Night for then.
Saturday Dayton Arenacross – January 6, 2018
Wright State University- The Nutter Center
Round 2: Jan 13-14 DCU Center, Worcester, MA
Also on Sunday, we had Canadians, #477 Ryder Snelgrove and #158 Nathan Snelgrove, racing in the little bike classes. I have photos of both, but seem to have forgotten my camera in Terry’s car, so it is now in Kingston until I can figure out a way to get it home…
#477 Ryder Snelgrove:
51 (4-6) Ltd. – 3rd
#158 Nathan Snelgrove:
51 (4-8) Ltd. – 5th
51 (7-8) Ltd. – 5th
But what about the first round of Supercross, you ask? Well, Jeff McConkey‘s first ‘McThoughts‘ column of the 2018 Supercross season is sitting in my inbox, so I’ll leave it to him to talk about what happened.
We DID have Canadian #497 Brock Leitner lining up trying to make it into the night program at A1. We’ll give Brock a call later this afternoon to get his thoughts, but here are his results:
All I’m going to add is that it was really hard to watch Eli Tomac fumble around with his pants like that. It left me thinking he must have hit his head as well as his shoulder to be acting like that. Hopefully, it’s nothing that will keep him out of competition because he was killing it early on.
Oh, and congratulations to Ryan Lockhart who was another Canadian racing south of the border over the weekend. ‘The Newf’ lined up for an Arenacross in Pasco, Washington, and took 4th in the Pro Class behind Carson Brown, Collin Jurin, and another “local fast kid,” Which is what Ryan told me in a morning phone call. The race was part of the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Northwest Arenacross Nationals that will head to Monroe, WA next on January 13th.
Results weren’t posted on the site at the time, so we’ll have to watch for those later.
Anyway, it’s time for me to get outside and use the neighbour’s snowblower…again. We received another 10cms of snow and it’s now above freezing. There’s NO WAY I’m shoveling that heavy snow. Have a great week, everyone.