By Billy Rainford
Hello from Santa Barbara, California. We finished up our stay in The Bay Area of San Francisco Sunday morning and headed south. Emily and I had one of our best adventures to date hanging around NorCal for the last few days. From having a friend of the family tour guide show us around, to cycling the hills of San Fran, it was a great stay. Not to mention, they’ve been having an unusually warm winter this year!
I was able to get a visit in with the Canadian family – The Vineys – before the weekend and then snuck over to Fremont to visit with my uncle and cousin. Hopefully, we’ll be able to catch #43 Noah Viney, #53 Bjorn Viney, and #327 Brandon Gourlay, riding down here in SoCal with some other Canadians early this week*.
*This just in… This crew will be riding at Zaca Station (north of here) on Wednesday with future Pro Champion, #79 Jett Reynolds. I’m pretty bummed about this as there’s no way we’ll be able to make it work at our end. We’ll have to wait until Bjorn and Brandon come north to race the eastern rounds of the Canadian Nationals – Bjorn on Amateur Day and Brandon on Pro Day.
We’ll go find Shawn Maffenbeier and Keylan Meston to see what they’re up to this week, too. Unless, of course, they read this go into hiding!
Like is always the case, when you’re driving to these races, there’s never enough time to stop and actually do something with all the photos and videos you accumulate, but I’ll do my best over the next couple weeks.
This road trip has already taken me to the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, and round 5 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series in Oakland. I will head south to San Diego this week and then drive east to Dallas to catch Canadian Westen Wrozyna‘s first-ever Supercross, just like we got to see Jess Pettis and Brock Leitner this past week.
But let’s get to some of what happened this past weekend, and then I’m hopping on the Scott Addict bicycle and riding up and down the coast!
Wow, where do you start after a Supercross like that one?! I know, let’s start by looking at the highlights:
Let’s first talk about that Oakland track. That was probably the toughest, trickiest, and most dangerous Supercross track I’ve ever seen. I don’t mean dangerous in the fact that it was designed wrong or anything. I mean, those ruts made the riders basically put their lives at risk every time they headed through a rhythm section.
The section after the whoops was the kind of thing that still gives me nightmares many many years after I’ve quit racing. It bit a lot of riders and if you listened to the post-race press conferences, the riders were pretty much terrified every lap, too.
We sit at home and just assume the type of difficult obstacles that frighten us have no affect on these top Pro riders. Well, we couldn’t be more wrong! These guys all flat out said they were scared out there, and who could blame them?!
The main line through some of the worst sections were really tough. If you were forced to go in a different line to attempts a pass or get around a lapped rider, you never knew what you were going to get. They didn’t know if they were going to be axle deep in a bomb hole or have a kicker send them onto their faces as they blindly clicked another gear to make the section from an alternate line.
We spoke with Canadian #160 Jess Pettis Sunday after he’d had some time to let the whole experience of doing his first-ever Monster Energy AMA Supercross and he confirmed this fact — the track was brutal.
You can listen to our conversation here:
You can also check out Jeff McConkey‘s weekly ‘McThoughts‘ column where he takes up through the top 10 in each main event and breaks down each rider’s performance. He’s always got his own personal slant on how things went. Also, next time you see him, yell out a rider and I can pretty much guarantee he can tell you what gear they wear. Seriously, do it.
I was able to be at this race and watch as our two Canadians went at it.
#497 Brock Leitner is still trying to match his night program performance from Houston. He was looking pretty good on the tough Oakland track, but when a hard crash near the end of the whoops section put him down hard, his hopes were dashed for round 5. His day ended with a ride to the Asterisk Medical trailer.
Brock cut his chin and got stitches, banged himself up, and hit his head pretty hard, too. He will get himself checked again this week to make sure his noggin falls within the concussion guidelines which will determine his fitness for competition this coming weekend in San Diego.
Shelby Turner Races Her First WORCS Race in Las Vegas
Canadian Shelby Turner headed down to Las Vegas and the Orleans Arena to race round 1 of the WORCS Off Road Series. She lined up in the Women’s Pro and Pro 2 Lights classes.
Of course, she’s listed as being from Montana, but whatever. Congratulations on some solid finishes.
Round 2 is February 23-24 at Canyon MX in Peoria, Arizona.
Canadian #11 Connor Stevenson Injured at Kicker Arenacross in Denver
Canadian-living-in-Colorado #11 Connor Stevenson injured himself at the Kicker Arenacross round in his hometown of Denver, Colorado, over the weekend.
Here is the report from Instagram:
Quick update on our rider @c.dawg_11 Last night in the 450 main event of @kickerarenacross Connor grabbed the holeshot and was off like a rocket. Unfortunately he got tangled up and went down hard a couple turns in to the race. He sustained some significant internal injuries which were confirmed to be his kidney and surrounding areas. He was admitted to the hospital right away. #### This morning he is still in the hospital and we are awaiting the doctor to come by. Nurses said his blood work is stabilizing so that is good. #### Always watch for blood in the urine if you suspect internal injuries – it’s a tell tale sign that something needs medical attention.
Next round of racing is Feb 10 in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Carson Brown Wins 2017/18 Future West Canadian Arenacross Championship
Washington State rider, #910 Carson Brown, took home the Pro/Am and Open Pro titles this week. Carson was actually involved in a crash during Friday night’s action and decided to sit out Saturday night and let the points chips fall where they may.
It all worked out for the young up-and-comer as he was able to remain at the top of both classes and claim two #1 plates (or is it an overall champion???).
Here is the post from the Cycle North Instagram page:
Your 2017/2018 Canadian Arenacross Pro 250 AND 450 Champion CARSON BROWN!!!! Huge thank you to everyone that made this possible! @hondamotoca @shiftmx Coverstar @mddistributions @fmf73 @limenine @worksconnection @foxracingcanada @matrixconceptscanada @atlasbrace @devolracing @rekluse_canada @rekluse_motorsports @mongoose_machine @carsonbrown_910 @chrisbuckrell @bruceg419 @thenewf9
Carson’s Cycle North Shift Racing Honda teammate, #397 Summer Knowles, took home the Pro Women’s crown. Here is the Instagram post for that c’ship:
The 2017/2018 Canadian Arenacross Ladies Champion Summer Knowles!!!! Congratulations Summer on a well fought season! We are so proud to have been able to support you for so many years! Tonight when you hang up your racing boots just know we are so happy you chose us to race with, travel with and to be apart of your Racing and making awesome memories! Enjoy working life, adulting isn’t that fun #proud #Champ
We’re closing in on the first round of the Rockstar Triple Crown Series back in Canada and it sounds like all the top dogs are planning on being there to go after the Rockstar $100K prize for the 450 winner.
I’m going to have to drive home to Ontario from Texas and try to make it on a flight west to be there for all the action. It should be an interesting time for Canada and the sport.
OK, I hope that, at least, got you through another cup. Have a great week, everyone. Be sure to check out Jeff’s ‘McThoughts’ and then watch for some more interviews, videos, and photos with the Canadians we find training down here in California this week.