By Billy Rainford
Welcome to one of the weirdest Mondays on record. For the vast majority of us, this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. We’re basically all on house arrest without the ankle trackers…but they’re coming!
No, not really, but the fact that posts are floating around Facebook like hot air balloons, and different conspiracy theorists are forecasting a world where civilians are pointing out others who aren’t adhering to the “safe distance” regulations, er, I mean, recommendations put out there by our government officials, paints a pretty frightening next few days, weeks, and months.
Every time someone puts something about the impending clampdown (The Clash) on our movements, I can’t help but comment with the video clip of Donald Sutherland from the amazing end of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. If you haven’t seen the movie, Donald is pointing her out as a “normal” when she thinks he still hasn’t been taken by the bodysnatchers.
It’s like realizing Bruce Willis had been a ghost the whole time.
Fortunately, those of us who run motocross websites can work from home and are able to keep producing content from our laps, so this shouldn’t affect the stuff you see here on DMX, except that we won’t be seeing any new race results or coverage.
We’ll be able to stay in touch will all the racers and we’ll keep trying to come up with new ways to keep us all entertained.
For example, I totally ripped Jimmy Fallon off with a hashtag for people to respond to and asked you to tell us, in six words, what this Supercross shutdown is doing to you at home.
No, we didn’t get many responses, but that won’t keep me from trying!
Here’s what you had to say:
Kelly Peev Look through old photos and cry
Jill Carney Still can’t watch it in Canada
and a reply:
Rovert Notca You can, just not for free
gpmoto Working on dirt bikes yard work
john.hunt.134 Plowed snow off my mx track
iwl67 Trying not to fight my neighbours
and then there is my favourite:
Rylan Lavallee My yard is absolutely f$#%ed now
We’ll put another one up on Thursday and see how we do. Again, we need to try some new things to keep everyone having fun in these weird times.
And how about this? My dad had heart bypass surgery during the whole SARS scare and now he’s just had his first cancer treatment during this COVID-19 pandemic.
He tells the story of how he had diphtheria when he was a young war baby in England. I don’t think he’ll mind that I’m posting this story here:
A GOOD LUCK STORY…
When I was a boy of 11 growing up on the Merseyside, the health scourge of the day was Diphtheria. I, of course, contracted it and was admitted to Clatterbridge Hospital *. I was in a ward with two rows of ten down each wall, beds approx. 6 ft. apart. I was fed through a tube as the throat closes. At various times and frequently during the day, mostly during the night, a tubular, wheeled screen would be placed around a bed and two white-suited orderlies along with a nurse would spirit away the body of the unfortunate who had quietly passed away.
I was interned there for 6 weeks and then was shipped off to a convalescence home for 2 weeks. Only at this time was my mother allowed to visit and she advised that I was classed as a ‘carrier’ which was instrumental in my recovery.
Many years later, 2003 to be exact, the rampant scourge was SARS. I was admitted to Victoria Hospital in London, ON for By-Pass surgery. The building was entered through a tented airlock and again no visitors were allowed! The Op was a success and 3 months later I was featured in a 10km run.
Currently, we are enduring the COVID-19 virus and, wouldn’t you know, the only death (so far) in Ontario happened at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, ON. On Monday I report to this same institution to receive my radioactive crystal attack on my liver known as a TACE procedure.
Luck, once again, is on my side…
What a guy! The shitty part in all this is that because of my recent travel through 12 states and the fact that Emily works on the front line of all this as an Emerg Nurse at UH here in London, I’m not able to be there with them as he goes through this procedure.
My sister drove all the way here from Kamloops, BC to help out, so that’s great, but it puts a lot on her plate.
I sort of start another 14 days of self-isolation every time Emily gets home from another shift in the ER. We’re taking many precautions here at the house, but there’s just no way I’m going to risk giving this to my 80-year-old parents.
Catching Up with Kade Walker in Portugal
Canadian Kade Walker is a rider we’ve all known since he was a ripper on a 50cc bike, hitting all the big US Amateur Nationals.
I got to know him and his dad pretty well as this was the time that we had a big group of Canadians chasing the US MX dream. Riders like, Cole Thompson, Cole Varty, Kade Walker, PO Lavigne, Michael DaSilva, Christopher DaSilva, John John Pauk, and others.
He headed to Europe back in 2012 and has been living the Euro MX life since then. He speaks many different languages and is carving out an amazing resume and making international memories that will be fin to chronicle one day.
He won the first round of the Portuguese 450 MX Nationals so I got in touch with him to see how things are going on that side of the world.
There are journeyman racers and then there are journeyman racers at Kade Walker level!
Growing up, most racers dream of one day riding in exotic places against riders at the top level. Kade has definitely done that, and then some.
Kade was a hot prospect as he climbed his way through the amateur ranks and then he turned Pro and headed to Europe. He speaks many languages and has lived and raced in several European countries — it’s a pretty fascinating story of commitment to the dream.
He’s now living in Portugal and racing their MX Nationals. He won the first round (2-1) but, like everywhere, his series is on hiatus while the coronavirus gets sorted out.
Here’s what Kade had to say when we got in touch with him this week:
Direct Motocross: Hello Kade. You’re originally from outside Montreal and spent a huge amount of time travelling the big US Amateur Nationals. Can you, first off, tell us how you got started in Motocross?
Kade Walker: Yes, I’m from about 1 hour north of Montreal. I got started in Motocross because my dad raced some Enduro and on property with 4-5 tracks, so it was in the blood from a young age.
What was your first race number and how did you choose it?
I’m pretty sure my first race number was #301. I think I had it because that’s the highway I lived on. Then later I was #51 and that’s been my favourite number by far.
For those out there who may not be familiar with your track record, what’s the biggest win of your amateur career?
I have 11 amateur titles in America and 2 in Canada. The biggest is my Loretta Lynn’s win in 2009
How’s your Portuguese?:
Last time we did a podcast, you talked about all the amazing places in Europe you’ve lived and raced, so I won’t ask you to go over all that again. But then you showed up in BC this past season and raced a bit of Future West Moto Arenacross. How did that even come up to bring you back to Canada from Europe?
Yeah, I’ve been in Europe full-time since 2012, so after 7 years I think it was time to go back and visit. But honestly, my girlfriend was pushing me to go back and see my family. I could have gone back many times to visit but I was focused and busy with racing, so never did.
The opportunity to race the Future West was given to me by Kenny Mcurdy at TNT Racing development. I’m thankful I got that opportunity to race on my little trip back home.
How did your races go?
The races went OK. I got some podiums, had some crashes. It was a bit all over the map. I had never raced on the Yamaha, so the first weekend was a learning experience. Then, the second weekend I felt better and put it on the box.
What did you do while you weren’t racing here in Canada?
I was in the gym every day and did some mountain bike riding with my brothers. After 7 years not seeing them, the whole time was a bit of a shock.
And now you’re over in Portugal racing the Nationals there! How did this deal come up?
Yes, I’ve been in Portugal now since December and it’s been a blast; so much fun. I had already started talking to the team in 2019 and after they got everything sorted I came over to make a deal. We did some riding and I just didn’t want to leave.
Where are you living and what’s it like?
I’m currently living in Coimbra in the apartment that the team has kindly let my girlfriend and me stay in. My teammate lives here, too, so it’s good vibes and I’m very thankful.
You won the first round of the series. Can you tell us how that event went? What was the track like?
Yes, I won the first round. I went 2-1 in MX1 and won the Superfinal. The championship is nice. The tracks are small and tight but fun. There is some very strong competition with great battles and I enjoy it.
What is your practice track situation like there? Where do you go and with whom?
I’m very lucky. The team has a partnership with Agueda, which is on the MXGP calendar. My teammate and I have a key for the track, so we ride there basically daily.
What is the whole coronavirus situation like where you are?
The coronavirus is pretty much the same everywhere. It hinders everything.
What are you going to do now that the next races have been cancelled or postponed?
It’s unfortunate that the championship has been postponed. I don’t like to stop racing once a championship starts. I find it’s always nice to keep the races going, so this is a new challenge.
What’s your contract like?
I can’t really say anything on that matter.
Could you please go to Nazaré and take some surfing video for me!?
I’ve honestly never been surfing, but this summer I’m sure I’ll go down and see how it is.
Are you fluent in Portuguese? How many languages do you speak now?
I understand most Portuguese but unfortunately I’m not very good yet. But I do speak English, French, Italian, and German.
Will you stay over there if the racing is done?
We are just at the start of the season and now everything is postponed, so I think I’ll be here until the end of the year. My girlfriend and I enjoy it here a lot so hopefully I can stay.
What does the future look like for you?
I don’t look at the future too much. I’m focused on my task at hand and I take it moto by moto, day by day.
OK, I’m sorry our phone call podcast didn’t work out earlier. Good luck over there and stay safe. Who would you like to thank?
First off, I’d like to thank my parents. If they didn’t sacrifice what they have for me I would never find myself in this position to travel the world racing a dirt bike. Also, Yamaha Portugal, Guga MX Racing, Hebo racing, Forma MX Boots, Rinaldi Tires, BRC, Crosspro, Polisport Plastics, and all the team’s sponsors.
Thanks for taking the time with me, Kade. We tried to do it as a podcast but he said the building he’s in is sharing a wifi signal and the conversation was breaking up badly. We’ll be sure to check in with the globetrotting Canuck as often as we can.
Mountain Biking with Neil
Like I said, desperate times call for desperate measures! OK, maybe I didn’t actually say that, but you know what I mean.
I went out for a mountain bike ride with my buddy, Neil Burnett, Sunday. No, this in itself is no big deal, but there was an element that made it a worthwhile WASP CAM experience.
Neil is a high school friend who I trained for and then did my first-ever triathlon with back in the day. He hasn’t really kept it up since then and got a new-to-him mountain bike last week.
I always laugh about the last time we mountain biked together way back in the university days:
It was a cold and stormy fall day and three friends and I decided to head out for a MTB ride down by the Thames River. My buddy Kris Booth and I headed down this really steep embankment that ended in a very sharp right 90-degree turn. It was a really tricky downhill and we both barely made the turn at the bottom.
We then told Neil to come down but to be careful because it was pretty tough. Off he went…
He got out over the headset, took one foot off the pedal and paddled his way down, completely out of control.
He got to the bottom, at speed, and there was no way he was going to make the turn. Over the bars he went.
The next thing we saw was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on a bike. He flew about 8 feet ahead of the bike and went head first into the leaf-covered pond that awaited him. Under he went. He literally disappeared long enough for everything to come to rest again.
After what seemed like much longer than it was, he shot up from the depths with a loud scream, as it was below freezing and he had been under for a few seconds. He climbed out of the water and grabbed his bike. He was so cold that he just wanted to get riding so he could warm up. That’s when Kris and I couldn’t hold in our laughter anymore.
We had to come clean and tell him that the trail at the bottom of this ridiculous hill didn’t even go anywhere! There was absolutely no point in his having risked the downhill. We had to just carry our bikes back to the top and head home. Robbie Nicol was at the top laughing his ass off too. It was great….for us.
Anyway, I hoped for some hijinks on yesterday’s ride, so I clicked the action cam to my helmet and made Neil lead the way on our return loop fo the trails.
If you’re bored at home, give it a watch and scroll to some of his crashes. What are friends for, right?!
In case you didn’t read the Frid’Eh Update, I spoke with Justin Thompson from Jetwerx:
I spoke with Justin Thompson from Jetwerx today, and he says that, as of now, the 2020 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Tour is full steam ahead, but he knows we’ll have to play this one as it develops with this virus still lurking.
He said said there is a release coming out on March 30th but that, “We plan on having all the rounds at the moment even if in a different order.”
He also told me that the entire series is set to be aired LIVE on both MAVTV and FOX SPORTS, as well as on an online platform this season.
He also mentioned that Two Wheels TV has been purchased by The Discovery Channel, so I’m assuming a different online plan will be in the offering.
And did you listen to our podcast with Brent “Airmail” Worrall talking about his “Motocross Saved My Life” book? No? Well, it’s been uploaded to iTunes now, so you can listen to it there. Here are a couple links:
Anyway, have a great week, and try not to go stir crazy. At this point, it looks like tracks are allowed to be open for practice days, so try to get out and enjoy that while you can.
I hope my friends and my dad will talk to me after I told these stories this week! Meh, they don’t read Monday Morning Coffee, so it will be our little secret. Keep your mouth shut, Pete! LOL