By Billy Rainford
Let me start off by letting you know that Ontario has actually been extremely hot and dry this summer. It only rains on Sundays when there’s a race at Walton Raceway.
It’s a true story. In fact, we were just sitting out on our front porch enjoying a cup of coffee and when a breeze came through leaves actually fell from our neighbour’s birch tree. Not because we’re in the fall season but because it’s been so hot and dry and things are shrivelling up!
I know it’s hard to believe, especially if you’re reading this from another part of the country, but it’s true. And it look like we’re not the only ones.
The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships held Round 2 back at Loretta Lynn’s MX in Tennessee on Saturday. They got hit with another mudder too.
I joked about this last week, how it always seems to clear up when you go back to school or work on Monday. Actually, the sun usually comes out just as the final checkered flag is waved at the end of a wet Sunday at the races.
Well, we’re heading into round 4 of our Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Tour MX Nationals this coming weekend at Sand Del Lee, just outside Ottawa. Just watch, it will be hot and sunny all week and then it will rain on the weekend. Nah, it couldn’t do that to us again, could it?!
At this point, the weather app on my iPhone is trying to tell me it’s going to be cloudy all week here in London and then clear up for the weekend! As if. I’ll believe that when I see it.
All I know is that the privateers trying to chase the Nationals this summer have had it rough enough. Sure, it was clear at Round 1 at Gopher Dunes, but that track usually requires riders to take good looks at their motors to make sure they’re ready to go, in the best of conditions after a race at that sand track.
Then they had to weekends of mud racing to do bike maintenance after. It’s been draining mentally, physically, and financially for everyone.
It really show you just how much riders and families enjoy this sport when you see them back at the races with their bikes all freshened up for another beating, but that’s just what we do.
Hopefully, everyone gets a break this coming weekend at Sand Del Lee, that’s all I’m saying. I know my camera gear could use a week off from horrible weather. I’m already down one camera, so I can’t have another one go on me or I’ll be posting nothing but iPhone photos! Meh, maybe that wouldn’t be so bad…
What’s the worst mud race you’ve ever been in? For me, it was any time it rained and we were at the track near Aylmer, Ontario, called Big Bend. If you ever raced a mudder there, you know what I’m talking about. It was the absolute worst.
It was cool on nice days because of its huge layout and natural elevation changes, but when it rained it could, and often did, leave you stranded a long way from your pits.
There was a big downhill, 180, then back uphill to the finish line and I can remember riders just lining up at the top waiting for their turn to run the gauntlet.
I counted 26 riders stuck in that section one time. I don’t know why I remember that number, but I do. And it was just the worst kind of mud – clay-based gumbo. A horrible mess that got much worse as it started to dry before it got better. You know the kind.
There was a section that seemed really far away from everything that ran down the farm fence line wayyyy down at the bottom of a huge downhill. Trying to control your speed dawn that in the mud was crazy. And if/when your bike quit or you got stuck at the bottom, you were so far from the pits that you just wanted to leave your bike and disappear into the corn field. There are probably a few 1982 bikes standing petrified in the dirt whose riders were never to be seen before.
Plus, you always knew that what goes down must go up, so you had that to look forward to. So many kids just sat down there waiting for their parents to finally realize they weren’t coming back on their own and trudge down. I’m going to have nightmares now, just talking about it.
And that’s a perfect segue to something I”m sure you all noticed at Loretta Lynn’s in the first 450 moto on Saturday.
3-time and defending 450 champion #1 Eli Tomac‘s bike didn’t make it to the finish line and died on the final lap. Everything was fine until his dad, cycling God John Tomac, showed up. I was disappointed to see Eli push the bike over and into the mud away from John as he got there to help his son.
I know it’s a horrible situation to come so far and have a malfunction take you out at the very end, but you really have to think about how it looks. Remember kids, always act like a professional and show respect to your team and especially to your parents.
Throw a fit in your pits, away from the cameras and other people. You never look good losing your cool or disrespecting anyone.
I’m sure he feels a little silly because you know he’s heard all about it from his team and people close to him. Try to remember this next time you have a mechanical failure during a race.
Sand Del Lee is the first race since the TransCan, so we should see a few more Intermediate riders turning Pro this weekend. A few decided not to race last Sunday because it really wasn’t a great way to start your Professional career. We’ll see who makes the move this week.
I know that #494 Thomas Rendall is going to race the Pro/Am 250 class this week. I’ve known this family since he was on tiny bikes chasing his dream across North America at all the big US Amateur Nationals.
I believe he’ll be running the Pro number plates to look good for the TV coverage, but he’ll be racing as an Intermediate, none the less.
I also mention these guys because I’m going to head to Ottawa a couple days early and stay with them so they can guide me on a a bike ride or two in the Gatineaus across the border in Quebec. I’ve never ridden my road bike there, so I’m looking forward to it.
We usually make an extended visit to Emily’s relatives who live in downtown Ottawa and have an amazing cabin on a lake in Mont Tremblant. Thanks a lot, COVID-19!
Have you watched the highlights from Loretta Lynn’s yet? Here are the extended highlights:
While we’re at it, here’s a look at the standings in the Rockstar Triple Crown Tour MX Nationals after 3 rounds:
Oh, and the Triple Crown Supercross series has been announced and we’re going to be racing on a purpose-built outdoor track in Courtland, Ontario.
We’ll have a conversation with Gopher Dunes owner, Derek Schuster, ASAP to find out more about what we can expect from this SX series at their track.
Also, with this announcement, the Dean Brothers over at Vision Built Tracks have been prepping their Supercross track to be ready for Pro riders to get ready on.
Fire them a DM on their Instagram page to find out how to go about getting some time on their professionally designed and built SX track.
Some info for Sand Del Lee:
Here is the link to their BIO to register: https://linktr.ee/triplecrownseries
OK, have a great week and I’ll see you at Sand Del Lee this weekend!
After seeing this Keylan Meston shot, how could I not end with this?!