Monday Morning Coffee
By Billy Rainford
Whew, who knew there was this much driving in motocross?! What a few days this has been for the old #DMXVan. We got the invite to go and check out the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at the new KTM Canada / Husqvarna Motorcycles Canada building in Chambly, Quebec, on Thursday. Claudie Lapointe and the gang had a few activities planned out for us and kept us busy until the ceremony started at the office at 5pm.
Dylan Kaelin is the new Western Canada Events Guy and is also an avid cyclist, so he was keen to take us for a group ride to start the day. It was a casual cycle through the outskirts of Montreal on busy streets that, fortunately, had bike lanes. It wasn’t about getting a hard workout in as much as it was a chance to loosen the legs from long drives and flights and chat about what everyone had been up to since the last time we’d seen each other.
They served us some coffee and croissants back at the spotless shop and we prepared to be taken out to Franklin MX Park for a chance to ride a few bikes in the new 2018 KTM motocross line-up. Oh, I should mention that we had to leave Braydon McNeil on his own to figure out how to get an extremely heavy fork lift unstuck from the dirt at the end of the pavement. Who knew it would sink right into the loamy dirt and get stuck?! I forgot to ask Braydon when we saw him again at the end of the day how he managed to get the thing out of there. Oddly, it was one of the rare times I didn’t have my camera over my shoulder. You got lucky, Braydon!
We hopped into one of the nondescript white Sprinter Vans and and headed out to the track. Inside my van were some pretty fast riders. Tanner Ward, Eve Brodeur, and new Orange Brigade rider, Ryder McNabb, kept the drive light with their teenaged banter that I was unsuccessful at tuning out…
We were greeted at the track by a new 150 2-stroke, a 250F, and a 350F. Of course, the line started beside the 150. They had a 125 in the trailer too, but since there were only a few of us riding (and they had a demo the following day) a few bikes remained in the trailer.
Franklin is a fast track that definitely favours those who are able to scrub. I’m not one of them. I used my old school style to paddle my way around the track and had a great time. I managed to keep the bikes upright and my gear clean, so it was a good day. I will talk more about the bikes in an upcoming article.
I just want to say thank you to KTM and Husky for putting me up and treating me very well for my 2-day stay. It was also great to see Florian Burguet back in Canada. He’s now a pretty big wig over at KTM Europe. He looks like he’s been doing a ton of running and says Austria is a great place.
We had a bit of time after riding to freshen up and get ready for the grand opening gala/new building tour, so we headed back to the hotel, showered, and snuck over to BP for some food before returning to the office.
When we arrived, I think we were all impressed with what we saw. There was valet parking and around 150 people standing around in the parking lot sipping drinks and listening to the DJ. It was a really professional set up!
All in all, it was a really nice time. It was great to bench race with everyone and be a part of this new project and future with these two progressive and leading edge brands.
OK, so that was great and all, but next on the agenda was getting home to London from Montreal and then getting to the final round of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Ironman MX in Crawfordsville, Indiana. It was going to be a long stint behind the wheel, to say the least.
Fortunately, Josh Snider from Redemption Racing wanted to be at the final found to round up some interest and hopefully solidify plans for the race team’s winter and came along. More than one driver is key on these lengthy drives!
I know Bill Wright is going to be looking at this and wanting me to spill the beans on who and what Josh was talking to, but I don’t really have any scoops for him. Yes, the Redemption guys are looking at competing in the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, but it isn’t finalized yet. I will say that there are quite a few top level riders without rides for the winter and their names came up – riders like Dylan Ferrandis, for one.
Current team rider, Josh Osby, is ready for the winter season and the team wants to be at either the entire series with a 450 rider or two, or failing that, the east coast 250 rounds with the squad. Either way, it will give us a great reason to pile on some more miles this winter! Nothing is in stone, so we’ll have to file this one in with the rest of the ‘silly season’ chatter.
So, after driving home from Montreal I had 2 hours to work and then it was time to hop back into the van, pick Josh up and make the 7-hour drive to Indiana. I don’t know if anyone thinks the life of a moto media guy is glamorous, but a schedule like this may make them think twice. Yes, being able to go to all these events is amazing, but you have to stop and imagine all the hours of sitting behind the wheel and staring at a boring highway. That part is anything but glamorous.
Anyway, we pulled into our Walmart parking lot, literally 30 seconds from the Ironman MX track, at around 3am and got to our ‘reserved’ parking spot for a quick nap before the busy day started. I set my alarm for 6:30 and promptly hit the snooze when it went off. Or so I thought…
It turns out, I had simply shut the alarm off and only dreamed that I’d hit the snooze. Fortunately, Josh woke up at 7:15 and we still had some time to make it to the track for the mandatory safety meeting at the Media Centre at 8. For all I knew, we’d slept until noon and missed it! Whew.
Now, I’ve been to a lot of big races and seen some pretty memorable rides. Ryan Villopoto at the 2007 MXON in 2007 and James Stewart at the Toronto SX are two that come to mind. Having #784 Jeffrey Herlings at the final round meant that it was possible I was in for yet another.
I didn’t expect to see what we saw, though. How could anyone go from last to first in the 450 class in an AMA race?! Who does that?! Well, Herlings qualified 1.5 seconds ahead of Marvin Musquin and so we knew he had the pace to win.
We’ll have a photo report from the racing up up on the site soon, so we’ll go into more detail then, but what a ride in the second moto for the multi-time world champion Dutchman! He went down at the start of it and proceeded to pass every single rider out there! I saw on Instagram that one rider said Jeffrey had gone by him like he was “going backwards.”
As the moto wore on, he was working his way to the front, but you never thought he was going to make it all the way to the lead! There’s just no way! Well, rider after rider succumbed to his pressure and finally he was pressuring for the win. After Marvin made an uncharacteristic mistake and went off the track, Herlings was in the lead with only a couple laps left. Nearly every jaw at the track was touching the ground. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the respect and credit the partisan American crowd showed and gave the foreign invader.
I will add this performance to the list of amazing rides I’ve been fortunate enough to witness, first hand. It was one for the ages, for sure.
Canadian 2017 #2 MX2 rider, Dylan Wright, made the journey with his family, Kyle Ward, and Steve Gervais to take on the best in the 250 class. He’d raced Budds Creek the week before and took 13th overall (13-13). That was a very solid performance.
He was at these final two rounds to learn and he was going to be forced to do a lot of that when he had troubles off the start in both motos. Dylan is used to being a rider who isn’t afraid to push people around, but in this group of aggressive 250 riders, tit definitely sees tat! Bad starts left Dylan scrambling for positions early and throughout both motos.
He garnered some attention from the announcers in the second moto, who seemed to pay close attention to him as he was nearly 30 seconds off the back when he came around the second corner. Instead of giving up, Dylan ‘put his head down’ and made an impressive charge through the field.
The announcers kept mentioning him and said, at one point, “Wright has now dispatched of over half the field!”
In the end, Dylan went from 40th to 18th in that 2nd moto. It was a great ride and showed and built a lot of character. Congratulations on riding like that, Dylan. The results may not be what you wanted, but that ride has to leave you feeling good about it.
We grabbed Dylan for a chat at the end of the day, and you can read that HERE.
We also did an episode of ‘Tailgating’ while we were there where we talk about his season and what he has planned for this winter. We’ll get that up on the site later today.
I haven’t even had a chance to watch these highlights!
2017 ISDE France is Underway
Team Canada ISDE is doing their thing over in France today! Day 1 of 6 got going and you can follow along with all the action here:
ISDE France LIVE: http://www.fim-isde-live.info/
2017 MMRS/AMO Madoc National
Always one of the biggest one-off National races in Canada, the 2017 MMRS/AMO Madoc National also took place this past weekend in Madoc, Ontario. Historically, this race offers riders in all classes the chance to take home some substantial cash, and this year was no different.
Direct Motocross’s own, Jeff McConkey, was there to tweet all about the action, help out Jeremy Medaglia, and also lined up again in the Legends Class race at the end of the day on Saturday. He took home the win and made us all proud. We’ll have an article up on the site soon going over what happened at the event.
Jeremy Medaglia and Tanner Ward took home the lion’s share of the Open Pro cash. You can check out all the results HERE.
Arenacross School with 4-Time Canadian Champion, Colton Facciotti
Jack Wright Wins the RJ’s Whip Contest
It became apparent early that everyone seemed to like the style of #211 Jack Wright from the big table top jump at RJ’s at round 10 of the 2017 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals. He wins this fan-based vote easily and we’ll give him a call later and record it for all to hear. Thanks for playing along and casting your vote.
OK, it’s time to head home and work on some of this content form the past 5 days that is clogging up my cameras and laptop. This column was done while waiting for Emily to get through some surgery. She’s in Post Op now, so I’d better get down there! Be sure to check in throughout the day for new stuff. Have a great week, everyone.