Monday Morning Coffee | Canadian Thanksgiving Edition
By Billy Rainford
A special Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Monday Morning Coffee this week. We had our turkey dinner last night and I’m still in a little bit of a food-based coma/haze. Now, I’m just about the furthest thing you can get from a baseball fan (my friends still talk about my anti-baseball tirade of 1998 in Portland), but even I found myself in front of the TV last night watching the Toronto Blue Jays complete the sweep on the Texas Rangers. If baseball could promise me an ending like that every time, I might watch more than the final game of the World Series each year. Oh, and it would have to happen before the 4-hour mark, too! Anyway, congratulations to the Blue Jays.
Of course, my TV night didn’t end there. After the game, I had to go online and find the American Presidential debate and watch it from start to finish (almost). Can you imagine how much strength it takes to not run over and start throwing punches at your opponent when things get so personal?! This isn’t even about policies anymore! This is the most embarrassing election between two people Americans are trying to sort out who’s actually worse than the other. I don’t have a horse in this race, but I can’t even imagine walking into the voting booth in November and walking out happy with who I chose! Can you?
Donald Trump summed it up best (and the most immaturely) when he said, “It couldn’t get any worse!” in regards to what would happen if people voted for him and why they should. Seriously, that’s what this election appears to have come to. Good luck with this election, America. Unfortunately, it DOES affect the rest of the world and we’re all sitting back trying to figure out who would be a worse choice too!
Canada AX Tour | Sarnia Round 1
Round 1 of the Canadian National Arenacross Tour (Powered by Rockstar and Presented by Royal Distributing) took place this past Saturday night in Sarnia, Ontario. There was a lot of anticipation and speculation heading into the second season of competition for the cross-Canada tour. In fact, we didn’t even know that 2-time Canadian MX champion, Matt Goerke, wasn’t racing until we arrived at the track to see Chris Blose on the familiar #101 Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha. We normally joke about how poorly secrets like this are kept in our sport, but this one was very tight-lipped! Nobody wanted to say Matt was ‘injured,’ just that he was ‘a little bruised and banged up.’ Matt’s main focus is going after the Amsoil Arenacross Championships title down south this year. We thought Chris was an added rider to the team, not the replacement.
We’ll have a bunch of photos up from the racing later here on the site, and our favourite ‘Faces at the Races‘ too, but here is Jeff McConkey’s ‘McThoughts‘ article. The racing format is like this: 10-lap AX Pro main, 10-lap AX Lites main, 20-lap Clash for Cash main event for the bulk of the cash. Also, Parts Canada will be offering up their $25,000 Triple Crown to the rider who wins the last 3 rounds in Moose Jaw, Penticton, and Calgary. Jacob Hayes managed to take that money last year.
Jacob and his main rival from the 2015 series, Cole Thompson, were noticeably absent from competition at round 1. It has been rumoured that Jacob was looking for a ride for the series and that he then crashed and hurt himself while training for the AMA AX series. Cole is out with strep throat and is also a little banged up. Cole has 2 more rounds of Costa Rican MX Nationals to go, so he’s resting up to head back to Central America in the near future.
We’re looking to replace their high level of rivalry with new riders this year. So far, it will be between Colton Facciotti, Chris Blose, and Steven Mages as we head into round 2 this Saturday in Barrie, Ontario. It is unsure which of these guys will actually race the most rounds, so who knows who will take this title?! Sowing up to all of them may determine our winner this year.
McThoughts | Canada AX Tour Round 1 | Sarnia, Ontario
By Jeff McConkey
Photos by Billy Rainford
Round 1 of the 2016 Canadian National AX Tour went off this past Saturday night in Sarnia, Ontario. The race was actually held outside at a pretty cool venue. Despite the very cool temperatures, there was a really decent Pro turnout. This was my first AX Tour event, and I was pleased to see how smooth Justin Thompson‘s crew was. Everybody had a job, and they did it very well. There was no confusion and the night ran very smooth.
The track was a little fast in spots for me, but it made for great racing. It’s nice to see these guys step up and give the Canadians a great series to race, now we just need the ‘Instagram racer’ amateurs to show up and support it. I’m really hoping we see more numbers throughout the day and in the ‘all star’ classes throughout the night. Let’s take a look at the results and see my thoughts.
Clash for Cash (20 Laps)
1st Colton Facciotti: Colton was a last-minute addition to the line up for Round 1, as his wife gave birth only 4 days prior to a healthy baby girl, Kamryn. It was nice to see the champ show up with a 250 and 450, as we haven’t gotten to see him on the small bike in ages. He looked very good on the fast track and his starts were just about perfect. He ran up front all night collecting a pair of 2nds in the AX Pro main and the AX Lites main. Colton has some serious indoor skills and people seem to forget he raced AX a fair bit earlier on in his career. Let’s hope bossman, Digs (Derek Schuster), can get Colton to the remaining rounds.
2nd Steven Mages: Steven was a pleasant surprise in Sarnia. We had no idea that he was coming and he had us scrambling to find out who the #12 Kawasaki was. His speed was there right from the first practice. He finished 3rd in both mains, but saved his best ride for the Clash for Cash. I think he may have had something for Facciotti had he not been held up by Karl Normand for so long. He was able to reel Chris Blose in super fast and make a beautiful pass on the last lap for 2nd. It’s too bad he has prior commitments (Racing in the Netherlands) as he could win this title.
3rd Chris Blose: Last-minute replacement for Matt Goerke under the Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha tent, Chris, looked great from the get go. This guy has a ton of indoor experience and will finish on the box every time out. Chris won both main events and was running a strong 2nd in the Clash, when he was reeled in by Mages and finished 3rd. His Rockstar Yamaha sounded amazing and Chris will be looking for redemption in Barrie.
4th Karl Normand: ‘Crazy Karl’ made the long trip from Quebec. Karl is an indoor specialist and for a pretty big guy, he goes really good indoors. He’s not afraid to swap some paint, and rides a really wide bike. I wasn’t able to speak with him, but I’m hoping we will see him at Round 2 in Barrie [He told Billy that he would be there].
5th Logan Karnow: Logan is an indoor guy and this is his type of racing. He and his PR-MX Team are doing the first few rounds to shake out the bugs before they contest the East Coast SX series. Logan looked good all night and wasn’t afraid to slam anyone in his way. He’s got the skills to fight for podiums in Barrie.
6th Brock Leitner: Brock has been putting in some serious work leading into the AX Tour and West Coast SX. He was disappointed with his 9th and 11th in the AX Lites and AX Pro mains, but he will be heading back to the Thompson’s to work on his faults in preparation for Barrie. He will be much better at Round 2.
7th Marco Cannella: The youngest member of the “Fab 3,” Marco had a very solid night. It was released earlier in the day that Marco will be rocking a Rockstar helmet and be a Rockstar Energy athlete for 2017. Armed with a good plan and a ton of confidence, Marco rode smart and smooth all night.
8th Austin Watling: Another member of the “Fab 3,” Austin had a decent Round 1. This guy is so smooth, it’s almost like he’s too smooth for AX. He rode great to a 5th in the AX Lites main and finished the night with a solid ride in the Clash. This kid has a bright future ahead of him.
9th Westen Wrozyna: Westen was sending it early on in practice and he looked really fast. Unfortunately, the whoop section bit him and he crashed really really hard. It looked like his night ended before it started, but Westen is a tough kid and he suited up for the night show. His starts were pretty good all night and he battled hard and finished 5th in AX Pro main, and 4th in the Lites Pro main. He was a little gun shy in the whoops during the night, but he still rode pretty good considering his crash earlier.
10th Kyle Swanson: Kyle had 6 AX laps of seat time on a 250f Kawi before Saturday in Sarnia, believe it or not, but he looked like he had been on the bike forever. Kyle looks very fast and very comfortable and was fun to watch. Like his teammate Karnow, Kyle probably ran into every rider on the track at one point or another and still had a smile on his face. I’m really looking forward to following these two and their PR-MX Team for the East Coast SX season.
11th Austin Haught: I don’t really know anything about Austin. He had a solid 8th in the AX Pro, after qualifying 8th. I don’t even know if he’s Canadian or American. Sorry Austin, I’ll try to find you in Barrie.
12th Bennet Amyotte: Bennet had his fill of caesars and cheeseburgers Friday night to get himself ready for Saturday’s activities. Nice to see a local Pro have the balls to show up and have some fun. This guy hasn’t even set the sag on his bike yet.
I’ll see you at the Next Round Saturday, October 15, at the Molson Centre in Barrie, Ontario.
These next two photo sequences remind me of the old days when ‘Crash and Burn‘ at the end of a moto magazine always had fans flipping straight to the back pages every month. Check out these two of #424 Austin Watling and #34 Westen Wrozyna, from earlier in the day (both were fine and raced the rest of the night):
#424 Austin Watling
#34 Westen Wrozyna
I looked over at Westen when he came to a halt and sat there and asked, “Are you OK?” When he shook his head ‘No,’ we waved the medics over. His parents came over too and by then he was felling better and even wanted to see this sequence on my camera, so I ‘Wiebed‘ him and scrolled through the photos.
Canadian AX Tour | Round 1 | RESULTS
Hiawatha Horse Park
Saturday, October 8, 2016
AX Pro (10 Laps)
1. 101 Chris Blose YAM
2. 2 Colton Facciotti HON
3. 12 Steven Mages KAW
4. 701 Karl Normand KTM
5. 34 Westen Wrozyna KAW
6. 313 Kyle Swanson KAW
7. 471 Logan Karnow HON
8. 864 Austin Haught YAM
9. 614 Bennet Amyotte YAM
10. 955 Michael Smith KAW
11. 5 Brock Leitner KAW
12. 17 Seth Green YAM
13. 33 Timothy Patterson YAM
AX Lites (10 Laps)
1. 101 Chris Blose YAM
2. 2 Colton Facciotti HON
3. 12 Steven Mages KAW
4. 34 Westen Wrozyna KAW
5. 424 Austin Watling HON
6. 471 Logan Karnow HON
7. 46 Marco Cannella YAM
8. 313 Kyle Swanson KAW
9. 5 Brock Leitner KAW
10. 17 Seth Green YAM
11. 184 Tanner Ward KTM
12. 955 Michael Smith KAW
13. 77 Justin Roney HON
14. 559 Jake Jones YAM
15. 33 Timothy Patterson YAM
Clash for Cash (20 Laps)
1. 2 Colton Facciotti HON
2. 12 Steven Mages KAW
3. 101 Chris Blose YAM
4. 707 Karl Normand KTM
5. 471 Logan Karnow HON
6. 5 Brock Leitner KAW
7. 46 Marco Cannella YAM
8. 424 Austin Watling HON
9. 34 Westen Wrozyna KAW
10. 313 Kyle Swanson KAW
11. 864 Austin Haught YAM
12. 614 Bennet Amyotte YAM
If you missed our after-race interviews, here’s a link that will take you to the PODCASTS.
2017 KTM Off Road Ride Day
We get the opportunity to try the 2017 KTM Off Road line up this Wednesday at the MMRS track, Cochrane’s, in Cramahe, Ontario (at the Big Apple exit).
We get to ride:
· 250 XC
· 250 XC-W
· 250 XC-F
· Freeride 250
Last time I did any real off road riding was during a 3-hour race where my idle screw fell out at the farthest point on the course. It’s not one of my fondest moto memories, so I’ll try to improve on my performance this week. Pushing a big, old bike 5K on a cold and wet November day is not how I want to remember ‘off road riding.’
We’ll be tweeting and showing you the new bikes all day Wednesday, so be sure to check in from time to time if you’re interested.
Jeff is over at Motopark riding the 2017 Husqvarna FC450 today. I hope everyone gets a chance to get out and do something with these final few days of decent weather. I’ve got to make the drive back to London now from the beautiful lakeside in Burlington. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Try not to cry at the end of ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles‘ if they play it tonight on CBC. But if your eyes are dry at the end of that one, you really have no heart!