By Billy Rainford
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the usually-ultra-hyped-and-busy Monday Coffee following the MXON. This year, however, I feel a lot more relaxed, but much less pride.
Obviously, that’s because we didn’t field a Canadian team for this year’s Motocross of Nations in Assen, Holland.
We all know why that is, so I’m not going to go into that whole thing. Let’s all just hope the actions that were taken this year have a positive result in future years, as far a getting a strong team to this event, whatever that looks like…
Of course, a huge part of me is happy I didn’t have to slop around in that weather with cameras slung over my shoulders, trying to both keep them from being destroyed while still trying to capture the moments from Team Canada and the event itself. Last year at Red Bud was bad enough, and this year it was even worse, as far as the weather went.
The part I do miss is getting there early and all the pre-race build up. It’s so much fun to go to the practice tracks with the team. You show up at the pre-arranged tracks somewhere in the foreign land and look around to see who else has been directed to this same track. It’s usually just about everyone!
You get your first chance to really see all the top riders from around the world testing their race fuel and suspension settings, and everything else that needs to be shaken down.
It’s not often you can show up at a practice track and see the best of the best from…well, everywhere riding and hanging out. It’s a once-a-year thing and it’s what I really miss.
Watching the different personalities of Team Canada and how they interact with the entourage that always accompanies these teams is also something I like to pay attention to.
Every rider is different, so I’m fascinated by how they all do their individual race prep and I like to see if they like to socialize with other team members as the race nears.
We’re Canadian, so we’re usually all pretty social and low key, but you can tell which riders are there to perform for their flag and team. Riders that are normally out to beat each other are now teammates egging each other on to their best finishes. It really flips things around.
This year in Holland, it was a pretty bad scene. I don’t know what it is, but the Weather Gods have not been smiling on the event the last two years.
This is outdoor MX so you have to take what you get and run with it, but it just isn’t a fair test to find out where all the countries stack up against each other.
The cream will usually rise to the top, but there are just so many things that can and will go wrong that it’s sad to watch all the time, effort and money go into getting there only to have something go south due to the rain and mud.
The American team now has an injured rider as we head straight into Supercross prep.
Justin Cooper looked great heading into this year’s event. There was some rumbling south of the border about his place on the team, then he went out and won his qualifying race to shut the naysayers up.
Unfortunately, he got squirrelly off the start of the MXGP/MX2 start, lost control and took his teammate, Jason Anderson, down with him! Talk about some bad luck.
He’d damaged his hand and put the team behind the eight ball for the rest of the day.
These problems are the kinds of things that can happen at this race, and it really makes you sit back and appreciate the efforts of the teams that put it all together and take the wins.
The Assen track is brought into the Assen TT circuit for this event. It’s a sandy track and we all knew that would favour the home Dutch team, and it did.
I’ll say this: if Glenn Coldenhoff wins both his races at next year’s event in France, he’ll go down in MXON folklore.
This guy is a stud! He did it for the team last year, going 1-1, and then did it again in front of his home crowd this year. That’s clutch, folks.
Jeffrey Herlings came in as the favourite to dominate, but had some troubles getting starts and staying up on two wheels. He still finished with 2-4 scores and did what he had to do.
Last year, it was the bike problems of Calvin Vlaanderen that held the team back, but he redeemed himself in 2019, going 10-10 and helping the team win their first-ever Chamberlain Trophy.
If Team Canada wasn’t going to be there, that’s about as cool a story as you could write for the event.
I didn’t pay to watch the event on MXGPTV and, to be honest, I’m pretty glad I chose not to. I can’t disagree with all the comments about the rain on the camera lenses. It seems weird that they weren’t properly prepared to combat the rain and give viewers a clear view. Yikes.
I was supposed to be at the Motopark Vet National on Saturday, but that didn’t happen either. Mother Nature seemed to be targeting moto events all around the globe this past weekend.
She hit the MXON and also turned her attention to every event happening in Canada, too.
Jeff McConkey was all set to race his KX450 at the event and I was all set to go watch him do it and shoot photos and video.
We all know Jeff hates to get dirty, but he says he’s actually a pretty good mud rider. It doesn’t add up to me, but we’ll take him at his word.
With the ugly forecasted weather, Jeff decided to pull the plug Friday night and not make the trip to Chatsworth. I was ready to call him all sorts of names, until I did the same thing in the morning of the race.
I spoke with the guys up at the track and they told me to hold off until they spoke with Zeb Dennis who was out on the track with the dozer.
The weather had scared away other vet racers and I was told there were only around 70 entries and that it probably wasn’t worth my driving all the way up there for it. So, I unpacked the van and looked for something else to do.
Meanwhile, out in BC and Alberta…
KTM had their Adventure Rally out at Red Mountain in BC and they got snowed on hard! They had to cancel their second day.
Jared Stock was on his Fox Racing DMX KTM 2-stroke for the Red Bull Outliers event in downtown Calgary.
He woke up to snow for Day 1 on Saturday. Can you imagine doing an enduro obstacle course on snowy wet wood?! No, neither can I.
They still held the races and it looks like the city got behind the event. Unfortunately, as they all headed out into the Alberta Badlands for Day 2 on Sunday, riders arrived at the course and were told there was just too much snow to safely run the event. It, too, was canceled.
We’ll still have to get the full story from Jared on this one, so watch for that in some form or another.
I decided to drive over to the Vision Built SX practice track just outside my hometown of London, ON.
We’re heading into the final 2 rounds of the Rockstar Triple Crown SX Series in Quebec City and Hamilton, so riders are looking for good options for practice.
Of course, the weather wasn’t looking great in this area either!
I was planning on putting a video together from the day, but after the weather scared riders away, I didn’t end up doing a whole lot when I got there. Here’s what the drive from my place to the track looks like, at least! (Yes, this was supposed to be a fast motion intro to the rest of the video that didn’t happen):
#74 Ryan Derry, #60 Quinn Amyotte, and Intermediate rider #154 Travis Ford were there putting in laps on the near-perfect track Saturday.
Unfortunately, rain showed up and put an early end to the day, of course.
Hey, guess what? It’s Monday so that means the clouds are all gone and the sun is shining brightly. Why does this happen so often?! Look out your work or school window right now. Brutal.
Anyway, we’re heading into the Quebec City SX, so get your tickets to that and get yourself to QC! Make a trip of this event. Quebec is easily the coolest city with the most history to look at in all of Canada, so take advantage of a trip there.
I’ll be down in California checking out the new KTM SX-E5 launch that coincides with the all 2-stroke Red Bull Straight Rhythm in Pomona.
Emily and I are going to head out a couple days early and hang out at our favourite hangout, The Elliston Hotel at Venice Beach.
Have a great week and be sure to tune in for lots of video clips with my camera pointed directly at the tail pipes of some of these 2-strokes, Travis Pastrana‘s 500cc Suzuki, in particular!