Frid'Eh Update #14 Presented by SIXSIXONE Canada
Just like that girl who finally got a chance to meet her favourite racer, enjoyed a few too many drinks with him and then started thinking, “Wow, he really is a good guy,” only to watch him take off the next morning for his flight home without a goodbye, the Toronto Supercross has come and gone—and now we’re left waiting for the next good guy to come to town.
Depending on who you ask, this year’s Monster Energy SX in Toronto was another great production, or another bad one night stand. Personally, I thought that the Feld guys put forth a quality show and really hope that we see Toronto back on the schedule in 2010. Sure, the dirt was filled with frost and the main events were runaways, but there’s really nothing Dirt Wurx, the promoters or anyone can do about that. Once again, we live in Canada, it gets really cold here in the winter, and frost does not leave the ground overnight. Besides, I don’t know what all the whining was about—motocross isn’t supposed to easy, right? Sure, the riders didn’t hit speeds that they normally do, but does every racetrack need to be the same?
I spoke with KTM Canada’s Andy White yesterday, and he shared some interesting comments regarding the track conditions. “I thought the event was really good,” he says. “I actually thought the dirt made things more exciting from a fan’s perspective. See those Lites guys absolutely going for it over the triples? They really showed some determination and want trying to clear those obstacles every lap. People complained about the dirt, but doesn’t Daytona feature the bumps and ruts and similar conditions and everyone loves bragging about how demanding that race is.”
As for the race format, however, White would like to see the old school format return with two heats, two semis and an LCQ for each class. “I think it brings more entertainment for fans,” he adds. “There are more races, more starts—which are probably the most exciting part of a race—and it gives the best guys like Villopoto or Ferry more chances to make the final if something happens. You see a guy like, let’s say Kyle Chisholm, qualify, and he ends up being lapped four times. Wouldn’t it be better to have a Villopoto in there who will be racing up front?”
I agree with most of Andy’s points, but I don’t see Feld changing the race format anytime soon. As we all know, television coverage and viewers come first (that’s how we lure on big time sponsors and push our sport into the mainstream) and the current package makes it much easier for less educated fans to follow.
And I’m not sure what you can do about the sleeper main events. Make Stewart or Pourcel start backwards? Toronto wasn’t the only SX this year that featured less than legendary battles; I think every round except for Daytona, Indy and St. Louis were yawners. Sadly, right now, Reed and Stewart are just at another level than everyone else, and then Stewart is at even another level to Reed, when he keeps it on two wheels.
|Steve Hudson does a great job with the morning chapel services each weekend at AMA SX events.
|photo: Danny Brault|
Rather than thinking about what didn’t go so well in Toronto, let’s talk about what did….
I’ll be honest: I’m not the biggest freestyle fanatic. In fact, normally when the ramps come out, that’s when I grab a beer and some chicken fingers before the next race. However, not even chicken fingers of the best kind could keep me from watching the Jagermeister KTM jump show in Toronto. It was probably the most entertaining FMX display since Mike Jones jumped without a helmet in Montreal. (I guess that doesn’t take much skill, but it was thrilling nonetheless.) How cool was it when all four rode of them followed each other off the ramp and then backflipped? Cool, eh!
The opening ceremonies: I’ve watched probably a dozen AMA SX events, and I have yet to get tired of watching the supercross stars emerging from the shadows, stands or random spots around the stadium with the spotlight resting on their shoulders. It’s then that I wished that maybe I would have taken racing more seriously so I could be one of the cool guys. Seriously, how mucho would it feel to ride out onto the floor of the Rogers Centre in front of 40,000 fans, spotlight on you, heavy metal blaring, and your fist pumping in the air as the crowd goes wild? Really mucho, I think.
The Eastern Region Lites riders: While some miss watching our Canadian troops fighting for honour at a real SX event (me included), it was special seeing half of the best Lites riders in the world trying to clean each other out in every corner and Christophe Pourcel claiming his first SX crown. Actually, watching Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Pourcel was a pleasure in itself. As most were pulling up on the face of jumps, seat bouncing or doing whatever else they could do to clear the jumps, Pourcel would simply jump the jumps and never once looked out of control.
|The Jager KTM show gets two thumbs up! (Btw, I could do that.)|
|photo: James Lissimore|
A Canadian qualified! We’re all guilty of giving Brady Sheren a hard time for not being the rider we want him to be, but you know what, he’s probably one of Canada’s best supercross riders ever. And right now he is our best—no one else is racing SX and no one else is making main events. The Fun Center Suzuki rider stated in an interview this week that he felt more pressure in TO than any other race, but he fought through it, grabbed a good start in his heat race and made the Lites main event. He was even jumping some of the more technical sections with ease and definitely belongs among the SX elite. Good ride, Brady!
Tyler Medaglia (and his brother, Jeremy) has a hard time turning down an opportunity, like racing in front of a huge audience against the world’s best on his home turf, but that isn’t the only reason he has raced the last four TO SX events; he wants to give his family, friends and fans someone to cheer for as well. “There are not a lot of Canadians who race supercross,” he says. “It’s nice to give Canadian riders and fan someone to root for. It was a bummer for me that I didn’t make the main event.”
As for racing Toronto because it could help expose him to some of the bigger teams in the US, Medaglia says that isn’t a huge factor in his decision. “Riding in front of those guys is great, for sure, but I do it for myself—and fans—more than anything else. My real goals are to do well outdoors, in Canada and the US, this summer.”
Even though he didn’t qualify for the final, Medaglia’s indoor riding ability is certainly improving, and judging by lap times (he was 13th fastest after timed practiced), it seemed like Medaglia was a sure bet to make the main event. Unfortunately, lap times only get you so far in supercross—and bad starts don’t get you much further.
“I just had to get around that guy [for third in the LCQ] because I knew I could have got around Kevin Johnson. I race him every weekend [in arenacross] and know that he gets tired. It is what it is, stuff happens. I had a good jump but my bike signs off super fast because it’s built for arenacross. The start was nearly the length of the stadium!”
Medaglia is now turning his attention to preparing for the Canadian Nationals, and so is the Suzuki OTSFF team. Check out the team’s official PR here.
|Leader of the Blackfoot East crew, Rod Snelgrove, tries to flag down a ride to Toronto. It was good to see Rod, McKinnon, and Simmsy fly into Toronto from Newfoundland. These guys really are the salt of Canadian MX ... and the salt of a good time. "Did we make it out Sat nite?" Rod wrote to me in an email. "I'm not sure I had a room; I slept in a cab after dropping off a cougar. What was all the talk about some sort of dirt bike race? Great time! 2010 here we go!"|
Things got a little loose at The Loose Moose on both nights last weekend. I thought everyone was fairly well behaved on Friday evening, and no shirts or sleeves were ripped. However, scanning through some of BigWave’s paparazzi pics on MXForum, it appears that things did get a little greasy on Saturday night following the race. Considering the proximity of the Moose to the Rogers Centre (it’s located directly across the street) and socialability (is that even a real word?) offered by the bar makes it for one of the best spots to party for SX. Unlike other bars or afterparties, it’s easy to order a drink, chat with friends and feel like you’re part of the crowd. Sometimes, I find that other places take the whole VIP thing too seriously; it’s not a party unless everyone’s invited, right?
Everyone here at DMX worked their butts off in Toronto. A big thanks to Marty, James, Dawn, and Steve for all of your help. You guys, rock! In case you missed something, here are a few links to bring you up to speed:
Virtual Trackwalk and Virtual View
Lissimore’s Best Of Slideshow
Sheren and Hill interviews.
Oh, and of course, our buddies at the best damn MX forum in the world, MXForum, featured plenty of photos, gossip and scandals as well.
And in case you still haven’t had your fill of Steve Matthes, here’s more:
Hello, Danny! Pretty interesting race this past weekend at SkyDome or Rogers Center or whatever you want to call it. Like I wrote in my Observations column, I like the fact that the dirt is a challenge to the guys. Yes, it seemed that at times the riders were trying to ride in a big bowl of tapioca but it was better than last year. All I know in talking to the guys at Feld is that the Toronto round is here to stay for the next few years and they're going to try to make it better by storing the dirt under an overpass and sift it for rocks. That should help.
The DMX gathering at the Loose Moose was fun on Friday night and it's always great to catch up with everyone. I got to see BigWave and his damm camera, Todd Kuli pouncing on any innocent girl that he sees, Pillow was even there and promised me a set of wheels in his confused state, and it's always good to see Kevin Tyler any day of the week. I asked him if the nickname of the hot dog vendor sticks with him, and he said, sadly, it does. I'm not sure if I feel good about this or not...
One guy came up to me and said that he loves Canada and that he knew I was a proud Canadian from the things that I write. I then asked him where he was from and he said "Unadilla.” I suppose he lives at the bottom of Screw-U or something.
I spoke to Dusty Klatt this week and let's just say he's looking forward to this season and feels at home with the Blackfoot guys. I mentioned that the BF team could be on Bultacos and he would still do better because he was with those guys and he pretty much agreed. It's interesting that his MX2 teammate Aron Harvey is staying with him in Southern California, and BF's other MX2 guy (KD Beats) is in Georgia. I think those two are pretty much the top two guys (although there is always some dude that comes out of the woodwork) and they're not going to really ride with each other before the first race. There is a photo shoot scheduled for the entire team but I'm sure neither guy is going to go balls-out there. Should make the opening round exciting.
Dusty says he stays off the internet but I don't really believe him. I hope for his sake that he actually does, because this week on the forum, somebody posted a video with the title "Klatt when he was actually good" or something like that. C'mon people, that's ridiculous. He finished with #2 last year! He beat Colton Facciotti pretty bad at Nanaimo. You can say what you want about the “Pug Warrior” but to say he's not good is just silly.
|Will Dusty Klatt return to his championship winning ways now that he's back with Blackfoot? We'll see....|
Speaking of the forum, I posted something up there after reading Ryan Gauld's MXP column and probably should've taken a few hours and then seen if I still wanted to do it. I should've just emailed Ryan with my gripes instead. I still strongly disagree about what he wrote but didn't need to take it to the Pink Palace. I know Gauldy doesn't care and we're still buddies but I just thought I'd throw in this half-ass apology.
Thanks, good buddy.
Mitch Cooke has been telling me for weeks that he has some cool video from Dubai to show me. I was hoping that it was coverage of his chess game against the monkey, but instead, it features Cooke jumping sand dunes and tearing up a golf course. His buddy, Dane Henderson, did a pretty good editing the film, and I highly suggest that you set aside 4 minutes and watch it here.
And in the news of the rider that some love to hate, and others hate to love, Ryan Lockhart left Rick Sheren’s home in Surrey, BC two days ago, and is currently driving back to his home in Springhill, Nova Scotia. “The knee isn’t getting much better,” says Newf. “I’m going to see a physiotherapist back home so we’ll see how that goes.”
He’s still on crutches for at least another month, so don’t expect to see the KTM rider back on the track anytime soon. In the meantime, he’s working on various projects and ideas to help pay the bills and stay busy. “I’m going to be helping out Richard Strang put on the Sackville Arenacross again. I want to get some riding schools going and I’m working hard trying to find a way to the nationals. I’d really like to help out some riders on race day.” Hopefully we see you there, Newf.
The Southwestern Ontario region springs into action this Sunday with the Annual Red Bull CMRC Ride Day. From what I’ve read and heard, it’s setting up to be more than just a typical ride day; Red Bull is going to be on hand with their ultra-cool 1956 Volva Sugga complete with flat screens and tunes pumping from a full DJ setup, Factory Connection will be offering free suspension adjustments and they’re holding a one-hour suspension seminar, and there will be a Happy Hour laptime contest where riders will be split into groups and outfitted with transponders. “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Gopher Dunes’ Derek Schuster. “We’ve made a few changes to the track so hopefully you [Danny Brault] like them and will shut up.”
Check out gopherdunes.com or cmrcracing.com for more info on the Red Bull Ride Day.
It only took fourteen Frid’Eh Updates, but we finally have some news for you couch racers out there. The AMA ATV Motocross Nationals are underway, with two rounds in the books and Round 3 kicks off at Balance Moto-X in Bowling Green, Kentucky this weekend. Suzuki’s Dustin Wimmer leads the series over Joe Byrd and Josh Creamer (I believe he’s finished well at some Montreal SX events), and Canadian Richard Pelchat is steadily improving. The Can-Am rider, who is racing both the US and Canadian National series’, finished 18th overall at Round 1 at Glen Helen and then moved up to 12th at Round 2 in Pell City, Alabama. He now sits 15th in series points. Check out this video that features an in-depth look at the Factory Can-Am Team and an interview with Pelchat.
[EDIT: From Derek Schuster: Good Friday Update as usual! I liked that you added a little ATV racing in there. Just emailing you to remind you that Greg Gee is also racing the ATV Nationals in the US for Cernics Honda and placed in the top 10 at both of the first two rounds. I believe he got 10th at round 1 and 6th at round 2.] Thanks for the extra info, Schusty!
James Lissimore is feeling a little under the weather this week, but he still managed to send along some notes from TO, and he uploaded some sweet wallpapers for your desktop here.
Well, it was nice to finally get back to work this weekend. With the current economic situation and lack of Canadian riders racing supercross this season I didn't make my yearly pilgrimage to California so Toronto was my first SX of the season.
It was nice seeing everyone again and I really enjoyed shooting some pro racing, even if shooting supercross can be a frustrating proposition most of the time. I have to say, though, it was nice having the Lites class a full, points paying East round this season. Part of me does, however, miss the mostly Canadian makeup of previous years. It was always fun to see how the local Canadian heroes would fair against a mix of US talent. Still, it was great to see Keaster, Medaglia and Brady out there and Brady had a great ride in his heat to make the main.
Now I'm home and sick (thanks to the nice little 2-year-old girl who sat beside me and coughed on me all the way to Toronto from Calgary) but I can't wait to head to Seattle in two weeks to get another SX in and then I head straight to Georgia to do Blackfoot's posters. The busy season is here! It will be National season in no time. I can't wait!
We just received some very unfortunate news from Label It team manager, Brad Coles, regarding his rider Jason Burke:
“A quick note for you, sadly. Last night while practicing, Jason was doing a tricky rhythm section where he would jump several obstacles going in and then triple out. Unfortunately he hit neutral jumping in and had no drive to jump out. He got shot over the bike and would have been OK but the bike chased him down. He is awaiting surgery for a broken pelvis in Cambridge Hospital. I'll let you know more when I hear.”
It’s the sport we choose, I guess. Get well soon, Jay!
Supercross heads to Jacksonville for the first time ever this weekend. You can watch it on Sunday beginning at 5 PM EST on SPEED. Maybe we’ll see the #404 Kawasaki of Tyler Medaglia finally get the start he needs to qualify. Go, T-Dags!
That’s all for this week, folks. Thanks for reading!
|Just another fan of the Frid'Eh Update.