Frid'Eh Update #16 Presented by SIXSIXONE Canada
Ah, thank God it’s Friday! It signals that the weekend is here, and our weekends are “aboot” to get a whole lot better with the race season kicking off all over Canada. Most members of our little moto tribe here in Southwestern Ontario are heading to former national track, RJ Motorsports Park, in Barrie this Sunday for the opening round of the Spring Series. I had heard that snow could be putting a damper on things, but I just checked the Weather Network and it says nothing but sun!
I haven’t been up to RJ’s in three years, but that place holds a lot of memories for me. Growing up, our family didn’t take racing too seriously and we mainly followed the Lakeshore Dirt Riders Club rather the more competitive CMRC series. However, with RJ’s only two hours away from our home in Peterbrough, we started making regular trips to the “big show” when the mood was right. I really struggled at first to get comfortable racing against a full gate of riders. I was used to taking off the line with, like, five riders, and most of them were wearing hockey helmets and work boots. My nerves would always get the best of me. My younger brother, Corey, though, didn’t struggle at all. I remember him pulling holeshots on his YZ80 against the likes of Pierce Chamberlain, Kyle Snelgrove and Kyle Keast. While those guys would eventually make their way by, Corey definitely didn’t look out of his place and I think he enjoyed being the unknown guy in the mix.
RJ’s was also the first place that we watched our first Canadian National. Coupled with the laid back atmosphere of Canadian racing, and my uncle’s ability to always get us where we shouldn’t be, we found our way behind the starting line, mingled with riders and mechanics, walked around forbidden areas of the track where we would then rip our shirts off and wave on the riders like lunatics and get “Thorney” to throw big whips off the step-up. (I remember Stally would drive up on his ATV and tell us to get out of there, and then we’d agree and start walking towards the pits only to sneak to a new spot once he drove off. Good times.) One of the coolest moments came during practice when Marco Dube was doing heel clickers over this big tabletop in the back as we cheered him on, showing off the big #1 on his Suzuki. I miss that side of Marco. I also miss that sweet smell of race fuel and perfectly tuned two-strokes. There are some other things that I don’t miss about RJ’s, but we’ll save that for another day.
Sadly, I won’t be reliving any of those memories this weekend at RJ’s. I don’t want to bore you with my list of excuses why I’m not racing. Go ahead, call me a sap, I can take it.
So what the heck is going on in Canadian motocross this week? Not a lot, but a little.
I caught up with Iain Hayden this week for an interview (which you can read here) and was happy to hear that the Northern Ontarian is getting married this summer. “Yep, she’s already counting down the days; it’s on May 16th,” Hayden said. “It will be good though—she’s 100 percent. She knew the program going into it; she knows I’m the road and that it’s [racing] my job and she never hassles me about it.” Sounds like a catch, Iain.
Hayden just wrapped up his snocross season in which he contested the WSPA series for the Factory Yamaha USA Team. It was a bit of a different year for Hayden as the team was more focused on developing the new four-stroke FX Nytro rather than winning championships. Actually, come to think of it, most of his 2008 season with Blair Morgan Racing was also dedicated to setting up the new Rev. Despite that, and a nagging shoulder injury, Hayden’s results improved steadily as the series wore on, and by the final two rounds, he was leading races and even finished on the podium at the second last round in Hayward, WI.
I expected to hear that Iain would now start preparing for some motocross races this summer, but with a shoulder surgery booked shortly after his wedding, he probably won’t be riding any form of motorsport until September. He plans to still attend some nationals and support his fellow Royal Distributing KTM supported riders.
Here’s a little tidbit from our newest contributing photographer, Sean Bowker:
Kory Snelgrove was busy pounding out some cold motos at Gopher Dunes on Monday, getting himself ready for the upcoming MX2 national season. Hoping to improve on his top finish of a 13th at River Glade last year, he plans on going coast to coast for the nationals sporting the #57 on his Legends Motorsports Honda.
|Kory Snelgrove plans to race all 9 rounds of this year's MX2 national series.|
|photo: Sean Bowker|
Thank you, Sean—nice photo!
Jason Burke must have thrown a black cat into a mirror and then stepped onto a crack in a sidewalk before spilling the salt because the Label It rider is not having any luck as of late. First, he, his mechanic, Mike Beaudin, and team manager, Brad Coles, lost bikes after Burke’s garage burned down two months ago, and now the rider is stuck in bed after crushing his pelvis in a scary crash two weeks ago.
Burke took me through the whole incident in great detail, and it made me want to get sick so I’m not going to repeat it here for you readers. “It was definitely the worst experience of my life,” said Burke. “It took them four hours before they were able to give me something to kill the pain and it gave me a lot of time to think about things. At first, I was thinking, it’s not worth it; it’s not worth the pain. But now, being at home and with the pain going away, you forget about that stuff pretty quickly. I won’t be riding anytime soon, but I will be racing again.” Get well soon, buddy.
Things just keep getting better here at DMX. I finally talked John Nelson of Machine Racing into buying some ads (and he sponsored our bi-weekly feature, My Take. Read the latest one with the Hot Dog Vendor here.) and now we have Schraders Motors/Yamaha Canada sponsoring a regular women’s column by Angie Parker. We want everyone to feel the “love” and enjoy the party and that goes for women’s racing too. No one knows Canadian women’s motocross better than Parker, and you can stay in-the-know with her weekly column, “Out of the Blue.” Check out the first one here. It’s a quick rundown of the contenders entering this year’s Women’s National Series. Stay tuned for more!
The World Mini GP is now well underway in Las Vegas, NV. How are our Canadian riders doing? Find out here and here.
Do you live in Eastern Ontario or really, really enjoy the Sand Del Lee track? Well then, head on down to one of Canada’s finest national facilities for practice this weekend. MX101’s Steve Dool says that the track is fully prepped, raised up to better repel water, new jumps have been added and it’s being run in reverse for the 2009 season—so now is the time to get the jump on the competition for the Provincial on May 23-24 and the Eastern Amateur National on July 1-5. Go to mx101.ca for more info.
Chuck Mesley’s Senior ‘AA’ team was unfortunately eliminated from their playoff run and now John Nelson is stuck building bikes for the national #25 rider. “Nelson told me that before I can pick up my bike, I have to be able to start it without losing my breath [laughs],” Mesley says. He’ll be back on Honda’s this summer, and Machine Racing even got him hooked up with a 250F for Provincials.
Gord Koll, the president of the Alberta Old Timers MX Club offered this update on things in the Wild West:
Not a lot going on here. Our MX season has been delayed a bit because of poor spring weather. Our annual Ice Breaker race in Kamloops was a big success! Our club travels to Whispering Pines every spring for an early practice and race. It’s becoming bigger and bigger every year. The Kamloops club enjoys having us out as it’s a good build up to their first official race, “The Big Kahuna” on Sunday. The GKMA are a great group of enthusiasts who love the sport.
We are getting underway with our first AOTMX race of the season, May 5-6 at Devil’s Lake MX. We have added one new track to our series in Cold Lake, AB, aong with three races at our national track at Ardrossan, known as Antler Lake. It would be cool to have a Pro National at Antler Lake again but the elevation changes would make it impossible for the big rigs to gain access.
I’ve spoke to Rob Reeves from Castrol about the Pro National, and they have requested our help again to provide support for the Edmonton national. We had a blast last year with the event. Now that we know what needs to be done it will be even better than last year’s race.
Thanks, Gord. And yes, you guys did do an amazing job with the inaugural national at Castrol Raceway and I’m sure everyone wants to see you Old Timers overseeing things once again.
Now, for some very unfortunate news from the west…. In talking with Top End Promotions’ Heather Nelson earlier this week, she informed me that our moto community lost a great moto-dad, Gene Marsh.
Gene Marsh, husband of Ingrid and father of Chase (12 years old, #20, 85cc class) and Scott (15 years old, # 177, Junior class) passed away on Thursday, April 9 in a car accident. Gene was a very familiar face at all the Southern Alberta Motocross series races, the Alberta Provincials and the Amateur National. He made a great many friends in the motorcycling community, especially the Lethbridge Motorcycle Club. We will all miss him.
On behalf of everyone here at DMX, and I’m sure all of our readers as well, our thoughts and prayers go out with the Marsh family during this difficult time. Godspeed, Gene.
No matter how busy he is Steve Matthes always has time for DMX and Canadian motocross. The floor is yours, buddy!
Thanks, Danny. Last week I pondered the question, Is Dean Wilson Canadian? My point was that he had lived down in California for a long time and wasn’t born in Canada, so could we claim him if he starts doing well? I asked for your thoughts and I got exactly one reply on it, which means you guys don’t care or you think I’m stupid. Either way, here’s the email from a guy (or girl) called “V.”
Why do you hate Dean Wilson? Is it because he comes from the greatest MX talent-producing province of Alberta and not the backmarker producing province of Manitoba? Or is it because he is already faster than ‘your' guy, KD Beets, and should be the pick for Canada's Motocross of Nations MX2 rider for the next 10 years? I think Dean is a lot more Canadian than you are! So there.
So as you can see, “V” feels quite strongly that Dean is indeed Canadian and it got me thinking about what others may think. I asked USA Amateur guru and head of VURB Moto, Wes Williams, and he does consider him Canadian and the two riders he was with at the moment, Christian Craig and Jason Anderson, also thought of him as Canadian. Kyle Beaton asked me what his passport said, but that he lives in America so much that he’s American!
Derek Sorenson, team manager of Cernic’s Kawasaki wasn’t sure and wanted to know how long Dean lived in Canada for. Kuli said he was fast and that he was a “moto gypsy” (but then followed that up with an x-rated comment about a hummingbird so I’m not sure how much we need to value his opinion). Blair Morgan thought he was Scottish but said if no one claims him, we will! Leave it to Ron Lechien (his oil sponsor) to break it down for us. Dogger said he was Canadian because he was born in Canada but when I mentioned he was born in Scotland, Dogger replied “Well, he’s Scottish then! Like Wardy!” Blackfoot’s team manager Dean Thompson said he absolutely is Canadian, as he got his start up there.
|Dean Wilson is in Las Vegas kicking butt in the A classes. Hopefully he can give Steve Matthes a kick in the butt as well while he's down there.|
|photo: James Lissimore|
The point isn’t to disparage the Wilson family or anything like that (although some might say it’s too late for that) I just need a Canadian to cheer for down here like Kim Mitchell needs another hit and I am wondering if I can throw my support behind Dean-O as one of us? Does anyone know what his passport says? Anyone?
I suppose I could drive 20 minutes to the Las Vegas Speedway for the World Mini GP’s that are taking place this week and ask him but I’m probably too lazy to do that. I go to enough races and don’t need the windburn.
I forgot to mention that in Jacksonville I spoke to snow-god Tucker Hibbert and he mentioned that he’s going to be hitting up some Canadian rounds this summer on his 250F. He mentioned Regina as being one [Ed note: Steve, we’re not going to Regina this year. Maybe remind Tucker of that before he packs his motor home.] as well as the Manitoba round. We then got into it on whether he had KD Beets “covered” at the races that he went to and I got mad and walked away. Hibbert’s a good dude, for sure, but he didn’t have Beets covered in any way shape or form. Beets just chose to hit that boulder in Regina to give Hibbert a break.
The AMA Supercross series picks back up after a one-week break in the beautiful city of Seattle and I'm pumped to be going. I absolutely love the Pacific Northwest and my days spent in Victoria are looked back on fondly, no doubt about it. What's going to happen? Well you just never know with the unpredictable weather up there but take a look here
seems like it's going to be ok.
You Canadians living on the West Coast better be making the trip down; it's not that far and you can make it there and back in one day. No excuses people, this season is one of the best in recent memory.
Things are really heating up between Reed and Stewart and as usual, there is a heightened sense of pretty much everything. How else to explain the Jacksonville stand off that occured between the two. In my eyes, there was nothing there but close racing but we always see these things happen when it gets down to the end.
Hey, whatever happened to Chris Shipclark? If anyone knows, email me and I'll give the people an update next week.
Don't forget to check out Pulpmx.com for more stuff to read.
Do you have an event or something happening that you think should be on here for the world to see? Send me a note firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow, everyone is helping out this week. Check out this update that comes from former RXC member, Jason Moore, who is way down in Australia trying to find himself (and some cute Aussie babes, I’m sure).
Hey, Giver, Here is a link to Nick May's Picso Album from his recent trip to Dominican Repulic, put together by Wheelsport and the super popular rum of DR! I can’t recall the name, but it’s in the album … it’s actually the only dark rum that I have ever been able to stomach! Good stuff. The finish line one is sick!
|Sand Del Lee local Nick May got the rockstar treatment in Dominican Republic.|
Oh, yeah, back in the day, Tyler Medaglia raced that event on a CR80 because of Wheelsport, too, and he was quoted in a newspaper saying that he was going to buy a PS2 with the prize money. Cute, eh?
Also, a dude who has been riding for Wheelsport for ages got busted up recently, Chris Gruver. There is a link to a fundraiser helping him out on MX101.ca, set up by Steve Dool. Chris just got engaged a couple days ago, and he could really use some prayers right now to help him and his family get through all of this.
Oh, and before I wrap things up here, as I stated way up above, racing is kicking off all over Canada this weekend. Temple Hill Raceway in Raymond, Alberta has been open for riding the past two weeks, and is hosting the opening round of the SOAB series this Sunday. Then, on the East Coast, Richard Strang, Ryan Lockhart and their band of brothers are promoting the Second Annual Josh Damery Arenacross in Sackville, New Brunswick. You can find info by reading through threads on atlanticmx.com or by calling the “Newf” directly on his cell phone, 902-664-950. (Ryan welcomes calls any female fans also.)
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this week’s Frid’Eh Update, and thanks to you loyal readers for reading. Let’s keep things moving forward and bring Canadian MX to that next level!
Enjoy your weekend!