Frid'Eh Update #19 Presented by Cycle North
Hello and welcome to week #19 of the DMX Frid'Eh Update brought to you this week by the great team at Cycle North. These guys are really some great people and put more into the sport of motocross than most. They have always been huge supporters of the amateur side of things but have recently stepped into the professional ranks with both feet. They announced yesterday that they have added Washington State rider, Ross Johnson, to the team beside fan favourite, Brad Nauditt. Nauditt will compete in the MX2 class while Johnson will be the MX1 entry. Both will be on board Cycle North Hondas.
Cycle North is located in Prince George, BC. They have an amazing thing going up there in the dead centre of the province. There is a Honda Powerhouse building that houses everything red you would ever need. They also sell their used sleds out of that building. Beside this is the Cycle North building that houses all the Kawasaki, Victory, and Polaris goodies. Seriously, you really don't need to go anywhere else up there. They have everything you would ever need for any season.
I was able to spend some time up there while out in BC covering the arenacross series. We did a feature on them that you can read here.
Week 19 means this one goes out to BC rider, Spencer Knowles. ‘Spenny,’ as he’s affectionately known, will again ride for the GA Checkpoint Yamaha team out of Port Moody, BC. If you’ve never been to Po-Mo, it’s a cool little suburb of Vancouver (although they may not want to refer to it as that) at the far eastern end of the Burrard Inlet. You should stop in next time you’re out that way.
Spencer is currently training down at their home in Menifee, CA. If you’ve never been there either, you should really check it out too. It’s basically in the dead centre of the action around the Temecula, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta area. DMX got in touch with the 2013 KTM Canadian Arenacross champion to see what he’s been up to and what he has in store for this year’s MX2 championship series. As you know, he will be teaming up with Williams Lake rider, Brock Hoyer, from the Spectra Powersports Fox Suspension by RMR Yamaha team. They should make a great tandem and work well together. Here’s what Spencer had to tell us:
“After the arenacross series I packed up all my stuff, picked up my Yamahas from GA Checkpoint, and headed on down to California here. I’ve just been riding around and training with Sean Hamblin lately. He’s been helping me out quite a bit. I think that’s going to have a big effect on me this year. I’m looking forward to the first round.
My mom owns a house in Menifee so that’s where I am. It’s near Temecula out by Hemet. I’ve mostly just been practicing but I raced the other week against all 450s on my 250 at Glen Helen, so it wasn’t much of a race. I was up against Dean (Wilson), Travis Preston, and a couple other fast guy that I can’t remember their names. They were all on 450s and they just crushed me! I came out of the gate probably about a bike-length ahead of them but by the first corner I was pretty well last (laughs).
My main plan this year it to try to stay on two wheels and be that consistent guy because that’s been kind of lacking in the past. I’ve been working on that down here with Sean. I want to be on that podium – I want to try to get a couple wins and I just want to be on that box! I don’t want to anything less than top 5, so that’s what I’m shooting for right now. I definitely think it’s doable. I’ve been working pretty hard. I’m looking forward to Nanaimo, that’s my track. I’ll hopefully get things started right, there.
I think the MX2 class is what it is (He’s always good for a couple of those, much to my frustration. My issue, not his.). Everyone has to ride the same track and I guess we’ll see who’s been working the hardest when the gate drops at Nanaimo.
Kyle Beaton was down here for the first couple weeks I was here. He was down here training some kids for back at home and he went home to work for his dad.
Mike Smith will be my mechanic again. He’s got my race bike almost built so things are looking good. For the next couple weeks I’m just going to stay down here. It’s kind of crunch time so we’ve been working pretty hard lately. I’m just trying to get the last few things lined up to be ready to go for Nanaimo. I’ll probably come home the week beforehand and I guess we’ll see everyone at Nanaimo.
Sean’s been getting me doing a bit of everything. We’ve been hitting the gym, cycling lots, and lots of work out at the track. I really haven’t seen many other Canadians since I’ve been down here. I’ve seen the PerformX guys a couple times and Dylan Kaelin is staying with me right now but I haven’t been riding with him either.”
I want to point out that Spencer actually called me back at 7:00 am his time! That’s pretty impressive and points to the fact that he is taking this pre-season training time seriously. I also want to point out the weather down there – it’s sunny and is going to hit 34 degrees C today. Look for him to be yet another threat in the MX2 class.
Wow, I had no idea how appropriate this photo would turn out to be - Sean Hamblin (trainer), Spencer Knowles, and Brock Hoyer (teammate).
Thanks, Billy, and it’s been another great week here in Canadian moto. I love it when we see the buzz and hype around the sport. This week we started seeing the PRs with riders being officially signed. It still seemed like it was a bit late for most teams, with us being a month out from round one, but all news is good news and teams are starting to take form and get ready for the title hunts.
I have been talking with lots of industry folks and for a while we were all giving away the MX2 title to Red Bull Royal Distributing Fox KTM’s Kaven Benoit before the season even starts! Sure, his speed last year proved he was the favourite and with Jeremy Medaglia and Teddy Maier moving up to MX1 it only seemed natural to assume it, but what about the signing of Austin Pollitelli to Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki? We haven’t seen any official release, but it is a done deal and Austin is coming in prepared. He knows the tracks, he knows the team and he’s won motos here in 2011. You can’t forget about GA Checkpoint Yamaha rider, Spencer Knowles, either. Spencer has all the ingredients to make this happen for him and with fellow man-friend, Kyle Beaton, in his corner it may be some extra motivation. What about GDR riders Blake Savage and Nathan Bles? Both riders are riding better than ever. However, I still think the dark horses will be the Allison Brothers on their Yamalube Blackfoot Direct Troy Lee Designs YZ250Fs.
Topher Ingalls to RTR Performance?
I think this just may work for everyone. I know RTR has been a proven name in racing the past few years and with the new management at RTR you can be sure that Denis and crew are motivated to make something happen. Yes, we are used to seeing RTR athletes on KTM, but Topher will be riding his familiar Hondas and has proven he’s a podium contender. Will he win the title? He has a shot if his fitness is there. I can see this relationship working well for both parties.
Jeremy Medaglia to race Hangtown.
What else is there to say? The man has stones for lining up with the best and proving he is one of the elite making the show. It sounds like Jeremy is more prepared than ever and is quite relaxed for running his own deal with Yamaha and MX101. This is good press for him regardless of how he does and any racing at that level will benefit him come Nanaimo. I look forward to seeing the #141 out there and I am going to say he does a top 20 finish.
Ok, that’s it for me. But first I just want to say congratulations to PJ and Chelsie Stratton on the birth of thier new baby! Congrats guys! Everyone have a great race weekend!
Hey, guys, it's finally Friday again. The AMA Supercross series makes its final start of the 2013 season this Saturday night in Las Vegas. The 450 crown has already been handed out to the new 3-time champion, Ryan Villopoto, but the 250 East and West are going down to the wire. The West championship will either go to Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen or Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac. This past weekend, both riders had races they'd rather forget. I'm calling Eli for the race win, but Roczen for the title. My West podium will be Tomac, Rozcen and last week’s race winner, Jason Anderson (who I called for the win). I've always been a fan of Anderson and I really believe he will win the title next year on either coast. For the East, I'm going with Wil Hahn for the race win and championship. KTM’s Marvin Musquin and Canada's own Cole Thompson will round out my podium if Cole can stay on 2 wheels.
Jeff has big hopes for Jason Anderson, shown here back in his amateur days.
There has been some movement in the Canadian outdoor moto scene. News came out that Topher Ingalls, 2012 MX2's 3rd overall, has signed on to ride for the RTR squad on Hondas (more on that later). Next came the news from the Cycle North Honda camp that they have signed American Ross Johnson to contest the 450 class. Then we had some great news that Maple Ridge Motorsports are bringing back Californian Dylan Schmoke with support from KTM to contest the west rounds. Dylan is a great kid, and will definitely be sniffing around the podium spots in the west.
Some news out of the GDR Honda squad has Ontario pro Nathan Bles riding the MX2 class. After watching Nathan tear it up the last few weekends aboard the big 450, I wonder if GDR'S boss man ‘Dig’ is considering putting Bless on the bigger bike? He really does look fast and very comfortable on the big red Honda.
Now onto some sad news out of Ontario: Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha’s Richard Grey lost his grandfather this past week. He was a huge part of Lil' Richard’s program and a smiling face that I’m sure everyone will miss at the races. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Grey family.
MMRS action is at Muttco Mountain this Saturday and Sunday. It is probably the most popular track the club has. Machine Racing will be sending their top Pros, Kyle Keast and Ryan Gauld, to battle the likes of KTM's Liam O'Farrell and Rockstar’s Richard Grey, just to name a few. It is a great track and an even better club, so be sure to check it out if you are looking for a fun spot to ride!
Getting back to Topher Ingalls - I think it's a great signing for both sides. Topher is a guy that will give you everything he has. He has podium speed and isn't afraid to ruffle a few feathers along the way. Topher pretty much drove himself cross country last season and even lined up a few times on a dirty bike because he didn't have anyone to wash it. He earned 3rd overall for the series, and rode a borrowed bike for a round (Denaye Giroux’s stock practice bike, which was even a different brand than what he was use to). This year he has consistently made the mains in a stacked West coast supercross series, so the dude has some serious speed and isn't afraid of the names on the back of the jerseys. RTR has a good program and we've seen what the Cali kid can do with little to no support, so let’s see what he can do with the right support. I don't see Topher winning the title this year, but I can see him finishing the series back on the podium and maybe squeaking out a moto win or two. All in all, I think it is great for both sides. I just hope to see T.I. back rocking the slick Scott-sports gear like last season.
Next up is my prediction for Jeremy Medaglia at the AMA Hangtown national. It's no secret that I am a huge J-Dags supporter and that Jer is one of my closest friends. I was lucky enough to get the invite to travel/ help/ work for Jeremy this past winter in Florida as he prepared for the upcoming season. All I can say is wow! I've honestly never seen him go this good. He looks so effortless on the 450 Yamaha and we all know he has fitness for days. Without a doubt, I think Jeremy will qualify in the top 15 and put it in the top 10 in his motos and really open some eyes. He is young, fast, and determined and when riled up, he won't take shit from anyone! Look for great starts and solid finishes from the Kemptville, ON native.
Well, that does it for me this week. Good luck to everyone racing this weekend and I'll see you all next week.
Thanks, guys. Wow, where do we start this week?! There have been so many surprise signings that the entire landscape of summer changed overnight…for the much better! But let me start by saying congratulations to PJ Stratton and Chelsey on the birth of their baby girl, Tenley Lorr Stratton. I’m not sure what this means for PJ’s racing future, but I know he was already too busy with work to keep racing at the level he has in the past. Good luck, guys.
Has everyone seen this TSN skit that spoofs The Hangover movie? I guess they’ve done a couple of them but I only recently saw this Los Angeles Kings Edition this week when they replayed it. Someone needs to do this type of thing in our industry. We have more than enough characters to do a good job of it, that’s for sure. Check it out:
Hey, it's the first week of hockey playoffs and we REALLY care about that stuff up here in Canada!
Quebec native, Kade Walker, continues his cross-Europe moto adventure. His father, Dave, informed me that “Kade and the Castellari Team just arrived in Portugal an hour ago [this was on Thursday]. They are at the FIM World GP (Portugal) round this weekend to race round 2 of the FIM European EMX 125 class.” What an amazing story this is! When is the last time we had someone do this sort of European racing…and at 15?! Kade is also competing in the Italian National 125 Junior Championships. He sits second in points but because he is not Italian he will not be officially scored in that position, I guess.
He’s also competing in another Italian 125 series. He is actually leading this series and holds the red plate. Dave sent over a few pictures and since I can’t get over there to take any myself, I wanted to show everyone what Kade’s been up to over there. Watch for a feature on Kade in the future here on DMX. Keep making us proud over there, Kade. And don’t forget to stop and smell the roses from time to time. I don't know who took the actual photos, but check out a few:
Kade Walker (second from left)
Interview for an Italian magazine.
Living the moto dream!
Ok, let me switch gears here. I’ve been able to get to the first three rounds of qualifiers here in Southwest Ontario for the Parts Canada Walton TransCan. The racing has been great and the numbers look good and healthy, but something has gotten ‘stuck in my craw’ and needs to be addressed – SAFETY.
Looking Cool but at What Price? The Safety Factor
A short 'finger wag' by Bily Rainford
It’s a well-known fact that the motocross industry has always gone hand-in-hand with the action sports fashion industry. But at what point do we take the necessary steps to put image aside and think more seriously about rider safety? I know this argument has been raging on for years, but this past weekend at the Southwestern Ontario TransCan ANQ it was the elephant in the room that really needs to be addressed.
While hanging out drinking a cup of coffee in the Halstead pit I noticed the under armour Pro rider, Hayden Halstead, wears when he hits the track. I made a comment that I used to do the same thing when I raced even though I was often subject to mockery from my friends at the races. My argument was that wearing all the available safety gear didn’t make me a wimp—quite the opposite! You see, when you fall in a fast corner and just slide to a halt, usually the most damage is in the form of ‘road rash.’ The only thing on your mind is to get back on the bike and keep racing. If being able to actually do that makes someone a wimp then I would like to see a lot more ‘wimps’ on the track!
Hayden’s gear had shoulder pads, chest protector, and forearm guards all in one. If you happened to see the condition OMS KTM rider, Liam O’Farrell, was in after his fall on the weekend you would notice that he would probably have come out completely unscathed had he been wearing the same gear. I don’t mean to centre Liam out, but he is the most recent example that I saw. He posted a picture on Facebook that I don't seem to be able to find now. Anyway, he was all chewed up from scrubbing against the ground and I believe that it didn't have to happen.
I joked with someone that we put fashion before safety but for what?! Who the hell do we think is watching that we need to impress? Better yet, who do we think is watching that cares whether or not we have safety gear on? It’s ridiculous!
I spoke with JBR’s Jay Burke after his horrific crash and he immediately said he was so glad he was wearing his Atlas neck brace. From those who saw his fall first-hand it was apparently an ugly ugly rag doll-type crash after his chain snapped in a rather difficult and fast rhythm section. There’s even a chance that his arm isn’t as damaged as he initially suspected!
I’ll still post pictures of you on DMX if you’re wearing every bit of safety gear possible! We are competing in one of the most exciting but dangerous sports out there. Please take the necessary precautions.
I also noticed that there is rarely a bike on the track these days without aftermarket graphics. Sure, the bikes look great and all sponsors are represented, but if having this comes at the expense of dialed-in suspension, it’s not good.
Motopark got rough last Sunday. Motocross track are supposed to get rough. Being the toughest sport on the planet is the main reason motocross is so cool. However, when you have the choice between buying graphics and a pipe or having someone do your suspension for you, please choose the suspension!
Riders were being thrown all over the place on the weekend and I have to think many of the falls would have been avoided if they had properly set-up suspension. If you are someone who has never ridden with good suspension, do yourself a favour and take someone of your ability and weight’s bike for a lap and thank me later. It is night and day, folks!
On the flip side, if you see someone with really cool graphics and nice colours on their jersey, give those a lap and see if you notice any difference—you won’t.
While we’re on the topic of safety, I need to mention flagging here. While I know there was a flaggers’ meeting before racing got underway, there is no excuse for what I saw on the weekend. Some of these kids look like they would much rather be back at home watching Scooby Doo reruns than be in the very serious position of motocross flagger. I saw some scary things.
I even had to walk over to one of the flaggers twice to explain the importance of what they were doing. They continually looked at racers as they approached his section instead of where they were going. There was a rider down after the double and I whistled, yelled and ran over to this kid and he still hadn’t noticed the downed rider. It was in a blind section and very dangerous!
While we’re on the topic, it looks like BTO Sports KTM rider, Matt Goerke’s younger brother, Kyle, is going through a medical nightmare right now. He is having nothing but trouble getting his ankle injury under control. Infection keeps nagging and it is costing them a ton of money to try to get things under control. I met them in Florida and Kyle is a great guy. I have two points here: make sure you have the proper medical insurance and get better soon, Kyle. If you are so inclined, you can contribute to the fund for them at Road 2 Recovery.
Mitch Cooke's new HAF Skate Shop location in New Glasgow, NS.
Now let’s cross the country and touch down in Vancouver, BC for a few minutes. What the heck is going on with Darren ‘Pillow’ Pilling? Wow, you try to take a nice walk in the park with your little dog and you get mauled by an off-leash pit bull and then by the dog’s off-leash owner! Little Finley has undergone 4 surgeries so far and Darren was also bitten by the dog and needed medical attention. Here is a link to the Global News video of the story. I spoke with Darren today and he is doing fine but Finley still isn't out of the woods. They are also close to $20 000 out of pocket for this nonsense! I'm sure someone will identify this guy eventually but who knows when they will be able to recoup any of this cash. Good luck to you and Finley, Pillow.
Ok, let’s talk about the recent signings that will make the Monster Energy CMRC Canadian Motocross Nationals a lot more exciting this year:
Maple Ridge Motorsports – Signed Californian, Dylan Schmoke, to race the 4 western rounds of the MX2 class. Dylan showed flashes of great speed a couple years ago when he was up racing. He comes from a great family and it will be good to have them back at the races this summer. I’m hoping that if his results are good (like they no doubt will be) something will happen to get him to the eastern rounds. He should make the pointy end of the MX2 class more interesting.
Dylan Schmoke will be racing the first 4 rounds, at least.
RTR Performance – Signed Californian, Topher Ingalls to race the entire MX2 series. We all know the potential Topher has. He finished 3rd overall in MX2 last year on what can only be described as a shoestring budget. He will be the first to admit things weren’t exactly ‘perfect’ last summer. Remember when he was down a lap in Calgary but still managed to keep Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki rider (and series champ) Teddy Maier behind him? As a spectator, that was awesome!
Watch for Topher to be a regular podium guy this season. I told Topher that it’s a solid group of people at RTR. He said, “Ya, they seem awesome! I’m stoked to be with them. My program just got way stronger!” I’m sure most of the top MX2 riders are a little worried about what he can do with a good team and bike. I know that with the 6 million snowmobiles RTR sells in the fall, budget shouldn’t be an issue! The MX2 class just got a lot tougher!
Cycle North – Signed Washington State rider, Ross Johnson, to compete in the MX1 class alongside MX2 rider, Brad Nauditt. I spoke about Ross in last week’s Update and it’s great to see that a quality outfit like Cycle North has chosen this guy to support. Ross is one of the most solid guys you’ll ever meet. He travelled the first few rounds last year solo in his truck and trailer. He’s a good guy and should be a threat up near the front of the MX1 pack this summer.
After typing that, I can’t belieber that we’re now within a month of the first round! Bring on the nationals!
I just had a very brief chat with Apex Cycles KTM rider, Dylan Kaelin. He’s currently down in California practicing for this summer. He will compete in the MX2 class. I asked him what he’s doing up until round one in Nanaimo:
“I’m staying down here till the 14th. I’m doing 2 local warm-up races in BC then starting the series. I won't be traveling home till after the Edmonton national. The bike is good, it's only got suspension on it. I still have stock bars, stock exhaust, stock everything, but it's pretty solid, for sure.”
Thanks for the update, Dylan. It will be interesting to see where finishes this year with a new bike and team supporting him. He’s one of that group that can be battling for podiums in the MX2 class and that group seems to be getting even bigger for 2013…and that’s beneficial for your garden.
Now for some bad news: It looks like the prospect of Team JBR heading west is weakening. Team owner, Jay Burke, suffered that horrific crash at Motopark last weekend after his chain broke. I spoke with Jay today and here’s what he had to say about the whole thing:
“No real news yet. I had an ultra sound and report says multiple tears. Not sure how bad yet. Major bruising and swelling also that is seriously limiting motion. Right now I can honestly say my arm is f@#$%d. My neck has a few broken vertebrae, but overall happy to be walking.”
I was on the opposite side of the track when the crash happened, but from what I hear a lesser man would have simply broken in half and disintegrated. We’ll have to check back with him in the next couple weeks to see what riders Tyler Rayner and Derek Hamm will now do to get to the western rounds. Man, Derek Hamm just can’t get a break this spring! If anyone has room and/or needs help driving west, get in touch with us and we’ll connect you with these guys.
Don't hold your breath wating to see the big #8 on a race track any time soon.
I see that Steve Matthes of DMX, Pulp MX, and Racer X (among many others) fame announced they will be doing a special Pulm PM Show live from Las Vegas tonight. Here is the PR:
The Pulpmx show is also brought to you by X-Brand Goggles, FLY Racing, FMF Racing, Race Tech Suspension, Tech One Designs, Atlas Neck Braces, N-FAB Jeep and Truck Parts, Works Connection, SHOEI Helmets, Braaap Bar, 8Ten Solutions.com, DUBYA Wheels, Black Ops Moto and FREEGUN Underwear
It's the final weekend of SX (can't believe I just typed that!) and it should be a good one. I was 'this close' to jumping in the truck with Terry and Kieran Doherty a couple days ago, but decided against it. Kieran will be competing in the amateur arenacross racing also going on in Vegas this weekend so good luck to him. I hope you guys made it! I know that's a long was to go with only one driver. Sorry, Terry. PS Be careful what and where you eat...I spent the better part of a week trapped in the hotel room a couple trips to Vegas ago!
When everyone panicked after Team Kawasaki rider, Ryan Villopoto, struggled early in the season I remained calm and just said, "watch." Yep, he did it so congratulations for being only the 4th person in history to three-peat. The Lites class will see both coasts race and then the top riders will go head to head in the final (won't they?). Nicky Beatty has made the trip to put the finishing touches on an exciting first attempt at top-level sx racing. Huge congratulations for actually going for it! Watch for the #961 to put his Honda in the main this weekend.
Brigden, Ontario's Cole Thompson will also be back in action. Cole is currently sitting in 7th position, just 4 points behind Dean Wilson. I think it would be a nice gesture on Dean's part to just wait for the outdoor season and let Cole grab a few points and 6th in the title chase. Be a guy, Dean. At any rate, that was a hell of a series to watch and with a solid team ride next year Cole should be more of a top-tier threat. Good luck to both our Canadians this weekend. It's live on Speed so be sure to tune in. Oh, and stay safe out there afterwards, everyone!
Speaking of Canadians racing, there's a rumour going around that I have been signed up to race at the MMRS race this weekend at Muttco Mountain. Um, I don't race! If this does in fact happen, my 'race plan' is to let everyone go off the start, pop a wheelie or two, and finish with a 'lookie pointie' across the finish line. That's how I roll...literally. I'll definitely be there taking pictures, so watch for a full photo report on all the action - amateur and pro - on Monday.
The Parts Canada Walton TransCan Amateur National Qualifiers moves over to the Eastern region this weekend for the races at Sand Del Lee. Race Day Services guy, Brett Lee, sent over these links that will tell you everything you need to know and allow you to follow along with the live timing and results from home. Cool deal!
Heading back out to the 'left coast,' the BC Motocross Association will be heading back to Mission, BC for round 5 in their series. You can find out everything you need to know by clicking on this link. After being forced to cancel the Chilliwack round due to rain, the weather forecast looks great for all of these races I've just mentioned, so have a great time at the track!
It's time to moto! See you at the races...