Frid'Eh Update #20 Presented by Scott
Week #20 belongs to new Bayfield, Ontario, resident Nathan Bles.
Welcome to the DMX Frid'Eh Update Presented by Scott. Week #20 goes to one of the nicest Pro riders we have here in Canada. Always quick to smile and easy to ask for an interview, Nathan Bles has been a rider we’ve all watched grow up before our eyes. As a fast mini rider then Intermediate and finally Pro, Nathan has proven himself as one of the riders Canadians will remember. He has had to make some difficult choices that face most of us when we hit our late teens and head into the next chapters of our lives. Without help, what does his future in Canadian motocross hold? Will he continue to race? Will he stay involved? Will he switch over to Off-road after his successful experiment late last summer? Will he simply get a job and move on? Well, we got in touch with him as he was set to practice at Baja Acres in Millington, Michigan (I guess we have our answer) to find out what he will be doing this summer:
I’m at Baja right now about to hit a Loretta Lynn’s qualifier. Why not? If it goes good great and if it doesn’t then I’ll keep doing the Canadian [stuff]. As of right now, I’m planning on going to Iceland (Dawn will explain later) next week and the following week to do some training with some kids and then Sunday is a 6-hour Enduro race. It’s kind of on a volcano so it’s going to be pretty interesting. I’m really keen for that!
After that, I’m going to do some local races and train for the Gopher Dunes National and see where the Loretta Lynn’s thing goes. I’ll just keep myself riding, I guess. I’m racing 450 A and then Pro Sport. I’m down here with Justin Roney.The Roneys brought me here. They’re the ones helping me. There are a few other Canadians here: Cooper Larche,Chloe Metcalfe, and a few other people. It’s nice to see them here. It’s the first area qualifier.
I’m so keen [about Iceland]. Something like that is going to be awesome! What a great life experience, right? I’m excited. My hopes of doing all the nationals are dead. That is so dead. If someone else would fund me then I’d do it but I can’t do it. I’m so thankful for the Roneys bringing me to the Loretta Lynn’s stuff. I never realized how hard it was to do this on your own.
"Hmm, what do I do now?" It looks like Nathan Bles will be busy even if his plans don't involve the Canadian Nationals.
The biggest thing going on right now is that I’m going to the [ISDE] Six Days, for sure. I’m having some t-shirts made and some other stuff and I might collect some beer bottles. Any empty beer bottles, bring them to the Bles residence. I’ll take them! (I was the only one who laughed)
The Gopher Dunes race (ANQ last weekend) was rough. I really wanted to race Colton (Facciotti) and got a little over my head. My dad didn’t tell me that my forks were almost out of oil. I crashed a few times and then eventually took a big digger and cartwheeled and called it a day. It sucks riding the bike when it’s not really race ready. The front end kept digging in. I bottomed out at the base of a jump and it threw me right over the bars. It was a little bit of a bronco ride.
Colton was going good. Colton is Colton. He’s consistent. He does his own thing and he’s fast. I really wanted to show him a wheel in one or two corners but unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that. Maybe another time. Liam (O’Farrell) was doing really good on the 2-stroke. I was really impressed. He wasn’t too far behind but near the end of the race conditioning comes into play and Colton’s been down south so…he pulled away at the end but the first 3 laps the gap was the same. It was pretty impressive to see that.
Today is just practice and then I think I have 450 A Saturday and then Pro Sport Sunday. There are already quite a few people here. It’s going to be pretty packed.
Well, I wasn’t expecting that. I hope Nathan has a great weekend and makes it down to Loretta’s. I don’t see why he wouldn’t. He kills sand tracks on that 450! I can’t wait to see photos and hear stories from his Iceland trip too. Thanks for the chat, Nathan.
Be sure to check out Scott Sports.
Hey, guys, it's Dawn checking in here. I haven't chimed in for a while so I wanted to let everyone know about something pretty cool that is in the works. As some of you may know, I find myself on the odd international adventure that usually involves Bigwave Billy and some crazy fans with chainsaws, horns and strange costumes. Another adventure will soon unfold and I'm leaving Bigwave in my roost this time and I'm flying solo.
Every year in Iceland, they host something called the Trans Atlantic Off-Road Challenge. It is a 6-hour enduro held every year since 2002 and it is the largest race held in Iceland, bringing imports from many European nations to compete. In 2011, Allison Kennedy and I were invited over to attend and we had Mitch Cooke on board to partner up with one of my Icelandic buddies to race the event and we had all kinds of fun and whacky (as well as crazy) things planned. As our pure, crap luck would have it, three days before our flight was to leave, this happened...
|Photo Courtesy of Marco Fulle|
Yes, remember that nasty volcano that blew and halted all air traffic across the better part of Europe and beyond? Well, that quickly put an end to our trip and our crazy plans. We were fortunate to get refunded for our flight because it was dubbed a "natural disaster". To boot, the race is held in Klaustur, which is also pretty much at the foot of the volcano, so even when they rescheduled the race a month later, the entire area was filled with volcanic ash making it a real treat to ride on as you can imagine. Ash sammich anyone?
Yes, the scenery is breathtaking...
Photo stolen from Arctic Rider's Facebook
... and bonus for this time of year is they are so far north the sun rises at around 3:30am and sets around 11:00pm so you can literally ride almost all day long. Winter however...is a different story.
Photo stolen from Arctic Rider's facebook
Our plans got shelved in 2011 and a few months ago I got a message from my old buddy Joi Sveinbjörnsson again and he said, "Can you find me a Canadian fast guy. I want to win this thing!" Immediately, I put on my thinking cap to figure out who would be the best fit for this one. Didn't take long to settle on a guy who proved his worth last year and deserves a shot at proving himself on an international level. Nathan Bles was my pick and when I first spelled everything out to him I could tell he was really up for this. We have watched him grow into a pro motocross rider who is capable of hanging with the big boys. A big twist in Nate's 2013 season came when he tried doing a little cross over into off-road. He found his groove in the woods almost instantly. When I say, "found his groove", he only won the Eastern title of the WEC Cross Country Championship...that's all. His drive to try pushing himself doing these things made him the perfect choice immediately to take over to ride the enduro. He won't see any trees in this race though, the terrain is a bit like being on the moon. Parts look boggy with a lot of wide open areas with sand and clay mix and the lap times are around 20 minutes.
You will see what I mean by lunar landscape when you check out this video from a few years back showing the start shot from a helicopter. Pretty cool! Let me know if there's any quicksand pits I need to know about there before I venture out in that, Joi.
If all goes well and no volcanoes decide to blow before that (pretty sure my stack will blow if that happens again), we will be going racing Saturday, May 24. Nathan will be touching down for 5 days previous to get his bike settings nailed down and it will give him a chance to set up a little school and train some Icelandic guys who are interested in learning more about Nathan's regimen. I will have a full report the following week to let you know how Nate made out and we will give you the scoop on what it's like to ride in Iceland for all of you considering doing some travelling in this neck of the volcano. (Oh and I'm sure there will be some crazy stuff mixed in there somewhere knowing our hosts.)
Did I mention when I first met them in 2007 at Motocross of Nations at Budds Creek they brought their traditional rancid shark meat that you chase with a shot of Brennivín (aka Black Death) and I was told that Stefan Everts was sat down and given a little sample to try out. I'm thinking Black Death may be considered a tad on the "high-test" side, so I guess it was a good thing he was retired by then. I'm sure customs were far too distracted by the Italians smuggling parmesan cheese in their bike crates to chase after Vikings with stinking fish cubes in their gear bags anyway!
That's a wrap for me. Enjoy the sunshine and see you at the track!
The 2014 Rockstar Energy Canadian MX Nationals
Hey, guys. It is finally Friday and the weather is heating up here in Southern Ontario. The Lucas Oil AMA Outdoor Nationals are just around the corner and that means the Rockstar Energy Canadian MX Nationals are fast-approaching as well. Most of the talk lately has been about losing our reigning Canadian Champion, Brett Metcalfe, to the AMA Nationals. Yes, Brett is a huge talent, and a great guy, but losing him to the South isn't that terrible of a thing. Say Brett goes out and gets a few podiums or wins. That has got to elevate our series. Brett won our Championship, but it wasn't as easy for him as some think. Canadians Colton Facciotti, Cole Thompson, and Jeremy Medaglia all took moto wins and overall wins during the season. Brett had to have his A game ready each and every weekend. Had Brett stayed up here for 2014, he would not have been my title favourite. A healthy Colton Facciotti can win at any track at any time in Canada. But the key word is healthy.
Poor Colton has had a rough few years. He has switched teams and looks plenty comfortable on his new GDR Honda. I don't doubt that ‘Colt 45’ leaves Nanaimo with a red plate on this CRF450. But if I was a betting man, which I am (I have lost lots to Derek Medaglia) my money is on the holsehot king, Mike Alessi and his Moto Concept 450. Yes, Brett Metcalfe won an AMA national at Southwick, but Mike has won numerous times at many different tracks and terrains. He is my pick to win the Championship.
Can Colton Facciotti race with and beat #800 Mike Alessi?
Dan Stenning photo
We can't forget the others though. KTM's Tyler Medaglia will be hungrier than ever and look for him to be a podium regular. Leading Edge Monster Kawasaki’s Teddy Maier will be fast as always and a threat to steal a moto when he is on his game. Rockstar Yamaha's Bobby K is healthy and willing to do anything to finally win a Championship. Bobby is a guy that never gives up, but I feel he will be on edge and be a "checkers or wreckers" type of guy this year.
Next, the Boys in Blue have Kyle Chisholm. Kyle who? Yes, that is what people are going to be saying by the time we hit Gopher Dunes. Kyle is a very likable racer, but unfortunately the injury bug has bit him very very hard lately and I don't think he will finish the series.
How will Kyle Chisholm be doing by the time Gopher Dunes rolls around?
Another racer who has been hurt bad in the past is Josh Hill. Josh is a million dollar talent, but a failed backflip attempt has robbed him of a few seasons. Josh's best season Outdoors in the 450 class came in 2008 where he finished 7th overall. The talent hasn't disappeared, but I'm worried his banged up body may not be able to take the 30 plus 2 laps for 10 rounds. I really hope I am wrong as I would really like to see Hill shine. No matter what happens, we are in for one of the best Canadian seasons yet!
What chance do you give Josh Hill in Canada?
I'm going to cut it short yet again as I have to get the DMX test bike ready so I can put some of the new FLY Racing Hydrogen gear, Fly F2 Carbon helmet and new Dragon NFXS goggles from the great folks at Gamma Sales to the test. I may not be fast, but I sure will look fast and as we all know, looking good is half the battle. Have a great weekend and don't forget to #smileforBC!
Is this the view our guys will have to get used to this summer?
Wow, you’d think driving back from Pacific Time would give your body ample time to adjust to the changing time zones. Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t. Maybe I shouldn’t have slept for 6 hours from Chicago to Flint in the middle of the afternoon! Anyway, as most people know, I love a road trip at least as much as anyone but it is still always nice to get home again.
Las Vegas Road Trip
Last week, I got the opportunity to head to Las Vegas with Terry Doherty, his daughter Sarah-Marie, and GP Bikes’ Braydon McNeil. Our duty was to get most of the Canadians who were competing in the Amsoil Amateur Arenacross Championships bikes to the event safe and sound. We were in Terry’s new Ford cargo van pulling Dan Goheen’s trailer. Inside were Mitch Goheen’s KTM 250 2-stroke, Eve Brodeur’s KTM 144 2-stroke, and Kieran Doherty’s 3 Kawasaki 85s and superminis.
We started with a couple bikes in the van and then moved them into the trailer.
Along the way, we were to stop into Joliet, Illinois (just outside Chicago), to pick up ‘The Rev’s’ Honda 450. We were forewarned that someone should stay with the vehicle as we grabbed the bike from the garage because it was a little bit of a rough area. It’s not exactly a reassurance to be told such a thing when driving into a big U.S. city so we made Sarah-Marie stay and guard the stuff (lol). Anyway, we got in and out without incident and were back on our way. That made a total of 6 bikes now in tow.
A lot of you reading this have probably made this exact same drive a number of times and the big decision is which route is the least boring? We decided on the route that takes you almost across Nebraska and then darts southwest through Denver and into the Rockies. Yes, it’s probably the most beautiful part of the trip but it is also the most mountainous. It was early May and you just never know what that means in places like Vail and Aspen.
Well, it meant snow. The hills are still open for business and we encountered a bit of a snow storm as we passed through the highest elevations (which I think hit very close to 11 000 feet). I imagine they would have been close to closing the highway a short while after we made it through because it was really starting to accumulate! Of course, this is all after we made it just north of the massive tornado and storm that ripped the Midwest and southeastern States a new one! We were on tornado watch for a few hours as we passed below Lake Michigan towards Iowa.
Unfortunately, it was my turn to drive when we hit the mountains.
Just a day behind us were Jeff and Tanner Ward. Tanner was also competing and Jeff was doing all the driving himself (which he made no big deal of). Tanner is fresh off some ugly breaks that he sustained when he came up short on a big jump in Arenacross this past winter and was eager to see what he could do at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
I didn’t know beforehand, but young #422 Preston Masciangelo from Brantford, ON was also making the journey to compete in the 50cc classes. Preston has done very well lately and was one of the favourites to podium in all of his classes. I will get to work on a full Photo Report from the event as soon as we get this Frid’Eh Update posted so watch for that Saturday. Here’s a look at how the Canadians did at the event:
#422 Preston Maciangelo (Brantford, ON)- Cobra Canada, MMX, Goldentyre Canada, Altas Brace, Forma Boots, Fly Racing, ODI, Tric Carbon, WaspCam, Millards Acct
50 (4-8): 3rd
50 (7-8): 2nd
Arenacross.com 50 (4-8): 4th
#84 Tanner Ward (Woodstock, ON) – Racetech, Fly, Dragon, Gamma Sales, Forma boots, Deft Family gloves, MD Distribution, KR Communications, Goldentyre, Rockstar Canada, Hindle, DMX
Schoolboy 1 (12-16): 4th
Supermini 1 (9-15): 2nd
Supermini 2 (13-16): 3rd
Amsoil Dominator Supermini: 2nd
#41 Eve Brodeur (Laval, PQ) - Dunlop, Duroy Racing, Motovan.com, Aldo Racing, Team Couturier, Oakley Canada, KTM Canada, Forma Boots, Kutvek Amerika, KB5, Evans Cooling, Motooption.com, Xtown.caEMP mechanics
Schoolboy 1 (12-16): 5th
#664 Kieran Doherty (Kingston, ON) - Prodigy Racing, Monster Army, Pro Circuit, Cernics Kawasaki, O’Neal USA, Dunlop Tires, X-Brand Goggles, Globle Shoes, Pit Posse, SSI Decals, Risk Racing, Renthal, Hinson, Boyesen, Leatt Brace, Go Pro
Schoolboy 1 (12-16): 6th
Supermini 1 (9-15): 14th
Supermini 2 (13-16): 7th
Amsoil Dominator Supermini: 12th
*Kieran hurt his hand/wrist when he came up short during practice on Friday. I spoke with his dad, Terry, Thursday after Kieran went to get checked out at the hospital back at home and it turns out Kieran actually broke the scaphoid bone in his wrist. Way to tough it out, Kieran!
#164 Mitch Goheen (Oshawa, ON) – GP Bikes, KTM Canada, Glasstech, Forma boots, Deft Family, Shift MX, Oakley, Pant Saggin, Atlas, SSS suspension, Tonelli Powersports, Ortho-Flex, Matrix, Arai, Fulbore, Pirelli, Phatmx, Flynn's automotive services, Wes Wrozyna from WTF, and, Empco.
AX Lites Novice: 7th
AX Novice: 2nd
This keeps things interesting through the high plains...
There is really nothing to look at until you hit the mountains.
Like I said, check back for the Arenacross photo report and 'Faces at the Races' from the Supercross.
Dex Koeleman sent this link over to a video his brother, Matt, put together of their recent trip down to California for some early-season training and fun. Check it out:
Vicky Golden and Others Speak Out About Women's MX
While we try to rebuild the Wome's Pro series here north of the border, it is pretty obvious we are not the only ones in this situation. Down south, the women's series has also ben moved to an amateur schedule. Several years back the sport seemed like it was on the upswing but it seems that just wasn't the case. Check out this video from ESPN where Vicky Golden, Ashley Fiolek, and Davey Coombs talk about the women's series:
It looks like Williams Lake resident, Brock Hoyer, is getting some more time on his Timbersled-converted Yamaha 450 up in the snowy mountains. Brock never seems to have to look far to find fun.
Brock Hoyer in the mountains on his Timbersled Yamaha 450.
Hoyer Facebook photo
When I spoke to Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki team owner, Jason Hughes, a couple weeks ago he was being rather evasive and cryptic. For the usual reasons, Jason couldn't say for sure who was going to be on the team to replace 2013 MX1 champ, Brett Metcalfe. He was understandably a bit perturbed at once again not being able to run the #1 bike in the MX1 class. He even threw me a red herring when I asked if Josh Hill was in fact the one who would get the ride. He sneakily mumbled, "Dean Wilson" under his breath and so I took the rumour ball and ran with it. We all knew Josh was the guy but throwing Deano's name in there just made things even that much more interesting.
Hill was down in California testing the new ride Monday and I know that our old friend, James Lissimore, was there to take team photos. Josh is one of the nicest, most easy going guys you will ever meet. So much so that one would even think he was a Canadian citizen. He will fit in perfectly with our atmosphere up here and that easiness may be exactly what he needs to reach his potential. Can he keep up to or beat our top guys in the MX1 class? I don't think so, but he will have the majority of the cameras pointed in his direction just like Tyler Villopoto did due to his amazing style.
MXGP of Spain
|MXGP of The Spain Television Guide|
OK, that's it for me. Thanks for reading again this week. It has been a weird one for me trying to get back on a regular sleep schedule while trying to do something with all the material I collected over the weekend in Las Vegas. Is it wrong that I didn't even walk the strip or spend a single penny gambling while I was there? I do know one thing that was wrong...trying to get all my sun in the first afternoon I was there. Ouch! There's racing going on all across the country this week so good luck wherever and whatever you get up to!
I was going to simply congratulate Redemption Racing's Eric Jeffery on completing his 113 mile ride, but then I noticed the 'stache is back and had to laugh. See you at the races...
Eric Jeffery selfie