Frid'Eh Update #24 Presented by Fly Racing
Week #24 blongs to Kaven Benoit.
Welcome to week #24 of the Direct Motocross Frid'Eh Update Presented by Fly Racing. What a perfect week for this one. #24 this year is the hard-working and likeable rider out of Quebec who just happened to have gone 1-1 in MX2 last weekend at round one of the Rockstar MX Natinals in Nanaimo, BC. Kaven Benoit is the rider who because of an injury he suffered during the break between the west and east last summer has a much higher number in 2014 than most would expect.
Benoit will do something not done before at this level in Canada and will race the KTM 250F out in the west and then switch over to a KTM 250 2-stroke when the series picks up again at Gopher Dunes in July. A lot of thought and testing went into this decision and it works well for both rider and sponsor as KTM is one of the last manufacturers to offer both machines.
We grabbed Kaven for a quick chat Thursday to talk about how round one went last Saturday and what he expects for the remainder of the summer:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Kaven. How are you? What are you up to?
Kaven Benoit: I’m doing well, and you? I’m just getting my stuff together. I’m leaving at 4:00am [Friday]. The airport is like an hour-and-a half from my house and my flight is at 6:25.
Great, thanks. We caught up with you not too long ago but since it’s week #24 here on the Update I wanted to grab you to get some of your thoughts on how round 1 went. You went out and grabbed the first moto holeshot. Did you expect to have so much pressure from Shawn Maffenbeier and have him actually pass you for the lead?
No, I was not surprised. I knew that he was fast and the competition was going to be really tight. I was not surprised at all. At first, I was kind of riding on defense mode because he was attacking me a lot so I kind of settled back and let him ride in front a little bit and found some good lines. After that, I made the pass back and it went really well.
We’ve pretty much heard nothing but negative comments from other riders about the track at The Wastelands. I’m curious to hear what someone who went 1-1 thought about it.
Well, it was probably the worst in the three years that I went there. Before the first time I went there, people were saying…well, they were describing the track like it was this year. It was the first time I saw the track in that condition which was really slick and hard-packed. It went really good though so I can’t really say too much negative about it. It was maybe not the best Nanaimo I’ve ridden but it was the same for everybody, I guess.
Kaven Benoit and his trusty mechanic, Jerome Therrien, 'fist bumping' after another moto win.
So I guess with those conditions you were happy to be on the 4-stroke?
Oh ya! I was happy to have my 4-stroke out there. When I got there on Friday morning the track looked really good. It was perfectly groomed from the night before and I thought it looked good for the 2-stroke. I waited until the next morning because I knew it was going to get dry because it was good weather and it was sunny. ON race day I didn’t regret having my 4-stroke.
In the 2ndmoto, Topher Ingalls got out front on his 2-stroke and then you chased him and Politelli down. How did you get around those guys?
I didn’t get the greatest start—I was maybe 5thor something like that. In the first couple laps I made some passes. I was following these guys and I don’t think they were really pulling away. Then Topher made a mistake and Politelli ran into him, at least that’s what I saw. I was not that close but I think that’s what happened. I think Topher missed his line and then Politelli just ran into his bike. The both fell so it gave me the opportunity to go around them and get into the lead. It’s racing and sometimes it’s the way it goes. It happens to me sometimes and when it happens to others…we’ll take it.
With Politelli coming off a major injury, are you expecting more from him as the summer progresses?
Well, I don’t know. My plan is just to ride the best I can and I know the west coast is not usually my [strength] but this year it seems like it’s been going really well so far. Hopefully I can carry that into the other rounds. I know my big strength is in the east coast so I just want to get safely out of the west coast with some good points. I’m looking forward to the east a lot.
These guys are going to be good all season. I think it’s going to be the year where the racing is going to be at its best in the 250 class. There are a lot of guys that can win motos so we’ll have to be on the A-game every weekend and we’ll see.
A lot of guys struggled last weekends and I think a lot of them were just happy to make it out of there, weren’t they.
Yep. It went good for me so I can’t really complain.
What did you do all this week?
Just the same thing as usual—I did a little bit of riding, a bit of cycling, and not try to do too much. You don’t want to get tired. I want to just stay in the shape I’m in right now and be hungry once the weekend comes.
We’re heading to Kamloops this weekend. Do you like that track?
Ya, Kamloops is all right. Last year I got 2-2 which is OK, I mean, it’s not 1stplace but it’s good points and hopefully this year I can get moto wins.
Hey, was it you that mentioned to Jay Moore at Fox that your mechanic, Jerome, was still using an old school piece of luggage when he traveled? I saw him with a flashy new Fox bag at the hotel Sunday night.
Ya, he’s had that since the first time he’s been traveling and he needed a new bag so when I took the picture Jay saw it and said that if I won [in Nanaimo] he was going to get him a new bag. I won so he got the new bag.
OK, well thanks for the chat. I guess I’ll be seeing you shortly here in Kamloops. Safe travels.
Yep, sure. Thank you. Bye.
The rest of the riders had better figure out a way to either beat Benoit or at least get in his head because if they don't it's going to be a very long summer for the rest of the MX2 field in 2014.
Fly Racing Dragon Weekly Recap Videos
Big thanks to Fly Racing and Dragon for getting involved with us for the Direct Motocross Weekly Recap videos we will be putting together all summer. Mark Halliday from Moonrider Productions helped us out with the video clips last week in Nanaimo. Watch for another installment this week from Whispering Pines with much less ME shown in the video! Here's the video from the first round:
What a great week it has been out here in the west. I was able to stay here for the week and got the chance to do some things I haven’t done in a long time. After last weekend, I headed over to Tofino to do a little surfing. There was a time when I used to make the drive (one of the most amazing drives in North America, I might add) almost every other weekend, but since I’ve moved back to Ontario I don’t get the chance.
A surf trip was in order!
I actually tried shooting some driving footage with my Contour camera, but after almost driving off the road and over a cliff several times, I decided it was a bad idea. My buddy D-Rock (Derek Hale) is co-owner of Relic Surf Shop in Ucluelet (Ukee is the closer town if you make the left at the T instead of going right and all the way into Tofino) and since I was already on Vancouver Island I figured I’d make time to head over and get in the water for the first time in over 7 years.
Next time you go surfing on Vancouver Island, try making a left instead of a right. (That actually goes for both out of and in the water!)
My buddy 'D Rock' hooked me up with gear last week. Thanks, Derek.
I could actually look at short boards all day long. Weird, I know.
To be honest, after 7 years I really wasn't sure how I felt bout this...
Meh, once I got there I could see it wasn't actually very big but it sure was messy, and that was another problem.
I made the drive into Tofino to hit the old Coffee Pod for a cup only to be informed that it hadn't been called that in about 10 years! Kook moment #8 for me.
You gotta love the west coast!
I spent the night sitting around the fire pit at Derek and Candace’s place in ‘downtown’ Ukee. I had no idea D-Rock was such a foodie! He gourmet-ed up some steak and an amazing salad for dinner. I always tell the story about the first time I met Candace: You have to picture a very nice, mild-mannered, cute girl. We were all on a surf trip back in the day and after a few cocktails around the fire, someone said something about getting Candace to do some rap for us. Those of us who’d just met her looked at each other and laughed at this obvious sarcasm. Well, a few minutes later, there was Candace rhyming off old school NWA lyrics like she was straight out of Compton! It remains one of my all-time surf trip highlights.
Who would have ever guessed that THIS guy was a total foodie?!
On my way back to catch the ferry back to the mainland, I texted Camille Bunko because she had commented on my Facebook post and mentioned she was bringing a couple Saskatchewan…ites (?) for their first-ever dip in the ocean. Yep, Denaye Giroux and Kennedy Lutz were going to try surfing (and touching an ocean) for the first time. I couldn’t pass up this photo op so I asked if we could meet in the little speed trap of a town called Nanoose Bay for a picture. We timed it perfectly and I was able to grab this classic Duke Kahanamoku photo of the three of them:
Kennedy Lutz, Denaye Giroux, and Camille Bunko on their way to Tofino for some surfing.
I spoke with Camille today and learned that they did very well in the water and then went zip lining and Kennedy actually went bungee jumping! Camille sent these pics over:
Denaye (left) and Kennedy practicing popping to their feet. Who knew Kennedy was 'goofy?'
Camille (left) and Kennedy after a trip into the water. Yes, I have to call Camille out for tucking her suit into her boots, but she said it was warmer that way.
Oh, and check out this video clip of the bungee jump:
Who was it that screamed?! Well done, Kennedy. Anyone who can do that can also challenge Hailey Larson for wins at the next two Women’s West rounds!
Round One Helmet Cam Video
You've probably heard all the comments about the track conditions in Nanaimo by now, so here's a look at the actual track from the WASPcam mounted on Mike Alessi's helmet:
Jess Pettis Out
There were more DNFs last weekend than I ever remember at a non-mudder round. It really put a few riders in a tricky position points-wise as we head off into a long summer of racing. Fortunately, almost all of the DNFs you see on the results sheets were due to mechanicals rather than injury. However, poor Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki rider, Jess Pettis, is out with injury again. After recovering from the two broken legs he suffered when he either over-jumped the triple or under-jumped the quad at a round of the Canadian AX Series, he is now out again while a fractured right arm heals. Get well soon, Jess.
Get well soon, Jess.
Popkum MXON Ride Day
I was able to make it to Popkum Motor Park Tuesday afternoon in time to catch riders putting in laps on the fun track just outside Chilliwack, BC. It was a fundraising ride day that sent money over to the MXON effort this fall that will take place in Latvia. Here are a few pics from the day:
#59 Daniel Mathe has great style and will turn some heads as the summer progresses.
Check out Josh 'Old Man' Snider out on Trevor Carlson's KTM 450!
Idaho rider #7 Morgan Burger threw a couple amazing whips here and even looked back at my camera.
I took almost all my pics here in this corner as I was trying to put together a short video. #136 is Teegan Williams.
Here is the video from the day, in case you missed it:
Round One Top 10s
1. 24 Kaven Benoit KTM
2. 22 Shawn Maffenbeier YAM
3. 1 Austin Politelli KAW
4. 27 Jesse Wentland YAM
5. 14 Topher Ingalls KTM
6. 34 Dylan Wright YAM
7. 4 Jeremy Medaglia KAW
8. 49 Sylvain LeGad YAM
9. 400 Jared Petruska KAW
10. 61 Dylan Schmoke KTM
1. 800 Mike Alessi SUZ
2. 45 Colton Facciotti HON
3. 175 Josh Hill KAW
4. 5 Teddy Maier KAW
5. 2 Bobby Kiniry YAM
6. 732 Kyle Chisholm YAM
7. 3 Tyler Medaglia KTM
8. 31 Dylan Kaelin YAM
9. 7 Morgan Burger YAM
10. 816 Austin Kouba KAW
Bruce Cook Fundraiser
How to Watch Thunder Valley
Check out Racer X Online for how to watch Thunder Valley this weekend:
OK, we are going to keep this Update short and sweet this week and simply try to add more content throughout the week. I've been so busy running around that I haven't even had a chance to watch Hangtown yet! There is always something going on now that the nationals are underway, so watch for some content from over at the Whispering Pines track later today here on Direct Motocross.
Round 2 of the Women's West Series Presented by TrimFX goes off tomorrow and round 2 of the Rockstar MX Nationals goes back to its more familiar Sunday schedule. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.
I'm going to head over to the track again this afternoon and see what I can dig up. See you at the races...