Frid'Eh Update #28 Presented by SKF Fork Seals
Week #28 goes out to MX101 Shift Yamaha rider Shawn Robinson.
Welcome to the Direct Motocross Frid’Eh Update #28 this week presented by SKF Fork Seals. For 2014, #28 goes to the Gatineau, Quebec, rider who has been named our dark horse pick to do well the past couple years. Shawn Robinson is a racer who has always had the smooth and fluid style needed to race at a high level. This year he added the fitness piece to the puzzle and was looking to have his best summer to date. Unfortunately, finishing motos seems to be what is holding him back so far.
The MX101 Shift Yamaha rider currently sits in 20thposition in the MX2 class. His season started out with an 11thoverall in Nanaimo, but then the 20th, DNF, and 25thpositions during the rest of the western swing of the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals have kept him back in the pack.
He’s riding a Yamaha 250 2-stroke in the 250 class and like I always say, “I have a hard time taking a bad photo of him on the track!” He always looks good on the weekend and when I go through my photos from the events I know I’m always going to have some good ones of #28.
We caught up with him to get his take on his season so far and find out what he’s going to do to turn it around for the better as we head east through the final 5 rounds of the series:
I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a lot of DNFs there in my results. It’s been going pretty bad for me. I came in prepared and the first round was pretty hard for me, I found, on the two-stroke in Nanaimo. I still managed to get a couple points. I felt good going into Kamloops because it’s a good track for the two-stroke. I had a good moto going in the first and then I went through a little water hole and my bike wouldn’t clear up from that so I DNF’d that. From there it all started to go pretty bad. In moto 2 I crashed off the start and was like dead last. I came back up to 15th.
In Calgary my bike blew up in moto 1. In moto 2 it broke again. Regina, in the mud, it blew up again so I might as well have just stayed home!
The first bike problem was an issue where we forgot to do something on the bike. And then we couldn’t find the problem and finally found it yesterday. The whole time the stator was cutting out but it was never doing it…it was like on and off. We figured it out now. At Regina I don’t know why it blew up because that was my stock bike and it made it like three corners. The piston broke right in half.
I have a new bike and I’ve been riding it for a couple days and it’s going good now so hopefully everything is good for Gopher Dunes. I’m ready for that round, for sure.
I felt confident on the west coast too but it was just bad luck, I guess. East coast should be good with the sand tracks and all my home tracks, pretty much.
I came into this year fitter than ever but it’s hard to show it now that I can’t even finish a moto but hopefully I can show it at Gopher Dunes and we’ll see from there. Gopher is always a rough one. You never know what’s going to happen there.
[Since Regina] I came home and took two days off and got right back on the bike, cycling, and going to the gym. I didn’t really need a break because I didn’t ride enough out west! (Laughs) There was a race at Ste. Julie but by the time the rig got here we had so much to clean up. There’s a local race at Sand Del Lee this weekend so I’ll go there. There’s an X-Town provincial too but I think I’ll go to Sand Del Lee.
I should not finish outside the top 10, that’s for sure. I don’t want to say anything. I just want to go out there and give it all I’ve got and we’ll see from there. If the bike can finish then I’ll be good.
Watch (and listen) for Robinson to be back to his berm-blasting ways as the series heads east.
Hopefully, the friendly 24-year-old gets his season sorted out and he starts putting together the results he expects and deserves. Watch for the #28 2-stroke Yamaha to be up in the mix when the series gets back underway at Gopher Dunes next Saturday, July 12th.
This week's Update is presented by SKF fork seals.
As I sat down to begin typing this Update, I received a call from our old friend Brett Lee from Walton Raceway. Apparently, he and Mark Perrin are heading to the Lucas Oil AMA National at Red Bud this afternoon. Well, whether it was an invitation or not, I pushed my way in and will now be heading southwest to Buchanan, Michigan, for what is arguably the best national on the calendar!
As soon as I heard, I jumped on the phone and gave Davey Coombs a call. I always feel horrible doing these last-minute deals but, surprisingly, DC returned my call in short order and said he’d actually walk over and put my name on the list for a photo vest! How cool is that?! Thank you very much, DC, for doing that. I’m pretty sure we did an 11th-hour move like this last year too.
It was announced recently that Toyota has stepped on board with the Walton Raceway to support the Parts Canada Walton TransCan for the next three years. Why do I mention this again, you ask? Well, I think Brett just went to pick up a new 2014 Toyota pick-up truck for our travels! These next couple days just took a giant leap forward as far as quality entertainment is concerned! I think we’re even stopping to check out Wakestock in Sarnia as we pass through. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t have a whole lot of time to type this week, so off we go…
The 17thannual Western Canada Amateur Nationals are underway out in Raymond, Alberta. Racing started on Thursday and will continue through Saturday when champions will be crowned. I have to admit, I’ve had one heck of a tough time finding up-to-the-minute results for this event.
So far, we’ve heard the unfortunate news that young Cycle North Kawasaki rider #57(3) Wyatt Waddell has ‘waddelled’ himself up and the result is a ruptured spleen. Hopefully he’s doing better now and has been well looked after in the hospital. Wyatt is definitely a favourite for the coveted Bronze Boot Award at the TransCan this year in the Intermediate classes but that all looks to be out of the question now. Get well soon, Wyatt.
There is quite a bit of news coming out of Husqvarna Canada lately. For starters, on the west coast, Dusty Klatt is the proud owner of a new BlackfootDirect.com Red Bull Oakley Fox Husqvarna that he will be using to put on mx schools and demos on the western part of Canada. The bike looks pretty amazing and I’m sure Dusty will be excited to be throwing a leg over a bike again.
Dusty Klatt is the proud owner of a new Husqvarna 450!
Klatt Facebook photo
Dusty Klatt MX School at Wild Rose MX Park in Calgary next weekend.
Tyler Villopoto has been quietly going about his business living in Montreal. You heard me. The younger Villopoto brother has been calling La Belle Province home for the last while and also been showing up at races to wow people with his bike handling skills and speed on his Husky 250F. He raced at Ste. Julie and won the MX2 class and finished 3rdin MX1 on his 250. He will compete in the Quebec Provincial race at X-Town this weekend then watch for him to make a stealthy appearance at a Rockstar Energy MX National in the near future. Get your cameras ready!
Tyler Villopoto doing his thing on his Husky 250 at Ste. Julie.
Photo supplied by Husqvarna Canada
And how about this news?! The one-and-only Mike Brown will be making another venture north of the border to compete at Gopher Dunes, Sand Del Lee and Deschambault on his Husky 450FC with none other than Scott ‘Donk’ Donkersgoed spinning the wrenches. The three races he attends will be with the support of Machine Racing, Quad Expert, and Les Chutes respectively. Brown is what Andy White called a Brand Ambassador and it will be cool to see the big #3…just kidding, Tyler Medaglia!...#311 on Canadian soil competing again.
Watch for Husky Brand Ambassador Mike Brown at Gopher Dunes, Sand Del Lee, and Deschambault.
Photo supplied by Husqvarna Canada
Cole Thompson Update
Cole Thompson underwent successful ACL reconstruction at the renowned Kennedy Fowler Sports Injury Clinic in London, Ontario, a couple weeks ago and is on the mend. I spoke to his brother Kyle today and he says Cole had a piece of his hamstring used in the surgery and that they have a date in December set as the time to get back on a bike in preparation for the 2015 Supercross season.
Cole is in good spirits and is helping out at the MX Schools down at their facility in Brigden. ON. He went for a check-up yesterday and everything is healing the way it is supposed to.
Taylor Ciampichini Injured
Unfortunately, Kyle also informed me that fast up-and-coming rider, Taylor Ciampichini, took a hard fall and it looks like he has broken his shoulder blade and maybe his humorous also. Taylor was set to get racing here at Gopher Dunes.
Mike Alessi Canadian Tour
The Mike Alessi Canadian Tour continued this week as Mike made his way to Sand Del Lee for some practice. It now looks like the Alessi crew will make an appearance at Walton Raceway Saturday to get some seat time on that track too. You’ve got to admire their business-like approach to racing. They are spending a lot of money going to all these tracks so watch for Mike to be ‘on par’ with the Canadians at these next national events. Yes, ‘on par’ was a bit of a joke. If the first 4 rounds are any indication, the Smartops Moto Concepts Suzuki rider would be the odds-on favourite whether he got any practice time on the new tracks or not.
Mike Alessi has been busy riding as many of the eastern tracks as he can. He will be at Walton Raceway this Saturday.
Transponders Stolen from Walton
I am just reporting to you we have had two break-ins this year, one early in the year where we had a large number of AMB transponders stolen from our shop. Just recently we had our AMB decoder stolen. Many other things of value (be it perceived or actual) were passed over which indicates to use that whomever was responsible is well aware of the value and use of the items.
We have hope that the decoder can be found, and won't be filing our police report until Monday. We are sure these items, especially the transponders, will be or have been resold. The only way these transponder work is if they are activated with AMB, who once we file a report will help us track them. Same holds true with the decoder. It is a small market to sell too, and we are sure something will surface sooner than later.
We are giving this one more weekend of searching, reaching out to friends and working within our motocross community to see if we can resolve this before Monday.
We would happily accept the missing items without police involvement. In a perfect world they are tossed out on our laneway in the middle of the night. If you have heard of anyone selling AMB transponders, a decoder or inquiring to purchase the cables associated with them please let us know.
We really didn't want to believe the transponders were stolen, but with the recent disappearance of the decoder it is too coincidental to ignore any longer. Any help is appreciated and we thank you.
Win 4 Free Tickets to the Gopher Dunes National
Get to Know #49 Sylvain Le Gad
For those who didn't get a chance to read the interview we did with Sylvain Le Gad, I wanted to copy/paste it here. Stories like these are what legends are made of! Be sure to give the #49 a big cheer when you see him at Gopher Dunes next weeked.
It's a huge step moving to another city let alone country! When I heard that #49 Sylvain Le Gad was actually from France and was out in BC all alone in his Express Van, I knew I had to meet him. When he showed up at The Allison's Farm after Calgary it gave us all a great opportunity to get to know him a little better and lend him a hand if we could. I did all I could by jumping in his van to co-pilot him to Regina and looked forward to putting a bit of his story down on paper. Well, I wanted to do it in Regina but everyone cleared out as fast as they could and nobody really felt like talking a whole lot about it then.
I grabbed the transplanted French rider for a chat today to ask him a bunch of questions about his upbringing, racing, and his future.
#49 Sylvain Le Gad actually comes from France and is doing the whole series alone in his van. Let's get to know him a little better.
Direct Motocross: Hello, Sylvain. What have you been up to since we last saw you in Regina?
Sylvain Le Gad: I came back Tuesday from Regina. I went to the provincial race at Ste. Julie the next weekend. Yesterday, I went to train in the sand and I have one more provincial race this weekend.
Have you seen Mike Alessi over there in Quebec at all?
No, he was at Deschambault and it’s pretty far from where I stayed. I stayed pretty close to home. He was going to come to Ste. Julie maybe but it didn’t work out.
How did your provincial race go?
It went OK. I went 4th in Pro Am, 6th in MX2, and 4th in MX3. Tim Tremblay and Tyler Villopoto were there and they were going pretty fast. We were all pretty much the same speed up front so you had to fight for your positions. I rode OK. It could have been better but it was decent.
So, I got to know you a little bit out west at The Allison’s Farm but let’s start back at the beginning and could you tell us where you’re originally from?
I’m from France. I moved to Quebec about 3 ½ years ago. I wasn’t supposed ride at the beginning but you know it's hard to stop riding. I started to ride a little bit about 3 years ago on the weekends when I had time. Last year I started to ride a little bit more and train so I did some nationals and this year I went to Club MX in April so I wanted to try to do the nationals. It was my goal for this year.
Le Gad moved from France to Quebec by himself 3 1/2 years ago at age 19.
OK, well let’s back it up even farther. I think people will be interested in the France part of your story too. Where are you from in France?
I’m from QuimperIn, France. It’s in the northwest of France. I was born there and lived there for 19 years. I’ve been riding and racing since I was 4. It’s what I love so that’s why I’m still doing it.
Who was your motocross hero growing up?
I didn’t really have one. I liked (James) Stewart and (Christophe) Pourcel. There wasn’t really one guy. I just liked going to races and the GPs in Europe, the Des Nations and watching on TV the AMA supercross and outdoor.
So you got to go watch some Grand Prixs and the MXoN?
Ya, when I was around 6 to 12 years old I went to see 4 or 5 Des Nations and at least one GP a year in France. I watched a lot of good racing back in the day when I was a kid.
What’s your home town best known for? Does the Tour De France pass through?
It’s not known for anything. It’s like the end of the world in France. There’s nothing to do there. It’s a small town and it’s close to the ocean so we can go to the beach but there is really nothing to do there. Motocross is pretty far from all the tracks. The Tour went by 4 or 5 years ago about 2 kms from where I stayed.
Why did you move to Canada?
I went to Quebec like 5 years ago with my parents for a visit and the next year I went to the U.S. in Florida and I did the Mini O’s just for fun and to see how motocross was in the U.S. and I really enjoyed it. I was young and I wanted to try something fun and different so I said let’s do it and see what happens. I came over all by myself at 19 and it’s worked out pretty good.
What did you do when you first got here?
When I first got here I went to school to learn how to drive a dozer, loader and excavator to work in construction. I went to school for a couple months and then went to work in construction for a little more than one year. I’m still working now and trying to ride sometimes during the week when I can.
When did you decide to do this year’s national series all by yourself?
At the end of last year. I like the 30-minute races like I did before in Europe so I was looking to do that. I did it by myself because I have no choice! Nobody can go one month with me for free, so I couldn’t take a mechanic or a friend for one month. I had to do it alone. I’m kind of been doing it for three years with the driving, mechanic, riding and everything so I know what to expect. It’s pretty hard but I know what to do and I wanted to do the championship anyway so I said let’s do it.
What has been the most difficult part about doing it all by yourself?
During race days when the conditions are pretty bad. If it’s muddy, it takes a lot of time to work on the bike if you crash or anything like that. You don’t have too much time to fix the bike between motos so when you have nobody to help you you need to be pretty equipped before the day starts. It was pretty hard the last race.
What has been your best memory so far this summer?
Of course, I enjoyed the first race because it went well. I didn’t even know what place I was in because nobody was pitting for me so I was just riding by myself and having fun. I finished 10-8 and it was fun.
The week at The Allison’s Farm was really fun. They are all great people and it was nice to stay with other riders all week and have some fun.
Traveling through the mountains in BC was pretty nice too. I’ve never been there. It was a good trip.
Like everyone, Sylvain really enjoyed the scenery of the western part of Canada.
You got 14th in the 1stmoto. Did you want to race the 2nd moto in Regina?
No. I don’t mind to ride in the mud because I’m used to riding in mud in France. I like to ride in the mud but it’s so bad for the bike in thoses conditions (Regina). I had pretty much no more preston on the bike and the wheel was not even spinning at the end of the moto and it was getting worse and worse. One section of the track was OK, but the other sections were so bad that you couldn’t even go on the track, it was so sticky. It was more for the bikes and safety. We were going to blow up the bikes in the 2nd moto for sure. Riding in the mud is OK when it's liquid but when it's sticky deep mud you just screw up the bike and it costs you a lot of money so it didn’t make any sense for me. I wasn’t looking to riding the 2nd moto.
Did you tear your bike down when you got home?
Ya. I had quite a lot of mechanic work to do on the race bike. It’s pretty hard to work during the week and go to the races every weekend and have the time to prep everything and make sure you don't forget something. It’s tough but I’m used to it now. It’s the only way I can race so…
And how was your drive home?
I thought it would be fine because we were pretty much halfway through but it was freaking long! I was just looking to be home quickly but it was like 2 ½ days so it was pretty long hours. I went through the States.
Will you do the eastern rounds by yourself or do you have somebody?
I don’t really know. Sand Del Lee and the two Quebec races are pretty close to home so I’ll probably have somebody there each time. For Gopher (Dunes), Moncton and the last one at Walton, I don’t know if I’m going by myself or going with someone else who’s going and bringing a friend. I don’t really know. For Gopher I hope I will have somebody to help me at the gate and wash the bike if needed but I'm not sure.
Be sure to cheer for #49 the next time you see him...and someone hold his bike for him so he can pack his gate!
Well, I bet after people read this you’re going to have a few offers.
I hope so (Laughs).
What track(s) are you looking forward to racing?
I really like the Sand Del Lee track. I’ve never been to Moncton but it looks like a fun track. Gopher, Deschambault, Ulverton and Walton are pretty good tracks too. I pretty much just can’t wait to go racing.
I noticed your phone number has a lot of 7s in it. Was that on purpose for good luck?
No, it was a random number.
So, would you do this whole thing again on your own in 2015?
I don’t know. I want to do it again because I like to race but I don’t want to drive west alone a second time. Hopefully, I can get some good results by the end of the year and maybe I can get on a team or find somebody who can help me. If I can, I’m going to race next year.
Well, thanks for the chat. It was fun driving from The Allison’s to Regina with you. I’m glad people will get to hear your story and maybe cheer louder for you at the races now. Who would you like to thank?
OK, thank you. Sounds good. I would like to say thank you to Lucien from Evo Motosport who does a lot for me, Club MX, Andrew from Playground Poker Club, Yamaha Xtreme Miller Sport and Franklin Motosport.
It's stories like Sylvain's that keep me coming back for more Canadian moto! Keep your chin up and we'll see you next week at Gopher Dunes, Sylvain. Expect a little more support both in your pits and around the track!
I'm going to end this one with a quick mention of Eugenie Bouchard and Milos Raonic who are both in the semi finals at Wimbledon. I can hear in the background that Raonic's run looks to be coming to an end as he's currently down two sets to none against Roger Federer. It was a great run...maybe by the time you read this he will have completed an amazing comeback. Fingers crossed. They both just made more Canadian history.
Good luck to everyone out at the WCAN at Temple Hill Raceway and to everyone else racing and riding all across the country. We get back to action next week at Gopher Dunes and then it's a solid push to the finish line at Walton Raceway in August.
Genie Bouchard says, "See you at the races..."