Team Canada MXON | Thursday Photos | Shot Race Gear
By Billy Rainford
Well, after almost a week of trying, we were finally able to find the elusive Team Canada MXON today. It was the final day of testing for the team at the track directly next to the Milan Airport at Malpensa MX.
When we pulled into the facility, we were pleased to see a flurry of activity, with a bunch of teams ready to finalize settings. Unfortunately, the area received a fair bit of rain overnight and the track was too muddy to get any real testing done, so everyone played a game of ‘Let’s Watch the Track Dry.’ It’s not as fun as it sounds.
Team USA was also set up and ready to ride. The Americans always draw a crowd in Europe and it was the same this year as many who were there lined up in a big semi-circle around them.
Win or lose, Team USA always draws the most attention at these races.
The track is set on the side of a hill and is a great place to mimic the conditions the riders will face this weekend at Maggiora. Team Canada riders, #112 Kaven Benoit, #113 Shawn Maffenbeier, and #114 Tyler Medaglia were three of many who waited patiently for things to improve before hitting the track one last time.
They sent out a couple riders with yellow plates who didn’t look like they were there to race this weekend to do a bunch of laps and speed up the drying process. After about 8 or 10 laps, #6 Jason Anderson started the flow of top riders to the ever-improving track.
American, #6 Jason Anderson, was one of the first riders to hit the still muddy track.
Our old friend, #109 Kerim Fitz-Gerald, is representing South Africa this year. It was great to see him again after his years racing in Canada.
Josh Snider getting Shawn’s bike ready for the track.
Shawn getting Shawn’s bike ready for the track.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who joked with Tyler that I assumed he’d be the first rider on the track.
Mark Stallybrass (left) and Crew Chief Stu Robinson.
That’s Mathieu, Ross, and Kibby watching the track improve.
Tyler became a fan favourite here in Italy today. You’ll see why in a bit…
There really was nothing to be gained by slashing around in the mud, so Canada waited.
Here are a few riding shots:
Kaven looked solid and did a full moto early on.
Anderson put in some very quick lap times.
#5 Alex Martin is Team USA’s MX2 entry.
Tyler went in early during his first trip to the track.
Shawn was having a couple troubles early, but they sorted them out and he put in some fast laps a little later in the session.
Tyler easily out-jumped everyone on this massive downhill. The gang at the top of the hill went nuts every time he approached it. Tyler said he went so far one lap he almost flat-landed! I hope the video does it justice.
Once we got what we needed at the track, we decided to head to Zermatt, Switzerland, to check out the famed Matterhorn. You park your car in a lot and take a train the last couple kilometres. Of course, we drove up first on the restricted road and really upset a few people.
James Lissimore is the official photographer for Team Canada MXON and I’m sure his shot of this looks better than mine.
Safe? Beats me.
And there it was – The Matterhorn in all its glory.
We went full tourist for a couple hours.
Clay court tennis in Zermatt. Can you say, ‘fancy folk?’
We had to have a pint in this cool spot overlooking the mountain.
Then it was time to head home. Unfortunately, the headlights in our rented Toyota Yaris Hybrid are aimed so badly, we decided to pull over in Brig. Google that place. I bet it looks pretty sweet in professional pics.
So now everyone else is sleeping and I’ve just found out that my camera automatically stopped recording while shooting an episode of ‘Tailgating’ with Stu Robinson today. He won’t be too thrilled tomorrow when I inform him we need to do a re-shoot. Oh well, things happen.
Tomorrow gets started a little later at the track, so I think we’ll make a leisurely drive back into Italy and meet up with the team. Check back tomorrow for another photo update…and Tailgating with Stu.