The Story Behind the Photo: Jeff McConkey|Walton 2009
By Billy Rainford
Some of you may only know Jeff McConkey as the guy who gives you his ‘McThoughts’ each week after the Supercross events, but he’s seen this sport from all sides. Back in 2009, he got the opportunity to help South African rider, Kerim Fitz-Gerald. (It was also the year I slept in a 1989 Buick Electra Estate Wagon and did ‘Pirate Radio’ across Canada, but that’s aNOTHer story.) The duo finished the summer strong and showed everyone what they had in the MX2 class. We’ll let Jeff give us all the details in this edition of ‘The Story Behind the Photo.’
Wow, where do I start? Walton 2009. Siert Wieringa from Orange Motorsports gave me an amazing opportunity to work for South African Kerim Fitz-Gerald. Going in, I really didn’t know much about Kerim, at all. I soon realized that I had really lucked out and that Kerim was one of the most-talented guys out there, and probably the nicest guy I have ever met. We were expected to finish inside the top 10, but not much more.
The start of the East Coast went decent, nothing to call home about, but then it all changed in Moncton. Early on in the day, Ryan Lockhart came up to me after practice and said that today was our day, and Kerim was going to win. Well, what do you know… ‘Newf’ knows what he is talking about. Kerim passed for the lead early in moto 1, and I was on cloud 9. That was until I heard some frantic screaming over the headset only to find out that Kerim had a rear flat. The only thing I could do was write on the pit board, “I’m sorry! Keep going!” If you have ever been to Moncton, you know that he wasn’t able to continue and we had to settle for a DNF.
The following weekend was Sand Del Lee and Kerim kept the ball rolling and we walked away with a 3-1 for the overall. It was still so unexpected I had nothing prepared for the podium. Thankfully, Jay Moore (Fox Canada) ran to the snack bar and bought a Redbull for Kerim to hold on the podium and for the TV interviews.
We rolled into Walton on a high, and once again Kerim rode amazing and picked up the overall again with another 3-1 moto score. It’s amazing what you get from your rider when the team owner promises to buy the fellas Dairy Queen, if we do well!
This picture is after a very dominant moto 2 win at Walton, and I’m just loving every second of it. I imagine the thoughts of Dairy Queen and the Walton after-party are helping the smile. I’d like to thank Siert from Orange Motorsports for taking a chance on me, Andy White and KTM, Greg from OMS, TLD, Redbull, Arson, and Kuli for all of the advice. But the biggest thank you goes out to Kerim Fitz-Gerald for not only riding amazing all season long, but for also becoming one of my closest friends. Thanks for the memory, Billy!