What Are Our Top 3 Intermediate Riders Doing in 2017?

By Billy Rainford

What are #46 Marco Cannella, #184 Tanner Ward, and #424 Austin Watling doing in 2017? | Randy Wiebe/AMO photo used with permission

We always like to keep up on what the top Intermediate riders are doing in Canada. However, this year it seems to be a little more interesting due to the recent announcements of rule changes and eligibility.

In Canada, there are rules in place that force top riders in the skill classes to continue to move up. For example, a rider who was on the podium at the Parts Canada TransCan GNC at Walton Raceway last year cannot return to race that class again the following year (unless that rider is under a certain age and qualifies for a possible exemption). 

Adding to this, the AMA has issued a new rule that will force any rider who races a Pro/Am MX2 round of the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals to move up to the A/Pro Sport classes at the National Amateur Championships at Loretta Lynn’s. 

With this in mind, we wanted to get in touch with the 3 top Intermediate riders in the country who Jeff McConkey has labelled, ‘The Fab 3.’

Of course, there are other top level Intermediate riders across the country, but I think we can all agree that Marco Cannella, Tanner Ward, and Austin Watling are the three riders who make up the Intermediate/B class podium in Canada. 

We set out to ask them the same 5 questions to find out if these rules have changed their plans for 2017, and the answer is yes. Here’s what they had to say:

1. What classes are you racing this year in Canada?

MARCO CANNELLA – Waterdown, Ontario

Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha support rider

This year, I will be racing Schoolboy 2, Open Intermediate, and most likely Youth because I’m not eligible for 250 Intermediate.

Marco Cannella | Bigwave photo


TANNER WARD – Woodstock, Ontario

KTM Canada Thor Racing support rider

I will be racing Mx 1, 2&3 intermediate this year.


AUSTIN WATLING – Corunna, Ontario

Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing support rider

This year for the majority of the Canadian races I will be doing 250 Intermediate, 450 Intermediate, and Youth.


2. Will you race any of the Rockstar MX Nationals Pro/Am MX2 rounds?


I am not racing any Pro Nationals this year because I am racing the B Class at Loretta’s and they will bump me to A if I race a Pro National.



That still hasn’t been decided yet, but if I am to race one, I want to be 100% ready before stepping into the ring with the big boys!



The plan was to race select nationals, but with this new AMA rule coming into play (saying if we run a Canadian national, we will be bumped to A in the states) unfortunately, I will not be racing the nationals.


3. Are you racing Loretta’s? If so, what classes?


I am racing Loretta’s. I will be in Schoolboy 2 and 250 B Mod if all goes well.



No, I won’t be racing Loretta’s this year. [We] decided to focus on other avenues.

Tanner Ward | Randy Wiebe/AMO photo used with permission



Yes, I will for sure be trying for Loretta’s, this being the main reason for not doing nationals. If all goes good, we will be racing 250 B and 450 B Limited.


4. Are you racing the TransCan this summer? If so, what classes?


Yes, I will be racing the TransCan this year in Schoolboy 2, Open Intermediate, and Youth.



Yes, I’ll be at the Walton TransCan this year. It’s one of the races I really look forward to. I will be racing all three Intermediate classes.



Of course, I will be racing TransCan! I will most likely be racing Open Intermediate, 450 Intermediate, and Schoolboy 2.

Austin Watling | Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing photo


5. Who would you like to thank?


I’d like to thank Yamaha Motor Canada, Motopark, OTSFF, Rockstar, Fox, Evolved MX, SSR, MCR Suspension, Scott, and FMF.



I would like to thank the entire KTM Canada Thor Racing team, Parts Canada, FMF, Dunlop, Frankfit Canada, RynoPower, Oakley, Team LTD, New Era hats, Tech Care Suspension, Matrix, Möbius, Motoedge and my family who has supported me from day one. Thank you everyone for all your support.



I wouldn’t be here without my mom and dad, the entire Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing team, Shift MX,  Real Deal Training Facility, Rynopower, Frankfit Canada, New Era, WCK Honda, Humberview Group, Proven Moto, SSS, Marin bikes, Honda Pro Oil & Lubricants, Yoshimura, R&D, Hinson clutch components, Dunlop Tire, Wiseco Piston, Twin Air, Lime Nine, Works Connection, ARC, Cycra, Motoseat, Renthal, Dyco tool, Toronto Digital Imaging, Xtrig, Evans coolant, Vortex, Samco, BP fuel, Galfer, Mechanix Wear, Matrix Concepts, and Snap On.