10 Top Stories of 2021
By Billy Rainford
It’s that time of year again when we get to make Top 10 lists out of just about anything we feel like. I grew up as a massive David Letterman fan, so countdowns are something I just can’t stay away from (…from Wahoo, Nebraska…). To be honest, I’ve pulled over to catch the top 2 songs of a countdown while driving across the continent because I didn’t want to drive out of the range of the radio station and miss them. True story.
For this particular Top 10 list, we’ll look at what we think are 10 of the top stories from the 2021 season. You may not agree with the order and you may have other stories that should be included, and that’s fine. If you’re so inclined, mention them in the comments either here or on our Facebook page because we’d love to hear what you think.
#10 – Racing in COVID Times
The fact that we even had racing in 2021 is an accomplishment in itself and deserves to be on this list. With things shutting down left and right it’s surprising we had anywhere to go at all.
I’m going to give kudos to the man who went so far in this racing pursuit that he even had the ear of the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford. We’d like to give a big “Thank You” to Ryan Gauld for going the extra mile again and again to ensure that we were able to follow guidelines that saw us get some racing in at all. And we’re not just talking about Ontario. It was the spin off of his hard work that saw races able to take place all the way across the country. We all owe Ryan our deepest gratitude for the work he put in the past couple seasons.
Of course, track owners, promoters, and families are all deserving parts of this pie too, so thank you to everyone.
#9 – Connor Stevenson Dominating Colorado
No, he hasn’t lived in Canada for several years now, but Connor Stevenson is a proud Canadian living in Colorado. He even makes sure he runs the red and white in all the graphics he has done for his race bikes.
The family went through some health scares the past couple years but they never gave up and are back at it full speed.
Connor will now head into the Kicker Arenacross series and has his eyes set back in his home country for when he makes his move to the Pro ranks. Keep an eye out for the #11.
#8 – The Comeback Year of Westen Wrozyna
The 2021 season for Westen Wrozyna was definitely one of the top feel-good stories of the year. After defending his FXR PreMix title, he got the call to race for Kevin Tyler on the MX101 Yamaha team for the Supercross portion of the series. He’d clinched the 2-stroke title a round early and so he raced the final 250 MX round before heading to SX.
Westen has a lot of indoor experience and finished 9-3-2-2 for 2nd overall in the series at Gopher Dunes.
From a rider who looked to be on his way out at the top level to a rider with a new lease on life who will keep chasing the dream, Westen lands on this list.
#7 – Noah Viney’s Final Supermini 2 Race at Loretta Lynn’s
If you didn’t get a chance to watch the racing live on Racer TV you need to watch Noah Viney‘s 3rd Supermini 2 moto which was the final race of the 2021 Loretta Lynn‘s event.
Noah and his family are from Ottawa but now call Murrieta, California, home where Noah has recently moved up to the big bikes and is under the tutelage of the one and only Ryan Hughes.
Congratulations, Noah, and I’ll see you guys soon!
#6 – Evan Stewart and Brennan Schofield Dominate the C Classes at Mini O’s
In both the Supercross and then the Motocross portion of the week, the two of them traded wins and podiums in all of the C classes.
When I spoke with Matt Walker from Moto X Compound he told me they’re going to do the same thing with #161 Justin Burge for 2022.
#5 – Jess Pettis Crash and then Performance to Finish 2nd in 450 MX
When I stood at the side of the track in Deschambault, PQ and watched Jess Pettis crash hard and then crawl to side in a heap, I assumed that was it for the Prince George, BC rider.
With the benefit of a week off before the final round at Walton Raceway, Jess did the unthinkable and returned to action.
Marshal Weltin was the rider Jess was in a battle with and when Pettis was able to gut out a 5th place overall and Weltin a 3rd, they tied in points for the season. However, with Jess’ 3 first place overalls compared to Marshal’s 1, it secured him the runner-up spot and the bonus money that goes with it.
It was a superhuman effort and one that clearly belongs on this list.
#4 – Tanner Scott Goes Undefeated at the TransCan
#46 Tanner Scott did something that hasn’t been done in a long time – he didn’t lose a moto at the TransCan. Going 9 for 9, Tanner won the Fox Bronze Boot in what was a very impressive performance.
Tanner continued his season at the Mini O’s in Florida where he saw some success. He will be a rider to keep an eye on as we head into the new year.
#3 – Jake Piccolo Takes the 250 MX Title
We all know Jake Piccolo has the speed to be a champion at any level, but he never seemed to be able to keep himself off the ground long enough to prove us right. That changed in 2021.
After spending some time at Club MX and under the direction of former champion Al Dyck at Sky Racing, Jake put all the pieces of the puzzle together and walked away with the 2020 250 MX title. Anyone remember that ride at Gopher Dunes?!
Jake now rides for the Red Bull Thor KTM factory team, so it will be interesting to watch as his career keeps reaching new levels.
#2 – Eve Brodeur Undefeated in 2021
I think I speak for everyone when I say that I was always hoping Eve Brodeur would stall off the line or do something that would make her have to work her way through the pack…anything.
Not to take anything away from Sarah-Kim Villeneuve, who was always there in case anything were to happen to Eve, but to win 10 out of 10 motos is an amazing accomplishment.
She moves to a new team with the gang at Cobequid Callus GasGas so this will be the first time we’ve seen a huge change like this in Eve’s program in quite some time. It looks as if Eve will keep winning until she simply decides to hang ’em up, but she’s got some records to solidify first.
#1 – Dylan Wright Races MXGP and More
Of all these great stories the one that captured the hearts and minds of every Canadian MX fan the most was Dylan Wright heading to Europe to race the final 5 rounds of MXGP in Italy.
After defending his 450 MX title, Dylan represented Canada at the MXON at Mantova MX in Italy where he turned heads and earned support to come back to race the final 5 rounds.
He showed he had the speed to battle in the top 6-10 positions and I was honoured to have been there to cover the action for us back home in Canada.
He will go for his 3rd straight 450 MX title here in Canada in 2022, but they promise they have an interesting and exciting schedule planned for the rider who turned heads over in Europe.
Thank you for all the support over the course of the 2021 season. We look forward to moving forward into 2022 and continue to cover our favourite sport and the Canadians who do the riding and racing.
Congratulations to everyone on this list. You all gave us something to cheer for this past season.
See you at the races…