Frid’Eh Update #16 Presented by Label It
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to week #16 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update, this week brought to you by Label It Custom Labels and Decals. For 2016, #16 belongs to the rider out of Utah we got to know very well over the past few years. Blake Savage could be one of the nicest riders you’ll ever meet. The fun-loving rider has blistering speed and now calls California home.
I spoke with Blake for a long time in January out in California. You may have seen him in your social media feed as he has teamed up with none other that Ken Roczen as a training partner. It seems to be working. In our conversation, Blake made it clear that he would still be racing at the top level if the grind of finding a good ride every year wasn’t as difficult as it is. He said it’s just too hard to show up at these races without the top equipment, so he has moved away from the weekly Pro racing scene. To be honest, I’ve never seen him happier!
We got in touch with Blake in his home state of Utah today to get caught up on what he’s been up to. Here’s what he had to say:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Blake. We saw you out in California this past January and you filled us in on your newest ventures, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Let’s start with a bit of background, if you don’t mind. Where are you from and how did you get into motocross racing?
My background with racing starts when I was about age 5. My parents had bought me a Yamaha 50 to just play around on. I remember I learned to ride on Friday, and my dad took me out to the local track the next day to go race. Ever since it’s been a huge part of mine and my family’s life, and I’m very thankful my parents got me into riding because it’s shaped me into who I am today and have gotten to meet many great people because of it.
You were in a very fast group of amateur racers coming up through the ranks. Can you tell us who some of your contemporaries were?
I took a different path in my amateur career. I started out in moto just like anyone else, and I was never a big standout till I went Intermediate and Pro my last 2 years. At age 13, I got an offer to race off road races for a factory Suzuki team. It was a great experience and I learned a ton of bike skill. I won a couple mini bike championships which was really cool. After about 4-5 years of racing that, the team ended up folding, so I was stuck with going back to my roots of racing amateur motocross races.
What was your best big amateur national results?
In 2011, I went to Loretta’s for my first time and got two 2nd place overalls in 250B Mod and 450B Mod. That was pretty much the highlight of my career. Other than that, I had some decent finishes and podiums at other nationals. Like I said, I didn’t have a ton of success as an amateur until the end. I was kind of a late bloomer and feel like I matured a bit slower than the other kids so it took me longer to get stronger and aggressive to be faster.
You turned Pro and made your way up to Canada. How did that all come about?
After getting a top 5 in the pro class at Loretta’s in 2012, I showed up at Walton and raced for the GDR Honda team as a fill in for Tyler Medaglia. I got 2 good starts and my best finish in a moto was 4th, and I believe I got 5th overall my first big Pro race at Walton.
You really seemed to fit in up here. Can you sum up that first year?
I enjoyed it a lot being in Canada! I got invited back in 2013 by the GDR team, and I was very thankful for it. Unfortunately, I got hurt at the end of Supercross that year and struggled with a wrist injury the whole summer. It started off slow and got better as the series went on. I got some top 5’s and only got 1 podium, ended up 5th in the series, I believe. I had learned a ton that summer and knew I would like to come back and race another year.
You came back last year and raced MX2 for the Devil’s Lake MX team. Can you take us through last summer, briefly?
Yeah, it was a lot of fun again! I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but it all ended up working out and had some decent rides last summer.
You finished 5th in the series. What were some of your highlights? Lowlights?
Highlight was definitely a podium at Deschambault again, as well as riding pretty good at Gopher Dunes but had small mistakes that kept me off the podium. There were a couple lowlights that were maybe out of my control.
What did you do after Walton?
After Walton, I went home and went to work for my girlfriend’s dad’s doing concrete. I was kind of over moto and wanted a break away from some of the struggles that come with it. Working a regular job helped me take my mind off of it. At that point, I was almost having me fun digging ditches and finishing concrete more than I was dealing with all the other BS.
OK, when I saw you in California, you mentioned your newest venture helping out Ken Roczen. Can you tell us how this came up and what it means exactly?
Ken and I had started training with each other about 2 months before the Nationals. It worked out great, and it helped the both of us push each other and made it fun to put in the work during the week. So, he approached me to continue full-time as an employee to train full-time with him. That’s pretty much all it started out as, and it’s turned out to be something positive for the both of us.
I keep in contact with Peter, who is Ken’s trainer, and keep a plan and make sure we’re doing the right work loads during the week and make sure everything is going to plan. Working with Peter sparked an interest for me to get into physical training and get an education, so I have been doing some classes and school work to learn more about the human body and training.
We found you in your home state of Utah today. What are you up to?
I flew home for the weekend to see the family, my girlfriend, and friends. My dad asked me about 2 weeks ago and said, “What do you think about doing this off road race for fun.” I thought about it for a little while. I haven’t raced since Walton and I have only rode maybe 3-4 times. I got on the bike and started riding a couple times a week and my speed and fitness came back faster than I expected, so I called my dad up and said let’s do this thing! So, this Sunday I’m doing a 2-hour off road race through the local desert and sand dunes. I have just a stock Suzuki 450, but it will be a blast to just be back at the races with my family, and no pressure on myself.
After this weekend, what’s next for you?
Back to the normal routine again. I fly back to Florida again on Monday to continue training, and I will actually be training for a triathlon at the beginning of next month. I also finish up the first part of my school in the next week or two.
It sounds like you are very happy with this new chapter in your life. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’m happier than I have been in a long time, actually. I have no stress in my life, and I am just enjoying every day focused on something new. In my future, I would just like to see myself working with top level athletes in many different sports. I’m still very young and have a lot to learn, so I’m just going to take it slow. I’m lucky to have the job I do and I am able to learn a lot ever day.
Well, good luck, Blake. Thanks for chatting with us today. Who would you like to thank?
Thanks a lot, Billy! I definitely have to thank my family, and especially my dad for all the years of going to the races and all his support. I want thank some of the people that continue to support me and are still like family to me, and they are Beeks and Austin at Fox, as well as Russ at 100% goggles. Thanks for everything!
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In the 450 class, we saw our best race for the lead all season. The top 2 guys got out front together and took off from the pack. Jason Anderson had an impressive ride for 3rd, but was left in the ruts by a very fast pace from Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen. These two went tooth and nail and both made some minor mistakes. It’s not often you see Dungey make mistakes, but it just goes to show that he is not letting up and cruising to this championship. I feel like Roczen has finally found a setup that he is confident and comfortable on, but it’s a bummer that it took this long. Yes, he can still win the championship if disaster strikes, but I highly doubt it will happen. Here are my predictions for St. Louis:
Holeshot: Malcolm Stewart
1st Malcolm Stewart
2nd Martin Davalos
3rd Jeremy Martin
4th Aaron Plessinger
5th R.J Hampshire
Holeshot: Josh Grant
1st Ryan Dungey
2nd Ken Roczen
3rd Trey Canard
4th Jason Anderson
5th Eli Tomac
Can’t See the Forest for the Trees|Women’s National MX Series
By Jeff McConkey
It’s been a while since I went on a good rant, so here we go.
This past week I read something on social media that has fired me up a tad. Before I start, I want to get it out there that I am a huge supporter of women’s motocross, and I will continue to support the girls. In the past, I have worked for and traveled with some of the best female racers in Canada, and I’m very happy to call them my friends. Early in the week, Canadian Women’s East Series co-organizer Leah Clarke reached out on social media looking for help. For those that don’t know, the East and West National series are run by volunteers. These people work year round to ensure that there is a National series for the women to compete in.
First of all, this is a National series, not a Pro series. We have riders who are complete beginners, all of the way up to the girls that actually carry a Pro license. The best part about this being a National series and not a Pro series is the variety of skill. There are battles throughout the entire pack, and everybody on an 85cc bike and up is encouraged to race.
Back in the day, our Women’s National series went coast to coast. We even had a few girls under the tents of the big teams. It was great to see. Unfortunately, this is Canadian Moto and the money just isn’t there. Very few girls were able to contest the entire series coast to coast and the rider turnout was poor at many rounds. Let’s face it, 75% of the men’s Pro class still work a real job and can’t afford to travel the series.
Anyway, a couple years back it was decided to do away with the cross-Canada women’s series. That’s when a few very dedicated people stepped up and fought hard to keep the girls racing. In the new format, the women would now race on the Saturday during the amateur program. Some girls got a little ‘butt hurt,’ but racing on Saturday was 100% better than not racing at all. Both the East and West were given 3 rounds and things started looking good again.
Fast forward to present day. Both Women’s coasts are continuing to improve and we have some of the best talent ever. East co-organizer Leah Clarke posted on social media that she was looking for some help finding sponsors. She mentioned that last year’s survey indicated that the girls “would like better prizes.” In my opinion, this seems a little ridiculous. What other racing series has a prize table at the end of every round? And these prize tables are no joke! The organizers on each Coast have secured some amazing sponsors who have donated some serious products and services for the draw table. It absolutely blows me away to hear that the girls want more. Nowhere else, at any racing level, do they offer this at every round. The Pro Men’s series does not have this.
This is a National series. You are racing the best girls on your coast to secure a top 10 National number. That is your prize. There is even payout for top ten riders, which is unheard of in an amateur series. I just don’t get where these expectations come from? You get to race the best, you get to race on Nationally-prepped tracks, and you get the same media coverage as the Pro men.
By the way, this is probably a great time to thank Shrader Motors. The great people at Shrader’s in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, make it possible for Direct Motocross to feature a new female racer each and every week in our ‘Out of the Blue’ columns. With the support of Rick Bradshaw and his amazing crew at Shrader’s, we have been able to bring you a different female racer each week as I search the entire country looking for new talent.
Okay, back to my rant. The series organizers have been doing such a great job that they have attracted many American racers. The greatest woman racer of all time, Jessica Patterson, even made an appearance last season in Ulverton, QC and showed the girls what a top pro looks like. I actually spoke to a woman racer later on in the season who expressed to me how she thought that fast Americans should not be allowed to ride our series. I’m still shaking my head. Why are we so narrow minded to think that it’s totally fine for Canadians to try and contest any series, anywhere, but the moment some fast foreigner wants to race in Canada, it is not allowed? A real competitor wants to race against the best.
In the end, this rant was not to discourage or deter any woman racer. In my opinion, it is a well-needed eye-opener. If you girls want a better series with better prizes, step up and help out and ask your personal sponsors to help the series. You cannot keep taking and taking and give nothing back. In the end, the more everybody digs in, the better your series will become.
On an ending note, if you had any idea how hard Sylvain Brodeur and Leah in the East, and Sierra Roth and crew on the West worked, you’d be shocked. You girls have an amazing series, I just don’t know why you can’t see that?
Husqvarna, FXR, Motopark, and Dreams of Glory
I will be loading up first thing in the morning to meet up with Bigwave Billy and my buddy Greg Workman from Parts Canada at Motopark. I met up with Victoria Hett last weekend in Montreal at Husqvarna Canada and picked up the all new Husqvarna FC250. You would not believe how long this last week has been. I’ve caught myself making unneeded trips out to the garage to just stare at this thing. I never really thought I was a white bike type of guy, but boy was I wrong. This thing is gorgeous. I almost don’t want to ride it. I said almost…. but you better believe I’m going to. Heck, this bike even has Bigwave Billy excited enough to blow off the dust and throw out a stop watch challenge. Yeah, it’s that nice. And yes, Billy will be don some fresh FXR gear thanks to Andy White and throw down like it’s 1986 all over again.
I spent some time last season riding a TE 250 Husqvarna, but this will be my first ride on the mighty four-stroke. During my brief visit to Husqvarna, Victoria was nice enough to bring me up to date on the new Husky model and a little about the brand. Did you know that Husqvarna has produced a motorcycle every year since 1903? Well, it’s true, and pretty darn impressive. They are definitely a pioneer in the motorcycle world, and they don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
If you happen to be at Motopark, be sure to stop by and say hi. We will be the 2 best-dressed guys smiling from ear to ear. Have a great weekend, and #smileforBC!
Thanks, Jeff. Man, I can barely concentrate or get anything done after going back into our photo album for that old Motopark photo! I remember it like it was yesterday…
OK, I won’t bore you with all the details, but there was a funny part of that day up at Motopark. I had just moved to the big bike class after a very mediocre 80cc career. They let me sign up in the Junior B class so I went for it. I was certainly no superstar who was going to turn the 125 class on its ear, but I was also not a B rider. However, riding that barcalounger-on-wheels on a motocross track handicapped me enough to start out in the slowest class, I figured.
Well, I ended up winning by over 30 seconds and every time I’d complete a lap and come by the finish line loudspeaker, I’d listen for my name but never heard it. I don’t know if someone was pissed at me for sand-bagging or if they just didn’t have a clue what it was I was riding and so avoided the trouble of guessing, but I never got the glory of hearing my name way out front…ever. I never thought that bothered me until that photo conjured up these emotions. Haha.
The following week, I moved up to the Junior A class and nestled into the middle of the pack where I belonged…
Anyway, yes, we’ll be up at Motopark Saturday to spin a few laps on the Husqvarna FC250 in our fancy new FXR gear. Please, try not to frighten us as you fly past. I scare easily. And, yes, in a moment of misplaced competitiveness, I may or may not have thrown down a ‘stop watch challenge’ to Jeff. It’s not a question of whether you win or lose, it’s just trying not to be last!
Motopark Weekend Details
WEEKEND AT MOTOPARK
MOTOPARK welcomes CMRC for their 1st Ontario Provincial of the year this Sunday April 17.
Practice this week takes place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. Saturday the main track will be open for practice from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the mini track from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Practice rates are $35 per day and those racing Sunday don’t require a Motopark membership.
Both CMRC and AMO trailers will be on hand Saturday should you wish to purchase a racing license for 2016 or require a transponder. Rental transponders will be available.
There is lots of primitive camping available. All Motopark’s serviced sites and hotel rooms are taken for the weekend. Camping fees are $20 for one night, $30 for two.
All generators turned off at 11p.m. No motorcycles are to be started from 7 p.m. thru to 9 a.m. each morning at Motopark. No pit bikes are allowed at any time. Golf Carts or utility ATV’s must be operated by a licensed driver. No children are allowed to operate any sort of pit vehicle. No fireworks of any kind are permitted. Campers under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian in attendance.
Gate admission for the race is $10 for adults, $7 for children under 12, free for 5 and under. Entry fees main track are $35 for the first class $25 second class and $20 for a third class. Mini Track entry fee is $25 each class. Vintage $25 1st class $20 2nd Early sign in takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday night. Early race day sign in 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. Sunday sign in opens at 7 a.m.
Compulsory riders meeting at 8:40. Practice starts at 9 a.m. Firewood is available from the main gate which is staffed 24 hours. $10 per grain bag full.
The Off Road Café will be open serving great food all weekend including our Pasta special and of course moto muffins to handle the morning hungries. We will have a Steak or Chicken barbecue available Saturday night served from 6 to 7 p.m. $15, tax included. Please let the snack bar staff know if you would like dinner as early as possible Saturday.
Motopark is located just off Hwy #6 1 km south of Williamsford, Ontario, 2 hours North of Toronto’s Pearson Airport. For further information email email@example.com Website www.motoparkracing.com
MOTOPARK, 622794 Moto Park Rd., Chatsworth, Ontario, N0H 1G0 519 794-2434
Gopher Dunes Weekend
We know there is lots of other riding and racing going on across the country, but you need to let us know if you’d like it to appear here in the Update. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Own a Piece of Canadian Moto History! ‘Carmen’ the Buick Electra is FOR SALE
Yes, it’s true. We’re going to have to part with this little piece of Canadian Moto memorabilia. Bottom line, I’m not allowed to park it in our driveway, and John Roney over at Xtreme Toys can’t have it littering up his property any longer.
This is the 1989 Buick Electra Estate Wagon that took MX Forum and Pirate Radio across the country doing live Canadian National audiocasts back in 2009. It may well be the most comfortable car you’ll ever sit in.
Anyway, what is the value of this gem, you ask? You tell us. We put a new (used) transmission in it 2 years ago and it’s been sitting in the field ever since. Actually, Justin Roney turned the key in it a few months ago and she fired right up and moved to another, more hidden, part of the Xtreme Toys property. This thing could make someone very happy. Yes, it’s the one where the back seats can face out the back. It’s c pure classic!
Email us at email@example.com if you’re interested in saving John’s marriage.
Graham Jarvis, Colton Haaker, and Canadian Jamie Baskerville in New Documentary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Traction eRag and Motojournalism present:
Life has many paths. Which line will you take?
The creators of Fifty Years of Kicks bring you Checkpoints, a new motorcycle documentary about living a life devoted to off-road riding. We check in with five riders, ranging from 15 to 75 years old. Is it worth the sacrifices required to become a world-class professional rider, or is it better to have a full-time job and ride motorcycles for pure enjoyment?
Graham Jarvis (age 40) – Red Bull Hard Enduro champion
Colton Haaker (age 25) – Maxxis FIM SuperEnduro champion
Paul Rodden (age 75) – 50 years of competition and trail riding
Larry Murray (age 65) – former Can-Am and Husqvarna Enduro rider
Jamie Baskerville (age 15) – Beta-supported GNCC racer
The 40-minute documentary will be distributed for free on YouTube. The release date will be April 28th, 2016, at 6PM EST.
The documentary was filmed in August 2015 in Mattawa, Ontario, Canada, on the Voyageur Multi-Use Trail System (VMUTS). Five riders from around the globe were assembled to discuss living an off-road lifestyle.
What are the first steps in becoming a professional rider? What aspects of “normal life” do you have to give up in pursuing that goal? How do you remain on the podium when you are 40 years old? Can it always be fun? These are some of the questions posed in the film and addressed by a group of men who have focused their lives on dirtbikes.
Funded by our fans with Kickstarter.
Sponsored by: Ontario Tourism, Husqvarna Motorcycles, Beta Motorcycles, What a Ride, Canada Rides, TekVest, and Bytown Motorcycle Association.
2016 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals|Who’s Riding What? – What We Know at this Point
Were now less than 2 months away from dropping the gate at round 1 of the 2016 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals at Whispering Pines in Kamloops, BC, June 5th. Here is what we know, so far:
11. Kaven Benoit – KTM Thor Racing – MX1
12. Jimmy Decotis – Unable to race in Canada due to Honda commitments in USA
14. Jeremy Medaglia – Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing – MX2
15. Shawn Maffenbeier – BigSteelBox Rememption Racing Fly KTM – MX2
16. Blake Savage – No longer racing Pro motocross
17. Dylan Wright – MX101 FXR Yamaha – MX2
18. Brad Nauditt – SG Power Shift Scott Honda Canada – MX2
19. Morgan Burger – Attending college. Maybe Canada with Brough family
20. Jess Pettis – MX101 FXR Yamaha – MX2
22. Cole Martinez – racing in USA.
1. Matt Goerke – Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha – MX1
2. Colton Facciotti – Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing – MX1
3. Brett Metcalfe – Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha – MX1
4. Cole Thompson – KTM Thor Racing – MX2
5. Tyler Medaglia – Parts Canada Thor Husqvarna – MX1
6. Cade Clason – BigSteelBox Redemption Racing Fly KTM – MX1
7. Bobby Kiniry – Retired last fall
8. Kyle Keast – KTM support – MX1
9. Dylan Schmoke – 1st 2 US Nationals and wants to head to Canada but “can’t do it on my own. I’m looking for a ride.”
10. Teddy Maier – Retired after last season
Hayden Halstead|The Truck Driving Pro Motocross Racer
First off, let’s get you up to speed with this:
Yes, Hayden Halstead will be driving the MX101 FXR Yamaha big rig and racing the MX2 Nationals. Has that ever been done before? I’m not sure, but if you know Hayden, it just makes sense. I gave him a call today to see what he’s up to. He’s currently down at JWTF getting ready on his Yamaha 250F.
Hayden says he really likes the North Carolina facility because Jimmy Weinert keeps it rough and it makes for great training and testing. He also mention that Jimmy is “like Rocky.” He’s an old school guy with old school ideas and work ethic. He even made Hayden do 100 push ups for swearing!
Hayden had been talking with Kevin Tyler from MX101 since last fall and ‘KT’ had expressed an interest in trying to do something with him while still thinking Jimmy Decotis was returning to the team. When that fell through, they started talking a little more, wondering how they could make something work after signing young Jess Pettis to the squad.
When the idea of having Hayden also drive the team rig out west, it all started falling into place for both parties. What better way to get the truck across the country for cheap and give Hayden the opportunity to hit all the rounds? It was a perfect fit! Hayden already had his bikes and some parts and the the team will help him with everything else he’ll need along the way.
Hayden’s dad will fly out west and mechanic for him and his mom will also fly out for the first two rounds and see the west coast for the first time. Hayden, himself, plans to head west a couple weeks before round 1 and do some riding in the Kamloops area before the races.
He will head home from North Carolina at the end of the month where he said he’s been riding with a bunch of fast riders fro Quebec, including Jeremy Pronovost and Guillaume St Cyr. Hayden likes the 250 and said he really only chose to move up to the 450 because he thought it would be a more affordable way to go racing. He’s loving the 250F but says he needs to lay off the rear brake a bit so he’s been pounding laps on the turn track all day.
Good luck, Hayden. This new plan may have other Pro riders heading to the Ministry of Transport to get their A-Z license!
Brad Nauditt Update
Doing the top 10 in each class got me wondering what the ‘nearly Canadian’ rider from Spokane, Washington, has been up to lately and what his plans are for this coming race season. Well, I caught Brad Nauditt in Idaho for an RMX race weekend with the Brough Family, Riley and McCoy. Brad said he was happy to be coming in under the radar and I told him I was about to blow that idea out of the water.
After enjoying some time with Ed Wagstaff and the gang at GA Checkpoint Yamaha, Brad has made the switch back to his familiar red Honda. He will be teaming up with BC rider, Graham Scott. Brad wanted to thank Ed for all the support.
He will race the MX2 class again on board an SG Power Shift Scott Honda Canada 250F. They will travel in the Scott’s rig and Graham will compete in the MX1 class for the team.
Brad took most of the winter off and is a new home owner in Spokane. What I liked most was that he was telling me the temperature in various places in Canadian Celsius. He truly is a ‘near Canadian’ and it will be great to add his name to the ultra-competitive MX2 class this summer. Both classes are setting up to be the best ever!
Thanks for the chat, Brad, and best of luck with the rest of your preparation heading into Kamloops.
OK, it’s time to get ready to head up to Motopark for tomorrow’s ride day. Wherever this weekend finds you, have fun and enjoy the summer-like weather.