Frid’Eh Update #2 Presented by Leatt
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Matt Goerke is the rider who won the dubious honour of winning our ‘Worst Starter’ award simply for the fact that he found himself coming from the back of the pack more often than he would have liked last summer. If he was going to stand a chance at taking the MX1 title from Davi Millsaps last year, there was no way anyone was going to do it after picking their bike up in the first turn more than once.
Here’s a look at Matt’s 2016 Rockstar MX Nationals season:
We gave Matt a call today, knowing he was going to be very busy getting set for round 2 of the AX series in Grand Rapids, Michigan. But, it true Matt Goerke fashion, he had no problem chatting with us as he dragged his bags from the carousel out to his car and beyond.
Since time is in tight supply here today, we’ll have to post the interview straight from my voice recorder. If you’d like to hear what Matt has to say, check it out next:
Thanks for taking the time to do that, Matt, and best of luck this week in Grand Rapids.
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Happy Friday. Well, we waited for it, wished for it, and we finally got it. Supercross is back. Although we are heading into round 2, there are still plenty of questions still to be answered. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, Ken Roczen was head and shoulders better than everyone. He wasn’t challenged at any point, and made it look super easy. As good as Ken, his program, his bike, and his A1 performance was, I just can’t see that happening 16 more times. The 450 class has too much talent. Too many previous winners, and quite a few potential winners. It’s a great time to be a fan of the greasiest sport.
I still feel that Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen are the serious players in this championship. Eli Tomac came in thinking wins and championship. After his heat race win, it looked like he needed to be added to the list behind Ryan and Ken…. that is until Eli pumped up in the main and went backwards.
I was a little shocked by 450 class rookie, Cooper Webb. I was expecting a very confident Webb to come in and instantly fight for top 5’s and better. I still think we will see that, so I’m going to forget about his A1 and consider it a warm up. The guy is just too damn good.
Once again, Jason Anderson made some passes moving forward. Unfortunately, his start wasn’t very good, and when you spot those guys that much of a lead, you’re not going to catch up to them in 20 minutes. Trey Canard rode the hot lap and made the choice to DNS. I personally feel it was a good choice. Too many riders go out hurt and make it worse, and I respect Trey for being man enough to make the smart decision and pull out. Let’s hope he can heal up quick and make the best of this great team and bike.
This weekend the series heads to San Diego. I’m really hoping for a more technical track with big whoops. It makes for boring racing when everybody can go pretty much the same speed. Here are my predictions for Round 2. Oh, and did I mention that I was a perfect in my top 5 predictions last week? Yes, it’s true. Some weeks my predictions have most of you thinking that I have no idea. Well, not this week!
1st Ken Roczen
2nd Ryan Dungey
3rd Jason Anderson
4th Eli Tomac
5th Marvin Musquin
In 250 West action, there was no real heavy favourite going in. Some would argue that and say Jeremy Martin. Yes, he is a two time National Champion, but he’s had more than his fair share of SX hiccups. Wether it be missing back to back mains or poor finishes due to crashes, he just can emulate his outdoor success.
Then you have the 12-year veteran, Martin Davalos. This guy has the speed and talent where he could honestly win at anytime, but he also has the inconstancy and bad luck where he could be in this class until retirement.
Although he finished 2nd in last years 250 East, Aaron Plessinger wasn’t a strong favourite. That didn’t deter the friendly Ohio native and in my eyes he was clearly the fastest in the class.
I was happy to see Shane McElrath grab the first win of his career. He’s been injured the past few seasons and is finally healthy. He’s a pretty smooth rider and will no doubt be up front battling all season long. Here are my predictions for San Diego.
1st Aaron Plessinger
2nd Jeremy Martin
3rd Shane McElrath
4th Austin Forkner
5th Justin Hill
Back here in the Great White North, there still hasn’t been much ‘Silly Season’ news. It’s actually pretty boring. Guys are going to be wanting to head south to begin their 2017 preparation. Some sad news came out this week. I had been hearing rumours that we won’t be seeing Brett Metcalfe in 2017. Well, it’s finally been announced and Metty will return to Australian competition full-time in 2017 with SD3 Husqvarna. Yes, it is sad, but Brett is one of the hardest working, classiest guys in the business and I wish him and his family the best of luck. Recently, Brett has been seen helping out Kyle Chisholm and the Smart Top MotoConcepts team riders.
Short again for me this week, I guess I’m bitter that I’m stuck in the cold and Billy and Jack (Wright) are on a great 3-week road trip. Not to worry, I’ll be back in the saddle for A2. Have a great week and #smileforBC and #liftwithscott.
Thanks, Jeff. It’s been a bit of a crazy week for me. What started out as a solo mission to San Diego turned into a much more enjoyable road trip as up-and-coming Intermediate rider, #211 Jack Wright, decided he’d like to come along for the adventure and hopped in at the last minute. Chris Lyons was hoping to come along but the crazy weather we had as we were preparing to leave left him unable to make it down to London and he had to miss out on this one. We’ll try to make it sound boring and uneventful to save Chris the remorse…
Anyway, with the 40-hour drive in our rearview mirrors, we now find ourselves in hot and sunny…er, um, cool and wet Southern California for round 2 of the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series at Petco Park in San Diego (you’ll have to ask Ron Burgundy what it means).
We left Ontario in a crazy snow/ice storm that came pretty close to forcing us to postpone our departure, but when you’ve raced as many mud races as we have, you just “put your head down” and go for it! We weren’t going to let some deadly road conditions stop us from getting south!
It rained solid for the first 10 hours of the drive, until we made it south of Chicago and into St. Louis, Missouri. It was a rough start, to say the least. Once we made it out of the storm, the sun came out and gave us probably the nicest sunset either of us had ever seen. No, there were no filters used in that sunset/big rig photo I posted the other day. It actually looked that amazing.
We made it to Mesa, Arizona, at the end of Day 2 of driving. It was actually the first time we pulled over and tried to get more than 3 hours sleep each. Until that point, we’d been doing my tried and true method of 3-on/3-off driving shifts.
We headed west on I-8 until we heard everyone on the coast was heading east to find warm, dry conditions. It was still pouring in San Diego. We clicked on the old internet to see that we were going to be passing right by Arizona Cycle Park #acpmx by the Arizona State Penitentiary.
We pulled in and who do we find but Canadian #497 Brock Leitner. It was a fortuitous moment for sure. Brock was putting in laps with none other than #32 Weston Peick on his 450. What a cool opportunity for Brock to get to spin laps with a top level Pro rider.
Brock put in another sprint training session as his trainer, Sean Hamblin watched closely and took his lap times. Both Sean and Weston said that if Brock is able to ride as calm and relaxed as he did on the ACPMX practice track, he should make it into the night show no problem this week in San Diego.
Once we left ACPMX we headed straight into rush-hour traffic on our way to the autograph session at Toyota of Escondito. Neither of us had ever seen a car dealership as big as this. I’m guessing that’s because there really aren’t too many others like it! It is massive.
Here are a few photos from Thursday night.
We met up with Intermediate rider #818 Davin Grose who is out here living the dream in his Sprinter van with…everything he owns! Seriously, he said he only left a couple plastic bins at his parents’ place back in Ontario. We met up with him in Encinitas last night for some dinner and a well-deserved malt beverage at a place called the ‘D Street Bar and Grill’ where it was apparently ‘Trivia Night.’
It was great for all of us to sit and shoot the breeze with fellow Canadians. In fact, one of the trivia questions asked ‘Which Canadian province took French as its official language back in 1974?’ The guy running the show was surprised to announce that every team got the answer right. We were impressed. We spent the night over at Davin’s ‘campsite’ and got a needed full night of sleep.
We all woke up bright and early and waited for Davin to put on his wetsuit for an early morning surf sesh in Encinitas. He was the only one in this particular spot and with that comes a few nerves as you sit in the water wondering why nobody else was in that spot. It’s an ominous feeling as your mind runs several terrifying scenarios through it that all end up with you being a very tasty part of the food chain.
Fortunately, the fins we saw appear at the surface not far from where Davin was bobbing in the water were those of friendly and protective dolphins. There are a surfer’s best friend. There was, however, a large log-looking thing floating in the waves that turned out to be a sea lion…we all know what likes to feast on those and so the mind wandered terrifyingly again.
Anyway, Davin caught himself a few lovely waves and came in after a short time so we could all head somewhere for breakfast and some internet.
This brings us to now. I’m currently sitting in the van outside Petco Park where the Press Conference is about to take place. Since it has been raining so much lately, I’d be surprised if anyone will be hitting the track today, but it hasn’t been raining for a few hours now, so you never know.
I will have to head out now and try to find some internet to post this Update to the site as I make my way to the stadium. I will have to navigate the stormy waters of ‘tent city’ that seems to be taking more and more over the city over every time I visit. There are thousands of people living on the streets here.
***As we all now know, the Press Conference was canceled***
Kaven Benoit to Race Dortmund SX This Weekend
We mentioned it last week that two-time Canadian MX2 champion, Karen Benoit, has made the trip over to Germany to compete in the Dortmund Supercross this weekend.
Good luck, Kaven. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the results as they come in.
Kaven missed the Superpole Friday night but well be back at it Saturday in Germany.
SX1 Friday Night
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend and be sure to tune in to Direct Motocross for all the updates from San Diego this weekend, especially those concerning Canadian riders and those with a Canadian connection. We’ll do our best to let you know how everything is going down.