Frid’Eh Update #28 | Sam Gaynor | Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada

By Billy Rainford

Week #28 belongs to sophomore 450 Pro, Sam Gaynor. | Bigwave photo

Welcome to Week #28 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Yamaha Motor Canada.

We’re in the middle of a pretty crazy heat wave here in Southwestern Ontario, and riders who are showing up from other parts of Canada are definitely feeling the heat.

We’re heading into a couple pretty significant race weekends in these parts. Gopher Dunes will be hosting Round 3 of the AMO Ontario Provincial Championships (OPC) on Sunday, and then Walton Raceway will be the site of Round 4 next week.

I say these are significant for two reasons:

  1. Both tracks are on the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Tour MX Nationals schedule. Riders will definitely want to get a gate drop on these two tracks to get a leg up on the competition for the coming Nationals.
  2. With so many riders already showing up in Ontario, these two races are going to look an awful lot like the Pro Nationals themselves.

I’ll be at Gopher Dunes this Sunday to check out who’s done their homework over this rather weird coronavirus time. As I mentioned, it’s been crazy hot and humid around here. lately.

Direct Motocross: Hey, Sam. Before we get to some new stuff, we have to mention your top 10 rookie 450 season. You went directly to the big leagues and had a very solid summer. What would you say was your best ride and why?

Sam Gaynor: Hey, Billy, thank you! My rookie season was definitely something I was fairly proud of. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without my team and family but at round 1 the goal was just to qualify, so I would say it was fairly successful!

I would say my best ride would have been round 1. I went 13-15 on the day I think but both motos I came from dead last as I couldn’t figure out the concrete. I also had a very good Walton going 10-10.

Do you miss ripping a 250 or are you just a 450 guy at heart?

I don’t miss the 250. I did ride one about 3 weeks ago, however, and thought it was fun! If I was to ever race one I would need to put a lot of time practicing before racing but I think I’m more of just a 450 guy!

Is everything back to normal with you guys since that awful fire?

Um, I wouldn’t say “normal” as the only space we have to work in is the back of my van and a 14ft X 7ft trailer, but hopefully sooner than later things will get settled and we will have a nice new shop that doesn’t flood every rain storm. Haha

Sam during his Junior year racing at a Motopark Moto Cup event in 2016. | Bigwave photo

Where were you when the Coronavirus panic started? What did you do?

I was down at Club MX training with my teammates Phil (Nicoletti) and Shawn (Maffenbeier). At first my dad and I were both just talking about the positives and negatives of staying or going and it was obvious I needed to stay so I stayed an extra week then my mom happened to be in Flordia on a fun vacation and was driving within a hour of Club to get home and we knew that was our only chance to get everything home (motorhome, pickup truck, trailer), so I ended up having to come home early.

I wasn’t able to be at the Gopher Dunes race a few weeks ago. You went 4-4 in the Cash Class. Can you tell us how that day went for you?

It was a good day! Honestly, coming into the day I had no clue what to expect and we left with our heads held high! We have made gains from last year but still have some learning to do!

I did see you at Round 2 at Walton though. You had some bike issues and your dad said you guys had to sort of put a band-aid on the problem. You came back and had a nice come-from-behind moto and a 2nd behind Cole Thompson. Can you take us through that event?

It was a good day, all in all. We had a few small issues but we made due with what we had in the van and got it so I could finish the day off. The come-from-behind moto was one of my better rides of the day. Little too much paint swapping in the first turn and I ended up on the ground, but I think anyone that was at the track saw I had speed but my results didn’t exactly show it.

Sam is ahead of where he was at the start of the 2019 season after an injury held him back. | Bigwave photo

How are you feeling about your speed right now? I know you can’t know how the other top guys you haven’t seen are doing, but how would you compare your pace heading into this new season?

We are definitely wayyy ahead of last year where I came into the first round with 2 weeks of riding after a broken back. I am pretty excited so far and I can’t wait to carry that into the Triple Crown series!

Our series is going to come and go very quickly in a couple weeks. What are you expecting from the shortened series? Can you come out guns a blazing?

That’s definitely the mindset! Racing 2 days in a row is really gonna show who’s fit. It’s not going to be easy but I’m planning to charge from round 1 till the last race!

What do you think about the format of 1 moto Saturday in the morning and then 2 on Sunday? I mean, we’re just trying to get the racing in, right?

Ya, for sure! We are trying not to lose too many motos. It will be long weekends but I am definitely excited and feel very ready for the 2-day weekends.

Classic dumb question, but what are you hoping for this year?

Just a solid, healthy year. Obviously, I want to be ahead of last year but I have been injured at some point or another every single year since 2015 so no injuries and get good starts so that I can learn from the top guys.

I had to ask about this missed look-back from Walton a couple weeks ago.

And that look-back photo of you and Quinn Amyotte at Walton. Were you two having some fun during practice?

Aha, ya, we were playing around and I was trying to be funny and give the look-back but he was on the other side of me. I thought he disappeared like a magician!

What will you be working on this weekend at Gopher Dunes?

Good starts and trying to latch on with those top guys so that I can learn for the national. Best way to learn is to learn from the best!

OK, thanks for doing this with us. I’ll see you soon. Who would you like to thank?

I would first and foremost like to thank God for keeping me safe, Rockstar, OTSFF, Andre Laurin, Steve Simms, Troy Lee Designs, Pirelli, Atlas, 100%, Motopark, Iain Hayden, Yamaha, Motul, DnD Moto, CTI, Ortho-flex, Pro Taper, Sunoco fuels, SSS Suspension, FMF, all the team sponsors I missed and of course my family, mom and dad for everything!

Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada and the 2020 line-up.

Hot Enough for Ya?

As we close in on the first round of the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Tour MX Nationals, riders have been showing up in the Southwestern Ontario area over the past week.

What they had to welcome them on their arrival is a record-breaking heatwave of days in a row above 30 degrees Celsius. It has been nasty, to say the least. So bad that I even said “No!” to joining some buddies on a patio downtown yesterday. That’s pretty bad.

I know the riders who’ve arrived from the west coast have been finding it difficult to get used to. Let me just say this, nobody is used to it! It is just too hot and humid for everybody. It was over 90 degrees F at 8am this morning. And no, it’s not a dry heat.

I have to spin it in a positive way to get Emily to join me for bike rides in this. I tell her to imagine we’re in the tropics in the middle of the winter and there’s snow on the ground back at home. It helps…a little.

They’re calling for some rain later this afternoon, so maybe it will cut the humidity a little for the weekend. We’ll see…

On Sunday, I’ll be over at Gopher Dunes for Round 3 of the AMO Ontario Provincial Championships (OPC). This will be the last race on the famed sand track in Courtland, Ontario, before they host the first round of the pro nationals.

Jess Pettis is en route to Gopher Dunes for this weekend. | Bigwave photo

I’m hearing there will be a ton of our top riders racing this Sunday. I just spoke with Allison over at KTM/Husqvarna Canada and she confirmed that #15 Jess Pettis is on his way west from Montreal with JSR headed toward Gopher Dunes.

He’ll join his 450 teammate Cole Thompson who very likely will be there for one final shakedown race in the sand.

As of this Update, I’m only assuming Dylan Wright and Ryder McNabb will be racing at their home track race.

Jake Piccolo and Tyler Gibbs are already here from BC and will be racing.

There will be a whole host of local Pro talent there as well. Watch for Marco Cannella and Hayden Halstead to be on the track.

Tanner Ward and Quinn Amyotte are two more 2019 top 10 250 riders who should be making an appearance.

Shawn Maffenbeier is here in Ontario and will be on the line in the 450 class.

Keylan Meston, Wyatt Waddell, Davey Fraser and Casey Keast, I believe, are somewhere in the middle of the country and won’t be here in time to be hitting this round, but I would be surprised not to see them all on the line next weekend at Round 4 at Walton Raceway.

I’ll be sure to shoot lots of photos and 2nd moto video to let everyone know how the racing goes.

Greg Poisson will be there for DMX doing post-race interviews, so we’ll have those up right away on Sunday night.

Riders Showing Up All Across Ontario

American riders have been spotted crossing into Ontario to begin their 14-day self-isolation decontamination!” ~ Dave Bell | Bigwave photo

$1M fine and a 3-year prison sentence if you are found to not be isolating properly!

Canada customs border guard

With today being the last day you can officially arrive from the USA and abroad and still get your 14-day self-isolation in before the first round at Gopher Dunes on July 25th, riders have been showing up in Ontario for the past week or so.

We’re told defending Rockstar Triple Crown 450 champ, Phil Nicoletti, arrived a few days ago and is doing his stint in isolation.

Matt Goerke and his mechanic/team manager, Chad Goodwin, have made it in and are doing the same.

I was texting with Tyler Medaglia this morning and he’s made it from Nova Scotia to his parent’s place near Ottawa.

Along with him is American Marshal Weltin. Marshal is the new 250 rider on the team and is doing his self-isolation there. Canada takes this COVID-19 situation very seriously. Tyler actually told me that Marshal was warned there is a $1M fine and a 3-year prison sentence if he is found to not be isolating properly!

#23 Dakota Alix posted on his Instagram that he is getting set to make the trip north, so let’s assume he’s now in Canada.

Sky Racing riders, Ryan Surratt and Richard Taylor, also need to make it across today.

The PRMX guys, Josh Cartwright and Cheyenne Harmon, are heading for the border today, so hopefully they make it in and can start their isolation time today, too.

Word on the street is that Bobby Piazza has made it across and will begin his 2 weeks. I also heard that the border guard was actually a moto fan!

250 Top 10

Place – Name
Number – Hometown
Total Points
#19 – , 
3rd 2nd 6th 1st 1st 1st 2nd 1st 417
#1 – , 
7th 3rd 11th 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 10th 344 (-73)
6th 5th 2nd 4th 6th 5th 7th 2nd 336 (-81)
#121 – , HERE
4th 1st 3rd 5th 11th 3rd 4th 3rd 327 (-90)
#14 – , 
5th 9th 4th 7th 5th 4th 5th 5th 310 (-107)
#46 – , 
9th 6th 5th 6th 7th 6th 8th 4th 290 (-127)
#94 – , NOT COMING
2nd 10th 1st 3rd 3rd 9th 3rd   287 (-130)
11th 8th 7th 12th 10th 13th 10th 7th 222 (-195)
1st 4th 17th 13th 4th     14th 195 (-222)
14th 11th 25th 11th 14th 12th 12th 8th 192 (-225)

450 Top 10

Place – Name
Number – Hometown
Total Points
#45 – , 
2nd 1st 2nd 4th 1st 2nd 3rd 3rd 396
#800 – , NOT COMING
4th 4th 9th 1st 4th 1st 2nd 4th 374 (-22)
#54 – , HERE
3rd 2nd 6th 2nd 13th 3rd 1st 1st 366 (-30)
#1 – BRIGDEN, 
1st 6th 11th 3rd 5th 4th 12th 2nd 330 (-66)
#12 – , NOT COMING
10th 10th 5th 9th 8th 5th 7th 8th 275 (-121)
#10 – CALGARY, 
7th 7th 10th 21st 7th 6th 6th 5th 254 (-142)
12th 9th 7th 10th 9th 9th 5th 9th 251 (-145)
#3 – , 
5th 3rd 8th 5th 3rd     13th 220 (-176)
6th 8th 1st   2nd 16th 4th   218 (-178)
#80 – ERIN, 
14th 15th 20th 14th 11th 10th 11th 10th 197 (-199)

Luke Renzland Not Racing MX Portion of Triple Crown

You know times are tough when the defending 250 champ isn’t going to be coming north to go after the MX crown.

Luke Renzland will sit out the MX portion of the Rockstar Triple Crown, at least. Luke posted an explanation on his Instagram page outlining the reasons it just won’t make sense for him to race MX up here this season:

I did a Zoom video interview with Kevin Tyler from the MX101 Racing Team on Thursday to find out what all this means for the team:

Tim Tremblay Hurts Ankle in Downhill MTB Fall

Also, Tim Tremblay was all set to make a run at the Canadian MX Nationals this season when a crash during a downhill mountain bike took him down and injured his ankle.

Tim was showing great speed when he raced an early season event at Gopher Dunes, finishing 2nd to Dylan Wright ahead of Cole Thompson.

Tim has been spending time in his hyperbaric chamber in a n attempt to be ready to go for Round 1 in a couple weeks.

I did a Zoom interview with him on Thursday to talk about it all:

“Resurgence” Video Project

Speaking of Greg Poisson, we’re joining up with him for a pretty cool video project that will see Greg get himself back in race shape for an event yet to be determined this season.

The working title is “RESURGENCE,” and we’ve got a sweet new Husqvarna FC350 bike for him to ride. He’ll also be geared up in some Fox Racing Canada kit, so you know he’ll be looking good.

This project will bring some more eyes on Mental Health Awareness and we are really looking forward to working with him on this.

Everything to do with getting back behind the gate will be covered in this professionally shot and edited series.

If you’re at Gopher Dunes this Sunday, feel free to ask Greg more questions about it.

OK, it’s time to get everything ready for a busy weekend of racing. No, I won’t be lining up on Jeff McConkey‘s Yamaha YZ250 2-stroke this weekend. Truthfully, I’m worried about getting it dirty and never getting it back to the way Jeff had it!

I’ve already had an old riding/racing buddy, Jamie Ruddock, asking me to head out to some of the local practice tracks here in the London, ON area, so it’s just a matter of time before this bike gets some fresh mud on it.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Check out the 2021 Monster Energy Edition YZF. Oh, and we’ll see you at the races…