Frid’Eh Update #37 | Jayce Pennington | Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada

By Billy Rainford

Week #37 belongs to Illinois rider, Jayce Pennington. | Bigwave photo

Welcome to Week #37 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Yamaha Motor Canada.

I’d seen Jayce racing down south in the past but had never met the rider from Illinois until he came north to race out series in 2019. He came in with a ton of potential, but struggled with a few lingering injuries that prevented him from performing at the level he was hoping for.

Here’s a look at his 2019 Rockstar Triple Crown Tour season:

He ended the motocross season pretty strong and then capped it off with a strong moto 2 at the Montreal Supercross, finishing 3rd. Here’s what Jayce had to say when we got in touch with him this week in Illinois:

Direct Motocross: Hello, Jayce. Thanks for taking some time with us today. Let’s take it back to the beginning to let everyone get to know you little better. How did you first get started racing Motocross?

Jayce Pennington: I started out riding in my backyard on a JR50 and loved every second of it! Around 8 years old I decided to start going to local races just to have fun and decided after 2 years that I wanted to start taking it seriously and that’s where I started racing amateur nationals.

What was your first number and why did you choose it?

My first number was 101. I actually chose that number because I was a fan of Jace Owen who was number 401 at the time.

Where did you grow up and who did you come up through the ranks with?

I grew up in southern Illinois. I raced Chase Sexton a lot, Tanner Stack, Lance Kobusch, and Austin Forkner. All of us were from the same general area so we raced a lot of the same tracks.

Jayce joined the series in 2019 for the eastern swing of the motocross portion of the tour. | Bigwave photo

What was your best result as an amateur racer?

I would have to say winning a moto at Loretta’s.

How did your deal to come up and race in Canada in 2019 come about? Had you ever been here before?

2019 was my first year up in Canada. The deal came about when the team I was on, Traders Racing, decided to partner with Club MX. The team decided together that we wanted to go up to Canada. New experience, new riders…we were excited.

You came in for the MX portion of the series and ended up pretty strong with a 6th and 7th. How do you think your series went?

I started the series on the 4th race. I actually was not happy with how my series went. I struggled with injuries through a lot of it. I had 6 ribs that kept popping out on my left side, and I had just came back from a pretty big wrist injury which is what caused me to miss the first 3 races. So, even though my speed was there, I wasn’t able to handle everything how I normally would when I got tired or the track was extra brutal. No excuses!! That’s just what I dealt with through the series and overall I was hoping for a stronger ending to it.

After struggling in the first moto, Jayce came back for a 3rd at the Montreal Supercross. | Bigwave photo

And then you raced the Montreal Supercross and got 10th. How was that event for you?

I had a blast at Montréal. I did place 10th but I went 19-3. I got the holeshot the first moto then biffed it. Haha. My bike was tweaked from the crash and that was hard to come back from. Second moto I had last gate pick and managed to get a good start. I rode my own race to a podium. 

What did you get get up to after that?

After racing in Canada for the year I came back to Club MX to start training for the Supercross series in the US. Shortly before New Year’s I decided I wanted to step away from motocross. 

Oh wow. And what are you doing these days?

Job-wise, I am currently in training to be a general manager for one of the car dealerships my family owns. I spend more time at home, more time with my family, and I have a girlfriend. It’s nice to get to see what it’s like having a more normal life compared to racing and training everyday.

Jayce has stepped away from the sport and, hopefully, it’s nothing but smiles for him. | Bigwave photo

Looking back on your racing career, is there a memory that stands out for you?

I would say the memories that stand out the most is all the times motocross brought people together as family. The times a rider would get hurt and every person at the track felt for them. The times all the 50-65-85 and big bike riders would be sitting waiting for their race just talking. The times your dad was next to you on the gate telling you “go kick some a**”. The feeling you get when you’re riding and there’s not a single thing going on in your mind other than, “How can I go faster?!“. And, obviously, the times you exceeded expectations, put it all on the line and it worked, it got you the race win, or the podium. 

Well, I wish you all the best in the future. Stay healthy and thank you for taking this time with us. Is there anyone you’d like to thank before we let you go?

I want to thank my family for their nonstop support and encouragement. The teams I raced for that went above and beyond for me: Club MX, and Traders Racing. Skip Norfolk was a big part of helping in my pro career, I want to give a special thanks to him. Other than that, everyone, everyone along my journey of racing helped me…the good and the bad. I’m just grateful for the experience.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Jayce. All the best. | Bigwave photo

Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada

It’s always great to hear that when a rider “hangs them up” they have a solid plan. It sounds like Jayce is going to be just fine now that he’s moved on to the next chapter in his life. And who knows? Maybe one of their car dealerships will be the title sponsor of a Supercross team! Once a motocrosser, always a motocrosser, Jayce. You’ll see.

We just wrapped up the final round of the Motocross portion of the shortened and greatly altered 2020 season. With Motocross Deschambault not holding the final round as originally planned in the rescheduling of the series, the gang at Sand Del Lee agreed to play host for back-to-back weekends.

There’s more to it than just firing up the equipment and grooming the track. The biggest issue is getting insurance to hold the races and that’s where everything needed to be sorted out before they could simply open the gates again.

Thanks to some fast footwork, we had a place to go last weekend to finish up and we even got sunshine for what seemed like the first time since the spring!

The biggest news of the weekend was, of course, the mid-air contact between 450 points leader Dylan Wright and race leader #54 Phil Nicoletti. In case you were under a rock last week, here’s the video clip from the broadcast that Michelle Halstead was kind enough to screen record and send over:

The inside and outside lines leading to this tunnel jump set you up for different trajectories and the two proved just that when they hit the face of the jump at the same time.

I still can’t believe two things: 1) that neither of them even fell! and 2) that Phil was able to use that ripped up hand to ride over to the medics to get looked at! Craziness.

I’m sure in hindsight Phil would have tried to stay left more and Dylan would have waited until another turn to make the pass that was surely coming. It’s racing and sometimes that kind of thing happens.

Fortunately, Phil was back at the track and even congratulated Dylan on a great battle for the title. It was not a sign of Phil being soft, but quite the opposite – it showed he is man enough to confront the rider who beat him in the war and congratulate him. If you think that’s a weakness, you’re looking at it all wrong. Can you imagine where you’d be if you had done that to your hand at work?!

Anyway, what’s done is done, and all Phil can do is heal and all we can do is move on.

Place – Name
Number – Hometown
Total Points
1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st 335
3rd 2nd 4th 4th 2nd 269 (-66)
5th 6th 3rd 3rd 4th 260 (-75)
4th 4th 6th 5th 3rd 255 (-80)
2nd 3rd 1st 2nd   236 (-99)
10th 11th 5th 6th 5th 192 (-143)
#28 – ERIN, ON
6th 9th 8th 7th 7th 192 (-143)
#64 – PARIS, ON
7th 10th 9th 8th 8th 173 (-162)
#50 – EASTON, PA
9th 7th 7th 10th 11th 158 (-177)
8th 8th 11th 15th 6th 151 (-184)
11th 12th 10th 9th 9th 149 (-186)
#33 – HEARST, ON
12th 17th 13th 14th 13th 92 (-243)
#208 – , 
  13th 18th 11th 10th 90 (-245)
#76 – G0S2V0, QC
13th 14th 17th 13th 19th 79 (-256)
16th 20th 12th 22nd 16th 56 (-279)
20th 5th       53 (-282)
18th 18th 23rd 17th 12th 51 (-284)
15th 16th   26th 14th 47 (-288)
  23rd 16th 16th 17th 34 (-301)
14th 21st       28 (-307)
#343 – GRIMSBY, ON
19th 19th 19th 21st 21st 28 (-307)
17th 22nd 14th 24th 24th 27 (-308)
      12th   25 (-310)
      19th 15th 23 (-312)
23rd 15th     22nd 22 (-313)
      18th 18th 22 (-313)
      20th 20th 13 (-322)
    15th     11 (-324)
22nd   20th 25th 25th 7 (-328)
21st     23rd   6 (-329)
        23rd 4 (-331)
    21st     3 (-332)
#171 – OTTAWA, ON
    22nd     2 (-333)
    24th     1 (-334)
          0 (-335)
          0 (-335)
#980 – DETROIT, MI
          0 (-335)
          0 (-335)
          0 (-335)
#150 – AURORA, ON
          0 (-335)
          0 (-335)
#570 – TRENTON, ON
          0 (-335)
#128 – OAKWOOD, ON
          0 (-335)
          0 (-335)
#243 – CONN, ON
          0 (-335)
          0 (-335)
          0 (-335)

As for the 250 class, #15 Jess Pettis was the class of the…class. Going into the series, #19 Marshal Weltin was the rider we expected to challenge the Prince George, BC rider for the title, but he just couldn’t get going the way he would have liked, and Jess ran away with it.

It was fun to watch lifelong rivals, Marco Cannella and Tanner Ward, go head to head each and every week to fight over 3rd place. In the end, Marco got the position (by just 3 points), but it was never a given.

With Pettis heading to the 450 class, the 250 series will be wide open in 2021.

Place – Name
Number – Hometown
Total Points
1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st 341
2nd 2nd 3rd 5th 3rd 274 (-67)
3rd 3rd 4th 3rd 2nd 266 (-75)
4th 4th 1st 2nd 4th 263 (-78)
#123 – BC, BC
5th 5th 14th 7th 5th 197 (-144)
11th 8th 6th 11th 7th 165 (-176)
8th 7th 5th 9th 17th 157 (-184)
6th 6th 8th 6th   151 (-190)
12th 14th 12th 4th 6th 150 (-191)
7th 16th 17th 15th 8th 128 (-213)
10th 15th   10th 9th 114 (-227)
19th 10th 9th 16th 11th 100 (-241)
16th 9th 13th 14th 12th 100 (-241)
18th 18th 7th 12th 16th 99 (-242)
#377 – TELKWA, BC
9th 12th 15th 18th 18th 84 (-257)
#223 – PERTH, ON
24th 23rd 11th 13th 10th 75 (-266)
    16th 8th 13th 69 (-272)
#325 – LANGDON, AB
15th 11th 22nd 19th   50 (-291)
      17th 14th 38 (-303)
#92 – CANADA, BC
14th 17th       37 (-304)

In the FXR Pre Mix class, Westen Wrozyna took the title without winning a round. Heading into the series, I would have thought the 8th place rider from 2019 in the 250 class would have had everyone covered, but young #2 Sebastien Racine and #327 Brandon Gourlay proved me wrong!

The thing was, Westen was on a 125 while the two riders that beat him were on 150’s. I never think of that as being a big deal but then I think about watching 65’s race 85’s and it sinks in. Sure, the wheels are the same size, but 25cc’s is still something to think about.

Westen says he’ll return in 2021 to defend his title but with those extra cubic centimetres in his bike.

What’s really cool is that this class will continue to bring Pro level riders who’ve moved on from chasing the Pro series and who still have the competitive fire burning but want to do it in a more fun sort of way. Let’s see who shows up to challenge Westen next year. I’m sure 2019 champ, Nathan Bles, will have something to say.

Place – Name
Number – Hometown
Total Points
2nd 2nd   3rd 3rd 211
8th 5th   1st 1st 201 (-10)
11th 11th   2nd 2nd 175 (-36)
#259 – STAYNER, ON
3rd 6th   5th 4th 163 (-48)
5th 9th   7th 5th 146 (-65)
4th 3rd   6th 14th 136 (-75)
9th 12th   11th 6th 112 (-99)
#405 – PICTON, ON
14th 13th   12th 10th 85 (-126)
7th       7th 68 (-143)
      13th 9th 60 (-151)
1st 20th       51 (-160)
#818 – ALMA, ON
      4th   48 (-163)
15th 14th   14th   48 (-163)
  1st       47 (-164)
6th 17th       41 (-170)
      8th   40 (-171)
#338 – TELKWA, BC
  18th   15th 16th 37 (-174)
#148 – VARS, ON
        8th 36 (-175)
  4th       34 (-177)
#574 – KAMLOOPS BC V2B-0G8, BC
16th 10th       34 (-177)

In the WMX class, we all knew Eve Brodeur was going to be near impossible to beat. It looked a little strange seeing her with the #2 on her bike, but she lost the title in 2019 to Isabelle Thibault who didn’t return to defend her title.

I had heard Isabelle was making the move to the 2-stroke and was going to try to prove she could run with Eve at the front, but we never got to see it happen. Maybe next year…

Behind Eve, #31 Megan Brodeur was in a class by herself; she had the rest of the pack covered but couldn’t quite match the speed of Eve.

The most fun was watching who would finish in 3rd place each week. #33 Malia Garant, #87 Michaela Hamm, #27 Maya Legare and then #105 Ani Ferguson on her 125 2-stroke were the ones to watch.

I’m going on record as saying Ferguson is a future champ. Once she makes the switch to the dark side on a 4-stroke, she has the aggression and pace to go for titles.

Place – Name
Number – Hometown
Total Points
#141 – LAVAL, QC
1st 1st   1st 1st 250
2nd     5th 2nd 158 (-92)
  4th   3rd 3rd 144 (-106)
  2nd   6th 4th 142 (-108)
10th 3rd   9th 8th 133 (-117)
4th 5th   10th 9th 133 (-117)
3rd 8th   7th 12th 131 (-119)
8th 14th   4th 10th 123 (-127)
7th 7th   11th 11th 122 (-128)
15th 6th   12th 5th 118 (-132)
#110 – LASALLE, ON
9th 12th   8th 6th 118 (-132)
5th 10th   14th 7th 112 (-138)
6th 9th   20th 13th 82 (-168)
#971 – ACTON, ON
14th 13th   13th 16th 72 (-178)
      2nd   64 (-186)
16th 18th   15th 14th 61 (-189)
  15th   16th 15th 53 (-197)
#970 – ACTON, ON
13th 11th   21st 17th 49 (-201)
#425 – SARNIA, ON
11th 16th       33 (-217)
12th 17th       31 (-219)

Faces at the Races | Sand Del Lee 2 | Presented by Husqvarna Motorcycles Canada

We were back at Sand Del Lee just outside Ottawa, Ontario, for the final round of the 2020 Rockstar Triple Crown Tour Canadian MX Nationals. Complications at Deschambault required some last-minute shuffling and the gang at SDL put on another national just one week after Round 4.

Let’s have a fun look at some of the non-racing action from Round 5 with another instalment of ‘Faces at the Races.’

Hang on, let’s make sure everyone is ready, first…

“Uh, Roger, we’re ready to begin when you are…”
The best race days start out with a nice cup of coffee. Dominique Petruska agrees.
Anyone else catch themselves singing one of Dave Bell’s musical gems at home this week? Just let it run out of gas, Dave! lol
Kind of like how we hate it when a Canadian goes south and does miserably at a one-off AMA National or Supercross, we didn’t really get to see what Jeremy Medaglia has left in his racing tank at Sand Del Lee.
Motocross is usually handed dow from generation to generation. I have some concerns about that probable right foot over-pronation though.
Artsy (?) 100% product shot.
Artsy Atlas Brace shot in the Monster Kawasaki Pro Circuit pit. I was stealing a nice cup of coffee, so this was the least I could do.
Tyler Medaglia telling a wild fish tale, no doubt.
Eve Brodeur ready to cap off a perfect season.
Bob Hope for Texaco. (Google it, Bowker!)
Like I’ve said before, believe it or not, this is a huge part of racing you miss when you stop.
If Ani Ferguson continues racing, she is a future multi-time champ.
I still don’t know if this is serious or a Jeremy Megrath joke on #409 Brenna Schofield’s helmet.
I guess you’re not allowed to take a rolling start at the gate anymore…
Paul Kingsley runs out of the way after #33 Malia Garant gets completely taken out on the start straight.
Yep, nobody is going to argue this.
Eve trying out the My Pitboard system.
Coffee or no coffee, Dylan Wright had a good day on Sunday.
Bryan Cormier and his 1993 YZ…f
#942 Preston Masciangelo didn’t have the greatest day, but he’s just getting started.
Booger giving instructions to Lane in ‘Better Off Dead’ comes to mind. Yes, again!
OK, one more.
He may not have won any of the battles, but he won the war!
Westen will defend the title in 2021 but with 25 more cc’s.
Sebastien Racine will likely be racing Pro/Am, not the FXR Pre Mix next year, so everyone should be safe.
I waited for tears that never came. Sounds like a country song lyric! Dave, did you play that one?
Flip flops.
Cale Foster putting his back into it.
Parachutes only work when they’re open, Shawn Maffenbeier.
I don’t have a fisheye lens like James Lissimore, but I still like the shot.
Once Jess Pettis moves up to the 450 class, who steps in? Tanner Ward has an idea.
Matt Deroy is fun to watch at the gate. He creates masterpieces.
When Ryan Surratt uncovers his eyes, he’ll be at an off-road race in Idaho.
Hey, Casey Keast, what position will you be in when you and #21 Quinn Amyotte go down? Too soon?
Guillaume St Cyr is looking forward to racing some Supercross.
Donk and Davey started every moto with a staring contest.
Who are you even talking to on that thing, Oliver?
One of the best Herman cartoons is when two guys are looking at the rear end of an animal stuffed on the wall. The one guy says to the other one, “It looks better in the other room.” Oh, Jim Unger was the author of Herman.
William Côté: as é in French été.
Make Reece Rendall an offer on some of his old and classic Oakley sunglasses.
Did Dave tackle #444 Branden Fiejo’s name?
I just happened to have this shot of #180 Rylan Lavalee next and it turns out he’s from the same small town of Inverary that Branden is from. Weird.
I wonder if I told Quinn Amyotte that I actually took a photograph of me standing in front of the Hanna, Alberta, sign if he would “Look at this photograph...”?
Thank you, sir. May I have another!!!” It’s Animal House for goodness sake! And 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.
I heard a rumour Jess Pettis was supposed to have “Jumpin Jess” painted above this.
Logan Leitzel thinks that would have been great. But I think he’s pretty happy about everything!
That’s definitely the sound of a 4-stroke Josh Cartwright is making. Oh, ask me about a funny pool tournament story about me making this gesture…
If you look closely, you’ll see two cool things in this shot. This is when Dave Bell made fun of me over the PA.
Bobby Kiniry famously always did this move too.
Broken toe forced Sam Gaynor to borrow one of Phil Nicoletti’s bigger boots to accommodate the swelling.
He’s not gone yet, folks. We’ve still got 4 rounds of SX to watch Matt Goerke.
It was pretty cool that Phil came down to the podium to congratulate Dylan after that scary crash and grotesque hand injury.
If I had a nickel for every time I set up to take a shot like this., the DQ Blizzards would be on me…
There wasn’t any Huber hubris, but Marshal Weltin and his team wanted this win. (Yes, I just wanted to use that alliteration)
Marco Cannella will also be looking for a title once Pettis has amscrayed to the 450 class.
Yawn. Come back and talk to us in a few years… (REDO ALERT!)
Steve Beattie was very busy getting riders suspension ready at Sand Del Lee.
Doug Pettis had me cracking up every time we crossed paths this week. I’ll still never forget having dinner at their place in Prince George a bunch of years ago when he looked at me from across the table and said, “Bill, you’d never know it but we’re really, really redneck!” As Johnny Depp said in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,’ “He’s strictly and prototype. Never meant for mass production.”
Team shot.
To steal the cliché from the hairdressing world, only your mechanic knows.
You have to keep your head on a swivel when championships are handed out. There are special moments happening everywhere!
Oh, that’s nice!
That was the last time we’ll see Matt Goerke on an outdoor MX National podium.
It takes a village…and some pepperette money!
This will be Matt at a Florida mall next year and some parent will be chasing him away.
I think other teams will be “seeing red” for many years to come. Meh, it was all I had. Sorry.
Matt said he’ll be watching the races from a boat next season.
True story: my dad used to say he made fun of me when I was a little kid because when I’d sprint I’d look back at my feet to see how fast I was going.
If you didn’t get your hat signed by Jess, just go to Gopher Dunes for Supercross. Wait…
Team photo.
Guillaume didn’t want to hit the road until his whip was pristine.
It sounds like Logan Leitzel will tough it out in his truck and trailer and make it to race our Supercross series. He should step it up even more in this discipline, I think.
Dylan Kaelin and Wyatt Waddell call it a series.
OK, let’s all mask up and head over for some Supercross racing next! Thanks for looking. See you at the races…

Now we turn our attention to the 4 rounds of Supercross that will be on an outside, purpose-built track at Gopher Dunes. It seems whenever there’s a problem with this crazy pandemic year, one of the track owners at Walton Raceway, Gopher Dunes or Sand Del Lee steps up to save us all. Thank you!

I spoke briefly to Derek Schuster last week in Ottawa and he showed me the proposed track layout. It’s a 4-lane track with nice, long straights. The start will shoot down the middle. He said it wasn’t etched in stone and that there would likely be s bit of tweaking before we see the final track design.

Vision Built SX Track will be the place to be as we move into Supercross season, just ask 2019 Tanner Ward and Cade Clason. | Bigwave photo

If you’re a Pro racer and are looking to get some SX practice, get in touch with the guys over at Vision Built Tracks. They have a picture perfect track in the middle of a rolling corn field right by the Putnam overpass off the 401 near Ingersoll/Woodstock that looks like the motocross version of Field of Dreams!

I’m sure it will be a beehive of activity between now and Round 1 of SX, so that’s where you’ll find me and my cameras.

We should be in for some perfect fall weather between now and the first round so I’m looking forward to seeing everyone out getting in some time on the local tracks.

In fact, Emily and I may fire up the old ’78 MGB and take a cruise out that was now to see what we see. The jets can be seen and heard overhead for practice day here in London as the Air Show is apparently this weekend. If you haven’t purchased a ticket, don’t look up!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

See you at the races… | Bigwave photo