Frid’Eh Update #41 Presented by Fly Racing
Welcome to Week #41 of the Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Fly Racing. For 2015, #41 was the friendly Yonkers, NY rider who we got to know a couple years ago when he showed up to race a few of our MX Nationals. Matt Hammer first appeared in one of our photo reports with what I’m sure would have been some sort of MC-related reference – maybe something like, “Stop…Hammer time!” In fact, I can actually remember typing just that. Sorry for my lack of originality, Matt.
I got the feeling Matt enjoyed his time up in Canada because he could usually be found roaming the pits making sure he got to know the right people and got his name out there. He has good speed and would need some support to be able to cmpete in all 10 rounds if he wants to do better in the standings.
He only made it to the Ottawa National at Sand Del Lee and the final round at Walton Raceway. He took 14th in Ottawa and 25th overall in Walton which put him, rather coincidentally, 41st in the MX1 class. He scored 58 points which will give him national #84 in 2016.
We grabbed him for a quick chat today. Here’s what Matt had to say:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Matt. For those out there who aren’t familiar with who Matt Hammer is, would you mind giving us a little history on yourself and your riding?
I was first introduced to motocross when I was 3 years old. My father purchased a Yamaha PW 50 for me on Christmas Day. And ever since then I fell in love with riding dirt bikes. It’s been a passion of mine since I was 3 years old. At the time, when I was 3 my father asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said, ” I want to be a professional motocross rider, pop!” At age 19 I obtained my Pro license and made my childhood dream a reality. Currently, I’m 22 years of age and I’m blessed and thankful to have this opportunity to be a professional motocross racer. I look forward to all that’s ahead with my career!
What brought you up to Canada for the first time?
What brought me up to Canada for the first time was my curiosity of CMRC Motocross nationals. I’ve watched the CMRC nationals on television and since then I’ve always wanted to compete in a Canadian Motocross National. The tracks looked beautiful and there was a lot of great competition there.
How many Canadian nationals did you hit in 2015?
Unfortunately, I was only able to attend two Canadian nationals this year. Although, I plan to attend at least 4 Canadian Nationals for 2016.
What was your best Canadian race?
My best race in the Canadian Nationals was 2014 when I raced Ulverton in the 450 class. It was a very challenging track with incredible elevation and long straightaways. It was the first time I’ve ever hit 4th gear tapped on my 450 through a mechanics area (Laughs)! Ulverton meant a lot to me because I finished 9th place overall in the 450 class. And I know in the top 10 is where I was capable of finishing. It meant the world to make it a reality! And I look forward to what’s ahead because I know my best races are yet to come!
Have you done many AMA Nationals? How have they gone?
I’ve done a few AMA Nationals in my career. Unfortunately, they have not gone as anticipated whether it be due to injury or technical problems with my motorcycle. The only national I attended this year was Unadilla and I competed in the 450 class. I was only a few positions away from qualifying for the main event. It was difficult because I raced a motorcycle I never rode before and it was challenging to acclimate to the bike without time to test prior. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was not having enough time to prepare since we were in season.
I had an injury midway through the season (concussion & broken nose) which didn’t give me time to prepare before Unadilla. Although, I wanted to compete even if I didn’t have time to test because I wanted to gain experience and see where I stood coming back from injury. Now going into 2016, I will be much more prepared with more time to test and without having to deal with injury. I have been on the brink of qualifying for a AMA national in 450 class only missing it by a quarter of a second and or by 2 positions. I believe racing with injury and lack of testing the motorcycle have been that determining factor of why I missed qualifying. I am assured 2016 will be an incredible season and I will be fully prepared and ready.
What about Supercross? What’s your SX history and will you race this winter?
My Supercross history doesn’t go back far because I didn’t ride a Supercross track until two weeks prior of my first Supercross race at Daytona this year. Even though I didn’t have supercross experience I adapted quickly and it became the highlight of my 2015 season. I have competed in only 2 supercross races my entire life but I intend to do many more!
MetLife supercross this year was my second ever supercross race and I qualified 35th and made it into the night show. I was in heat #2 and was running 9th place in a transfer position! I made a few mistakes through the whoops and fell back a few spots but I gained a lot of experience. I’m excited to compete in supercross for 2016 and I intend on doing many 250 East Rounds for JMR Racing Suzuki.
What is your favourite track you’ve ridden in Canada?
That’s a tough choice! I’d have to say Sand Del Lee and Motocross Deschambault are my favorite tracks on the Canadian circuit.
What are your winter plans?
My plans for the winter are to stay and train at Georgia Practice Facility (GPF). I intend to head down in December and train there until April. I will be riding supercross along with preparing for the outdoor season. It’s a beautiful facility and I look forward to heading down there!
What are your 2016 summer racing plans?
My plans for the summer of 2016 are to race a mixture of AMA and CMRC motocross nationals. I plan to do the 450 class and contend at the races selected by my team JMR Racing Suzuki. I’m excited because it’s going to be a great season! And I’m really looking forward to Southwick MX338 being back on the schedule because that is my home town track!
What’s one thing that stands out about Canadian culture? Food, tradition, anything different you notice.
Two things I’ve noticed in Canada are the food and the people. There were a few times I went out to restaurants and there was no ice in my drink and the food was lukewarm. Maybe that’s culture or I just went to the wrong restaurant (Laughs). What I did really appreciate were the people in Canada. Every time I’ve raced there, everyone has been incredibly friendly and it felt like I was racing at home. There was a time I needed a holeshot device for my motorcycle the night before I raced Sand Del Lee, and I started walking up to a bunch of people I didn’t know. I came across a person with the same bike as me and he let me borrow his holeshot device knowing he had to race the next day. He let me use his and didn’t want my money and just wanted to help me out. I really appreciated that kindness. The Canadian people are really friendly and great to be around. I look forward to seeing them again next year!
Thanks for the chat, Matt. Who would you like to thank?
Thank you, Billy, for giving me this interview and opportunity to answer these questions. I first want thank God and Jesus for blessing me and providing such amazing people in my life. My Pop who has been behind me since day one and without him my career wouldn’t be possible. Thank you to my mother who has been incredible and behind me as well. My trainer, Ray Little, who has been trainer and friend. He continues to help me tremendously and is amazing at what he does. The BIG thanks to Jeff Roberto for believing in me and selecting me to be on JMR Racing Suzuki. I also want to thank Dr. Chris Mascetta of MotoCare Chiropractic. He sponsors me and has been a long time great friend of mine. And lastly to my teams and personal sponsors, thank you to everyone behind me! Suzuki, Phoenix tube, complex building solutions, Federal Hill Home Theaters, Total site solutions, @jmr_racing_team_suzuki @novikgloves1 @tcdracing @faithracers @dt1filtersusa @rekluse_motorsports @6dhelmets @auto_medics_motocross @aliasmx @scottmotosports @motocarechiro @fmf73 @mgxunlimited @defiancelifestyleclothing @bel_raycompany #MindFX #850WoodFired #MilfordRidersClub
Anything else, Matt?
Lastly, I would like to say something that many people do not know about me. Besides being a professional motocross racer, I am also a motivational speaker and a poet. I speak at high schools, middle schools, churches, colleges, or any venue that schedules me. I create inspirational videos along with Christian videos (Spoken Word Poetry) that are on YouTube. They target to help people with struggles and are designed to motivate and make a difference in people’s lives. If you’d like to check them out search Matt Hammer on YouTube. And follow me on Instagram to keep up with new videos and updates: @thehammer727
You can tell just in his answers that he’s a very positive person. Good luck this winter, Matt.
Jeff McConkey is on holidays at work this week.
It’s been a busy few days for me here in Ontario. The weather has been great so I hope everyone has been taking advantage of some perfect fall riding days. Of course, there’s really no time to head out after school or work with the shortening days (Darn you, tilted earth!) Keep in mind, we don’t turn the clocks back until 2:00am Halloween night. That will make it impossible to ride after school. Enjoy it now, while you can.
For those of you who pretend you know why, but really couldn’t prove it, here is a very short video (I’m a total science geek) that explains why the length of days changes:
2015 Parts Canada Dealer Showcase/Arenacross Tour Video
Check out this video that Outlaw Productions put together that recaps the London rounds of the Canadian National AX Tour and the Parts Canada Dealer Showcase that took place the following day out at their big facility on the outskirts of London.
Canada AX Tour
We’ve got a weekend off from the Canadian National AX Tour presented by Royal Distributing. The next time you watch the Valvoline AX Tour LIVE broadcast will be net Friday and Saturday nights from Penticton, BC. We’ve been going live to air starting just after 7pm on race days bringing all the action live to your living rooms. It seems these things can never go perfectly, but speaking with Justin Thompson from AX Tour and Jetwerx this afternoon, he tells me that he’s got the 2nd camera issue sorted so you’ll be able to get a couple different views when this get rolling in a week. If you’re ‘lucky’ he might even have a 3rd camera set up and pointed at Andy White, Chris Pomeroy, and me. Won’t that be a thrill for you all?!
The talk of the series, so far, has been the developing battle between top contenders, Cole Thompson and Jacob Hayes. The two have proven themselves to be two of the favourites and seem to find each other every time they’re on the track. I’m guessing the two will magically be in separate heats in BC, but we’ll see. We spoke with them both after the final round in Sarnia last Saturday night and posted both their conversations up for all to read. In case you missed it, here it is again:
He Said / He Said – Cole Thompson vs. Jacob Hayes
By Billy Rainford
Two riders are slowly separating themselves from the rest of the field in the 2015 Canadian National AX Tour. They are doing the opposite where one another are concerned. #148 Royal Distributing Fox KTM rider Cole Thompson and #100 Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki’s Jacob Hayes are proving themselves to be the ones to beat, as they battle fiercely for this title.
Our story begins at round 2 in London, Ontario, where Thompson came up on the left side of Hayes at the end of the whoops section. When Hayes moved to take the inside line, Thompson went for it, too, and there was heavy contact between the two riders with Thompson going on to take the win.
Friday at Hiawatha Park in Sarnia,Ontario, Hayes took the opportunity to repay the favour in a 180 degree right-hand corner. The result was Thompson flying off the track and the win going to Hayes. This move set the stage for the final battle in what we hope was a best-of-3 affair.
In this past Saturday’s ‘Clash for Cash,’ Hayes managed to get out front to what appeared to be a safe distance from Thompson. As the laps wound down in the 20-lap final, Hayes hit lapped traffic and Thomson turned up the wick. The two had a huge lead over Hayes’ teammate #101 Chris Blose in third.
Thompson was finally close enough to make a pass in the same corner Hayes had slammed him the previous night, and made an aggressive, yet fair, pass to go into the lead. He looked to be gapping Hayes slightly but, instead of checking out, Thompson started to worry about what Hayes might do behind him and the game of ‘Cat and Mouse’ began in earnest.
Scarcely has such a battle of brake-checking and over-the-shoulder looking taken place in a 20-lap final. The problem with these tactics is that once they start they’re difficult to stop – give an inch on the inside and your rival has got you.
While these two played their game for the final three laps of the race, Chris Blose was quietly stalking them both. Chris Pomeroy and I (up in the Valvoline AX Tour LIVE broadcast booth) were both pulling for Blose to come in and pass them both for the win, just to prove a point.
In the end, Thompson held the inside line in the final corner leading to the last straightaway and took the win by a bike length over Hayes, with Blose a very close 3rd. They were all very cordial and even complimentary during their podium interviews with Ryan Gauld.
We went to speak with them at the end of the night to get their final thoughts on the situation. You can listen to the podcasts from Saturday HERE, but this story is so interesting I figured I’d type them out for you to read. Here is how the conversations went:
#101 Jacob Hayes
Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki
Direct Motocross: Man, a really interesting way to end the night with that Clash for Cash. We’ve got one of the favourites, he’s always on the podium. Jacob, let’s talk about a rather exciting night here in Sarnia. Let’s talk about how it went for you.
Jacob Hayes: It’s been really good to me, actually. Getting used to the team, getting used to the Canadian races, the little bit tighter tracks, the little bit quicker rhythm of racing – the turnarounds are a lot quicker than our Amsoil Arenacross races. I’m enjoying myself. You know, really getting used to the team and the bikes. Man, the Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki is unbelievable. I can’t give those guys enough credit. They’re working hard and they’re unbelievable. My Frenchie (Luc Caouette) motors are great, my Graeme Brough suspension is unbelievable and I’m just really enjoying my time here.
This track is longer but really tight. How did that make the racing?
They seem to do that in the Amsoil Arenacross. They get a little bit of a bigger floor so they try to do something creative and it ends up making it tighter for some reason. The one in London wasn’t as tight but it was shorter lap times. This one was longer lap times but twice as tight. I would like to see them make kind of the traditional style arenacross. I’ve come to watch over the years that it creates the best style racing, but tonight they did a great job with the track.
The light was a little hard to see with them coming in sideways, but I enjoyed it for the most part. Friday, I went 3, 2, 1. Tonight I went 1,1 and tried to pull the old hattrick…and it was great racing. You know, Cole Thompson, this is his hometown race here in Sarnia… (Laughs) I love it when I go race at home. You’ve got that extra rider on the back of your bike, and it doesn’t make sense, but the whole crowd behind you and just knowing that energy…you’re feeding off of it. He was riding great tonight and hats off to him and you know, I tried to pull it off but just came up shy.
OK, I’m not going to let you off that easy. It got…to say the least, it got weird out there. He messed up and then caught up…you got really messed up with lapped traffic, and sometimes it really held you up. You guys had a huge gap on Chris Blose and we were calling the race and were like, Chris is going to come up and pass both these guys while they’re messing with each other! Let’s talk about those last couple laps. How was it from behind your handlebars?
Uh, you know, just started doing really, really bad cat and mouse. I checked over my shoulder one time and I was like, wow, if I don’t mess around…if I keep messing around then Chris is going to come up and pass both of us!
We were nearing the end of the race and you know…I don’t know…I don’t really have much to say about it. It is what it is. We had words, a big meeting. They sat us down and talked to us, you know, they always say they don’t want it rough but good aggressive passing so there’s a lot of grey area. What is defined aggressive and what is defined good racing? We’re all out there racing for the win and I’ve got a contract here and Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki pays me to win races not to finish second and ride clean, you know.
Like I said, I want to go out there and win each race and if we have to go in there and just rub a little, I understand that. I would rather do that than ride around in first gear the whole track and ride like I’m riding a PW 50.
That event does have the word ‘clash’ in it so …Dash for Cashes are notorious for these but these are 20-lap races! Those last 2 laps ended up like some of those Dashes where guys do that kind of stuff. It made it fun t watch. I know you guys are going to have a chat with Justin Thompson. You’ve got two weeks off now. What do you do next?
We’re actually going straight to California from here, testing with Team Babbitts Monster Energy Amsoil Kawasaki team. The plans are to race Monster Energy Cup. I haven’t raced a Supercross. I went to practice for a Supercross and ended up getting hurt. Never raced a Monster Energy Cup, never raced a Supercross, so we’ll see how it goes.
#148 Cole Thompson
Royal Distributing Fox KTM
Direct Motocross: OK, we’re just walking along here with Cole Thompson. Cole had one of the most memorable Clash for Cashes, but we’ll get to that. First of all, how did things go in your hometown?
Cole Thompson: It was good. Like I said earlier, it’s cool to have an event in Sarnia. My brother (Justin Thompson) has been working really hard for years and then to finally have it happen and have it all come together the way it did was pretty cool. I know the track was a little tighter than he anticipated but other than that everyone had fun. I think everyone had a good weekend. I know for myself I ended up with a 3rd and two 1sts the first night, and then tonight I had a little bit of rough luck in the main events but ended up with two 3rds and put it all together in the Clash there and it was good It was a really good night for me.
I guess we’ve got to talk about that Clash for Cash. That was a heck of a thing to watch! It got weird at the end but how was it from your perspective? I mean, you were back and then you caught up and things…things happened. How was it from your perspective?
Racing with Jacob’s not like your normal guy. He’s young like me. We’re the same age, so we’re both hungry for wins and I know him being an arenacross guy and me being more of an outdoor/Supercross smooth…I don’t know, I think it was…I think our riding styles are a little different so…
I settled into a pace and followed his lines for the first 15 laps and I thought it was going to be white flag and I kind of put an attack on him and made a quick pass and then from there it was just a chess match. Literally, we were stopping in the corners. He stopped dead to the point where I had to put my foot down and I was debating whether I should shut off my bike so I don’t burn more gas and then go. No, no, just kidding.
But no, were both just back and forth, stopping and going and I think Chris (Blose) actually got close to us there at the end. We were being a little…I think it got a little too much but we’re both passionate and I know he’s really passionate and I’m really passionate to win and I think when it comes down to it, money or no money, I think we just both really want to go for wins and I just had to make it all come together there and the last lap was intense, but I, fortunately, hung on to it and got my 3rd Clash for Cash win this year so it was good to come out of here with the win.
So, not to make more of a deal out of this than we should, but it will be interesting to see what happens when the series heads west to Penticton, BC October 23-24. Both riders seem to indicate that they’d prefer to race ‘straight up,’ but when money is involved and racing is as tight as it is on these Arenacross tracks, you just never know where the night is going to take us.
Add in a few other fast, aggressive riders like Ross Johnson, Brad Nauditt, Jess Pettis and Jake Anstett (and Ryan Lockhart), who may make the trip to Penticton and we could have some very upper-level entertainment out west! You won’t want to miss it.
Of course we’re making a big deal out of the battle, that’s what the media does! It’s turned into one of those rivalries that has the crowd buzzing pre-race when they know the two are in the same heat or main event. It adds a lot of interest to the program so keep it clean, but keep it up, guys; we’re loving it! Royal Distributing Fox KTM’s Cole Thompson didn’t have a 250F at the first 2 rounds in London, but now has a bike for both classes. Watch for him to be on the track every time the Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki rider is from here on out.
Here’s what the points situation looks like after round 4 in Sarnia:
Point Standings (after 4 of 8 rounds)
1. 100 Jacob Hayes KAW 94
2. 101 Chris Blose KAW 84
3. 373 Jacob Williamson KAW 61
4. 20 Dylan Wright YAM 61
5. 65 Scott Champion KAW 60
6. 727 Dave Blanchet KAW 56
7. 10 Nathan Bles KTM 51
8. 34 Westen Wrozyna HON 51
9. 7 Bobby Kiniry YAM 47
10. 148 Cole Thompson KTM 45
1. 148 Cole Thompson KTM 85
2. 101 Chris Blose KAW 84
3. 100 Jacob Hayes KAW 80
4. 373 Jacob Williamson KAW 68
5. 65 Scott Champion KAW 56
6. 34 Westen Wrozyna HON 51
7. 20 Dylan Wright YAM 48
8. 7 Bobby Kiniry YAM 47
9. 727 Dave Blanchet KAW 46
10. 464 Kyle Keast HON 27
Clash for Cash
1. 148 Cole Thompson KTM 95
2. 100 Jacob Hayes KAW 91
3. 101 Chris Blose KAW 80
4. 34 Westen Wrozyna HON 58
5. 20 Dylan Wright YAM 53
6. 727 Dave Blanchet KAW 53
7. 10 Nathan Bles KTM 50
8. 373 Jacob Williamson KAW 48
9. 65 Scott Champion KAW 43
10. 464 Kyle Keast HON 30
If you missed any of the racing, you can watch Saturday night’s action replay here. Fast forward to the Clash at the end if you don’t have time to watch all of the racing.
2016 MXGP World Tour ScheduleThe-official-2016-FIM-Motocross-World-Championship-Calendar
For those of us in the east, it will be really cool to be able to catch the USGP in Charlotte, NC. And with the 2016 Monster Energy MXON taking place out at Glen Helen the following week, it will be great to catch 2 events like this in one year. Make your travel plans now!
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Schedule
While we’re at it…
|January 9||Angel Stadium||Anaheim, Calif.||6:30pm local|
|January 16||Petco Park||San Diego||6:30pm local|
|January 23||Angel Stadium||Anaheim, Calif.||6:30pm local|
|January 30||O.Co Coliseum||Oakland, Calif.||6:30pm local|
|February 6||University of Phoenix Stadium||Glendale, Ariz.||6:30pm local|
|February 13||Petco Park||San Diego||6:30pm local|
|February 20||AT&T Stadium||Arlington, Texas||6:30pm local|
|February 27||Georgia Dome||Atlanta||6:30pm local|
|March 5**||Daytona International Speedway||Daytona Beach, Fla.||6:30pm local|
|March 12||Rogers Centre||Toronto||3:30pm local|
|March 19||Ford Field||Detroit||6:30pm local|
|April 2||Levi’s Stadium||Santa Clara, Calif.||6:30pm local|
|April 9||Lucas Oil Stadium||Indianapolis||6:30pm local|
|April 16||Edward Jones Dome||St. Louis||6:30pm local|
|April 23||Gillette Stadium||Foxboro, Mass.||3:30pm local|
|April 30||MetLife Stadium||East Rutherford, N.J.||2:30pm local|
|May 7||Sam Boyd Stadium||Las Vegas||6:30pm local|
** Daytona is not a Feld Motor Sports produced race
Make sure you’ve taken note that Toronto is back on the schedule for 2016! March 12th you are going to want to be in the Big Smoke for the event’s triumphant return. I see a lot of 2-weekend road trips in my future…and I love it!
2016 Yamaha Ride Day at Motopark
I’m really looking forward to the upcoming Yamaha Ride Day at Motopark next week. The weather doesn’t look perfect in the long range forecast but that place has a tendency to get spared from the rain a lot, so we’ll see. We’ll get the chance to ride:
It might be time to dust off the old V200o and put these things through their paces!
FXR Racing Now Accepting 2016 Race Resumés
Tyler Medaglia Update
After falling a couple weeks ago while in the hunt for a GNCC podium, Parts Canada Thor Husqvarna rider Tyler Medaglia was forced to drop out of the race. It turns out he’s really good at this off-road racing and is interested in doing more of it. He hit his head pretty hard in a rock section and won’t able to make this weekend’s race in Ohio but is considering doing the final event of the series at Ironman MX in Indiana, Sunday, November 1st (Don’t forget the time change, Tyler!).
We grabbed him for a quick chat today to see how he’s doing and it sounds like he’s just fine. The bump to his head seemed to affect his appetite for a week so he was down on calories. He said that was the biggest thing.
He actually looked forward to 2 weeks off the bike to re-energize and heal any lingering injuries from a long season. He gave himself a test by riding his bicycle and then, since it went fine, entered a Cyclocross race and finished 5th overall! I’d say he’s doing just fine.
2016 could be an interesting year for Tyler as he is currently speaking with a Yamaha team south of the border that would see him compete in the entire GNCC series. Kawasaki is also a possibility. He DID say that he would love to stay with Husqvarna because they have been very supportive, but he can’t rule anything out at this point in the year…or his career.
It’s great to hear that his head is fine. Good luck with your negotiations, Tyler. Every team should be jumping at the chance to have Tyler ride under their tent!
Bobby Kiniry Injury Update
While we’re updating the injury roster, let’s make sure we talk about Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry. Bobby took one of the scariest falls when he launched 30 feet into the air without his bike and landed flat on the solid Hiawatha Park ground in a heap last Friday night in Sarnia. You know Bobby is hurt when he doesn’t, at least, find his own way off the track and look for his bike to remount!
Well, things are not warm and fuzzy in the Kiniry camp.
We spoke with Bobby today in hopes of hearing good news, but, unfortunately, Bobby will require surgery and more attention. In the fall, Bobby managed to send the head of his femur out of its socket and around the back of him in what he described as the most pain he’s ever felt.
His doctor looked at the films taken in Sarnia and decided that the injuries are worse than they originally thought. He also decided that those injuries were a little over his head and has sent the case on to a traumatic hip injury specialist in Syracuse. This new doctor told Bobby not to even bother coming in to chat and has scheduled him for surgery next Wednesday. There is a 4cm bone fragment floating around as well as another piece that will need to return home.
Bobby’s doctor actually said the thing you least want to hear from your medical professional: “I’ve never seen anything this bad!”
In addition to this main injury, Bobby has also torn his PCL in his knee and bent the plate in his collarbone, re-breaking it.
In the past, Bobby has broken many bones and when asked in emergency what his pain level between 1-10 is, he is famous for saying, “Zero.” As we were speaking and he was relaxing on his couch at home, he said the pain in his hip was hovering around a 3. That’s saying something!
Good luck with surgery next Wednesday, Bobby. We’ll be sure to get in touch to find out how it all went.
Monster Energy Cup is Tomorrow
Don’t forget to watch the Monster Energy Cup Saturday from Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The only Canadian you have to cheer for is young Casey Keast from BC. This will be the last time you’ll see Casey in competition in the Supermini class. He has experience at this event and will most likely be racing up near the front of this competitive class.
Casey and his dad, Dean, have been out in California training for this event and should be ready to go. Good luck, guys!
Nitro Circus Toronto
We headed to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Wednesday night to attend the first Canadian stop of the Nitro Circus North American tour. If you missed it, here is the way it looked through my eyes:
Nitro Circus Toronto
By Billy Rainford
When I saw the schedule announcing that Travis Pastrana and the rest of the crazy Nitro Circus crew that includes Canadian Jolene Van Vugt were coming to Toronto this year, I guess I just had to see it…again.
Yes, we’ve all seen people backflip a motorcycle now, and yes, a lot of these things don’t always jive with the purist motocross gang, but it has two wheels and knobbies so we were there.
Not being a huge baseball fan, I was a little disappointed to see that the Toronto Blue Jays had just won two games in a row against the Texas Rangers meaning the deciding game 5 would be at Rogers Stadium, right next to the Air Canada Centre where Nitro was to take place. No biggie, surely the baseball game starts around 7:30 meaning we’d be there well before the crowds, right? Wrong. Who puts such a meaningful game at 4pm??? Seriously, it just doesn’t make sense to me.
Yep, it meant we were all trying to get into that little section of Toronto at the same time. Throw in the Toronto FC game and it was the perfect storm of lifted truck, flat-billed hats, chewing tobacco, and Umbro products. It sucked.
We got there early enough to take a little walk around downtown TO for a little late-afternoon shopping. We got to see Fergie at the Hudson’s Bay (whoopie!) and then headed off to take in some dinner at the restaurant that has hosted our last two Toronto Supercross after-parties. Hmm, why are there no lights on? Why is there a small white sign on the front door. Yes, the Houston Avenue Bar and Grill has been shut down. The sign was upside-down and I didn’t have the interest in trying to read it so it could just be a temporary situation, I don’t know. Either way, it left us looking for a meal at a very busy time.
We ended up at a place called iQ where most of the ingredients were Ontario-grown. Nice, we saved the world just a little bit and it felt…OK.
Off we went to the ACC for the Nitro Circus. I’d been to the last one at Copp’s Coliseum in Hamilton, so I pretty much knew what to expect. Emily, on the other hand, is pretty green to all this nonsense so I knew she was in for something…different from her norm.
We met up with Ryan Gauld from Guaranteed MX and Jeff Morgan from MX and Off-Road Magazine and were led to our 3rd and 4th row seats for the show. My favourite thing to do (after watching races) is people watch. There’s always someone doing something interesting, if you take the time to look around you.
Jeff looked over and told us that the woman seated next to him had 48, 178 unread emails on her phone! Seriously, I took a peek after he told us. And I think it’s become a pretty well-known fact that I have developed a rather powerful distaste for this most ridiculous hair fashion some men have been sporting: the Man Bun. Seriously, though, it’s not even really a ‘bun’ so much as a ‘hair apostrophe.’ Can we start calling it that?
It’s at this point of the night when all hell basically breaks loose and the crowd is treated to non-stop action right in front of them that doesn’t relent until they take a break at a sort of half-time.
Good Luck to Jolene Van Vugt
Nitro Circus legend and mainstay, Jolene Van Vugt was in Toronto to participate in any way she could that didn’t involve jumping a bike. She took a nasty crash (I can’t believe I’m going to type this) being shot out of a slingshot in a barrel with wheels over a huge jump. They showed the crash inside the ACC and it wasn’t pretty. Basically, she’s lucky to be alive.
She’s about to head in for some surgery for further repairs. Good luck, Jolene.
FOR SALE: 2015 Scott Solace Disc XL/58cm
If you’re between 6′ and 6’5″ and are looking for a very comfortable and fast road bike, look no further. If you’ve always wondered what riding a full carbon bike would be like but the cost has always kept you away, have I got a bike for you! Regularly proced over $4000, this ‘like new’ bike is priced to go at $2499.99 Canadian. The bike is in London, Ontario.
That will do it for another week here at the old Update. Have a great weekend getting together with friends to watch the MEC Saturday night. The Blue Jays are just about to take the field against the Royals of Kansas City (I’m a huge baseball fan…) – enjoy the game. Good luck to all of our moto friends who are currently, or about to go, under the knife. We’re all thinking about you.
Andy says, “See you at the races…”