Frid’Eh Update #45 | Damon Luksys | Presented by Yamaha Motor Canada
By Billy Rainford
Hello, and welcome to Week #45 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week presented by Yamaha Motor Canada. I’ve just returned from Italy where I was able to watch Dylan Wright compete in the final two rounds of the 2021 MXGP schedule at Mantova MX. I’m so lacking sleep that I’m having a hard time putting a sentence together in my head, let alone putting it down in type for you to read. Forgive me if this doesn’t go very well.
Damon Luksys is the rider who earned #45 for the 2021 season. This is his first time under the 52-number cap that gets you a Frid’Eh Update Intro Interview, so that’s pretty cool. Unfortunately, his summer ended much too early after an accident at Walton TWO took him out for the remainder of the season (Yes, he clears that up in our chat).
Let’s get right to his interview and then I’ll try to spin some yarn from the Italy trip. Of course, I’ll do a much more in depth column about it, but I’ll see if I can do a little bit here, at least.
Here’s what Damon had to say when we got in touch with him:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Damon. I think we have another first-timer here this week! That means we’re going to have to take this all the way back to learn more about you. How old are you and where are you from?
Damon Luksys: Hey, Billy, thanks for having me on! I’m 27 and I grew up and lived in the small town of Beeton, Ontario, for most of my life. I just recently I’ve moved to Meaford in the spring.
How did you first get into motocross?
My dad definitely got me into Motocross. My dad used to have my older brother ride around an old mountain ash tree in the back yard on a PW50. After bothering my brother enough times and me “accidentally” grabbing the throttle and sending him crashing into the back door of the house, once the old man cooled off from that, he finally put me on the PW50 when I was 6 years old. Haha. Later on he would take me and my brother to a sandy riding spot in Innisfil where we would practice most weekends.
Who was your moto hero when you were a little kid?
I looked up to a lot of riders growing up and generally just loved the sport more than anything, but I’d have to say my moto heroes as a little kid would be a combination of my dad, JSR (Jean-Sebastien Roy) and K-Dub (Kevin Windham). I was a big K-Dub fan.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you (wink), but I chose #45 as my first race number back in the day… What was your first race number and how did you choose it?
Ha, no way. I didn’t know I was repping your OG number! My first year of racing was with CMX in 2013. I picked #12. I was familiar with #12 from when I played soccer, but I originally chose it because I was born on the 12th. My second year racing I picked 17 because I thought it looked better on a bike and ran that number for a long time.
Who did you come up through the ranks battling?
I’ve had a ton of fun battles coming up. It’s hard to remember them all but a few riders I remember battling with would be: Brett Husak, Chris Bingham, Matt Cooper, Cohen Roberts, Davin Grose, Cale Barnes and Eric Schildt, to name a few.
Did you hit any of the big US Amateur Nationals when you were younger? Which ones and what was your best?
I’ve done quite a few house league amateur events racing in the US. The only big one I hit up was Red Bud. Unfortunately, the stator in my bike fried at the end of practice so I never got to race but it was super cool just riding on that track! The mega parties and craziness in the pits definitely made up for my disappointment! REEED BUUUUD!!!
What year did you turn Pro and how did it go that first time?
I turned pro in 2020 and had an up and down season. I started the season off sick with a bad infection and was on antibiotics for a month, so I was struggling with my fitness in the beginning but gave it everything I had at each National round.
Then, who could forget the gnarly mud motos! Later on through the season I had a fluke fuel pump issue that eventually lead to a bad crash at Sand Del Lee. The 2020 season was a true test of character for me, but despite all that I managed to race almost all rounds obtaining my first pro points earning the National #45. I was super stoked about that!
But then we didn’t see a whole lot of you in 2021. Can you take us through what happened?
I was super exited to use my experiences from 2020 into this season and make a good push, but, unfortunately, it was a throwaway year for me. I had bike issues just before the first rounds and was lucky enough to be able to borrow my good buddies, Kyle Hughson and Garret Good, bikes to race the Nationals!
During the second round at Walton on the opening lap of the first moto, a rider aggressively crossed jumped in front of me off the face of the natural double jump and I went down hard. I ended up completely tearing 2 ligaments in my rotator cuff and injuring my upper and lower back. That was a huge bummer for me but I’m very lucky to walk away from that one!
Yikes! How are things now?
Things are going well for me now. It’s been over a month since I had surgery done on my shoulder and I’ve just started physio earlier this week and will continue physio for a few months. It’s a long recovery but I’m really looking forward to rebuilding!
What are your winter plans?
I recently went self-employed managing rental properties and also have plans on finishing the renovations on my own investment property. That will definitely keep me busy this winter and, more importantly, there is so much for me to learn!
And what about the 2022 season? Do you have any plans for that yet?
Ya, for sure. I have nothing set in stone yet but I definitely plan on racing the 2022 Nationals. I still feel like I haven’t reached my full potential in the pro class. Hopefully, after the renovation I will have enough money for a bike in the spring! Haha
Great to hear and good luck getting back at it. Thank you for taking some time with us. Who would you like to thank?
Thanks again, Billy, I really appreciate it! I’d like to thank all the sponsors supporting me through the ups and downs of the sport: John Nelson, St. Onge Recreation, OGs Optics, FXR, Kenny Bland, DND Moto, F45, GPF and Yamaha Motor Canada.
Like I said at the beginning of this column, I’m pretty wiped out after coming home from Italy yesterday. Not only am I tired from the travel and time change but I actually picked up a cold when I was out in BC the week before so I coughed through every night I was in Italy, leaving me more tired than I should have been.
I’d like to take a second to thank Carl Bastedo from Motopark for being a great travel partner the whole time. It was always amazing to be able to pick his brain for stories from his long history in Canadian and world motocross. This guy is an encyclopedia of motocross history. It’s damn impressive. If it happened within the last 80 years (as it all has) then Carl was on the ground floor of it!
I’d also like to apologize to whoever had the misfortune of getting the room next to ours. Between my constant coughing and Carl’s snoring, it must have been frustrating.
Carl also got stopped for a random COVID test when we tried to leave Pearson Airport in Toronto and head to our cars. I hope he made it home safely, eventually. No, I didn’t wait. I headed for the exit and jumped on my Park N Fly shuttle and didn’t really look back.
2-time and defending Canadian 450 MX champion Dylan Wright was the reason we were over there. He had a rare opportunity to race the final 5 rounds of the MXGP season in Italy and we went over to catch the final 2 at Mantova MX.
Here’s what I learned:
- The MXGP series is extremely fast at the front end. A very strong argument can be made that Jeffrey Herlings, Romain Febvre, and Tim Gajser are the 3 fastest motocross racers on the planet right now. Sure, it’s an open-ended discussion, but I don’t know who you’d put against these dudes who would beat them in a series. Cross your fingers that we get a dry race at the 2022 Motocross of Nations at Red Bud because it will be fun to watch.
- European fans are crazy at any event, not just the MXON. If you saw my little video clip from the podium ceremony on Sunday, you saw some crazy fans doing what they could to push the fence down in front of the stage. It got even more ridiculous later on but I didn’t want to walk up and record them for fear that it would egg them on and I’d end up being part of the problem. Interestingly, the kingpin of the chaos turned out to be the guy who sat at the table next to us for breakfast at the hotel. He was Dutch and a huge Glenn Coldenhoff fan. He was a big dude, too, so it’s probably a good thing things didn’t get any weirder than they did.
- They love their paninis over there. You also probably saw the photos of the sandwiches they were serving at the concession stand. I couldn’t believe they weren’t deep-frying anything! However, in the end, I was definitely craving a juicy burger and fries. If I never see a ham and cheese sandwich again, it will be too soon.
- Dylan Wright had everyone not named Herlings, Febvre, Gajser, Jeremy Seewer or Antonio Cairoli. Seriously, with a good start, he would have been able to be the next guy behind these 5 guys. Yes, I’m including Jorgé Prado in there. Every race, Dylan would close in on all the riders in the group behind these 5. He would also push hard all the way to the flag and that seemed to catch a lot of them by surprise.
- Dylan had the chance to make a pass on Cairoli on the final lap of the final moto but thought better of doing so, thankfully. He said there was an opportunity to slam him in a corner when the door was left open, but Dylan thought better of it and wanted to make it off the property alive. He said Antonio looked back and they met eyes heading into a corner. Good choice, Dylan. I didn’t want to leave there in a sac either!
- What is up with European toilets?! I’m not going to get into details, but surely they can do a better job with water coverage in the bowl, no?
- We need some of the small motorhomes and vans they have in Europe over here! I spent a huge amount of time just looking at the cool little RVs and vans. They have Sprinter van brands I’ve never even heard of!
- Coughing in public is very stressful these days. I wanted to go grab the microphone in the plane and let everyone know that I didn’t have COVID.
- There’s a good chance we don’t see Dylan defend his Canadian title in 2022. It’s not surprising that teams took notice of what he was doing out there. He was under-powered and didn’t have the testing needed but his potential was obvious. I spoke to the photographer staying in the next room at the hotel and he said, “Oh ya, everyone is talking.” Derek Schuster and the team’s sponsors will have some interesting conversations in the coming months, no doubt.
- Dylan lost the insert of his exhaust in Round 17 and just rode past them as they tried to stop him and send him to get sound checked at the checkered flag. Well, they remembered and grabbed him at the final round and they failed it by like 7 decibels! It was really cool to see just how many people came together to sort the problem out and get Dylan on the track for the motos. I saw 8 people working away, at one point. He ended up with an HGS system with the logo ripped off. Before the gave in and put a new pipe on I even saw a ball peen hammer getting used!
- People love Antonio Cairoli and the next in line has huge shoes to fill. And I’m not just talking about wins here, either. Tony was an excellent ambassador for the sport and was loved all over the world. Total class all the way. It sounds like we may see him doing cool things on the new Triumph project in the future, so let’s watch for that. He even said on the stage that he has plans to do some interesting things next year that don’t include doing the entire series.
Those are just some of the things that stood out for me over our time in Italy. Like I said, once I get caught up on some sleep I’ll dive into all this content I have and spin some more travel and race yarns.
I’d also like to thank Dylan, himself, for allowing me to get in his face with my cameras. Although I’m sure he was happy to see some familiar faces, it’s always a big ask to be right there in a racer’s kitchen pestering them for their time.
Next Stop – Future West Moto Canadian Arenacross Championships
We’ve got two more weekends of racing (5 rounds) to determine champions in the 2021 Future West Moto Canadian Arenacross Championships at Chilliwack Heritage Park in Chilliwack, BC.
We’ll be bringing the action to you live, once again, so be sure to check it all out on the FWM Facebook page.
I’m not sure who will be in the barn, as far as Pro riders go, since many will be down south getting ready to take a run at Monster Energy AMA Supercross this season. However, you know the action will still be good in all classes, so you don’t want to miss it.
Can Tanner Ward go undefeated in the Pro Am Lights class? Can he also win the Pro Open class or will Brock Hoyer win this title and become the rider with titles the most years apart? I haven’t looked into the facts on this, but tell me who else has won 10 years apart?!
Here’s a look at the points after two rounds of racing:
Kassie Boone Does Backflip at Nitro Circus
That’s 2 Canadian WMX racers and counting!
And with that, I do believe it’s nap time. Have a great weekend, everyone. I know practice tracks across the country are starting to close for the season, but you can still find some openings! And, believe it or not, we’re heading into one of the two surf seasons here in Southwestern Ontario. When the wind gets blowing hard, we actually can get some pretty sweet conditions. I’m crossing my fingers for some strong autumn winds this weekend.