Frid’Eh Update #50 | Austin Jones | Brought to You by Leatt
By Billy Rainford
It’s Week #50 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week brought to you by Leatt distributed by Kimpex. We’re now just 3 weeks away from Anaheim 1. Not only that, but we’ve got a bunch of things happening in Canadian Moto to keep us busy talking over the holidays.
Tyler Medaglia is headed back to Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing to represent the team as he goes for his record-breaking 3rd title in the 250 class, 10-time WMX champion Eve Brodeur will race under the tent at KTM Canada, and Steve Simms has signed on to manage the WLTN Kawasaki team.
We were able to catch up with all 3 of them to talk about it. It hasn’t been easy as I’m on my final day looking after my mom in Kamloops, BC, but I was able to do 1 video and 2 podcast interviews. Check them out here:
Austin Jones is #50 for 2 more weeks of 2023. He’s been a staple ont the very likeable MX101 Yamaha team for the past few years. He’s coming off one of every motocross racer’s worst nightmare injury, a broken femur, so he was happy to line up at the Canadian MX Nationals this past summer.
2023 had its ups and downs for the rider known as “Auz” but he made it through and is looking forward to better things in the upcoming 2024 season.
Here’s a look at his season:
Direct Motocros: Hey Austin. We’ve done one of these interviews in the past – #35 in 2021 – but then not in 2022. Can you remind us what happened that season?
Austin Jones: Ya, 2021 was not a great year for my racing. Unfortunately, a couple weeks before round one I had some internal health issues and that sidelined me for the the first 5 rounds or so. I tried to race Deschambault, but ended up in a first turn crash that put me out again.
You squeaked in this season with #50, so let’s chat little bit. In 2024 you’ll be #30. How would you rank this last season? Take us through how you did this outdoor season.
This year is exactly what I needed. My goal was to get a full season in and not miss any races, as the past few years have been tough with injuries. KT (Kevin Tyler) and I talked this time last year that, if I wanted to continue racing in 2024, I had to meet some expectations in 2023. Still some ups and downs throughout the year, but everything was a learning experience to gear me up to be better for 2024. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 6.
What was your best race?
I want to say Sand Del Lee moto 1, but we had some issues there, so we’ll go with Moncton moto 1. I had a good start and a good pace the entire moto for a 7th place finish.
You finished 11th in the 250 class, only 3 out of 10th. If you’d done better than the 18th at Walton you would have cracked it. What happened there?
Well, won’t deny the fact I had a slight mental block this year at Walton from my 2022 experience breaking my femur there. I struggle with that track and it’s something I need to figure out for the years to come. I just rode a little timid and then, when I realized it was time to go, I over-rode the track making way too many mistakes.
Then you went 12-DNS-8 for the SX/AX portion of the series. What the DNS at round 2?
Spark plug problem….. MX101 is accepting spark plug sponsorship applications for the 2024 season!
[Editor’s note: Whenever anything mechanical happens to a bike on the team, the running joke is that it’s always a “sparkplug problem.”]
Were you happy with how you rode the other 2? How did they go?
My goal going into the three races was to gain experience and get gate drops. We did just that. Speed wasn’t there at all times, but my speed got better every time I hit the track, so the other two were okay.
And then I saw you down at the Mini O’s again. I love that you go down and race that! What brings you back to that one?
A big problem of mine is the lack of gate drops I have, so it was my goal this year to get as many races in as I could. If I want to be a racer I have to race, so that’s what I did this year. Mini O’s is a great one to attend, there’s so much to learn from racing that track and the competition. This was also my first race on the new Yamaha 250F. It was a great place to get some testing in, as that track was very tough.
The competition is always very tough and deep. How did you do this year?
This year was good. I had one moto that I wasn’t pumped with that put me out of the top 10 overall conversation in 250 Pro Sport. With that being said, my 250 A motos were enough for 9th overall and that was great.
[Editor’s note: But 9th wasn’t enough to bring you back for the top 10 awards at the end of the event. Long travel burn!]
What have you been up to since then?
Back in the shop with KT getting bikes ready to sell or ready for us to start training.
What do you do for work?
In the summer I try to get some lessons in for the kids around SDL, but for the most part I just work on bikes out of the MX101 race shop.
What else do you do for fun?
Not much happens around here that doesn’t involve dirt bikes. We’ve been building a track at the Powell’s place, so that’s been my fun for the past couple weeks.
What are the plans for the winter?
I’m heading down to Dreamland MX at the start of the new year with plans to race the Winter Am Series in Florida. I was in California last winter, so I’m excited to get back with Kody Renzland and get to work. Quinn (Amyotte) and Sebastian (Racine) will also be there with me throughout the winter, so I’m looking forward to learning from those guys, too.
And what is 2024 looking like for you?
2024 is looking similar to 2023, just a different number and better results.
I guess I have to ask you these next 2 questions: What’s the best Christmas show or movie and what’s the best Christmas song?
I have no answer on the Christmas song, but for the movie part of the question I’d have to go with the Home Alone movies.
What’s the most memorable gift you ever received?
2014 I received my first ever 6D helmet and haven’t looked back since. I’ve worn one every time I’ve ridden since that day.
OK, good luck getting ready for next season. Who would you like to thank?
I’ll start with the 3 guys who kept the #50 machine on track all year and made it all possible, Alex Burke, Kevin Tyler. And of course old man Shawn Maffenbeier. The rest of the mx101 crew, FXR, Yamaha and everyone else who supports the team. Thank you.
Eve Brodeur to KTM Canada for 2024
We called her up to talk about what happened to her previous team and how many more years she’s going to keep defending titles!
Find it wherever you get your podcasts.
Tyler Gibbs Sits 9th in GT Arena Motocross Series
Next Round: January 5-6, Lincoln, Nebraska
Steve Simms New Team Manager at WLTN Kawasaki
WLTN Kawasaki will field the all-star line-up of Canadian talent led by Tanner Ward on a 2024 Kawasaki KX450, alongside Quinn Amyotte aboard the 2024 Kawasaki KX250 under the guidance of Team Manager Steve Simms and Team Principals Brett Lee and Melody Hodgson.
New to the team is Team Manager Steve Simms. Simms comes to WLTN Kawasaki with an extensive racing resume in Canadian racing and around the world. Leading several teams, including his own, Steve will bring experience and knowledge that will give the team techs and riders a technical advantage in 2024.
Steve Simms – WLTN Kawasaki Team Manager:
“Our 2024 team is excited to start the new race season. It is new to me, so getting to know one another and developing their bikes specific to the riders’ needs and riding styles will be a challenge, but I am excited to take that on. I have a great relationship with both Brett and Melody, and we have been clear with each other about what we each expect. I believe in the riders on the team and I am excited to work with both Jadon Brown and Mitch Godkin helping them give the riders every opportunity to be successful. This is exciting for me to have this opportunity, and I am motivated to be successful with WLTN Kawasaki.”
Brett Lee – Principal WLTN Kawasaki
“I am very impressed with the dynamic amongst the WLTN Kawasaki team and I’m looking forward to the start of the new season. We want team players and riders who fit into the team, earned their place on this team, understand the expectations of Pro racing and are prepared to deliver results. The riders, and the technical support team all understand what we want to achieve in 2024 and the work it will take. It is a very exciting time for this team and I can’t wait for round one.”
We did a podcast interview with Steve to talk about how this deal came up and why he shut the doors at the TLD SSR GasGas team.
Find it wherever you get your podcasts.
Well, I just found out that Kade Walker is in the hospital here in Kamloops, BC! I fly home tomorrow, so I’m going to head up there and see him right now and cut this Update short. I won’t say much here, but I’m hearing the prognosis is actually very good!
Have a great weekend, everyone.