Frid’Eh Update #51 | Jesse Royan | Brought to You by TLD Canada
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #51 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week brought to you by Troy Lee Designs Canada. TLD is one of our longest partnerships here at Direct Motocross and we’d like to thank them for all of the their support over the years.
I’m sitting at my home office and it feels good to be home again. We’ve started our annual “People’s Choice Rider of the Year” vote again. This award is fun to follow along with each year, as it seems to bring out the booster clubs of individual riders.
This award is voted for online, and you can vote ONCE PER PLATFORM, so get to it!
Jess Royan from Marshall, Saskatchewan, is #51 and managed to get himself featured in one of our 52 updates for the season. He only raced the first round at RAD Torque Raceway in Edmonton this summer, so he’ll slip out of the top 52 for next season.
Direct Motocross: Hello, Jesse. This is the first time to do one of these interviews with you for an Update so let’s get into some detail. Can you start off by telling us where you’re from and how you got into the sport?
Jesse Royan: Hey, Billy! I’m from Marshall, Saskatchewan, about 15 minutes away from Lloydminster. I ended up getting into the sport pretty casually. Early on my dad bought my sister and me a dirt bike to share and I started riding non-stop. A local guy we knew mentioned that there was a series you could go to and race. I started riding when I was 4 and I believe my first race was at 7 years old.
What other sports were you into when you were younger?
Well, being a true Canadian, I obviously dabbled in hockey a bit. Haha. Dad gave me a choice when I was 12 and said, “You can either play hockey this year or I’ll send you down south to train on your bike.” That was the end of my hockey career. Lol!
Being from Saskatchewan, who did you come up through the amateur ranks batting and when did you turn Pro?
Man, there was so much amazing talent that I grew up battling with: Josh Duerksen, Kyle Biro, Jarret Biro, Kennedy Lutz to name a few of them. I turned Pro in 2018 at 16 years old.
You were #114 in 2022 and travelled the whole country to do the series. How was the journey? What did you enjoy most in Canada and what was your favourite track?
The journey was definitely something else! Getting to drive across Canada for the first time was pretty surreal, even being stuck in a van with my old man for 30-some hours, it was pretty bad ass. Haha. I just really enjoyed getting to see new places and meet new people. My favourite track was Pilot Mound, MB. Such a fun, flowy track!
You snuck into the top 52 with 51st in points for 2023. What was your best race in 2022 that earned you the number?
My best race was Pilot Mound…probably has something to do with why it’s my favourite track, too. Lol. I went for 11-13 for 12th overall. It was definitely the hottest race I ever did, it was like 40 C and super windy! It was a battle physically and mentally doing 30-minute motos in those conditions, but oh well, it was worth it!
[Editor’s note: If you were there, you know exactly what he’s talking about. I’ve only felt heat like that in Tennessee at Loretta Lynn’s in August back in 2010. It was so hot that even Felix Lopez from Mexico crumbled!]
You ended up hurting your shoulder though, right? What happened there? What damage did you do and how was the recovery?
Yes. Unfortunately, I re-injured the shoulder I had surgery on back in 2017. My shoulder was feeling pretty good up until Walton (Raceway). I got caught in a rut and it flipped me over tearing some muscles again in my shoulder. I tried to practice at Gopher Dunes but was in too much pain for that rank of a track!
What do you do for work?
I am a NDT Technician at IRIS NDT. I inspect welds, tanks, and piping for the oil and gas industry.
And then we only saw you at Round 1 this season at RAD Torque Raceway in Edmonton.
Yup. I was committed this season to run the West rounds. Edmonton started out pretty good for me, I believe I got 14th in that first moto. I started the second moto and nearly holeshotted! Halfway through the moto, I cross-rutted a jump and crashed hard. My bars ended up smashing around my groin/leg. I could barely walk for a couple days learning that I sprained my groin and tore muscles in my leg. So that ended my nationals season.
You mention on Instagram that you’re stepping back from the sport for a while to work on real life. Can you give us some details on what thins means?
Ya, I guess that’s the lame part about growing up – apparently dirt bikes can’t be everything all the time anymore. Lol. I just thought it would be a good time to focus on my work career, healing up, and my mental health. I had a bit of a rough year with personal things, so taking a little break from the sport might just be what I need.
Depending on where the series goes in 2024, can we expect to see you on the line anywhere?
You definitely could. I still need to pull a holeshot against the factory boys! I would love to see the series come back to Saskatchewan.
Would you consider racing the 2-stroke class to keep things light and fun?
Oh man, that would be a blast!! I’m gonna have to talk real nice to someone to let me borrow their 125 for that to happen. Haha.
*Will pay what I break!*
If we don’t see you again, we’d better ask you to tell us what your most memorable moment has been from your Pro racing career?
Dang, that’s a hard one to think about! Even though I was an Intermediate at the time, it would be qualifying for my first national in Calgary back in 2016. There were over 70 guys trying to qualify, so to do that at 14 was pretty cool!
Who is in your regular crew there in Saskatchewan?
Ah, I’d have to say Blake Osatchuck, Codie Rouse, Eric (Chevy) Chevrier!
And this might get you in some trouble, but who is the greatest rider to ever come out of the Roughrider province?
I’m pretty young so I hope I don’t get in too much trouble, but I’d say Maff (Shawn Maffenbeier) has a pretty good hold on that title!
Oh, and since it’s Christmas, you have to tell us the best Christmas song and movie/show before we let you go.
I’m a huge fan of Elf with Will Ferrell, classic comedy! I’m not a big fan of Christmas music but god do I love Mariah Carey! Lol.
OK, thanks for chatting with us this week. Good luck in the future and is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Of course, thanks for reaching out! Yes, I would love to give a huge thanks to my mom Nikki, my dad Steve, and Lloydminster Honda for giving me all the love and support over the years. As well as my sister Hanna, and my friends Benn, Chase, and Josh for always having my back and never giving up on me. Take care, everyone!
Kate Kowalchuk Wins Media Award from CMA
2023 CMA Awards | Congratulations, Kate Kowalchuk!
Press Release – 2023 CMA Awards
2023 CMA Awards
At the Annual General Meeting on December 17, 2023, the 2023 CMA Awards were confirmed by the Board of Directors, and awarded as follows:
Ambassadors Award – Jan and Bettie de Vries
For long standing exceptional effort or achievement which reflects favourably on the CMA or furthers the works and aims of the CMA
The Media Award – Kate Kowalchuk
Exceptional favourable coverage of motorcycling by the media, electronic or print (except within motorcycling).
White Memorial Trophy – Trystan Hart
Donated by Ron & Eve White
Best performance by a Canadian rider in all disciplines / later changed to best performance by a #1 Plate winner
Bert Irwin Memorial Cup – Owen McKill
Donated by Ontario Region
Best Performance at the ISDE
M. Duff Trophy – Maverick Cyr
Best Amateur National Rider
No. 1 Plate, Mini Road Racing – Michael Galvis
No. 1 Plate, Trials – Michel Fortin-Belanger
Congratulations, and thank you to all our Award Winners for helping make this year a success!
Josiah Natzke Looking Comfortable on His KTM 450
New Zealander Josiah Natzke heads to Red Bull KTM Canada for the 2024 season in the 450 class and is now riding the big orange bike in his home country. Check out this latest post from him on his Instagram page:
Josiah is a rider that feels he has what it takes to give defending champion Dylan Wright a run for his money, so this should be a good 450 season coming up.
We’ve got an interview upcoming with Josiah but they’re 18 hours ahead of us so it’s a bit of a challenge! Watch for that in the very near future.
Shelby Turner to GasGas Canada
Shelby Turner from Brooks, Alberta, will stay with the Pierer Mobility group of motorcycles moving forward, but will leave the brand she’s been on since she was on 50cc bikes back in 2000, KTM Canada.
Here’s her post from her Instagram page:
A Look at the 2024 Triumph Team
OK, I have to start my Christmas shopping now. I like to get a nice head start on things every year. We’re heading up to 11 Celsius in a few days, so we’re pretty much guaranteed a green Christmas in Southwestern Ontario. It also means cycling and moto will be in play during the week between Christmas and New Year’s! Enjoy it while you can, wherever you are.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our DMX readers. We appreciate your support each year and look forward to growing in 2024.