Welcome to week #51 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week brought to you by the gang out in BC at Mongoose Machine. Week #51 goes out to American rider Heath Harrison who showed up in the east two summers ago to race the Gopher Dunes round of the 2013 Canadian MX Nationals. He was running Ron Lechien‘s old #224 which is the number he’s best known for down south. Lately, Heath has been spending his time at the Motosport Arenacross Tour in the southeast and is currently the one to beat. We caught up with Heath to learn a little more about him. Here’s what he had to say:
What’s up? My name is Heath Harrison and I started riding when I was 3 and started racing when I was around 6, just doing local races and a few qualifiers for Loretta Lynn’s. Once I got on big bikes, I started taking it a bit more seriously and had several top 5 amateur national finishes. I won Ponca City in the 450 Intermediate and Loretta Lynn’s in the 4-stroke class in 2009.
2014 didn’t go as planned. I was going to do all the AMA Supercross and ended up pretty much blowing my whole right knee out – ACL, MCL, PCL, LCL. So that put me out of riding for 6 months after surgery. I had planned to come back to Canada and do the east coast rounds or their motocross series but had some difficulties getting in, so I ended up doing the last 6 AMA Motocross rounds. After being off a bike for 6 months, I was able to still get some top 20 and top 15 finishes in the 450 class.
My plans for 2015 are to do the Motosport AX Tour (which have already started) and I have won the first 3 rounds of it so far, so I plan to keep that going and then do east coast supercross in the 450 class. I’m not real sure what my plans are for the summer. I would like to come back up to Canada but it just depends on how everything goes.
I would like to thank everyone that helps me: my mom my dad, the whole Murphy family, Got Gear Motorsports, JM Racing, Roost MX, Scott goggles, FMF, Rad Mfg, Pro Taper, Joe Moto Racing, Dunlop, Acerbis, Works Connection, No Toil, Rekluse, Frankfit, Steven Brady, and the Harvin family. Thank you!!
Thanks, Heath. Good luck in Memphis this weekend at round 4 of the AX Tour. Hopefully, we see him at more rounds of our nationals in 2015. In 2013, he showed up at Gopher Dunes and went 8-9 for 7th overall, but then a first turn crash in the 2nd moto at Sand Del Lee ended his day.
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Future West Canadian AX Championships
Hey, guys. Welcome back. We are getting a fair bit of snow here in Southern Ontario, and we could really use some of the heat from last weekend’s final Arenacross rounds. Word is that things got a little heated on the track between Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki’s Teddy Maier and pretty much all of Washington State. At the end of the night, Teddy Maier was the new Pro Lites Champion, and Cycle North TLD Honda’s Ross Johnson took home his 2nd consecutive Open Pro Title. These two were clearly the top of the field and the overall title could have gone either way. Take away the crash that caused the nasty gash on Maier’s forearm and we may have had a different outcome. Either way, the fans in BC were treated to some great action each and every round. A big congrats to everyone involved in a great 2014 season.
Adam Cianciarulo Out for 2015 SX
Some bad news out of the Pro Circuit camp: Young Adam Cianciaurlo is out for the entire 2015 SX season. Last season, AC had to step away from the East coast 250 series while leading to have this same shoulder surgically repaired. As 2015 approached, Adam had to be the clear-cut favourite on either coast. Let’s hope for a full recovery for Cianciarulo as he is an all around great kid and someone we want to see race for a long time to come.
With Christmas just around the corner, that means A1 isn’t far behind. I’m getting excited just writing about it. Be sure to keep an eye open for my 2015 AMA SX Preview. I will give you my thoughts and predictions for the up-coming season. That’s it for me this week, short and sweet. And if you haven’t caught it yet, have a look at this week’s Out Of The Blue featuring Alberta’s Leslie Cuthill. I was lucky enough to meet Leslie and her boyfriend Lance Thomson during the West coast rounds of the 2013 season. After staying with Dylan Kaelin and family in between the Calgary and Edmonton rounds, DK and I were looking for something to do. We ended up at the Thomson/Cuthill residence one afternoon. After changing some of the stiffest tires I had ever seen, Leslie prepared us a fantastic home-cooked meal. Thanks again Leslie and Lance for the great hospitality. Have a great week everyone and be sure to #smileforBC!
Canadian MX2 national champ, Royal Distributing Fox KTM’s Kaven Benoit, headed over to Geneva, Switzerland, this past weekend to compete in the Geneva SX. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as Kaven would have liked. John Rachmel was there and did this podcast with him. I’ve typed it out here for those who didn’t get the chance to listen. Here’s what Kaven had to say about the experience:
It was a rough weekend for me. I haven’t raced supercross in two years (Montreal 2012) and I was really excited to do it again and I was having a lot of fun in practice yesterday. I had some tough luck in the finals. I had a bad start in the first one. I was passing some guys and there was a guy down in a section and I hesitated for a minute and didn’t make it to the other obstacle and ended up on my head cartwheeling. That was it for the first final.
In the second one, it was a bit better. I had a top 10 start and was really good. I just messed up in the whoops. I hit the side of the track and just kind of lost control. I didn’t crash very hard but my bike hit me and ripped my pants off and got some damage on the body without saying any details. It was pretty tough and I ended up with a bad shoulder too. I just wasn’t comfortable to ride today and I just called it.
It was all about the starts. The guys that got good starts this weekend were kind of hard to catch. Even the top guys, when they had bad starts, were having a hard time. That’s how it is. It’s smaller than supercross but bigger than arenacross.
The whoops were really sketchy. They were really sharp at the end of the night almost like straight up walls. They could kick you any time. It was tough. The rest of the track was pretty good. I had lots of fun on it. Hopefully, I can try again next year.
I like supercross. We don’t have a lot of supercross tracks at home. Last year in Georgia I was just hitting the track once in a while just to have fun. I usually feel comfortable on those tracks, but showing up here with all the talent that was here. The Europeans are really fast too. Guys that you never hear about are just fast. You need to be prepared and that was the part I was maybe not enough prepared. If I come back next year, I’ll try to set up my plans a little bit better and get more seat time in supercross.
I knew I was coming here for a little while but the thing is that all the riders that come from overseas get a budget. Guys like Adam Cianciarulo, they brought his bike from home and they had lots of budget to do that and I was borrowing a stock KTM 250F here so I didn’t have any motor. I just brought some suspension with me. It’s tough. I understand a little bit more about when guys were coming from over here to Montreal and were kind of struggling. I didn’t really understand it at that point but now I understand it a little bit more. You’re not in your own things; you’re just borrowing stuff and all the other distractions of a different country, like food and time zone. You’re just not in your things. It makes a difference. You need to come a little bit [sooner] to get adapted to the place.
We came down a week earlier and we stayed at Kutvek, the graphics company that is helping us out back home. It started here in France and we stayed at their house. We were borrowing their Sprinter van to go to the track. It was a nice trip. I was with friends. JSR was here and we had lots of fun.
We did some sightseeing this week. Felix (Trepanier) from Moto X (the motocross channel back home) was here to do a full TV show about the trip (should be out on RDS in June) so we had time to do that. We went to an old castle in France just to visit and we went downtown Geneva and just did a little bit but the main focus was the racing.
JSR is actually a funny guy. He didn’t come with us. He flew later to see some friends here in Europe and he almost missed the full day yesterday. He missed practice. He missed the qualifiers. He was only here for the night show. It wasn’t his fault. His flight got canceled. He was supposed to be here Friday morning but his flight got canceled. It was funny—something that we were not surprised at. It’s stuff that happens to him.
He did all these races here and talked to me about it. He has so many contacts here. He knows a lot of people. I see the benefits of coming over here to make some contacts…like meet people.
Right now, I’m going back home and I’ll be enjoying some time off being at home during Christmas and the New Year. Right now, the plan is to go to California in January and then, after that, I’ll probably go towards the east coast to hit some humid and hot weather like last year. I’ll be hanging out around Georgia closer to the season start and that’s it.
The big winner of the weekend in Geneva was fellow KTM rider #25 Marvin Musquin who was crowned ‘King of Geneva.’ Hopefully, Kaven gets another shot at competing in Geneva next fall. Good luck this winter, Kaven. 2-stroke or 4-stroke for the entire 2015 outdoor season?
The other big news over at KTM Canada is, of course, the departure of Canadian National mainstay, Andy White. Andy leaves KTM Canada after a long run of chasing championships and putting the Orange Team front and centre in the minds of moto fans the world over. We are awaiting the official Press Release on his replacement, but the smart money is on muti-time Canadian champion, JSR, taking over control of the race team. When/if this is announced, I think we will all agree that his experience as a racer and his renowned talent for making and saving money make him an excellent choice to take the team to new championships. The question is, will he pass the Stephan LeBlanc test? Time will tell…
Future West Canadian AX Championships Final Standings
1. 5x Teddy Maier KAW 172
2. 2 Ross Johnson HON 158
3. 5 Jake Anstett KAW 154
4. 14 Shawn Maffenbeier YAM 150
5. 3 Brock Hoyer YAM 123
6. 40 Jess Pettis KAW 110
7. 716 Todd Minnie KAW 104
8. 620 Brad Nauditt YAM 81
9. 9 Dylan Schmoke HSK 80
10. 153 Greg Crater HON 79
11. 91 Chris Howell YAM 57
12. 476 Collin Jurin KAW 46
13. 291 Dylan Delaplace YAM 46
14. 621 Kyle Springman KAW 42
15. 352 Alex Harvill SUZ 20
1. 2 Ross Johnson HON 175
2. 5x Teddy Maier KAW 153
3. 14 Shawn Maffenbeier YAM 151
4. 3 Brock Hoyer YAM 128
5. 722 Adam Enticknap HON 114
6. 101 Ryan Lockhart KAW 104
7. 5 Jake Anstett KTM 96
8. 131 Noah McConahy HON 76
9. 539 Ricky Dietrich SUZ 75
10. 716 Todd Minnie KAW 67
11. 9 Dylan Schmoke HSK 63
12. 153 Greg Crater HON 52
13. 476 Collin Jurin KAW 49
14. 620 Brad Nauditt YAM 42
15. 40 Jess Pettis KAW 38
It could be argued that Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki’s Teddy Maier was the fastest rider on the tight arenacross tracks but this form of racing has a way of dolling out often unfair results. Maier won a total of 9 mains while Johnson took 4. Were it not for Teddy’s crash with Rockstar OTSFF Cycle North Yamaha Marine’s Shawn Maffenbeier earlier in the season, he may have claimed both titles this year. But, as the old saying goes, that’s why we hold the races. Cycle North TLD Honda’s Ross Johnson was always right there and stayed consistent to repeat as the Open class champion. Maier took the Lites title and Johnson will head into the 2015 indoor season going for a three-peat.
We said it every week, but the competition was so close this fall that there were literally 5-8 riders who could have won every time the gate dropped for a Lites or Open main. With the new series schedule keeping it so that it doesn’t conflict with the big AMA Supercross Championship, does this mean we may just see an even tougher field in 2015? I bet it does.
Legends of Canadian MX EBay Auction
Legendary Canadian photographer Bill Petro is the man behind the ‘Legends of Canadian MX’ and he’s looking for your help to keep his efforts to preserve the storied history of Canadian MX going. There is an auction currently underway over on EBay where you can bid on lots of cool items from a ton of different companies. Check it out and don’t forget to look at all the cool stuff over on the website at www.locmx.com.
Derek Schuster on the Jeremy Medaglia Signing
With Jeremy Medaglia signing a 2-year deal to ride for the Honda Canada TLD GDR team recently, we wanted to give team big wig, Derek Schuster, a call to get his thoughts. Derek mentioned that he had been in contact with several of our top riders about a position with the team. They were committed to having another Canadian on the MX2 bike to go along with their MX1 rider, #1 Colton Facciotti.
“Jeremy was definitely one of the riders at the top of our list,” said Derek. He added that that the younger of the two Medaglia brothers was the best fit for the team and its direction. The team is currently getting a couple Hondas ready for Jeremy to head down to GPF shortly after Christmas.
With this much prep time, Jeremy must be considered one of the favourites for the MX2 title in 2015.
Another reason for the call to Derek Schuster was the rumour floating around that perennial crowd favourite Kyle Keast and 2014 team member Westen Wrozyna may be on some sort of support program with the Honda Canada TLD GDR team. Derek was tight-lipped about the whole thing and we weren’t able to get anything concrete out of him…yet.
Adding validity to the whole thing is the rumour that Keast has gone ahead and purchased some sort of Fun Mover-like set up recently. Hmm, Kyle Keast taking another run at a low national number? I know a lot of fans are going to be pretty happy to hear that and will be lining the fences if it happens.
What about the always-smiling rider out of Bayfield, Ontario, who was in a podium position in Ulverton last summer until the final lap? We hear that Nathan Bles has been in contact with several teams about a real ride for the 2015 season. Two seasons ago, the likeable Bles was all set to leave the national tour circus behind and move on with a ‘real’ job. Well, motocross is a strange sport. It’s really not that easy to leave behind. Especially if you have the speed to challenge to Pro podiums!
Well, Nathan has landed on his feet for the upcoming season. He’s not allowed to say where or what colour bike he’ll be on yet, but he will be heading south for a week after Christmas and then coming back to do a little work. He said he then has plans to head sown to Club MX for three months to get ready for the opening round of our nationals. He said he will be on a 450 and will be at all 10 rounds. That’s good news as we all know he has the potential to do some damage in the MX1 class with good support. See you in Kamloops, Nathan!
Kyle Beaton Races in Chilliwack
Lost in all the hype about the battles for titles out in BC was the fact that GA Checkpoint Yamaha’s Kyle Beatonactually lined up for a gate drop in Chilliwack! I’m sure we all remember his horrible crash in Moncton a couple years ago when he clipped the back wheel of Spencer Knowles and they both hit the ground hard with Beaton’s ankle getting the worst of it. We’ve been pestering him the last couple seasons about when/if he’d ever consider getting back on a track and he always smiled and denied its possibility. Well, now we’ve seen it happen when he lined up and raced MRM Fox Shift Kawasaki’s Ryan Lockhart in the BC Legends class. He looked good on the track in what is still known as ‘Beaton’s Barn’ but when I went to talk with him in the pits after a practice session, his right forearm was swollen and rock hard. Arm pump seems to get worse with age. Anyway, he finished an easy 2nd place to Lockhart Friday night and looked to be happy to be on the track again. What does this mean for his racing future? He smiled and said that he’d see us at round 1 next spring. Was he serious?
OK, that will do it for the second last Update of 2014. It’s Friday, December 12th and that is traditionally the date when I start to feel the ‘Christmas Spirit.’ Well, it hasn’t happened quite yet but I hope it has for you. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.