Frid’Eh Update #52 | Tanner Merrick | Brought to You by Fox Racing Canada
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week 52 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week brought to you by Fox Racing Canada. #52 means this is the final Frid’Eh Update of the season. We’re heading into another New Year of racing and weekly interviews with the riders who have made it into the coveted top 52. I like to think it’s a big deal.
Getting an interview on Friday means you also get put in front of people who read RacerHead on Racer X because Mitch Kendra puts the link up every Friday. Thanks for doing that, Mitch.
In case you’re new around here, “we” used to be Racer X Canada back in the day. It started out as an insert in the Racer X magazine and then transformed into its own paper magazine here in Canada. I was actually a monthly contributor under the handle “The Moto Hunter.” It was a play on words that I’ll let you dig into to figure out…
Racer X Canada did such a great job of covering our sport. The mission statement was that we were “about the racer” and I’ve tried to keep that motto as we’ve transitioned along the way. No, we didn’t make that change because we wanted to, we had to change with the times and that meant going to an all-online format.
Eventually, the original owners moved on from chasing the dream, as funding the quality they had achieved became impossible to support. They had an office in downtown London with an actual staff! It just wasn’t feasible in our relatively small sport in Canada.
We then morphed into DMX and went from there.
I’ve tried to keep the same goals and quality from that point forward. You won’t find me getting into the TMZ-style reporting that seems to be the way others try to get your “clicks” and “likes.” It’s not something I’m interested in doing or defending, so I do my utmost best to stay away from injecting too much opinion or speculation into the content here.
I hope it’s noticed and appreciated.
We also had some new contributors onboard this past year and they did a fantastic job.
She did such a great job that it looks like she’ll be working for some people and teams over on that side of the Atlantic in the future, so congratulations to her.
Noel Flatters from SuperFine Media helped us out with his Enduro coverage over the past few months. He did a fantastic job as he tried to get going in our sport. He has since started his own website dedicated to the off-road side. You can check it out over at Enduro Media. Here’s a link to his Instagram page.
For the upcoming western rounds of the 2024 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series we’ll have Jessica Longname from Tree Three Media covering the action out in California. We have Cole Thompson, Julien Benek, Guillaume St Cyr, and half Canadian Mitchell Harrison to keep our eyes on. We’ve also got 2-time Canadian 250 MX champ Ryder McNabb, Canadian-living-in-California Noah Viney, and Dylan Rempel racing the Supercross Futures.
[We also just learned that Preston Masciangelo will get his chance to race Futures at A2 and hopefully more.]
She loves doing video so watch for lots of behind the scenes (BTS as the cool kids are saying..) from the races as well as up-to-the-minute photos and stories.
She has also recently started a podcast with Lexi Pechout and Danika White out in Calgary called Bikes Berms and Brews.
So, what I’m saying is, it’s been a year of being a springboard to help others move forward in the industry. 🤣 Truthfully, it feels great to help people get their feet wet and try to make something of it. It’s not easy, and longevity is where most others have and will continue to struggle.
We’re a small industry here in Canada compared to that south of the border and it takes a certain type of frugalness to keep the lights on. I’ve had to make certain sacrifices and I’m not ashamed of any of them! Hell, I slept in the #DMXVan for January and February the last couple years out in California to cover our Canadians trying to live their Supercross dreams. And I’ll tell you right now…I loved it!
Sure, I got driven over by a transport truck once in Florida, but it’s all part of the story. As I like to say, “He who dies with the best stories wins!“
I’ll pick up the SX series when it heads to Detroit for Round 5/1 250 East on February 3rd. I’m looking forward to hitting Alabama and Philly this season, 2 places I’ve never really spent any time.
#52 is Tanner Merrick from Dawson Creek, BC. That’s a small town northeast of Prince George, to give you an idea of how far north in British Columbia it is. In fact, it’s actually the place where the Alaska Highway starts!
I’m always amazed and impressed by people who can make it all the way to the professional level in a sport when it must have taken so much dedication just to get to the events. Special kudos must be given to these riders’ parents or whoever was responsible for giving up so much time (and money) to get them to the races.
I first met Tanner, and actually spoke with him, when he was at Whispering Pines on a practice day in 2022 with his brother (Reed Merrick) and several others a couple years ago. He was a nice kid who was just getting his feet wet in the Pro ranks after taking some time away.
He travelled the entire Canadian Triple Crown Series MX Nationals for the first time in 2022 and ended up with the #52 for the 2023 season. This past summer had its ups and downs and we caught up with Tanner to talk about all that and what he plans on doing in the future. Here’s a look at his season followed by our conversation:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Tanner. I got to know you a little bit a couple years ago when you were riding out at Whispering Pines in Kamloops, BC, but this is our first Frid’Eh Update Interview. First off, can you please tell us how old you are, where you’re from, and how you got into Motocross?
Tanner Merrick: I’m twenty-five years old, from the small town of Dawson Creek, BC. I got into motocross at the young age of 4. My dad bought me a JR 50 and he couldn’t keep me off it. I started at our local PMA series when I was 5 and raced that for many years. Then I ventured out to the Alberta CMRC, won championships all the way up to my Junior years and then stepped back from moto to get ahead in life and make some money.
I was just on Google Maps looking at how far up Dawson Creek is. For those who don’t know, it’s northeast of Prince George and sits as far north as where James Bay turns into Hudson Bay in northern Ontario. What other things did or do you do up there for fun?
Skiing is a big one for me. I spend a fair amount of time on the hill, when I’m not working, and did a little bit of sledding when I was younger. It’s a little to pricy to sled and moto in the summer, so I stick to skiing.
OK, so we’re all familiar with the town of around 12000 because of the TV show. Is there anything to do with “Dawson’s Creek” that you can tell us from your past? What has that show meant for Dawson Creek?
Honestly, I don’t know if the show has really ever done much for Dawson. I’ve never watched it, to be honest. Not my cup of tea. Haha
You’re also right where the Alaska Highway starts. Have you ever done that drive up to Delta Junction, AK or anywhere else up that way?
When I was younger, we made a couple trips up, but too many years ago. Definitely, once I’m not on the road as much with moto, I will make my way out there for a refresher.
Who did you come up through the ranks racing up that way? I assume you know riders from Fort St John, Prince George, and Grande Prairie?
Trae Franklin, Matt Davenport, and Brock Leitner. I was on the tail end of their seasons in Supermini and 85’s usually, so I always strived to be a good as that bunch.
Was 2022 the first time you travelled all the way across the country doing the Nationals? What was your favourite part of the country and what was your favourite track?
2022 was the first year I decided to chase the series. I’d have to say River Glade tops it off. I love it out that way. I would move in a heartbeat!
2023 was an interesting one for you. Why didn’t we see you out west?
I was out west but my season started with lots of bike issues – fuel pumps decided to crap out on the line for qualifying and head jacket issues. I rode my practice bike for a good majority of the beginning of the season. There were some crashes that held me back as well.
And then you raced a 250 at Gopher Dunes but then moved up to the 450. Can you take us through the eastern swing of the series?
The 250 was getting too expensive, and I was all alone this summer, so the bike work and constant fixing just got to be way too much. I decided to buy a 450 after Gopher, as I shouldn’t be near as hard on one, which I’m not. In my case, it was the best decision.
And you called it a “learning year” on your Instagram page. Can you elaborate on that?
I learned a lot this year, like doing it all on your own is no small task, but I did it and I’m proud of it. I learned so much more about the ins and outs of the bike, as I did frame them multiple times this year. 🤦♂️ I learned way more about the nutrition side of things, too, which is a bonus.
I assume there’s snow on the ground at home. What do you do in the winter?
Work, and lots of it. I take summers off so most of my income for the season is made during the winter season.
And are you going to head south for some training before the 2024 season? Where do you go and who do you go with?
My brother (Reed Merrick) and I plan to head to Texas for April/May if all works out and go train for our first time. As of now, I’m all self-taught, so this should definitely help.
What are your plans for next season? Who will be with you?
I plan to do it with my brother and father. I’m gonna be aboard the Cycle West Honda again this season in the 450 class.
How was your Christmas and what are your New Year’s Eve plans?
Christmas was good with lots of time spent with family and friends. I’m hoping to go skiing in the New Year. Most likely will end up working though…
What are your hopes for your future in racing?
Just crack the top 10. That’s a big goal for next year, but I really wanna do it. Be at every race and hopefully score some more points this year.
What do you do for work and is that your career plan after moto?
As of right now, I’m a supervisor for water management. I’ve been doing it for 5 years and don’t plan on going anywhere else. Fraction Energy, the company I work for, is very understanding in giving me the entire summer off to race which helps.
OK, thanks for your time and congratulations on getting into the top 52 for this Frid’Eh Update Interview. Good luck and is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Thanks again, Billy. I’d really like to thank all the local help this year: Cycle West, Signworks, Apex industrial, Fraction, Pavlis trucking, Dawson Creek Mechanical, and my family and friends that have supported me in this journey. It wouldn’t be possible without the help. And everyone in the industry that has helped me out it means the world to me:
- cycle west honda
- factory connection suspension
- DBR racing
- Sign works
- Apex distributions
- Pavlis trucking
- Hinson clutch components
- Dawson creek mechanical
- Matrix concepts Canada
- DT 1 filters
- R&R diagnostic
- GNV LTD
- Fraction energy services
Preston Masciangelo the Entrepreneur | PMAS CO.
In a sport that can be as expensive as it is fun, sometimes one has to think outside the box to make ends meet and simply make it to the races. #35 Preston Masciangelo from Brantford, Ontario, has done just that and started his own company and brand – PMAS CO.
Preston is a rider who has been on everyone’s radar since he was just a little ripper on a 50cc bike. He spent most of his amateur years chasing the big American dream. He raced 3 rounds of the 2023 Canadian Triple Crown Series at Gopher Dunes, Sand Del Lee, and the final at Walton Raceway with his best overall being an 8th place at Sand Del Lee. He lined up for a 9th at the first round of the SX/AX portion at Gopher Dunes and also raced the Moto Combine and the Mini O’s.
He needed some repairs on his shoulder and hand but is heading full steam into the 2024 season where he’ll be #35. Preston plans to…
Here’s his announcement from his Instagram page:
To help make some extra cash to pay for his racing, Preston has been helping his dad doing some general contracting work. Yesterday he was a plumber, today he’s framing-in a bathroom, so he’s learning some skills that will definitely pay off later in life.
He leaves for Florida on January 4th to train with the Compound 138 gang in Waldo (do NOT speed in that area!).
He’s also recently been invited to train at Southern Training Facility and Raceway in Bainbridge, Georgia with #451 Ryder Thompson to get ready for the Supercross Futures round at Anaheim 2, January 27th.
It’s difficult to get into these races because the demand is so high, so Preston hopes to get a top 5 so that he’s into the championship based on his result.
With A2, Preston has got a special t-shirt designed for the occasion and you can get your hands on one HERE.
For 2024, Preston figures he’ll be on a schedule similar to 2023. He’ll race the Canadian Triple Crown Series Nationals where he can – Gopher Dunes, Sand Del Lee, Deschambault, and Walton – and hit as many American Amateur Nationals that he can, like the Spring Nationals, Loretta Lynn’s, and the Mini O’s.
Oh, did I mention he’s also considering starting his own podcast? Well, he is. Preston is never short on words, so you can expect lots of good stories if and when he gets it up and running.
Good luck with this new venture and your upcoming racing season, Preston. There’s also a pretty good chance he’s is up for an award at the 2023 DMXies…
VOTE | 2023 People’s Choice Canadian Rider of the Year
Only a couple more days to vote!
VOTE | 2023 People’s Choice Canadian Rider of the Year
It’s that time again!
We have a lot of fun with this each year as we leave it up to you to pick the People’s Choice Canadian Rider of the Year. Head to one of our social media platforms and cast your vote (1 per platform maximum) before the clock strikes midnight (Pacific Time) New Year’s Eve.
We’ll tabulate the votes (with the help of Deloitte Touche Tohmastsu, of course) and announce the winner on New Year’s Day.
As always, thanks for playing along. And be sure to follow along to see who has the strongest “booster club.” It’s always entertaining.
Voting is NOW OPEN!
Last year, the winner was #991 Brendan McKee.
The SuperMotocross World Championship one-hour preview special airs tomorrow, December 30, at 4 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock, headlined by appearances from 2023 SuperMotocross 450 World Champion Jett Lawrence, who will be making his Supercross debut in the premier class, and 2023 SuperMotocross 250 World Champion Haiden Deegan. The preview show will also feature Hunter Lawrence, who will be starting his rookie year in the 450 class, 2022 Supercross and Pro Motocross champion Eli Tomac, 2018 Supercross champion Jason Anderson, two-time Supercross champion Cooper Webb, 2023 Monster Energy 450 Supercross Champion Chase Sexton, and veteran racers Aaron Plessinger and Justin Barcia will also be featured as they prepare for the upcoming 2024 season. International viewers can stream the preview show on the SuperMotocross Video Pass (supermotocross.tv).
NBC Sports’ 2024 SuperMotocross World Championship coverage begins next week with the Monster Energy Supercross season opener from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., live on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 8 p.m. ET on Peacock and USA Network. An encore presentation will air the following day on Sunday, Jan. 7, on NBC at 2 p.m. ET and on Monday, Jan. 8, on CNBC at 1 a.m. ET. CNBC will air a next-day encore for all 31 rounds across the series in 2024.
Before we leave for another week and get ready for the first Update Interview of the new year with Dylan Wright (who now has his own podcast called Off the Gate: Episode 1 HERE), I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who has been behind Direct Motocross this past season:
And everyone else along the way, like Muc-Off and others, who has jumped in to help us out around here, all the tracks across the country who have welcomed us with open arms to show up and do our thing, including ride the tracks on a dirt bike and/or my MTB to do a GoPro lap, Greg Poisson who added his input in 2023, and Kourtney Lloyd who has allowed me to be a small part of Team Canada MXON.
We’ve got some good things planned for 2024, so let’s keep the DMX ball rolling!
Happy New Year, everyone.