Frid’Eh Update #7 | Nathan Ayles | Brought to You by Husqvarna Canada
By Billy Rainford
Welcome to Week #7 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week brought to you by Husqvarna Motorcycles Canada. It turns out, we don’t have a rider with the number 7 in 2023. Daniel Elmore actually finished 7th in the 450 Canadian Triple Crown Series points, but he’s chosen #13 as a career number, so we’ll get to him soon. I was wondering what we should do for an interview this week, and I decided to head to the bottom of the Top 99 numbers for the 2023 season and grab the rider who otherwise wouldn’t get the chance for an Update Interview and that rider is #99 Nathan Ayles.
Nathan is a good friend of Tyler Medaglia and even lined up to race the River Glade round of the 2022 Canadian Triple Crown Series. He’s an Enduro guy who dabbles in MX and his one race did enough to get him on the list and into this Frid’Eh Update, so let’s get to know him a little bit better.
Direct Motocross: Hello, Nathan. Thanks for playing along with us for this week’s Update interview. We don’t have a #7 so I went to the far end of the list and found you with #99 for the 2023 MX season. All I really know is that you’re an off-road guy who raced River Glade last season. Can you tell us where you’re from and how you got into riding?
Nathan Ayles: Hey Billy, thanks for reaching out. I’m from a little town called Elgin. It’s pretty deep in the woods and there’s not much to do, but there’s some really wicked trails and awesome riding. I got into riding when I was 5 years old. Growing up, my older brother and I were always riding around and doing crazy stuff then it all just seemed fall into place and here we are 19 years later still loving it as much as I did when I was 5.
As a youngster in the maritimes, who was your riding hero back when you started out?
As a kid, I always followed a lot of Hard Enduro, GNCC, and Endurocross. I could always remember watching the races when I was a kid and wondering how someone could be as talented as Graham Jarvis and Billy Bolt. To this day it still blows me away what they can do on a bike.
I scrolled your Instagram page and see quite a few shots of you on off-road podiums. Can you tell us what some of your most notable races are?
I race a local series in New Brunswick called NBDRA which is a small hare-scrambles series. I have won several races in that series as well as another series in Nova Scotia called NSORRA.
If I had to pick a race that really stands out for me it was the Tiger Run race at GNCC I did last winter. I was leading the 4-stroke A Lites class and was running a good click through the woods. I was having a blast during this race but got so in the zone and focused on racing that I ran out of gas on my last lap. I still managed to get 4th place and had a great day!
You’re obviously also very good at MX. You finished 20-17 for 18th overall last year in Moncton. What is your percentage breakdown of Enduro to Motocross riding?
I’d say for the most part I mostly ride enduro, but I do love riding moto. If I had to put it in a percentage, I ride off-road 65 percent of the time and moto the rest of it.
It looked like both motos you were behind #300 Kevin Sullivan. Were you guys in some good battles? Take us through how that day at the MX Nationals went.
That day was definitely a huge learning curve for me since I had never done any races like that. I was riding with off-road suspension which made it difficult to ride on a gnarly track like that one. Overall, it was an amazing experience and there were lots of great racers that pushed me to do my best!
I know you hang out with and help Tyler Medaglia sometimes too. Can you tell us about that?
Tyler and I have become good friends over the past few years through riding. We had raced against each other a few times and one day just decided to ride off-road together and ended up becoming good friends. We are both die hard for dirt biking and have lots of fun riding together. It’s been pretty cool getting to ride with someone at Tyler’s level and he’s helped me so much. We went to South Carolina for a couple of months last winter and trained every day. We always have a killer time together and lots of laughs!
What are you doing this winter to get ready for the upcoming racing season?
This winter, I have been training quite a bit by doing cycling, yoga, and strength training to get ready for a busy race season. We were able to ride until January this year which was great. The weather has been really weird this year so I’m hoping we will be able to ride some sand pits by middle of March. If not, I might just have to load up my van and drive down to see my good buddy Tyler in Florida
What are your racing plans for 2023?
My racing plans for 2023 are to compete in the FMSQ series and Pro Nationals again!
How many MX Nationals have you done? Are they something you look forward to doing?
I never really did much MX racing until 2 years ago when I started getting more into it. 2022 was my first ever pro national and let me tell you it was fun and I hope I get the chance to do it again this summer.
What do you do for work? I see welding photos on your feed.
I’m a red seal welder! I’ve been working for a small welding shop in Riverview, New Brunswick, for a few years and the owner used to race motocross. He understands what it takes to do well and how much riding you need to do, so that makes it a really good shop to work at. He’s very flexible when it comes to giving me time off to race and train.
What do you follow more closely, AMA Supercross or GNCC Racing results?
I’d say I follow GNCC way more because it’s something I always watched and loved. I do follow AMA a bit but not as much as GNCC.
What’s the next best sport?
That’s kinda a hard question to answer because the best sport is dirt biking but I’d say the next best sport is cycling. I seem to do it a fair amount and it’s always so much fun.
What is the thing other car drivers do that bothers you?
Definitely when they have bright LED lights and they blind you with their high beams. That drives me right up the wall.
OK, well, thank you for accepting this fill-in ride this week. Good luck with your 2023 season. Who would you like to thank?
Anytime, thank you so much. I’d like to thank Toys for Big Boys, they always go way over the top for me and I can’t thank them enough for all the top notch support. I’d also like to Husqvarna Canada who have helped out lots.
WLTN Canadian Kawasaki Seven MX Team Announced
Walton, Ontario, Canada (February 17, 2023) – WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX race team is geared up for a full year of world-class racing in 2023. The WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX racing team will compete against the premier motocross talents from across North America as they seek to contend for the 2023 MRC Canadian Triple Crown Series.
WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX will continue with Woodstock, Ontario racer Tanner Ward who will compete for his second year aboard the KX450. Ward had a strong rookie season in 2022 and looks to build on his strong season finish. “At the end of the season in 2022, I felt better than I ever have on a motorcycle. I know I will continue to improve with the experience I built and the WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX Kawasaki 450 under me!“
Alongside Ward will be Beloeil, Quebec’s 450 rookie Jeremy Mckie. Mckie, a stand-out Canadian amateur champion, had his best season in the Pro class, with several 250 podiums, including a second overall at the final Walton round in 2022. McKie’s large stature made him a natural to move to the 450 class. “I feel that the 450 suits me better than the 250. Right from the moment I got on the Kawasaki 450, I felt comfortable. I feel 2023 will be a great year for me, WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX and everyone supporting us!“
The WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX 250 effort will be placed on the shoulders of American Justin Bogle. Bogle is considered one of the most gifted riders, capable of a world-class race pace. He will bring his experience to the line aboard his Kawasaki KX250. “I am very excited to race a new series and compete against new riders with the platform WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX has for me. This is a really exciting time for me at this point in my career, and I can not wait to go racing!“
WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX will keep a solid amateur tie, leading Canadian Kawasaki’s Team Green support program and backing mini racer Caleb Vankoughnett. “Last year was amazing to travel and race against riders across Canada. The guys on this team have become mentors to me, and I can’t wait to get to the races in 2023!“
“We are confident with our team roster for 2023,” said WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX Team Manager Chad Goodwin. “The success we shared with Tanner last season is promising as we look to the upcoming Triple Crown Championship. We’re also very optimistic about Jeremy and Justin’s abilities to be top contenders in their classes. Caleb was such a strong team member last year, and we know he will continue to develop. We are in a great place with the development of our bikes and look forward to racing in 2023.”
2023 Business partners
Canadian Kawasaki – Walton Raceway – Seven – Pro Circuit – Renthal – Maxima – Dunlop Tires – Gaerne Boots – Renegade Fuels – Hall Race Fuels – XTrig – Hinson – Works Connection – SKDA – Mechanix Wear- Arai Helmets – 100% – Guts Racing – Dubya – Acerbis – DID Chain – Matrix Concepts- Motion Pro – Works Connection – Dubya USA – Boxo USA – LightSpeed – Risk Racing -Pro X – JE Pistons – Arc Levers – FCP- Sportsman Racing Products -Rockwell Watches- DocWob Imports – Huber Motorsports -Tanner Steffler Foundation – Apex Helicopters – Auburn HIlls
About WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MXWLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX is based out of Walton Raceway, located in Huron Country on Ontario’s West Coast. The address of the facility is 42932 Walton Road in Walton, Ontario, Canada. WLTN/Canadian Kawasaki/Seven MX is a motocross racing team participating in the Jetwerx Triple Crown Series. Walton Raceway was opened in 1972 and is one of Canada’s longest-running and most prestigious Motocross facilities. www.waltonraceway.ca
So, the question is, how will a guy like Justin Bogle do A) in Canada and B) in the ultra-competitive 250 class?
Like a lot of you reading this, I’ve watched Justin since he was a hot shot amateur coming up through the ranks. He was my favourite rider to point my camera at whenever I saw him at any of the big, amateur nationals down south. He was fast and full of flair.
He won the 250 East Supercross title back in 2014, so there’s no question about his speed and talent. Most-recently, he finished 13th in the 450 SX class in 2022, so you know he’s still got indoor speed.
He stepped away from the 2022 Lucas Oil AMA 450 Pro Motocross Nationals last season. Here’s the PR from his team:
“With the support of his family and team, Justin Bogle of team Twisted Tea/ HEP Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance has decided to take a break from the 2022 Lucas Oil Outdoor National Championship. The burden of a gruelling Supercross season, where Justin was one of only 10 athletes to lead a premiere class main event while accomplishing multiple top-ten finishes, has compelled Justin to press the reset button and recover. Although no timetable has been set for his return, we look forward to seeing Justin back on the racetrack in the near future.”
He will add a ton of interest in our series from the USA, so his presence up here has already paid for itself, from the Jetwerx point of view, but how about from team owner Brett Lee‘s point of view?
One thing I do know is that Justin is a factor in the WSX Championship series and there is a schedule conflict with the round in France (July 22) and the River Glade National (July 23) here in Canada. I had a quick chat with Brett today and they’ll approach it like this: if Justin is in one of the championship title battles, that’s where their priority will be.
I’m pumped that we’ve got a big name American rider coming to race our series again, but I don’t think he’ll be fighting with guys like Ryder McNabb, Jake Piccolo, Mitchell Harrison, or Josiah Natzke. I may be singing a different tune if this were 10 years ago, but I think he’ll find our top 4 to be next level, especially on our tracks. Having said that, our tracks are tighter than American tracks so that will definitely help him. He’ll definitely be fun to watch and he’ll be tough to beat in the AX/SX portion of the series.
Also in that press release from the WLTN Kawasaki Seven team is #20 Jeremy McKie moving up to the 450 class on the team. Like so many of our top riders, we’ve watched him move up through the ranks and I think his moving up to the 450 class is a great move for him. He’s a big kid and the 450 will suit him well. He’s smooth and skilled and will be able to make better use of the power of the big bike. I’m looking forward to seeing how he does. I don’t think he’ll have the speed of his teammate Tanner Ward, but you know he’ll do everything in his power to try to be the #1 450 guy on the team…and make me eat those words!
It’s Motorcycle Show Season!
Toronto’s premier powersports event, The Toronto Motorcycle Show presented by NFP, is roaring back to the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, February 17 – 19, 2023, and is set to deliver plenty of fun, excitement, and new discoveries for riders of all styles, ages, and experience levels.
Riders, future riders, and lovers of the motorcycle lifestyle will be able to check out some of the most anticipated models for 2023, from many of the world’s top manufacturers.
Make sure to go and bother Greg Poisson as he helps out over at the STACYC booth.
The Montreal Motorcycle Show is next week: February 24-26.
Montreal’s largest powersports event, The Montreal Motorcycle Show, is roaring back to the Palais des congrès de Montréal February 24 to February 26, 2023.
Considered by the riding community as THE ultimate showcase of motorcycles, accessories and riding gear, The 2023 Montreal Motorcycle Show is set to deliver plenty of fun, excitement, and new discoveries for riders of all styles, ages, and experience levels.
Supercross Heads to Round 2 in Oakland. You Heard Me…
Yep, we’ll get the numbering back under control after this weekend in Oakland, California. I was out west for the first 4 rounds of SX but the weather was crazy for the first week or so and Round 2 had to be postponed and rescheduled.
Press Day riding is going on as I type this. #83 Cole Thompson returns to the 250 West class Saturday and I think racing against the 450 guys in the east should help him against the 250’s this week. He needs to qualify a little better to get a good gate pick, and he should be knocking on the 5th place door.
In the 450 class, the top 3 are only separated by 4 points. #3 Eli Tomac (113) leads #23 Chase Sexton (111), and #2 Cooper Webb (109). You sort of get the feeling Eli knows what he’s doing but I don’t think anyone should get comfortable with Cooper’s history when he’s looking and feeling as good as he appears to be this season. #21 Jason Anderson appears to have the speed along with Sexton, but Jason is going to have to stay out of the muck and Chase off the ground if they want to stand a chance.
I’m still out in Kamloops with my mom until Wednesday, so I apologize and just want to say I’m doing as much as I can while looking after a mother who instantly gets angry when I stop paying attention to her to do interviews or even type on my laptop, like I am right now. My only saviour seems to be old Elvis Presley concert videos on Youtube. As I finish this one up, we’ve got Elvis live in Hawaii from 1973 on in the background. She didn’t recognize white suit Elvis at first. She’s more of a mid-60’s Elvis fan, apparently. If anyone has questions about how to look after a parent with Alzheimer’s disease, I’m becoming somewhat an expert on it.
It sounds like tracks are opening up for riding all across the country this week, so get out and have some fun. I’lll be dusting off the Jeff McConkey Yamaha YZ250 2-stroke as soon as I get home and the weather permits, so watch for the #739 rolling around a track near you. I’ve got lots of new gear to try out! We used to call a buddy of mine “White Pants” on the high school football team because he rode the bench and never got dirty. If the shoe fits…
Have a great weekend and enjoy the racing.
Let’s end this week with an old video from Revelstoke, BC back in 2015 featuring Kyle Keast, Brad Nauditt, Dylan Delaplace, and Marcus Nilsen (RIP):