Kyle McCannell Talks about the Nationals Not Going West to His Prairie Hill MX Track

By Billy Rainford

Presented by Fox Racing Canada

Kyle McCannell owns the Prairie Hill MX track in Pilot Mound, Manitoba. He and his crew were set to host their first-ever Canadian Triple Crown Motocross National this season for Round 2, but COVID-19 has struck yet again.

We got in touch with him to talk about the situation and to see if we’ll be making a stop there in the future when things get back to normal.

Kyle McCannell – Prairie Hill MX. | Bigwave photo

Direct Motocross: Hello, Kyle. Let’s start off by introducing you to everyone. Can you tell us where you’re from and what you do for a living?

Kyle McCannell: Hey, Billy, it’s good to hear from you! I’m from Pilot Mound, Manitoba, and grain farming is what I do for a living.

How long has Prairie Hill MX been in operation? And how long have you owned it?

Prairie Hill MX started as a few little jumps that I made in 2004 on a piece of property our farm about a mile from where I grew up, so we have owned it from the beginning. It became a sanctioned race track on our provincial series in 2009. 

How has the MX scene been in Manitoba the past couple seasons with all this COVID-19 stuff going on?

In 2020 we didn’t know what to expect but things turned out relatively well, all things considered. We were able to run our series here except for the last scheduled race. Unfortunately, it had to be cancelled. But overall it was a pretty good summer for MX. Bike sales were up and new people got involved.

For us at Prairie Hill we had our second best race ever for the number of people through the gate. We dealt with our local health inspector and were lucky enough to even have spectators allowed at the event at that time. This season is planned as a go right now but the start is delayed until July. I’m hoping things will be able to run smoother at that time. 

The contrast of dark soil and the surrounding trees will look great on TV. | Photo supplied

How many tracks are in the Manitoba series there?

We have 7 tracks scheduled to host races this year. There are many great practice tracks throughout the province as well. I’m biased, but I think Manitoba makes a strong case for the best series in the country as far as quality of tracks is concerned across the board. We are very fortunate in that regard to have great promoters and facilities. 

We’ve just had the announcement that we won’t be going west for the Canadian Triple Crown Series again in 2021. Can you take us through this situation?

Ya, that was a hard announcement for us westerners to hear. It’s definitely a bummer and not a decision anyone wanted to make. It just wasn’t going to make sense logistically, though, with the different quarantine restrictions between provinces. We kept hoping those were going to lift but with the recent jumps in cases it didn’t look promising and it couldn’t be left much longer. Racers and teams need to have their plans in place. Just a tough and crappy situation but hopefully come next year we aren’t dealing with it. 

How long have you been wanting to host a National?

Hosting a national event has been the goal and plan right from the beginning of hosting provincial races. It became realistic about 3-4 years ago when our facility was ready for it.

They’ll continue to improve the track for their practice nights and their provincial race at Prairie Hill MX. | Photo supplied

How do you think your track would race for a Pro National?

I think it will race really well. We have made some improvements and adjustments so it flows really well. We have great soil and it ruts up nice and gets a good roughness to it. We have a couple of jumps right in front of where spectators can stand for the guys to show off a bit. Lol. I think guys will really enjoy themselves.

It will also look great on the TV coverage, the way it’s laid out amongst the trees and the nice black soil contrasted against the grass and the fields in the background (I’m a moto nerd when it comes to all of the details like that).

What will you do for this coming racing season?

We will be focussing on improving things as much as we can and if things go as planned we will host our provincial race in July and have some practices throughout the year. We also have a mud bog pit and hopefully will get back to running the ATV mud bug that we host if COVID allows. 

Will you still try to be on the schedule moving forward?

We are 100% committed to hosting a national next year and continuing on after that, so we will be planning for that to happen. Our prep for this year didn’t stop when the announcement came out, we are still working on things right now. If we need to find a positive in all of this it’s that we have more time to make things even better!

Prairie Hill MX hopes to be a fixture on the Canadian Triple Crown circuit. | Photo supplied

How important is it for you to host an event like this at your place?

It would basically be a dream come true, as cheesy as that may sound. It’s our equivalent of a rider making their pro debut! Our chance to show what we’ve got. It would be a big deal for our community and local area as well to have an event of this size. 

Have you been able to have riders on your tracks there in Manitoba?

Yes, we have. Tracks have been open for a while now and still are currently. As long as all of the rules and proper protocols are being followed then practice days can happen. 

OK, thanks for having a quick chat with us today. Good luck with your season and hopefully we see you next summer. Is there anyone yo’d like to thank, while we’ve got you?

No problem, I always enjoy catching up and chatting with you, Billy. Thank you and I sure hope we see you. Definitely, first and foremost my family for all of the time and energy put in over the years. Running and keeping a facility like this up is no easy task. Everyone that volunteers time to help us out ( you guys know who you are ) All of our track sponsors. And there is my great friend and right-hand man at the track Ryan Millar, the skid steer wizard himself. Lol.