McThoughts: Women’s West MX Nationals|Calgary Round 3
By Jeff McConkey
I finally made it out West to take in a Women’s West round this past weekend. I don’t think I could have picked a better round. The Calgary track has some nice elevation and a few big jumps. The track was pretty dry on Saturday, as the crew held off on laying down the water due to the forecast. Throw in some high winds and it made it very sketchy in certain sections.
Now, I know there are a few girls that are a little peeved at me for stating over and over again that this is a National Series, and NOT a Pro Series. Well, nothing has changed and it is still a National Series. And there is nothing wrong with that. There are the girls like Shelby Turner, Lexi Pechout, and Sara King that could carry a Women’s Pro card, but then we have a wide array of talent all of the way down to the girls that just started riding and racing. This allows for great battles throughout the entire pack. I feel that calling it a Pro Series will hurt it and deter the younger girls from making the jump from the local club racing to the National level. And honestly, that’s the only way Women’s racing will grow. If there are a few girls out there that still disagree, I will gladly let you kick my butt right after you show me your Pro license.
Anyway, back to the Calgary round. The girls had a pretty solid turnout after a not-so-great round 2. The poor turnout is by no means the girls’ fault. I attribute it to the ridiculous costs to get out to Nanaimo and the poor track. I’m sure most were very happy to be heading to Calgary. Let’s take a look at the results and my thoughts.
1st Shelby Turner 1-1: Shelby won the West Championship as a 14-year-old, so we all know she has the tools to do it again. The first thing I notice about Shelby is that she does everything very well. Her corner speed was impressive and she is not afraid to hit the bigger jumps. I think her jumping is the one thing that has really improved since I saw her last. From top to bottom, in my eyes, she is the best in the West this season. She should capture the title in Regina ,barring any freak incidents or injuries.
2nd Lexi Pechout 2-2: Lexi only decided to line up for the series 3 weeks before round 1. She is an off-road specialist and moto is not her forté. But if you were to just look at the results so far this season, you’d have no idea. I was amazed with her speed and blown away with her corner speed. By now, we all know that she is not a jumper and that she lacks the confidence to hit the bigger jumps on the track. Could anyone else roll the big jumps and still show Turner a wheel everywhere? No, not a chance. Lexi is very special, and when she becomes a solid jumper, the rest of the girls better watch out because we have a future champion.
3rd Sara King 3-3: Sara is our defending champion for a reason. She has good speed and does everything else very well. The thing that impresses me the most with King is her jumping. Dang, she looks good in the air. I was really impressed with her style and confidence in the air. She looked good in Calgary, but her speed was a tad off the leaders, and her so so starts didn’t help her. She will have to go 1-1 in Regina and hope for some luck on her side to retain the number 1 plate.
4th Dominique Daffé 5-4: Dominique improved quite a bit last year, but she didn’t stop there. Boyfriend and injured Pro, Jared Pestruka, has been putting in the time with Dominique and it shows everywhere. Daffé rode great in Calgary and is the next girl after the top 3 of Turner, Pechout, and King. If she keeps improving at this rate, she will be a podium threat on any track.
5th Jamie Burmey 4-6: Jamie is the girl that had me asking, “Who the heck is 447?” She had great starts in both motos and had the speed to hang with the top 3 for a few laps. She had solid style and rode very well, all day long. I think if she was to do the full series next season, she would be a podium threat and could possibly finish the season with the #4 or 5. It’s nice to see fast new girls show up and mix things up.
6th Brittany Danyluk 6-5: With being such a good jumper, I expected Brittany to be higher up the results sheet. It looked like she had an off weekend in Calgary and will no doubt be looking to redeem herself at the final round in Regina.
7th Madi Watt 8-7: Madi rode well and had a good Calgary. She is sitting 6th in points and is looking to challenge Danyluk for 5th overall for the season. I hadn’t seen her ride before and I was definitely impressed.
8th Tamala Whiteside 10-8: Tamala is another name new to me. I really do like seeing and meeting these new girls. Whiteside was right in the mix all weekend and seemed like see was always battling someone. I don’t think she will be heading to Regina, which is sad, as she had a shot at a top 10 national number.
9th Courtney Stelter 7-11: Courtney caught my eye in practice. She had good speed all day and walked away with a nice top 10 o/a finish.
10th Danika White 11-9: Danika always has the best looking bikes and kits in the West. She had a good Calgary and battled hard both motos. I think with better starts, she could be higher up the results.
Biggest Stud: I’d like to give the top 3 girls Turner, Pechout and King ‘stud status’ this week. They are all on another level and made it fun to watch.
Biggest Dud: I’m already on thin ice with some of the ladies, so I’m kind of afraid to pick a dud. All joking aside, the dud in Calgary would have to be the injuries to Oriana Fraser and Jamie Munro. I didn’t get a chance to speak with Fraser, but I do know that Munro was knocked out cold after switching lines around a lapper and being blown off the track by the wind. Thankfully, nothing is broken and I hope these two girls get better soon.
Biggest Surprise: Jamie Burmey was my surprise. I had never heard of her before and her great starts and ability to run with the top girls really opened my eyes.
The series now heads to Regina for the 4th and final round. Shelby Turner leads the way, but like last season showed us, we can’t count our chickens until they are hatched. Thanks for reading.