By Billy Rainford

Sorry this is late. I just can’t handle this Pacific time!

We just can’t win out here in California this year! Sure, the rain has stopped and I can’t see any clouds in the sky, but now the Santa Ana winds have whipped up and there’s another Severe Weather Warning being sent out to our phones.

I remember last year being able to cycle in my much-hated sleeveless cycling jersey every day and still being too hot. It was a great problem to have, considering I’d have been back in Ontario shovelling the driveway. This year, however, there have been days when the temperature back home has only been a few degrees lower than it is here!

As Johnny Rotten once so famously asked, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?!

As I sit here typing this, the trees are bending to dangerous angels. Sure, they’re palm trees so it looks nice, but there’s still a chance we’re going to lose power in these parts.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ll even bother to try cycling in this wind today. Maybe if someone drove me 40k upwind and I tried to set some sort of one-way time-trial record that could be fun…

I’m running full #vanlife this year and it’s been pretty good, so far. The key to the the enjoyment and sustainability has been the addition of a Planet Fitness membership this year. These things are like Tim Hortons back in Canada – they’re on almost every corner!

I can see that I’m not the only one clued in to this travel method because I always see Sprinter vans and white cargo vans posted up in every parking lot at these 24-hour oases of the traveler. They’re super-cheap and are even a good way to get fit, I’m told!

Do we have time for a quick rant?

OK, so these gyms push the whole “Judgement Free Zone” attitude in their marketing and signage. But then they go and have an alarm that claims it will ring if anyone sees a muscle-head drop weights or grunt loudly. They’re just doing some sort of reverse gym judgement. Is it really any better?

Judge not lest ye be judged!

Wow, I’m full of quotes this week.

I’m out in California for one more round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross at Anaheim 2. It should have been my 4th round but with Oakland being rescheduled I’ll miss one of the 4.

This past weekend we were at a brand new stadium in San Diego on the campus of San Diego State University called Snapdragon Stadium. It was actually the perfect size for the event. It was sold out and looked great. The layout was simple to go from the track to the photo den to the pits without needing to book an Uber.

The floor shape was square and the track seemed to be good, from everything I heard from the riders. The Dirt Wurx crew didn’t start putting the track in until Wednesday. The old dirt from the Monster Jam event was taken out and new, dry dirt was put back in its place.

They had to scrape it all out but weren’t able to keep the edges dry and mud-free for Saturday so that hindered out movement around the edges of the track. Fortunately, we were allowed a good space in the middle of the floor that gave us access to rider shots from many different places on the track.

I shot video of our Canadian riders, so I’ll get those up as soon as I can sit down and work on them. I’m not really supposed to shoot video of the main racing but I use the old, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission” (That’s quote #3, for those of you scoring at home) (And that’s a piece of a David Letterman quote, so I’m making that #4!) method on this one.

I don’t think they mind if I just concentrate on the Canucks racing who aren’t part of the main broadcast presentation. Someone crack the top 5 and this may need to change! That’s a problem I wouldn’t mind having, at all.

Let’s have a look at how our 3 Canadians did in San Diego:

#518 Parker Eales.

#518 Parker Eales – Maple Ridge, BC

Holeshot Racing Fox KTM

Qualifying: 47th Missed the night show.

Parker looked much more comfortable and aggressive on the bike this week. With very little time on an actual Supercross track, Parker is picking up the game quickly. With a solid week on the bike heading into A2, he should continue his progression toward a night show.

Parker Eales interview:

#500 Julien Benek.

#500 Julien Benek – Mission, BC

Partzilla PRMX OGs Kawasaki

Qualifying: 28th

Heat 1: 16th

LCQ: Julien had his throttle hand ripped off the bars and crashed pretty spectacularly in a rhythm section. He stayed at the side of the track for a while as medics talked to him. He climbed back on the bike and rode around the track to the final corner to wait for the checkered flag. In obvious pain, he crossed the line but was done for the night. I spoke with his dad, Oliver Benek, and he said that Julien was hurting, of course, but that he hadn’t furthered any existing pains he was already dealing with.

#83 Cole Thompson.

#83 Cole Thompson – Brigden, ON

Solitaire Heartbeat Hot Sauce Leatt Yamaha

Qualifying: 20th (same as A1)

Heat 1: 4th (Held off a charging #48 Cameron McAdoo at the line)

Main: Cole was 2nd gate from the inside and pushed his way through the first corner after getting pinched off. He was 11th on lap 2 and was looking great. He held that position while chasing his old friend #111 Alex Rodriguez for a long time. Cole would try something different to make a pass and end up losing ground and having to play catch-up again. Once he made the inside move on him by the mechanics area, he immediately dropped him. With a good start, Cole should be getting a good sniff of the top 5 very soon. He’ll also likely line up for some 450 rounds on his 250 in the East. Cole sits 10th in West points.

Cole Interview:

All our guys should be busy at practice tracks this week. Like I said earlier, we’ll have nothing but blue skies this week, so all the usual spots will be buzzing. If anyone has a request for some type of content from our riders down here, please fire me a message on our Instagram page DM’s and I’ll see what I can do.

Dylan Rempel Signs with Partzilla PRMX

Dylan Rempel to Partzilla PRMX.

Breslau, Ontario, rider Dylan Rempel has signed a multi-year deal with the Partzilla PRMX race team.

After a bumpy season in 2022 due to injury, the young rider is back up to speed and looking to bounce back with a strong effort in 2023 and beyond.

With the team also competing south of the border, the doors are wide open for an exciting next couple years for Dylan.

Said team owner Julien Perrier, “Dylan is a young rider with a ton of potential and I’m confident that with the right program he will be up in the mix.”

The team will race the Canadian Triple Crown Series, the Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross, some American amateur national events, and then Supercross Futures in 2024.

Dylan will begin training with the team at SOBMX in February. Congratulations and good luck.

Silly Season

This signing of Dylan Rempel to the Partzilla PRMX team should start a few other signings in motion. There are a few other top riders who have yet to “put pen to paper” and sign on the dotted line for this upcoming season, a season we are still waiting to see, in fact.

We’re hearing TransCan standout Tanner Scott has an offer on the table to ride for GDR on a paid basis. The numbers always sound high until you do the actual math and start adding up costs and the benefits of having them all taken care of in one lump sum.

#31 Zach Ufimzef has landed a spot on the Manluk Yamaha team in the 250 class, so that will be great for the BC rider to have so many pieces of the puzzle handled for him, and take a lot of pressure off his dad!

#3 Shawn Maffenbeier said that he just needs to sign his contract with Kevin Tyler over at his MX101 FXR Yamaha home. We did a podcast interview with Shawn for Frid’Eh Update #3 last week:

I love what we’re hearing out of the Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing team about #4 Jake Piccolo. Word on the street is that they basically can’t keep him off the bike! He’s been spinning lap after lap and just loves riding. He’s putting in more laps than most riders will put in all season! He’s also back at Club MX so you know he’s getting some good advice from our friends down in South Carolina.

#20 Jeremy McKie should be on a 450 with Brett Lee and the gang over at the Walton Kawasaki team with SMX backing. I’m looking forward to seeing Jeremy on a 450. I think it will be a great fit. His teammate should be Marco Cannella, we’re hearing, but that isn’t finalized yet, either.

Let’s not forget that Josiah Natzke is planning an attack on the 250 MX class for Partzilla PRMX in 2023. If you remember what he did when he showed up, you should have him in your picks. He had a couple bike issues and was ill as the season went on, so don’t judge him on his later-season results. He will be in this for the title.

#84 Tanner Ward showed he’s still got a lot left to do in the 450 class. He kept improving as the season went on and I think he’s got a lot of podiums in him. We’re hearing he’s being courted by a couple different teams right now. Everyone knows they get a solid rider with a great attitude with Tanner, so it will be interesting to see where he lands.

Daniel Elmore is going racing with Cycle North Honda again in 2023. He’ll head back to Club MX and come out swinging. This is a rider who should be being looked at by all the main teams out there. You don’t want to say he’ll be riding with a chip on his shoulder, but for him to land consistently in the top 5 will be a pretty nice “I told ya so.”

And what about #15 Jess Pettis? With no indoor racing on his schedule, I look for him to be giving Dylan Wright fits all summer long. A healthy and prepared Pettis is the 450 rider who can potentially stop Dylan from running the table 2 seasons in a row.

As Quint said about Dylan in the movie Jaws, “He can’t! Not for 2 seasons, he can’t!!!” Or something like that…

As far as the 2023 schedule is concerned, I know Kyle Thompson and the Jetwerx gang are working hard to get it done. We’re promised they will have it done….soon. I could sit here and tell you what we’re hearing, but they are in contract negotiations now so anything I say could simply change before we see it. We’re hearing 3 West and 5 East, but, again, even that could change before we see it.

OK, this McDonalds in Lake Elsinore is playing music from John Denver and now from the Grease soundtrack. Sure, Grease was the first movie I went to see more than once back when I was a little kid, but come on! (Truthfully, I’m enjoying it all too much and have to get out of here before someone sees me mouthing every word to these damn songs!)

I’ll head over to the track here (it’s not open on Mondays) but it’s where Julien Benek is calling home in the ASV owner’s motorhome, so I’ll find out just how good he’s feeling after that crazy crash. Also, there aren’t any outlets in here so the battery bar on my Mac is starting get frighteningly short.

Have a great week, everyone.

I have to end it with Oliver Benek using the old “act like you’ve been there before” technique. See you at the races…