Monday Morning Coffee Opinion Column

Grab another cup and check out this week’s Monday Morning Coffee column where we talk about Motocross and whatever else Bigwave feels like. (Yes, I 3rd-personed myself for the tag line. Don’t worry about it!)

By Billy Rainford

Hello from somewhere along the way between Kamloops, BC and London, ON. It’s been a pretty difficult time out west as I looked after my mom for the last 8 days to give my sister some time away from the daily struggles.

Everything went pretty smoothly, actually, except for the time when the Nurse Nextdoor made her visits. As soon as a female “outsider” showed up at the door, my mom’s demeanour changed. The worst part of the entire time was yesterday when my 84-year-old mom screamed, “Moooom…Daaaaad!” at the top of her lungs while we tried to clean and change her into some new clothes. That definitely hit me pretty hard.

Adding to the sadness of it all, yes, it was Mother’s Day yesterday. Queue the waterworks! Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the Moto Moms out there.

I always include these little snippets of reality because, unfortunately, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are only getting more prevalent and if some of the things I’m learning along the way can help anyone, I’ll feel like I’ve done something to help the situation.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned that are key to being able to deal with it all:

  1. If you can, get a small dog that will be a loyal companion and one thing in the world your parent will cling to for support.
  2. If you can’t get a dog, get one of those realistic baby dolls. My mom wanted nothing to do with it for a couple years, but as it progressed she all of a sudden glommed onto it and likes to have it at her side at all times.
  3. A fidget blanket or sensory blanket is another great tool to keep them occupied. Again, she didn’t want anything to do with it until about the same time that she accepted the doll.

All 3 of these things are huge assets to make your parent’s life better and in turn yours.

But now, let’s switch gears to something a little more cheerful…

The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series came to an end Saturday in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have a special connection to that place because I lived there for the fall of 1994 and the winter/spring of 1995. I went to a few University of Utah football games there and spent most of my time in the mountains either on my skis or on my mountain bike.

last time I was there, I went for a MTB ride in the benches above the school with Le Big. It was fun but he didn’t tell me he was on an electric-assist bike…

If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend checking that area out. If you’re into sports, it’s amazing.

Anyway, there were quite a few storylines to talk about as we headed into this one:

  1. RJ Hampshire and Levi Kitchen were tied in 250 West points.
  2. Tom Vialle had a pretty safe points lead in 250 East, but would Haiden Deegan mess with him to try and make up the gap?
  3. Eli Tomac was out with a thumb injury.
  4. Jett Lawrence was about to win the 450 title in his rookie season. All he had to do was finish better than 17th.
  5. Cooper Webb was Jett’s closest competitor but he was riding with a broken thumb of his own.
  6. And we had 5 Canadians racing!

First things first:

Canadians at the 2024 Salt Lake City Supercross

Here’s a look at how the Canadians did at the final round of the 2024 Monster Energy AMA Supercross at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

We had 5 Canadians on the track at the final round of the 2024 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday. Here’s a look at how they all did.

Supercross Futures

It was the championship round of the SX Futures class. It all came down to this one round.

#138 Dylan Rempel. | Brown Dog Wilson photo

#138 Dylan Rempel – Aylmer, Ontario

Qualifying: 13th

Main: 6th

Dylan crossed the line on the first lap up in 4th place. He was running in 6th but was right behind the 2 riders in 4th and 5th for the entire race. The top 3 riders – #17 Cole Davies, #300 Drew Adams (led until he fell), and #15 Gavin Towers – had a big gap on the rest.

#800 Preston Masciangelo. Brown Dog Wilson photo

#800 Preston Masciangelo – Brantford, Ontario

Qualifying: 8th

Main: 16th

Preston was in 9th place early and moved his way up to find himself running 7th, right behind Rempel. He had a group pressuring and was in 9th place until he fell with less than 2 laps to go and dropped back to 16th at the flag. Preston had the opportunity to ride on an AJE Motorsports GasGas race bike for this round.

250 West

#71 Cole Thompson. | Brown Dog Wilson photo

#71 Cole Thompson – Brigden, Ontario

Qualifying: 9th

Heat: 7th

Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Showdown: 15th

Cole lined up between #24 RJ Hampshire and #43 Seth Hammaker in the Main. He was in 15th place early but made it up to 12th by the halfway mark. He crossed the line in 15th place. He earned enough points to climb his way to 10th place in the standings to end the season.

#500 Julien Benek. | Brown Dog Wilson photo

#500 Julien Benek – Mission, British Columbia

Qualifying: 18th

Heat: 17th

LCQ: 10th

From an outside gate pick in the LCQ, Julien was only able to cross the line on the first lap in 17th place coming from last. He rode well and made it up to 10th at the flag. He said it was nice to be healthy for this final round and looks forward to next season. He’ll now move over to the MVP Husqvarna Team and compete in the Canadian Triple Crown Series MX Nationals in the 450 class.

#943 Noah Viney. | Brown Dog Wilson photo

#943 Noah Viney – Murrieta, California/Ottawa, Ontario

Qualifying: 24th

Noah found himself just under a second outside the top 20 and wasn’t able to head to the night show.

250 podium: Deegan, Hampshire, Smith. | Brown Dog Wilson photo

In the Dave Coombs Sr. East/ West Showdown Main, Deegan got out front right away and that was all she wrote. Actually, Hampshire made it a close battle by catching up to him on the last couple laps to take a close 2nd. Behind him, #31 Jordon Smith was 3rd leaving RJ looking good to take the title because Kitchen was back in around 8th and had some fast riders in front of him to pass if he wanted to win this championship.

Kitchen made it up to 5th but had #30 Jo Shimoda and Smith between himself and RJ giving RJ the 250 West title.

I thought Smith had thrown away 3rd overall when he messed up late. He was in a close battle with Jo.

Hampshire celebrating his 250 West championship. | Brown Dog Wilson photo

It was good for RJ to finally get this title. Levi has lots of time left.

Interestingly, when RJ was asked about his future, he said that if he had it his way, he’d defend the 250 West and race a 450 in the East before moving up to the 450 class for outdoors.

250 East points leader, Tom Vialle, looked terrible in his Heat race. It was hard to imagine that a 2-time World Champion would be affected by the pressure, but that’s what looked to be happening.

He was behind Kitchen off the start and knew exactly what the math was. He had 18th gate pick and just had to make sure he didn’t go down, basically.

Vialle takes 250 East. | KTM photo

It was also interesting that he said this SX title was harder than his MX2 titles because it was all so new. He expects to be much better this summer, too. I have him as the odds-on favourite to win the 250 title.

450 podium: Sexton, Cooper, Webb. | KTM photo

In the 450 class, I don’t think anyone doubted that Jett was going to bring this one home. He was just a hair behind #1 Chase Sexton in qualifying.

Chase grabbed the lead in the Main while Jett was a few spots behind him in 6th, with Webb right beside him. I can’t imagine trying to ride with a snapped UCL in my thumb, but Cooper sucked it up and did everything he could under the circumstances.

#21 Jason Anderson took #96 Hunter Lawrence high in a left bowl turn and Hunter went down. Later on, Hunter gave him some back while being a lap down, causing a lot of bench racing the past couple days. What did you think of either move?

At the flag, Sexton took a comfortable win ahead of Justin Cooper and Webb. Jett came across the line back in 7th, but it didn’t matter, he was the champion and joins some rarified air winning the premiere SX title in his rookie season.

It’s always hard to believe we only take one weekend off and then the AMA Pro Motocross Championship season starts at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Can Jett Lawrence go undefeated again and try to keep pace with Dylan Wright? 😉 | Brown Dog Wilson photo

If you ask me, I say there’s a very good chance neither MX title ends up in American hands. I’ll go ahead and say it’ll be Vialle and J Lawrence when all is said and done at Ironman Raceway. WHat are your calls there?

I’ll be home this evening and can’t wait to get back to a regular routine again. Well, as regular as I can while we’re still living in the basement as the renovations near completion. It’ll be nice to use an oven again! Hot plate and microwave aren’t cutting it and it means we’re eating out at restaurants way too often.

I’ll be over at Gopher Dunes on Wednesday for their Media Day like they did last year. It’s a chance for us to interview the riders and they’ll hit the track for some photo and video ops while we’re there. They’ve got that new up-and-comer from Nova Scotia I’m looking forward to meeting. Some guy named Tyler Medaglia or something.

I’m also looking forward to hitting Dawn McClintock‘s new pizza restaurant in Tillsonburg on the way home!

Way to go, Dutchy! | Bigwave 2007 photo

Speaking of Dawn, we’re hearing Embert Berkers (only known as Dutchy) has been released form the hospital! This guy is as tough as a $2 steak! Atta boy, Dutchy!

And I also want to wish Brock Leitner good luck with his back surgery today in Mexico.

Have a great week. They’re announcing my name over the PA here in Calgary, so that’s how I know it’s time to head to the gate.

Maybe one more cup… “See you at the races…