Monday Morning Coffee
By Billy Rainford
Wow, what day is it? Who thought driving to Boston and back from London, Ontario, was a good idea?! Oh ya, it was me. When they announced that the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series was heading back to Gillette Stadium this year, I knew I wanted to be there. When the date approached, I started to realize this was going to be a quick and dirty trip.
It started out as a trip with 3 drivers taking turns, and then it was two, and then it was just me. Fortunately, when I gave Sean Bowker a call, he said he was IN for the road trip. Sean and his wife have 2 very young kids so I knew it was a long shot, but the two of us have been on a lot of these crazy overnight motocross trips, so I figured it was worth the call.
If you know Sean, he likes details. Me? Not so much. He had the drive all mapped out with times and turns. All I knew was that we really only had to make 2 turns on the trip. I wasn’t worried.
Anyway, I picked Sean up at our usual meeting place at the hotel parking lot off the 401 in Woodstock where he left his car for the trip. As I neared Woodstock, a text from Sean read, “When does fashionably late become unfashionable?” Uh oh, were we off to a rough start? Not to worry, he was only 5 minutes behind my arrival time.
The drive would take us east on the 401 to the 403 cutoff toward Hamilton. From there it was a drive east on the QEW to Niagara Falls and over the river and into New York State. Once you hit I-90 you just keep going…for ever! Just before you hit the city you turn and head into Hopkinton. Does that sound familiar? No? Well, it’s where they bus you to for the start of the Boston Marathon. Did you know that the Boston Marathon isn’t the oldest distance running race in North America? Did you know that the Around the Bay 30k in Hamilton, Ontario, beats it by 1 year? Well, my fuzzy facts tell me this is the case. Don’t look it up.
We got to Gillette Stadium about 2 hours before the 7:30 track walk, so we found a parking lot and slept for an hour. We both probably could have used more than that, but whatever. My alarm went off at 6:30 and we grabbed a quick, greasy breakfast and headed across the street to the stadium.
By the way, it rained on our approach to the area and was still raining when we woke up and headed over to the track. It’s an open air football stadium where the New England Patriots play. This was going to be ugly, unless they put the tarps down. They didn’t.
Oh great, they pushed the schedule back 2 hours 15 minutes to 9:45 for the track walk. You mean we could have slept for 2 more hours?! This would come back to haunt us later…
You could easily distinguish the racers who love to ride in the mud from the normal people by the huge smiles on their sadistic faces. Riders like Aaron Plessinger and Marvin Musquin didn’t seem bothered by the possibility of a mudder at all. In fact, I saw both of them smiling from ear to ear as they tromped around in their rubber boots.
Conversely, I asked #423 Vicki Golden if she liked riding in the mud and she quickly replied, “I’m from California. I don’t even know what this stuff is!” It turned out, she didn’t ride.
Riders meeting had already happened at 7:30, so everyone just hung their heads and headed back to the pits after doing their best to learn the track as they clung to the wooden boards that lined the outside of the track itself. I was actually looking forward to taking some muddy Supercross photos. It doesn’t happen often, so I thought it was a cool experience. I just needed it to stop raining. I’ve been told that water and expensive electronics don’t mix very well…meh.
We wandered through the rain-soaked pits until we found French Canadian #418 Dave Blanchet in the PR-MX pits. Dave wasn’t very excited about the conditions, but he was still determined to put his PR-MX Strikt Racing Kawasaki into the night show before this season came to an end. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it, but more on that in another post.
They decided to cancel free practice and went with 2 timed qualifiers for everyone. It was still raining in the first few qualifiers and most riders really struggled with the wet conditions. In fact, nobody was able to even clear the finish line double until #373 Jacob Williamson hit the corner wide, barely made the tricky, slick double before it, and went banzai through the air and cleared the big finish line jump…sort of. The small crowd that was already in the stands erupted for him. It was actually pretty cool.
Unfortunately for Canadians cheering on Dave Blanchet, he just couldn’t put together one fast lap and had a real issue getting the wet finish line approach dialed. I missed the highlight of qualifying when he went for the big Supercross triple in the middle of the field. He saw that he was coming up short so decided to pull the shoot and eject from the bike. The story I got was that he flew through the air after tossing his bike, landed on his feet, did a front flip and waved to the crowd. I didn’t see it, that’s just what I was told.
Then some races happened…
When it was time to leave, we both knew better than to head straight into traffic so we just sat in the DMX van and watched the chaos unfold from relative safety. Next time you go to one of these things, be sure to sit around and watch people have ‘fun’ in the parking lot and also watch the police try to keep this ‘fun’ under control. It’s very entertaining.
After posting a few Instagram photos and seeing the traffic clear, we decided it was time to make the 8 1/2-hour drive back to Canada. Wrong! As soon as we got to the exit, we noticed they were funneling us in the opposite direction. Oh no. We took a flyer and took the next right and hoped for the best. We must have gone 4 times the distance outside the stadium but at least we were moving!
Once back on the right track, I took the first shift driving while Sean instantly started sawing logs in the passenger seat. We were both starving so we pulled off the highway as soon as the traffic died down and it looked like the rest of the fans had the same idea. Local legend, John Dowd, was enjoying a tasty slice of pizza as just about everyone stopped by to shake his hand.
The rest of the drive was rather uneventful and we pulled back onto the parking lot in Woodstock at around 6am. Sean did the math (of course) and said we’d done 1850 kms, watched a Supercross, and returned in 36 hours. Good times. Did I mention we’re heading to New York this weekend for the New Jersey round? I tell you, I’m really not looking forward to hopping back in the van, but I bet my enthusiasm will rise as this week progresses and off we’ll go with smiles on our faces. No, Sean isn’t making this trip. Emily will replace him this time. It sounds hard to believe at this point, but I’m sure we’ll have a great time.
Motopark Hosts SWO TransCan ANQ
Unfortunately, going to the Supercross meant I had to miss the AMO race up at Motopark that was the first ANQ for the Parts Canada TransCan. Here are a couple results of interest…
3rd overall in the Women’s East Nationals in 2015, #79 Kassie Boone showed up at Motopark on a Suzuki 250 2-stroke and took the win.
The top 3 in the Schoolboy 2 results are names we will be watching for many years to come here in Canada. They each won other classes and then came together in a sort of battle royale in Schoolboy 2. Watch for Tanner Ward, Austin Watling, and Marco Cannella as the summer progresses.
It would have been nice to see #8 Kyle Keast putting in fast laps at Motopark on his new KTM 450. It’s also always a good time watching Zeb Dennis whip his way around his home track. And to see #34 Westen Wrozyna on his Kawasaki would also have been great. Stupid Supercross!
Full results on the event can be found HERE.
South Round 1 | MCQMX
Kelowna, BC played host to the first round of the MCQMX South series. Here are a couple results. Full results can be found HERE.
PS There were 2 kids in the same race named ‘Kash.’ Just thought I’d point that out.
Women’s West National champion Sara King took the win out in Kelowna. It should be fun to watch her make her title defense this summer.
Retired Pro Ryan Lockhart finally got beat out in BC. I know a bunch of the local top Pro riders are still down in California getting ready for the Nationals, but good for Cody Matechuk for getting the win. Ryan would still finish with a top 10 number if he did the whole series.
I’m going to have to end my ramblings here. I’m on my way to find out my fate with regards to knee surgery. I was told this right knee would give me problems “when I get older” and I guess that time is now. If anyone can sort it out, it’s the group over at the Fowler/Kennedy Sports Injury Clinic though.
Thanks for reading and have a great week.