Best Races with … Gord Gilliatt
Gord Gilliatt is one of Canada’s best sticker guys, and I’m not just saying that because he makes decals for Kyle Keast. I’m saying that because he does my stickers and jersey lettering for free. Just kidding—he usually charges me more. Gilliatt prints quality custom decals on the thick stuff, he’s a friend and I like helping him out when I can. He also likes Ron Lechien stories, fighting for our rights to ride off-road, and can throw back a large size bag of Doritos without stopping to lick his fingers. Gord and I always end up into a bench race every time that I stop by, so I figured he’d have some interesting moto memories to share with us. See what you think….
Hero meets the New Guy
“On Canadian soil, the best one would have been Gopher Dunes two years ago, when Kyle [Keast] got up on the podium. Dowdy is one of my heroes and Kyle was ahead of him in the second moto until Kyle tipped over on the last lap and Dowd got by him. There is probably Canada’s best sand specialist, and Dowd is the USA’s best sand rider. I thought that was pretty cool because I always liked Dowd. I was so into that race! I was in a little section where you could watch them go by, and then I’d run over to the other side of the track to cheer Kyle on. I was screaming at the top of my lungs; I don’t think I’ve ever been into a race like that before. Everyone was really into it that day. All of the mechanics for the all of the different riders were pretty proud of Kyle that day, I think.”
|And the crowd goes wild.... Kyle Keast (18) leads Gavin Gracyk (2) in the second MX1 moto at Gopher Dunes in 2006. Check out the pipes on Jolene Van Vugt!|
|photo: Danny Brault|
Gord spent some time working as a long-haul trucker in the States, and his boss was kind enough to schedule runs so that Gord could take in some outdoor nationals and supercross events while still making a buck.
Thick, Texas mud
“The Dallas Supercross in the mid-90’s. I can’t remember the year, but it was a really bad wet race. So bad that they had to cancel the KTM Junior class because they couldn’t make it around the track. Everybody was slipping and sliding all over the place, but Kevin Windham, on a YZ125, was still jumping all of the triples. I think he was the only guy in the 125 class to do them—and he even pulled a heel clicker! I think Jeff Emig won the 250 class that day. They were about the only two riders still jumping everything that day.”
“Millville, Minnesota—there is another awesome race. I kind of got out of the motocross thing; I got burned out of it around `86 or `87 and I actually didn’t ride for 16 years. It was `94, the year that Dowdy got a Factory Yamaha ride after Mike Craig lost his ride. I was at Millville, and I think that was his first race that Dowd was on a Factory Yamaha. I had been out of the sport for a while, still bought the magazines and read a little bit, but really didn’t know who he was or who most of the top guys were. Him and Larocco and went at it and I think he even won a moto and the overall Everyone was going crazy over this John Dowd guy who was just really starting to come on.”
One more ...
“Glen Helen in San Bernardino, I went there a few times too. That was an awesome race. It was the very first race of the year and in California. If you’re a fan, how does it get any better than that? The one year I was there was when [Jeremy] McGrath decided not to outdoors anymore and everyone was mad at him but he did that race. He was a talented outdoor rider, but that’s what started the whole SX-only deals. It’s a shame because I’m an old school guy and love watching guys on the outdoor, wide open, national terrain tracks.”