Photo Report|Women’s East Round 1 at Gopher Dunes
By Billy Rainford
Photos by Tyler Spikman @Spikman
The Women’s East Nationals got underway at the famed sand track in Courtland, Ontario, this past Saturday under clear skies and warm temperatures. Historically, the weather, combined with the deep deep sand at Gopher Dunes, make this the toughest round of both the Women’s and Men’s circuit. This year, the weather was perfect for good racing, and the changes they made to the layout of the track made for some great battles.
Here’s a look at the racing action through the lens of Tyler Spikman.
#89 Emma Wenzel having some fun in the deep sand at Gopher Dunes. She is on a little bike, so if you’re wondering if you should sign up for Ulverton and give it a try this week…yes, you should. Emma finished in 33rd spot with 32-32 motos.
When Jeff makes specific mention of your bike and gear set up, you know you’re looking good! #54 Vanessa Paquette rounded out the top 20 with 23-17 motos.
#43 Emilie-Jade Leveille was consistent with 17-16 motos for 15th overall.
#138 Mariah Gauthier was in a great first moto battle with Emma Saarella and Isabelle Thibault. She finished 13th (16-12).
#111 Breanna Rose and #265 Brittany Gagne were in a heated first moto battle at the halfway mark. Her 12-11 motos gave her 11th.
#4 Madison Seguin was in great battles with #927 Robin Hutchenson in the first and #192 Isabelle Thibault in the second. 10-10 gave her 10th.
#927 Robin Hutchenson has improved a lot this year. She battled hard both motos and took 9th with 11-9 motos.
#192 Isabelle Thibault seemed to be bar to bar with someone the entire day. 8-8 gave her 8th.
I thought #3 Kassie Boone would have been closer to the lead battle on her Suzuki 250 2-stroke after her impressive rides last season. Her 6-6 motos put her 7th. Watch for her to move forward in the coming weeks.
#265 Brittany Gagne spends a lot of time in the gym and put it to good use as she worked her bike around the rough track. She had decent starts and was in some good battles both motos. 9-4 put her 6th.
#2E Kim Normandin is riding a Honda 450 this season. She kept it pretty cool all day and finished 5-5 for 5th. She and Kassie Boone had a great battle.
#98 Julia Krzemien was wheel to wheel with #68 Shannon Fleming in the first moto…the entire moto. She fell in the second trying to get around Gagne and had to work hard for 7th. 3-7 gave her 4th.
#68 Shannon Fleming made her first trip to Canadian MX. She will forgo Loretta Lynn’s this season to chase the Women’s West Nationals title. The Connecticut rider is fast, but she’ll need a little extra to stay with the top two riders.
It’s great to have #734 Jacqueline Ross back in Canada. She made an emotional trip back to the podium in 2nd overall. She was gaining on Eve Brodeur in the second as they maneuvered their way through lapped riders but went down and was left chasing. 2-2 put her 2nd. Watch for her to be right with Eve for some great battles as we move forward.
Defending champ, #1 Eve Brodeur, is riding like just that…a champion. She looked really smooth and has picked up her speed from last season. Others will try, but it will take someone special to dethrone the young Quebec rider. 1-1 and both holeshots.
We heard #10 Heather Bennett dabbed her foot wrong and broke her tibia in the 2nd moto. Get well soon, Heather.
Women’s East Round 1 top 5: Eve Brodeur, Jacqueline Ross, Shannon Fleming, Julia Krzemien, Kim Normandin (Series Co-organizer, Leah Clark, far left).
The girls ganged up on Eve pretty good with the champagne.
Can anyone step up to challenge Brodeur this weekend? Will ‘The Female GOAT,’ Jessica Patterson, show up? Get to Ulverton this Saturday to find out. See you at the races…