Page 1

CANADA’S SOURCE FOR MOTOCROSS AND OFF-ROAD ROCKSTAR ENERGY TRIPLE CROWN SERIES

KICKS OFF INDOORS

MXP CHATTER

JUSTIN BARCIA

NITRO CIRCUS

GOES NEXT LEVEL

41831514

M AY 2 0 1 8 $ 4 . 9 5

18.01_Cover.indd 1

K a v en Benoit

Ready to Send It 2018-04-03 12:26 PM


18_NEBULA_PRIMEFIT_2PG_MXP.indd All Pages Untitled-1 2

2018-03-05 10:13 AM


P

R

I M

R

A C

E

E

W

F I T

E

A

R

Limitless by design. The NEBULA stands for those who refuse to be defined by the conventions of modern racewear, those who are always searching for more and looking to the unknown for the next step forward. Utilizing the ultra-lightweight PRIME FIT chassis, the NEBULA embodies progression in both design and function.

Untitled-1 3

3/2/18 9:47 AM 2018-03-05 10:13 AM


*weight is based on the pant size 32

SHOTRACEGEAR.COM

Mototvan-SHOT.indd 2

2018-01-19 11:41 AM


MAXIMIZE

Mototvan-SHOT.indd 3

YOUR

ENER GY

2018-01-19 11:41 AM


42

L LEVE r N E X Tg to be huge f.o

goin our 2018 is ro circus t N T HE it

26

Y R BO C O V E is re ady

Benoit K av en end it. to s

97

72

res e N Featu O O R E N T E RrTgyA TI riple Crown S MENT

30 36 48 54 58 62 68

6

icks ries k

t.

t wes

off ou

IND

e s. ar En THY ockst H E A L the SX Serie Y A The R T S h g O u T o r N h IGHT s us t BROW T H E F Slack take MIKE H T n I y t GW Krys LLIN R A V E Calgary. T E M o TI CK es t nie go . MEBA Brow A C O this August T I L L s n A r C u T et . D O N ’ TransCan r amily n T O R Y ful racing f S G Walto s N R A C I this succes URR t 25. T H E B Gill looks a 1 CR1 Mc ’s 199 t r Mike u o 9 9 1 arl Vaillanc g. racin ECT 1 C rn to u P R O J ot rebuilds t e r g il excitin RNS! Ben M R E T U n about his N A a M R rg S U P E to Blair Mo lk We ta

82 86 90

G IPPIN

out es ab g writ

22 24 96

rid

R NG B A J A ce Hackin RACI n FXR H T Lawre I GW B I K I N nesota. S N O W oes to Min sion. sg Palm N D E D WP Suspen E P S U ut w abo ING S G E T T need to kno ham. ISE u nning All yo T H E R Edward Cu N O D er G AN rio rid Y O U N ith Onta tw

a We ch

ns DS Colum S L A S T W O R 20

nual

his an

aja. e in B

98

1

S T N E T N O

A N

C P X M

M

O T O

S S C R O

F O P E R

R M

C E

V O

/ /

L SID E N T A as M E TH Poitr

L U M

E

U E I S S 1 8,

E

ean

with S

E E LIN I N S I D White Andy by

als:

Speci

OSED RA 8 EXP CAME T ON H G U 16 CA UIDE R’S G E Y U 92 B

56

RCIA IN BA J U S T s chat s with Pa lm b a m bam

U F A M O Pomeroy ris by Ch UMN T COL G U E S ss Pettis e VE with J ECTI ERSP P E L F E M A lby Turner he with S TION UTRI E D N son V L O EV obert wR

e by Dr

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_ToC.indd 1

2018-04-03 2:40 PM


Zox-MXP-Z-MX10.pdf 1 19/06/2017 4:22:46 PM

Z-MX10

PREMIUM LIGHTWEIGHT FIBERGLASS

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

WWW.ZOXHELMETS.COM

Zox.indd 1

2017-06-26 2:55 PM


E

ED S O XP

L L U B D E R CK A B S I PHO

Y JA TO B

M

ISS ES L

IMO

RE

nd his a rd a W r e r Tann ll Tho d Bu e R ady n ew re re am a e T K TM 18 . in 20 in w to

18.01_Exposed.indd 1

2018-04-03 10:57 AM


MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 9

18.01_Exposed.indd 2

2018-04-03 10:58 AM


E

ED S O XP

G N I B B U R IS ING R AC PHO

Y JA TO B

M

ISS ES L

IMO

RE

lways hen It ’s a ing w r tain e t n t e ba tle at e s a m m a d fo r te r ha r e h t o e ach in. w e c ra

18.01_Exposed.indd 3

2018-04-03 10:58 AM


MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 1 1

18.01_Exposed.indd 4

2018-04-03 10:58 AM


E

ED S O XP

T H G LI THE DLES CA N PHO

Y JA TO B

M

ISS ES L

IMO

RE

c ro s s up e r 18 S 0 2 T he b een s ha s ie r e e S or th ing f it c x e ou gh but t s fa ns , te s a athle s ed it e on uf f r a ve s h s. y ie n r ma inju n at e u t r o u nf

18.01_Exposed.indd 5

2018-04-03 10:58 AM


MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 1 3

18.01_Exposed.indd 6

2018-04-03 10:58 AM


NC A M R RFO e

u m V o l

M

S S O R C OTO

UBS FOR S

CRIP

TION

IN

PE

e I s s u 1 8

16-6 ALL 4 IES C QUIR

33-12

1

E

02

rass tallyb ark S cer Stan s harle C : G N

r/M tance

sS

arle TI R : Ch ARKE ISHE ND M PUBL A S E L l F SA oy McGil omer V . P. O Mike hris P rrall, gard C o g : a W R J t O R : Al EDIT , Bren oster NAGE S MA rian K atling E B L : A S tin W S R : Aus RITE on, R W O ore T R ck, berts O IREC Lissim w Ro rystyn Sla D SENI s e r e A D I m , D K a e , E r J n o : M o R s sim AL PHE s Lis tt Wellum SOCI OGRA a Jame PHOT E R S : y White, M F T I F R A ST I N G W Cline, And g T U B ore, RI kin icia Lissim C O N T oster, Let rence Hac S: mes enzler, a R K J E w , n a t H Bria oitras, L G R A P ton Racico Summer D P y , HOTO Sean N G P Knapp, Cla nk Hoppen I T U gil RIB Fra n e C O N T lack, Vir mson, h

ellu yn S ches Kryst ro, Matt W teve Dut ,S et re Bill P ellumson simo W es Lis m a J Matt O:

COVE

OT R PH

f list o st ailing oa C’s m er from c n to R M e to th ense hold In additio l s t h c . era XP C li e rig lusiv Every MR sue of M with sev the d s is e exc . as th holders ads each partnere ns acros h P e se tio re MX licen es and r ers, we a organiza g in rac eceiv t of read husiast ast r t .co m to co clusive lis -road en xpmag x e w w.m d off SQ. w n : M e a this F n s n li cros g the .co m O moto y includin xpmag tr coun r le s @ m

T

6 - 63 E L : 41

FOR A D

3 -1 2 0

V ER T IS

2 Ema

UIR IE ING INQ

il : c h a

S CON TA

CT

CH A R

R LE S | CH A NCER LE S S TA

@M X P

M A G.C

416 -6 OM |

3 3 -1 20

2

a il o n s M 41 8 3 1 5 1 4 b li c a ti m e n t# ia n P u e d e a r n g a C ed le s A u b li s h c ts S a P r o d u R M A N C E is p O F R MX PE er year : sp 7 ti m e P o s tm a s t e r IO N S T O : Z5 ECT ia n L4A 7 C a n a d R E S S C O R R , O N TA R IO E D L D IL A FV SEND STO U F X 17 1 PO BO YEAR) 0 US ES: (1 N R AT U .S .A . $ 4 0 .0 IO T IP R ., S U B S C 2 0 .0 0 C D N A$ CANAD 1202 3341 6 - 6

AN N G I S DE

D

IO T C U D P RO

N

ge

utled Tim R

CEO: san, ingla HER & S I L B rick D n t U a a P h P , C P r Mike eltija GROU ick B TOR: : Patr ni IREC S D R T E R a N A E S I G dward Shit HIC D E s G R A P Gonzalez, Roble e hard ic Queu R : ON UCTI PROD

DISTRIBUTED IN CANADA BY:

18.01_Masthead.indd 1

WWW.MONGOOSEMACHINE.COM M

X P E R F O R M A N C E I S P R I N T E D I N C A N A D A

2018-04-03 1:52 PM


MAXIMA AD PP TOMAC MXP 2018.qxp_Layout 1 3/15/18 3:19 PM Page 1

PROVEN UNDER THE TOUGHEST CONDITIONS ELI TOMAC

MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI

Pro Plus+ is an ester fortified full synthetic 4T engine oil. For use in all motorcycle brands: Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, KTM, Husqvarna & more. Made in the USA

MaximaUSA.com

DISTRIBUTED IN CANADA BY

Untitled-1 1

2018-03-20 1:08 PM


JOSH HILL WAS HAPPY TO BE BACK ON THE RACE TRACK IN CALGARY.

CAUGHT ON

CAMERA

SOME OF THE 250SX RIDERS CAN’T HELP BUT LOOK AROUND THE NEW MERCEDES BENZ STADIUM.

EVEN THOUGH CANNELLA ISN’T OLD ENOUGH TO DRINK, HE CAN STILL GET SPRAYED WITH

TWO FAMOUS MX DADS TALK SHOP IN ATLANTA.

CHAMPAGNE.

MIKE BROWN IS JUST LIKE A FINE WINE.

KEYLAN MESTON GETS READY TO GRIND OUT ANOTHER

IT MUST’VE BEEN COLD

SEASON.

OUTSIDE MERCEDES BENZ STADIUM.

THE PADDOCK IS JUST FULL OF CUTE KIDS THESE DAYS.

LOOKS LIKE STEVE SIMMS DIDN’T FINISH HIS HOMEWORK BEFORE COMING TO THE TRACK.

THE JEFFREY MEN SURVEY THE LANDSCAPE IN ATLANTA.

THAT IS NO WAY TO TREAT THE YOUNGEST RIDER ON THE WITH HAIR LIKE THAT TYLER MEDAGLIA COULD BE

TEAM.

YOUR SX POINTS LEADER.

1 6

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_CoC.indd 1

2018-04-03 10:39 AM


T H E A L L N E W 1 8 0 B O OT F E AT U R I N G T H E FA ST E R , ST R O N G E R

FOXRACING.COM/CA F O L LOW U S : @ F OX R AC I N G C A N A DA

Untitled-2 1

2018-04-02 3:02 PM


WE THOUGHT WHEN YOU WON THAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO KISS THE GIRL?

CAUGHT ON

CAMERA

NOW THAT’S A MONSTER FLAMETHROWER.

IF THE SEASON KEEPS GOING LIKE THIS, MURPHY IS GOING TO NEED A STRIPED WHEN YOU’RE THIS GOOD LOOKING, THEY SHOULD JUST GIVE YOU THE WIN.

SHIRT AND A WHISTLE.

WE FEEL LIKE EVERYONE SHOULD GO TO TILLSONBURG TO GET THEIR HAIRCUT.

DEAN THOMPSON WAS HAPPY TO HAVE MIKE BROWN ON THE BLACKFOOT TEAM IN CALGARY.

JUST BE HAPPY WE GOT TO SEE THIS GUY RACE ON CANADIAN

DYLAN WAS NOT A HAPPY CAMPER AFTER THE

SOIL FOR A YEAR.

FIRST TWO RACES OF 2018.

ERNIE IS ALL ABOUT RESPECT.

THE GDR TEAM SEARCHES FOR THEIR MUDDY AX SETTING IN ABBOTSFORD.

WHO THOUGHT DV12 WOULD HAVE MADE SUCH A GREAT RIDING JORDAN SMITH WAS ALL BUSINESS IN ATLANTA.

COACH?

1 8 // MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_CoC.indd 2

2018-04-03 10:39 AM


2017 MXP - Matrix -TAG Launch.pdf

1

2018-03-14

4:06 PM

ALL NEW Launching our complete line of handlebars, grips, chain, sprockets and accessories. Check out: www.tagmetalsracing.com

2018 C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

Distributed in Canada by:

Untitled-1 1

2018-03-20 1:06 PM


F A M W I T H

C H R I S

O U S LA ST W P O M E R OY

/

P H OT O S

BY

JA M E S

O R DS L I S S I M O R E

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER ust the other day I was looking for a photo and I happened to search through an album from exactly one year ago. Holy smokes a lot has changed in just one year, both in the USA and here in Canada. Down in the country to the south of us, we all watched Ken Roczen’s remarkable return to the Monster Energy Supercross after his devastating injury last season. We are also learning to live in a world where Ryan Dungey is standing in street clothes on television giving his thoughts about the racing, instead of being a part of the fierce action on the track. Like Ryan Villopoto before, Dungey appears to be completely at ease with his decision to retire early, while giving us fans perhaps another glimpse into how difficult and exhausting this sport must be at the top. Like a team that has lost their captain, the sport of SX is still waiting for another hero to emerge to fill the shoes left by Dungey. Perhaps Jason Anderson will be that new consistent hero. Up here in the great white north, the new Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series is off to an interesting start. After a muddy opening round in Abbotsford, the series moved east to Calgary for

J

“BACK IN CANADA, WE’RE WATCHING OUR OWN VERSION OF AGELESS SUCCESS AS RYAN LOCKHART JUST KEEPS LINING UP AT BIG RACES.”

2 0

their first doubleheader of the season. The racing was superb inside the Agri-Plex Arena, however the drama that came after the event in the form of penalties and rule challenges was at a level that we’ve never seen before in Canada. It was too bad as all of the incidents seem to far overshadow the incredible racing that went on. Anyway, these small growing pains will sort themselves out as this new series matures this season. With the Triple Crown Series just getting underway and the Monster Energy Supercross wrapping up soon, some very interesting side stories have begun to surface this season. With the injury bug biting more than one top rider in SX, one of the bright lights of this year is witnessing the success that the sport’s older riders are now enjoying. Chad Reed, who has for a few years been the poster child for the 30-plus club, came into 2018 downright out of shape due to an offseason ankle injury. Little by little Reed has improved his results throughout the SX season. Hopefully by the final round he will be able to sneak out a top five finish. If Reed is hoping to race in 2019, which he has stated publicly that he wants to, he will need to follow the path of other top athletes born prior to 1988 and train harder than he ever has before. With his fellow vet rider Justin Brayton winning the Daytona SX this season, there is renewed hope for more victories from this exclusive club of riders. Back in Canada, we’re watching our own version of ageless success as Ryan Lockhart just keeps lining up at big races. Not only did ‘The Newf’ race the opening rounds of the Triple Crown Series in the west, but he is also making plans to head east for the races in Sarnia and Barrie. Quite simply, Ryan loves to race, and he’s smart enough to know that if he stops, at his age it will be extremely hard to get going again. It’s great to see Ryan enjoying racing like he does now. There was certainly a time that while his results might have been a little better than they are now, his pure enjoyment of this sport was

not what it is today. I must admit that I know exactly what Ryan is going through with the evolution of his riding. When you’re young and trying your best to make a living racing dirt bikes, the last thing that is on your mind is trying to enjoy the process. You’re so focused on trying to get better on the track, while at the same time trying to justify it monetarily off the track, the pure joy of racing dirt bikes gets quickly lost in the roost. As you get older, add a 9-5 job and perhaps a family to the equation, riding becomes your getaway from the everyday. All of the sudden it’s fun again and you quickly realize why you started riding in the first place. I personally love this ‘happy place’ that us older riders get into and it really makes me have the utmost respect for any vet rider that still loves to throw their leg over a motorcycle. In this first issue of 2018, we feature a number of interesting stories. We take a look at perhaps the fastest 40-plus rider on the planet, Mike Brown, and his interesting weekend at the Calgary AX. Lawrence Hacking tells the story of his annual riding trip to Baja, California; this time former NHL hockey player Scott Thornton joined the group. We also speak with Blair Morgan to get his thoughts on his triumphant return to racing at the 2018 X-Games, as well his life in general. Finally, this month’s cover boy, Kaven Benoit, is finally healthy and is looking forward to the 2018 race season. Last year was pretty much a write-off for the Quebec superstar and now all he’s doing is focusing on the opening round of the outdoor nationals in Calgary. After a long winter, the 2018 race season is now full steam ahead. MXP Magazine will once again be trackside all summer long bringing you the same great race coverage that we have for years. From Calgary to the final round at Walton Raceway, pro as well as amateur races, we will be there and we cannot wait for the gate to drop. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this first MXP Magazine issue of 2018. See you at the track!

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Palms.indd 1

2018-04-03 10:28 AM


White/White

Black/Green

Grey/Neon orange

AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL MOTORCYCLE DEALER

Distributed by :

Follow us on :

Untitled-1 1

2018-03-06 10:20 AM


G U EST C O LU M W I T H

DY L A N

N

W R I G H T

BACK TO THE GRIND

ell it’s been a while since you all have heard from me. A lot of you may know that I have been training hard down at GPF since early January. Since getting down here, my teammate and I have been training hard each and every day to make sure that were ready for the upcoming season. We have been hitting the gym hard, making sure we eat super clean and putting in solid laps every day. Now, a lot of you might be asking why I decided to make the switch too train on the east coast this winter rather than train on the west coast like I have the past couple years. The answer to that is, I like to keep progressing as much as possible and as quick as possible, and I mean what better way to do so then to keep switching it up and riding different dirt and different tracks all the time. What was really the deciding factor was that my teammate (Colton Faccioti) would be down south with me and he has helped me out so much with my riding as well as my everyday lifestyle. He has been a great mentor for me and I really

W

“RIDING AND RACING INDOORS HAS BEEN SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN FAIRLY NEW TO ME, I HADN’T REALLY RIDDEN MUCH INDOORS PRIOR TO MY ARRIVAL HERE AT GPF.”

2 2

think you will see the work we have been doing this offseason pay off. Now, we have been riding a lot of indoors lately to get ready for the arenacross races that have already started and are in full swing. I feel like all the hard work I put in training for them hasn’t really been able to be shown off just with how the season has kinda started for me, but hopefully in the near future it will. Riding and racing indoors has been something that has been fairly new to me, I hadn’t really ridden much indoors prior to my arrival here at GPF. As soon as I hit the track, I felt pretty comfortable and just kept getting better and better with every lap on it. Now it almost feels like a second nature riding the tight tracks. I have been having a lot of fun riding supercross and arenacross as it is something different than I have been used to. I feel like the skills I learned training for indoors will really help me as we switch over to train for the outdoor season. I feel like it will be a contributing factor to my prioress this offseason as well. Now I get the question a lot about if I will be racing any supercross in the future or when

we might see me racing it. I don’t really have an answer to that question, but all I can tell you is that I would love to race it and if an opportunity for me to race supercross, I would definitely love to. But until then, I’ll be riding it and trying to get better and better so that when one day I do race one, hopefully I won’t disappoint. With the first few rounds of the arenacross in the books, I’m not exactly pumped with the results and where were at in points, but I am proud of my riding on Friday night in Calgary, but I feel like I still have more to show you guys. At the first round of the season in Abbotsford, the track conditions were definitely not ideal for racing. It was a full mud race, although I did have fun riding, racing was a different story. I qualified first into the night show, but unfortunately in the main, I would suffer a mechanical and be forced to call it a night early. And then in Calgary, after having some good rides, I was able to battle with my teammate in the clash for cash for the lead. It was fun to have him up there with me and just felt like another day at GPF, so I mean that was fun. After being under the weather on Friday night in Calgary, I was looking forward to the racing on Saturday night, because I was feeling a little bit better. Unfortunately in practice, I clipped a tough block off the face of the triple which sent me into a nose dive and I ended up going over the bars. This caused me to injure my shoulder. During the time between qualifying in the afternoon and the night show, I was able to go to the local hospital and get my shoulder checked out. They took X-Rays, and nothing was broke, but there was no way I would be able to compete so I suited up only to be able to go out and get the points that I could. I couldn’t put my own goggles and struggled to get my left hand on the bars. After the night was over, it was time for the flight back down to Georgia, and time to get my shoulder looked at further by the doctors down here. Now I wish I had results to share with you guys right now, but all I can say is that I have taken the week off to let my shoulder heal and hopefully ill be able to get back on the bike soon to get back to training.

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Wright.indd 1

2018-04-03 10:29 AM


Untitled-4 1

2018-04-02 4:25 PM


F EM W I T H

A LE P ER SP EC TIV E

S H E L BY

T U R N E R

A NEW YEAR

t’s already been a very busy year for me. It started off in Phoenix AZ where my family and I spent just over two weeks riding and racing. My first race of the year was a local AMRA race called Buck Eye (local to Phoenix). They didn’t offer a Women’s A class so I decided to race the 250 B class. It was an awesome race, with a mixture of motocross and off-road sand sections. Taking the win, I decided after that, I should probably move up to the A classes. The next weekend I decided to race my first hard enduro; the Revlimiter in Texas. This type of racing has a bit of a strange format but was super fun to participate in. On Saturday, the Women’s class started last of the 200 plus racers. We were required to do 2 laps on the 9 mile loop. The loop was pretty tough but not as bad as I was expecting. The hardest part was trying to navigate though the crowd of people tossing their bikes up hills. I won the Women’s class and actually ended up

I

“THIS WAS MY FANTASTIC WINTER SPENT IN ARIZONA. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MY PARENTS, TRYSTAN HART, AND SPENSER WILTON FOR RIDING AND PRACTICING WITH ME EVERYDAY DOWN THERE.”

2 4

35th OA out of the 200 plus amateurs that showed up. I went out on the second race where we basically did the same loop with a few added sections. This race included all the pros and the top 7 5 amateurs from the morning race. I ended up 33 OA after my hot lap. That was up against the 7 5 pros and the 7 5 amateurs that qualified. I was really happy with my ride. Fortunately for me, Alberta has a lot of hard terrain on which I grew up riding and racing. I went out Sunday and found it very challenging having to push up hills with everyone bottle necked. I have never seen so many boiling bikes trying to navigate up the same line on a hill. I am ready to do another one now that I know what to expect. You have to be very aggressive and make sure you don’t get budged in the line ups. Pairing up with another rider is essential as well. I also did two WORCS races, Las Vegas and Phoenix. These races were lots of fun. They were very fast and open but technical in their own way. I competed in the Women’s Pro class,

Open A and Pro 2 Lites. The competition is tough, and the tracks are rough, which makes for great racing. I definitely have areas that I can improve on throughout the year. I also did a race in Prescott AZ ; it’s a Western hare scramble but a more technical race for AZ . I got 2nd in the Women’s Pro on Saturday and I won the 250 A class on Sunday. It was actually quite funny how the Sunday race went down. I had no idea I actually won the A class until the results showed up. That was a pleasant surprise! This was my fantastic winter spent in Arizona. I would like to thank my parents, Trystan Hart, and Spenser Wilton for riding and practicing with me everyday down there. Now that I am home, I am gearing up to do the Canadian Women’s Nationals starting at the end of May. After the MX series is done I am going to start training and practising for the endurocross series. U nfortunately, CMA has decided not to send an ISDE Team to Chile. I am very disappointed as I have trained very hard to remain competitive against the best female athletes in the world. Huge thank you to all my sponsors for their suppor: . A& E Racing, FXR, Rutted Ride Co., 6 D, KTM U SA, KTM Canada, XC gear, Ryno Power, Vee Rubber, Tire balls, Mika Metals, DT1 filters, CTi braces, Atlas, Motovan, M7 designs, FMF, SXS skid plates, Emperor, and FRS suspension.

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Turner.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:28 AM


MARIN BIKES THE OFFICIAL BICYCLE OF THE ROCKSTAR TRIPLECROWN SERIES! March 2018, ROCKSTAR TRIPLE CROWN ARENA X, Calgary, MARIN BIKE Riders “OWN THE PODIUM” MARIN BIKES began in the mountains of MARIN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA in 1986 and for over 32 Years has brought some of the finest Bicycles ever made to market. From the Road to the Mountain tops MARIN BIKES has what you need! The list of National Pro MX Riders who rely on MARIN BIKES is a who’s who list of the Canadian Motocross Scene Colton Facciotti, Dylan Wright, Mike Alessi, Tyler Medaglia, Cole Thompson, Shawn Maffenbeier, Jess Pettis, Tanner Ward, Marco Cannella, Brock Leitner and so many more. If you’re an aspiring Amateur or up in coming Pro level rider get yourself onto a MARIN BIKE and TRAIN LIKE A PRO

MARIN BIKES… THE CHOICE OF CHAMPIONS! GET YOUR MARIN BIKE AT

Marin_MXP1801.indd 1

2018-04-03 1:26 PM


K a v en Benoit

Ready to Send It BY CHRIS POMEROY

2 6

|

PHOTOS BY JAMES LISSIMORE

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_CoverStory.indd 1

2018-04-03 10:36 AM


MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 2 7

18.01_CoverStory.indd 2

2018-04-03 10:36 AM


few weeks after this year’s Superbowl, I was watching Tom Brady speak about the New England Patriots’ gut wrenching loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. During his interview, Brady spoke about the big game and how it obviously didn’t go the way he or his team expected it to. He went on to say that sometimes you prepare the way you want and you give your absolute best effort but still come out on the losing end of things. This is not only a situation that arises in sports, but it’s also a great life lesson for school, family, or your job. Tom Brady’s words were spot on and it’s how we all should go through life. Just give the best effort you can and see what happens. Sometimes you’ll be successful but sometimes you won’t be. When you look back at Kaven Benoit’s 2017 season, you have to feel badly for the way things transpired. Just as Tom Brady was talking about, Benoit did everything he could to prepare for what was supposed to be his best season as a professional motocross rider. Heading into last season, everyone figured that it was going to be Benoit’s best year. At the time, he was coming off a solid 2016 season that saw him not only finish third overall in the CMRC MX1 National series, but he also won his first ever MX1 National in his home Province of Quebec. When the 2016 CMRC Nationals were complete, Benoit travelled to Italy as a member of Team Canada to compete at the MXONs. At that event, with the world watching and the Maple Leaf on his back, Benoit turned in the race of his life against the best riders on the planet. It was a magical conclusion to his dream year, and when the sun finally did set on his 2016 season, Benoit couldn’t wait for 2017 to begin. Unfortunately, the best made plans don’t always work out. When Benoit broke his ankle at an early season supercross in Germany, it signalled the start of what was going to be a very challenging 2017.

A

not right. I led the first moto for a while and should’ve won, but my ankle could not hold up. I knew I needed more time to heal, so I took the next month off and tried to prepare for the eastern rounds. The race at Gopher Dunes was so tough, the track was rough and I was still riding in pain. Then the following weekend at my home track I was running near the front and had an unexpected crash. The crash was very hard and it once again put me on the sideline with another injury. That was the end of my 2017 as I didn’t ride again until the fall. Looking back, I probably should’ve

just shut things down after Kamloops for the rest of the season and had my ankle fixed properly. My second crash in Quebec only happened because I was not prepared to be racing at that level. I guess you live and learn and I will not make that mistake again.” With his nightmare season over, Benoit immediate immediately set his sights on 2018 and what he hopes to be his comeback year. After getting his ankle fixed for good last fall, he is now pain-free as he begins his preparation for the 2018 outdoor portion of the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series. With virtually the same

Kaven Benoit reflects on last season: “Last year was so difficult in a lot of different ways. Getting hurt is not great at anytime, but when you get injured overseas it just adds to the pain of everything. My trip home from Germany and the weeks that followed were just awful. I worked hard to recover from that and I tried my best to get ready for the opening round in Kamloops, but my ankle was still 2 8 // MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_CoverStory.indd 3

2018-04-03 10:36 AM


bike as last year, Benoit’s early season laps at ClubMX in South Carolina have him feeling very confident. As with athletes in any sport, Benoit didn’t realize just how badly he was favouring his injured ankle last season until he was able to get it fixed. Now, with it back in the condition that he needs it to be, he’s able to ride the way he wants and also complete the training he needs to do off of the bike. With almost all of his competition competing in the early AX rounds of the new Triple Crown Series, Benoit opted to sit out and focus his attention on the nine outdoor rounds instead. Kaven Benoit talks about his decision not to ride the AX rounds: “I have heard a few people comment negatively about me not riding the opening four AX races of this new series, and my first thought is that these people don’t know what they’re talking about. First off, with having my last surgery only a few months ago, I was only recently cleared to ride. After the season I had last year, my only concern was to get healthy and make sure I would be ready for 2018. The last thing I wanted to do was rush my preparation and then go to the opening AX events and have something happen. For me to do that would be foolish and I just wasn’t going to make another bad decision. My team also didn’t think it was a good idea to race in those early events as they just want me to be ready for Calgary in late May. By the looks of how the track was in Ab-

botsford, I didn’t miss anything as it looked awful. As I said, my first concern is getting ready for this summer and to have a solid season of racing. I know my speed is still there, so I think I can have an incredible series on my new Red Bull Thor KTM. Once I get the summer over, then we can talk about 2019 and maybe I can ride a few of the indoor events, but first things first. I think I’ve earned that.” As you can tell, Kaven Benoit is looking for complete redemption in 2018. With a healthy body and a solid team continuing to be behind him, there is no reason to think that Kaven will not be able to find his way back to the podium in the MX1 class. He will definitely have some tough competition in the MX1 class with Colton Facciotti, Matt Goerke, as well as his Red Bull Thor KTM teammate Cole Thompson. However, as history has revealed itself, Benoit has always been at his best when he feels as though he has something to prove. As the gate drops on the 2018 season, Kaven Benoit is looking to have one of the greatest comebacks we’ve ever seen in this country. Look for him to begin his long climb back to the top of this sport on May 27 , 2018 in Calgary, AB.

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 2 9

18.01_CoverStory.indd 4

2018-04-03 10:36 AM


Indoor Ente T he 2 0 18 Rocks ta r Energ y T ripl e

or more than 25 years, motocross in Canada dozed through the winter months, then slowly came out of hi hibernation in the spring, then rocketed to life in the summer. It was K amloops or N anaimo as a traditional launch point for the new national motocross season in Canada each year. That was then, this is now. A plethora of changes since last fall has led us to the 2018 national motocross season. W elcome J etwerx, the upstart company that, in D ecember ‘ 17 , decided to purchase the CMR C and its national series promotional division, Stallybrass Promotions Inc ( SPI) . This change of ownership meant that the long running R ockstar E nergy D rink MX N a-

F

3 0

tionals had to change its name to the R ockstar E nergy Triple Crown Series. This new series features a four round A X series, as well as a three round SX series as bookends to the outdoor series. To kick off this new Triple Crown Series, R ound 1 sent everyone to snowy A bbotsford for the launch point for the indoor series. W hile all things pointed to A bbotsford as the perfect city to host the opening round, it took only a few loads of the rain soaked soil to realize that this was going to be unlike any indoor event. The dirt was trucked in from a local provider, and in the days and weeks prior to the race, the dirt had been pelted by rain and an unseasonal amount of snow. Saturated beyond belief, the opening

round track was q uickly named the “ pudding bowl.” bH owever, despite the poor conditions inside the A b botsford A rena, everyone was anxious to drop the gate on 2018 . J ust like any opening round, A bbotsford gave the fans their first look at all riders and bikes. In the 25 0 class, we got our first glimpse at young phenoms Marco Cannella and Tanner W ard. Cannella was a call-up to the MX 101 FX R R acing Y amaha team when the title favourite, J ess Petits, went down with an off-season injury. It was a whirlwind of activity for Cannella. In just a few days he was asked to take the vacant spot, hopped on Petits’ s bike and went to work logging top three lap times out of the gate.

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Autocross.indd 1

2018-04-03 2:16 PM

C


tertainment

e

BY BRETT LEE

|

PHOTOS BY JAMES LISSIMORE

Crown Series Kicks Off Out West Ward, who was last year’s MXP Rookie of the Year, jumped into the Red Bull Thor KTM ride left vacant by Cole Thompson when he moved to the 450 class. It’s a high profile spot for Ward to fill and one he looks comfortable in right away. Abbotsford also was the first sighting of reigning MX2 Champion Shawn Maffienbeier who is now riding for the Monster Energy Huber Racing Alpinestar Kawasaki Team. Maffenbeier had kept a low profile during the off-season, but he was happy to be back at the track and was eager to race his new Kawasaki. British Columbia is no stranger to the sport of AX. For years they’ve been hosting countless

regional events in cites not far from Abbotsford. Riders like Kyle Beaton, Dusty Klatt and Darcy Lange cut their teeth in the tight confines of arenas all over the Lower Mainland in BC. But, on this night in Abbotsford, the province was hosting their first ever national AX event. All evening long the Abbotsford track was as unpredictable as any track could be. The fastest man all night, Carson Brown, led wire to wire in the 250 class. Maffenbeier, who has built a reputation as a rider with laser focus, rode smart on the challenging track and took second place. The rest of the 250 class looked fast at the opening round, but all made considerable mistakes that cost them.

The 450 class featured many familiar names, but it also had a few questions about what the riders would bring to Round 1. Colton Facciotti, Tyler Medaglia and Cole Thompson, along with Matt Goerke and Dylan Epstein set themselves up as the favourites to not only win the opening round but also take home the grand prize of $100,000 at the end of the year. Again, like the 250 class, it was no surprise that a former Canadian Champion took home the victory. Colton Facciotti took his GDR Fox Honda to a convincing win on the muddy track. Behind Colton it was Cole Thompson who rode hard to finish in the runner-up position. Thompson has MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 3 1

18.01_Autocross.indd 2

2018-04-03 2:16 PM


Indoor Entertainment

Cole Thompson demonstrates how challenging the conditions were in Abbotsford.

3 2

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Autocross.indd 3

2018-04-03 2:16 PM


the most indoor experience of any rider in the field and was fast all day. If it wasn’t for his bad start in the main event he might have challenged Colton for the win. Third was Tyler Medaglia on his new Kawasaki. Medaglia looked aggressive all night as he usually does. His speed was a tad off the lead two, but he sure made up for it in effort. The only eyebrow raising points might have been the two Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha riders, Dylan Epstein and Matt Goerke. Both proven riders looked uncomfortable and off the pace all night long. With Goerke coming off an injury and Abbotsford being Epstein’s first race aboard his new Yamaha, perhaps that explains the blue duo’s struggles in BC. As the riders cleaned up and took stock of their opening round, the Triple Crown Series packed up and moved east to Calgary, AB for Rounds 2 and 3. The smell of wood shavings and pictures of rodeo greats greeted the fans on the walk into the Calgary AgriPlex Arena. This beautiful venue sits adjacent to the Calgary Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames. The arena is also a stone’s throw from downtown Calgary. With its location, spacious floor and indoor pits, the Agri-Plex is a perfect host to AX. One great attribute that Shawn Maffenbeier has is that he never gets too high or too low. It’s where all riders hope to find their balance, and keep working on their good days and don’t quit on their bad. It describes Maffienbeier’s approach. After riding safely in the opening round, Maffenbeier raised his level in Calgary and dominated the 250 class. Dylan Wright’s opening round was not what he or his team had hoped for. Calgary was his redemption night and the GDR Honda Fox Racing rider looked great from the first practice on. In the Clash for Cash race, he led all the stars of the series on the opening lap before being passed by a couple of 450 riders. It was an entertaining race. When Wright lined up for his main event, he was ready to win. Unfortunately, after battling Maffenbeier for a number of laps, Wright got a section wrong and drilled himself into the ground. He bravely remounted, but with an injured shoulder, his weekend was virtually over. Brad Nauditt was another rider who skipped the opening round in Abbotsford, but decided to join the series in Calgary. Most who watched Nauditt during practice figured that he would be a top five rider all weekend long. After taking a

“If the opening two rounds of this series are any indication of what’s to come, these two top Canadian riders are going to battle all season long in the 450 class.”

Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha rider Matt Goerke gets introduced to the fans in Abbotsford.

Mike Brown showed up in Calgary and had fun battling with riders who were half his age

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 3 3

18.01_Autocross.indd 4

2018-04-03 2:17 PM


“on this night in Abbotsford, the province was hosting their first ever national AX event.” Cole Thompson was the rider to beat at Round 2 in Calgary.

Racing his new Kawasaki, Tyler Medaglia is ready to win races in 2018.

few laps to get comfortable, Nauditt rode great on both nights and found himself on the podium. It was a successful return to Canada for Nauditt; hopefully we see him again real soon. The 450 class in Calgary received a solid boost when it was announced that former top American riders Mike Brown and Josh Hill would be in attendance. These two legends arrived in Calgary eager to mix it up and entertain the fans, both on and off the track. Mike Brown was backed by Blackfoot Direct Husqvarna, while Josh Hill had picked up the vacant Cycle North Honda spot left by Carson Brown. For both riders, their first night was spent just outside the top five battling with riders they’d never heard of before. During night two, Hill was feeling much more comfortable and was riding better. In the difficult whoop section, no other rider was able to match Hill’s speed during practice. Unfortunately, the whoop section got the better of Hill as he crashed hard near the end of practice. Thankfully, the veteran rider was okay, but his crash definitely detuned him. As for Mike Brown, his second night of racing found him battling with all of the top riders at one point. He was kept off the podium, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Up front in the 450 class, the three top riders in the series were once again the three Canadians who led the charge at Round 1: Medaglia, Facciotti and Thompson. Medaglia looked edgy and aggressive all weekend. From the first practice to the final main event, Medaglia attacked every inch of the Calgary track. Night one, the payoff was a well deserved second place. On night two, the Kawasaki rider was charging hard but hit the deck when his front end tucked. When all was said and 3 4

Last year's 250 Champion Shawn Maffenbeier dominated his class at Round 2 in Calgary.

done, Medaglia missed the podium on Saturday night, but he still was one of the fastest riders on the track. Colton Facciotti and Cole Thompson continued to exert their dominance in the 450 class all weekend long. Although Facciotti found his way to the top of the leaderboard in timed practice, he struggled with his starts in the main events and gave up early track position to Thompson on both nights. As for Thompson, he was lightening quick off the gate when it mattered the most and was victorious in the 450 class. If the opening two rounds of this series are any indication of what’s to come, these two top Canadian riders are going to battle all season long in the 450 class. With two rounds now in the books, the 2018 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series is now off and running. With two more indoor races before the series heads outdoors, we’re sure the racing will be truly entertaining. With the dirt problems at the opening round in Abbotsford, and some off-track drama in Calgary, the Triple Crown Series has a few kinks to work out prior to its upcoming summer of outdoor motocross. However, with $100,000 up for grabs at series end, the largest ever prize in the history of Canadian motocross, there is bound to be some added intensity with the riders and teams. The outdoor portion of this series will also welcome in a few new riders to the 450 class. Kaven Benoit and Mike Alessi will be on the gate in Calgary and the fans couldn’t be more excited. Oh, what a great summer we have ahead of us in Canada. As entertaining as the indoor races have been, we really cannot wait for the gate to drop on the great outdoors.

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Autocross.indd 5

2018-04-03 2:17 PM


Indoor Entertainment

There was definitely a reason to celebrate as the 2018 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown kicked off in Abbotsford, BC. MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 3 5

18.01_Autocross.indd 6

2018-04-03 2:17 PM


T H E 2 018 M O N S T E R E N E R G Y S U P E R C R O S S S E R I E S

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY KRYSTYN SLACK

The Fight to Stay Healthy

X X

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Supercross.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:26 AM


oming into the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season, there was the usual speculation about who would emerge as championship contenders. Although, if we’re being honest, the pre-season chatter could be described as predictable at best, and easily boring at worst. With only one former champion lining up in the premier class, whose last championship was earned in 2008, and only a couple of standout hopefuls, it was likely going to be a fairly uneventful season. In fact, most speculation had Eli Tomac easily running away with the championship with Marvin Musquin being the only rider who was likely to even come close to being competitive with the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider. In addition to the predictions of likely title contenders, this also marked the first season since multi-time champion Ryan Dungey had retired, as well as the much-anticipated return of Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen, who had spent almost a year off the bike after a near career-ending injury sidelined him during Round 3 of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross season. Eleven surgeries and almost twelve months later, he was finally ready to make his return to racing. We can’t forget that Marvin Musquin was

C

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 3 7

18.01_Supercross.indd 2

2018-04-03 11:26 AM


The Fight to Stay Healthy

The entire supercross world was excited when Justin Brayton got his first ever win in Daytona.

coming off q uite the off-season high after winning the “ Monster Million” at the Monster E nergy Cup, as well as a second consecutive “ K ing of Bercy” title and a second consecutive R ed Bull Straight R hythm championship. Only time would tell what the 2018 Monster E nergy Supercross season would have in store and whose predictions would hold true come gate drop. It has become tradition that the season kicks off at A ngel Stadium of A naheim in A naheim, CA – a q uick jaunt west for most of the factory teams, many of which are headq uartered about 3 0 minutes east of A naheim. The start to the 2018 season was filled with the familiar hustle and bustle we’ ve come to expect over the years. A s the first premier class gate dropped, we q uickly learned that the only thing that would be a constant in 2018 would be expecting the unexpected. In fact, the only predictable moments of the first race of the season came in the form of E li Tomac’ s holeshot, then leading the first seven laps of the Main E vent, followed by Marvin Musq uin’ s winning of the race. W hat happened between the first gate drop and the first checkers of 2018 was a catalyst that launched a series of unfortunate and certainly unpredictable events that continued through R ound 10 in D aytona Beach, FL ! Seven laps into the season and E li Tomac goes

down hard, injuring his shoulder. H e would pull off early and not finish the race. W ith E li out, it left the door open for Marvin Musq uin to find his way to the front of the pack, winning the race with J ason A nderson coming in second and J ustin Barcia finishing third – his first trip to the podium since the Ironman N ational in 2016 . K en R oczen came in an impressive 4 th that evening in A naheim. From initial prognosis of being told he’ d never ride again and may even lose his arm, to lining up at his first race back and finishing just off the podium shows that K en R oczen is nothing short of a warrior. R ound 2 and the pattern of unpredictability was already off to a roaring start. E li Tomac attempted practice but his shoulder didn’ t have enough strength to lay down a hot lap, let alone compete in a Main E vent. H e would receive a D N S. In the same day that E li didn’ t start, Marvin Musq uin popped his shoulder out during practice, marking him out for the N ight Show as well. D ean W ilson, who also injured his shoulder during A naheim 1, was out for the day as well. Only two weeks into the season and already three competitors were given the cold shoulder – two of them being the only standout contenders prior to the start of the season, and now they were already chasing the championship and trying to play catch up. W ith three competitors off the list, that allowed

J ason A nderson to claim his first win of the season, J ustin Barcia his second podium of the season in 3 rd, and the hardcharging K en R oczen finished in 2nd. For anyone that doubted K enny would ever be strong enough and fast enough to be competitive again, well, it didn’ t take long for him to prove you wrong. If you would’ ve said that J ason A nderson, J ustin Barcia, and K en R oczen would be the first to emerge as championship contenders in this season, I don’ t know that you would’ ve found a single person to agree with you. J ustin Barcia started the off-season without a ride, and then got picked up by the Monster E nergy Factory Y amaha Team on a fill-in ride for the injured D avi Millsaps for a six-race deal. L anding on the podium two weeks in a row is definitely a way to turn heads and set yourself up to become a full-time member of the team, rather than just a fill-in rider. A s the season progressed, we were introduced to the first ever Triple Crown format in Supercross. Y es, we’ ve previously seen a three Main E vent format during the annual Monster E nergy Cup, but we’ ve never seen a three Main E vent format for a race that counts for actual championship points. The first round of the Triple Crown happened during R ound 3 in A naheim, CA , back at A ngel Stadium. It was a format that received mixed reviews from the riders, but something that the fans enjoyed watching.

3X 8 X //// M MO OTTO OCCRRO OSSSS PPEERRFFO ORRM MAAN NCCEE ·· M MXXPPM MAAG G..CCO OM M

18.01_Supercross.indd 3

2018-04-03 11:26 AM


In the modern age of pure entertainment, the Monster Energy Supercross Series has become one of the greatest shows on earth.

The critical difference in the evening is that riders had to navigate their way through three Main Event gate drops, which meant three first turns and three moments of holding her wide open, hoping to evade the chaos that can often come as a result of 22 riders barreling down the start straight toward the funneled first turn. Amidst his recovery, Eli Tomac found the strength to dominate the first-ever Triple Crown, putting him back on the right track after an abysmal start for the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider. This event also marked the anniversary of Ken Roczen’s horrific crash. To show the world that the injury was behind him, he made the incredibly bold choice to wear a replica kit of the same gear he was wearing when he crashed, closing the door on one of the toughest chapters of his professional career and moving forward to fight for the championship. Rounds 4 and 5, taking place in Glendale, AZ and Oakland, CA respectively, went off without incident – well, minus the fact that Eli Tomac was plagued with yet another off night, finishing the race in 13th place. For the “crowned jewel” of the Premier Class, Eli Tomac has spent much of the season chasing the Championship rather than leading it, as many would have expected, even though he has led more laps than any of his competitors. In between Round 5 and Round 6, we also received the surprising news that

the injured Davi Millsaps announced his retirement from professional racing, and the less surprising news that the #51 of Justin Barcia would be moved from fill-in rider to full-timer with a factory contract that covers the remainder of the 2018 Supercross season as well as the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season. The chaos and unpredictability of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season continued to unfold as the series headed back to Southern California for Round 6 at Petco Park in San Diego, CA. Ken Roczen was sitting second in points heading into San Diego, a feat that is nothing short of impressive for his return to racing. Unfortunately, the #94 Team Honda HRC rider got tangled up in the start, forcing him to charge through the pack. While he was on an impressive charge forward, he and Cooper Webb had a couple close encounters. As Roczen tried to make the pass on Webb, an incredibly bizarre instance caused Ken’s rear wheel to gain way too much traction as it slipped into a different rut than the line in which he was racing. Immediately, Ken was thrown backwards into Cooper and his right arm and hand somehow managed to get stuck in the swingarm of Cooper’s bike. This strange crash resulted in a shattered hand, dislocation of all metacarpals, and torn ligaments, ultimately ending his night and his

season – a devastating blow to the unexpected championship contender. San Diego also managed to end the season of the #19 of Justin Bogle and the #12 of Jake Weimer as well, two riders who had just returned to racing after battling through some off-season injuries. In addition to taking out three riders in the 450 class, San Diego was also unkind to none other than the #3 of Eli Tomac. While he wasn’t injured, a first turn pile-up created some mechanical problems for the Kawasaki rider, who ultimately had to pull off and end his night early as well. All the while, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson continued to make another unexpected statement on the season, maintaining the points lead through six rounds. Anderson previously had the reputation of a rider with an aggressive side who didn’t always make the smartest racing moves. However, in 2018, it is clear that experience in the 450 class has really started to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle for Anderson. His racer IQ is much more refined, which has led him to be a much more assertive and decisive rider and has given him the competitive edge this year. The season continues to fly by at a rapid pace with entirely unexpected twists and turns unfolding at every round. With Roczen out, Musquin playing catch up, and Tomac trying to avoid letting another M MO OTTO OCCRRO OSSSS PPEERRFFO ORRM MAAN NCCEE ·· M MXXPPM MAAG G..CCO OM M //// X 3 X 9

18.01_Supercross.indd 4

2018-04-03 11:26 AM


Supercross championship slip through his grasp, things were starting to look very promising for championship contenders Jason Anderson and Justin Barcia. At the start of the season, I bet not even those two riders would have put themselves on that list of title contenders. Justin Barcia had a rough couple of rebuilding years in recent seasons but approached 2018 with a new mindset, and Jason Anderson had vastly improved his Racer IQ, which put them in very promising positions as the season unfolded. However, disaster struck once again in Dallas. During the Heat Race, Justin Barcia missed the Monster Energy triple, causing Tyler Bowers to have no escape route when he hit the jump Barcia missed. His trajectory unfortunately perfectly lined up to where Barcia was on the racetrack, causing Bowers to land on Barcia. Barcia’s night ended early when he became the third rider in the Premier Class to break a metacarpal in his hand. In the same day, Josh Grant cased a jump and managed to break his tibia, knocking him out of competition for a good remainder of the season. We know that injuries are an unfortunate part of the sport. However, less than half way through the season and we’ve already seen five of the top Premier Class riders be counted out of contention due to injury. If you’ve paid attention to the pattern then you’ve put 2+ 2 together and realized that sitting second place in the championship standings is the least desirable place to be in 2018 if you’re a 450 class rider. A black cloud seems to be looming over that Number 2 spot, willing to claim anyone who was skilled enough to move into championship contention. Cole Seely became the next unfortunate victim of what should be dubbed the “Second Place Season Stealer.” During Round 8 in Tampa, the # 14 Honda HRC rider entered the evening, you guessed it, second in points. A crash in the technical rhythm section before the sand section sent Cole to the ground. The initial slam to the ground wasn’t what caused the injury; instead it was his bike landing perfectly on his pelvis that would bring his season to a screeching halt. His crash resulted in a broken pelvis and sacrum, as well as damage to his abdominal wall. Where injuries continued to plague so many of the top riders, it was not all devastating news in Tampa. On the more positive side of the coin, Tampa was a historical night in the making for two-time Supercross Champion, Chad Reed. After a win in the LCQ, fan favourite Chad Reed lined up for what would be his record-breaking 228th Main Event starts, surpassing Mike LaRocco’s record of 227 starts. This may not be the season Chad hoped for in terms of results, but that does not discount the record-shattering ride in Tampa. It was particularly momentous for Reed because he got to break this record at his “hometown” race, in front of droves of family and friends. Expecting the unexpected has emerged as a recurring theme this season. In a year where it was expected to be a fairly predictable and, dare I say it, boring season, the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Season has evolved into anything but predictable. In fact, quite possibly the most unexpected event yet occurred during Round 10 at the famed Daytona International Speedway. Where so many

riders have been bit by the unwanted injury bug, others are quietly emerging from the shadows and building momentum week after week. One rider in particular is the long-time pro, Justin Brayton. Brayton started the season coming off his second consecutive Australian Supercross Championship and quickly showed that this was going to be a good year for the Honda rider in the U nited States. When the gate dropped at the historic Daytona International Speedway, Justin Brayton got a great start and made a pass that put him in the lead on the first lap. As time elapsed, Brayton would remain the leader of the pack for lap two, and then three, four, lap five, lap six… and as each lap passed, the crowd grew louder and more animated as they realized that this could very well be a race for the record books. A crash from Eli Tomac early in the race, plus two tip overs from Marvin Musquin and a block pass takeout delivered by Eli Tomac to Cooper Webb that left both riders on the ground, lined up as the perfect equation for Justin Brayton to follow up his Heat Race win with his career-first Monster Energy Supercross win! ! S ixteen years as a pro rider and the hard work and sacrifice finally paid off as he claimed his very first overall victory! B rayton stated in a post-race interview that he never even thought he’d qualify for a Main Event when he first turned pro, let alone win a Main Event, and certainly not a win at Daytona. This would end up being a day to go down in the history books, as Brayton also became the oldest Supercross victor, dethroning the long-time record holder, Mike LaRocco. With all the work he’s put in over the years, this win was a long time coming for JB, and every single person in that stadium on March 10, including his competitors, shared in the excitement of this historic moment. With seven rounds remaining, only time will tell who will ultimately be crowned champion. The only thing for certain is that whoever earns the crown will have survived one of the gnarliest Supercross seasons in recent history.

Josh Grant was another rider who found some early series success before suffering a midseason injury.

4 0

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Supercross.indd 5

2018-04-03 11:26 AM


The Fight to Stay Healthy

After being the best rider so far in 2018, all Jason Anderson has to do is ride smart during the final rounds and he should win his first ever 450 Supercross title.

“FROM INITIAL PROGNOSIS OF BEING TOLD HE’D NEVER RIDE AGAIN AND MAY EVEN LOSE HIS ARM, TO LINING UP AT HIS FIRST RACE BACK AND FINISHING JUST OFF THE PODIUM SHOWS THAT KEN ROCZEN IS NOTHING SHORT OF A WARRIOR.”

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 4 1

18.01_Supercross.indd 6

2018-04-03 11:26 AM


NEXT L NITRO CIRCUS GOES

BY DAVE W. DUNLOP|PHOTOS BY NITRO CIRCUS

4X 2 X

//// M MO OTTO OCCRRO OSSSS PPEERRFFO ORRM MAAN NCCEE ·· M MXXPPM MAAG G..CCO OM M

18.01_NitroCircus_v1.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:12 AM


LEVEL IN 2018

“IF YOU’RE A FAN OF ACTION SPORTS, NO DOUBT YOU’VE HEARD OF NITRO CIRCUS AND GLOBAL SUPERSTAR TRAVIS PASTRANA. Although Nitro Circus has delivered some of the biggest moments in action sports for the past 15 years, the brand was born to humble beginnings in 2003. Travis and friends got on this crazy train by selling self- made DVDs filled with antics that were outrageously skillful, debatably sane, yet undeniably entertaining, all produced from a Utah garage. Since then, the company has exploded producing

I

hit television shows, releasing a 3D movie worldwide, establishing a live touring phenomenon that continues to travel across multiple continents each year, and creating a world-renowned action sports competition. How did Nitro Circus hit such lofty heights and become the world’s most successful action sports touring brand? While many components are necessary for success, an inside look under the big top reveals one key ingredient to Nitro Circus’ rapid growth: Passion. At its core, Nitro Circus lives and breathes passion. Their athletes are driven to push the limits of

what is possible and continually innovate. In doing so, they leave a lasting impression – far beyond the sold out stadiums - on those who witness their risktaking feats. Nitro Circus newcomer Tyler Pynnonen exemplified this last summer. Growing up a fan of motocross, snocross and BMX as a kid in Grand Rapids, Michigan USA, Tyler always knew that he wanted action sports to be at the center of his life. His dreams had to wait, however, while he served in the US Army, first on deployment in Afghanistan then Kuwait. After that, Tyler had to wait another year while recovering from

M MO OTTO OCCRRO OSSSS PPEERRFFO ORRM MAAN NCCEE ·· M MXXPPM MAAG G..CCO OM M //// X 4 X 3

18.01_NitroCircus_v1.indd 2

2018-04-03 11:12 AM


NITRO CIRCUS GOES NEXT LEVEL IN 2018 a riding injury. “It was frustrating knowing I can do it and never having the opportunity… It was just a matter of time and I figured at one point I’d get my chance.” That chance came in 2017. While riding in Michigan with a friend just three months after returning from another overseas deployment, Tyler was introduced to Nitro Circus FMX veteran Steve Mini. Impressed with Tyler’s skills, Mini invited him to ride with the Nitro team at its highly anticipated San Diego show. Being a FMX rider and a snowmobile racer, Tyler had never been in an event like this before. But he wasn’t going to miss his shot. Tyler packed up his gear and hit the road, driving over 30 hours while hauling his sled and equipment from his Minnesota home to San Diego. Then, without even having an opportunity to practice on the Qualcomm Stadium show setup, Tyler pinned it, stomping the world’s first snowmobile front flip to a mobile lander. Tyler now gets the chance to live his dream as he will tour with Nitro Circus this year. The attitude that “Nothing is impossible, it just hasn’t been done yet,” certainly inspires this crew

X X

every day. Hand in hand with that, the determination to get back up after you’ve been knocked down also sets Nitro Circus athletes apart. Stepping up just hours before a show to ride in a precisely-timed FMX train when one of your fellow riders goes down with an injury, as happened at practice prior to a 2015 Tokyo tour stop, is just one example of this “never say can’t” attitude. Legendary motocross champion Kurt Nicoll, who joined Nitro Circus in 2009 during production of the hit MTV show and is now the company’s Vice President of Global Touring, describes the can-do mentality of these riders. “When you see guys like Bruce Cook returning from a broken back to flip dirt bikes without the use of his legs, it is awesome,” he says. “All of our guys push themselves to progress all the time, and they inspire each other, as well as anyone who follows them.” When asked why he thinks people are so receptive to Nitro Circus, Kurt replies without hesitation, “Nitro Circus is a true lifestyle. Nothing is manufactured, it is very genuine and fans understand that. Nitro Circus is just a true reflection of Travis Pastrana’s

personality and his life.” Certainly, Travis Pastrana’s unwavering enthusiasm and camaraderie is at the heart of everything Nitro Circus has accomplished. The same passion he had at the very beginning for pushing the limits still fuels Nitro Circus today. It is why people continue to tune in or buy a ticket. “It’s exciting to see how far the brand has come, and I’m even more excited to see where we’ll go in the

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_NitroCircus_v1.indd 3

2018-04-03 11:12 AM


future,” Kurt says. That drive is certainly still evident in 2 01 8, as North American fans can look forward to not just one but two brand new Nitro Circus shows this year…

Taking it to the NEXT LEVEL

The Next Level Tour will touch down in North America first. Kicking off in May, scheduled Canadian stops include Kelowna, B C, Lethbridge, Alberta, and Moncton, New B runswick. With Next Level, Nitro Circus has revamped its live show production in pursuit of progression. You can trust the show’s title -- stunts will most definitely be taken higher than ever before. The Next Level FMX takeoff ramp will tower 1 5-feet above the show floor (five feet taller than anything toured before), launching riders more than 6 0-feet into the air. This innovative setup, the result of years of research and development, was first dreamed up at Travis’ “ Pastranaland” compound and then perfected at Nitro World G ames. Clearly, this time Nitro Circus has gone all in by doubling down on the risk factor. “ This is a breakthrough,” says Dov Ribnick, Nitro Circus’ Vice President of Creative. “ The team we have assembled can’t wait to throw down the biggest new tricks in FMX on this tour.”

“ We are going to take freestyle motocross to a new limit,” adds Ricky Melnik, Nitro Circus’ Senior Athlete Manager. “ The development of these new ramps play an intrinsic role in the advancement of the sport. The larger ramps will allow our riders to think outside of the box. Now that they can get 6 0 or 7 0 feet in the air, our athletes will realiz e they have time to execute tricks they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. That is where the progression begins.” The Kelowna Next Level stop in May will be extra special both for one Nitro Circus athlete and the entire Nitro Circus family. B ruce Cook, a paraplegic FMX athlete, was born and raised there and still calls the city home when he’s not on the road. This will be his first Nitro Circus show in front of his hometown friends and family. “ The Next Level set up is HU G E. I truly think people’s minds are going to be blown. It’s one thing to see these ramps in pictures and videos from Travis’ place, but I can tell you it’s INSANE in person,” B ruce explains. For those of you who don’t know, B ruce Cook is an FMX superstar who lost the use of his legs in 2 01 4 while attempting to land the world’s first double front-flip on a motorcycle. Despite his injuries, and

“CLEARLY NITRO CIRCUS IS ON A MISSION WITH NEXT LEVEL TO PUSH THE LIMITS OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE AND TO ELEVATE ACTION SPORTS.”

the masses believing he’d never ride again, B ruce’s determination and passion proved the naysayers wrong. In 2 01 5 he landed the world’s first motorcycle backflip by a paraplegic in front of a packed Air Canada Centre in Toronto. B ruce continues to live his life on his terms as he rides his motorcycle in Nitro Circus shows around the world. “ I’m excited for all of my friends and family in B ritish Columbia who have never been able to see me perform live, come check it out. I’m as stoked as anyone to see this show.” Nitro Circus’ Next Level’s innovations also extend beyond the show floor. These breakthrough ramps, while the biggest ever to tour, are also ergonomically designed to pack flat, making them easier to transport and they only take about 2 0 minutes to assemble. Impressive. Clearly Nitro Circus is on a mission with Next Level to push the limits of what is possible and to elevate action sports. B ut, perhaps they’re doing much more than entertaining the masses because this drive to achieve resonates further. B illy Van Vugt, longtime Nitro Circus veteran, born and bred Canadian, and older brother to the renowned J olene Van Vugt (Canada’s first CMRC Women’s Motocross National Champion), explains. “ It’s because of the go-for-broke, never-quit attitude that the athletes who participate in Nitro echo. I feel like Nitro Circus inspires people, even beyond sport. Pushing yourself translates into other areas of life, too. Canadians, and people in general, connect with those ideals.” Whether intentional or not, the Nitro team seems to be on an unstoppable trajectory, using action sports as their medium to inspire people to live their

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 4 5

18.01_NitroCircus_v1.indd 4

2018-04-03 11:12 AM


NITRO CIRCUS GOES NEXT LEVEL IN 2018 lives to the fullest. The approach Nitro Circus riders have towards their sport is something everyone can relate to and strive to embody in their own lives, whether in work, school, or wherever your passion takes you.

C’mon man, YOU GOT THIS!

Most of us have heard those encouraging words at one point or another… usually coming from a friend urging us to take a huge risk and do something stupid. That same adrenaline-surge of confidence will fuel the second Nitro Circus tour fans can expect to see in North America later this year. You Got This will launch in Montreal at the end of September then makes four more stops across Canada, including Toronto, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Vancouver. Nitro Circus’ biggest moments have come from the ever-active imagination of Travis Pastrana, founder of Nitro Circus. For the action sports icon, pushing the envelope is just another day at the office. But Travis also has the uncanny ability to encourage his fellow riders to go big or go home and, in some cases, despite their better judgment. “You Got This is more than a tour, it’s a mindset,” Pastrana explains. “As Nitro’s ringleader, one of my jobs is to inspire guys to push themselves to go further, farther and faster than they thought they could. Sometimes, maybe more than they should! It’s a challenge, no doubt. But one we live for.” Travis definitely lived up to that attitude in October

2017. During a PR event to announce the European leg of the You Got This tour, in front of a huge throng of media assembled on the banks of London, England’s iconic River Thames, he was poised to attempt a barge-to-barge motorcycle backflip. If successful, he would become the first athlete to ever ride away from such an audacious stunt. If he didn’t stick the landing, however, he risked serious injury, such as the broken back Mike Metzger suffered during his 2006 attempt. Conditions at the jump site that morning, however, could not have looked grimmer. The quintessentially grey English sky was covered in thick clouds while rain pelted the ramps. Wind gusts were so strong that airplanes taking off from nearby London City Airport were visibly tossed around in the sky. But, Travis remained as determined as ever and, just as the clouds cleared, sent it with a huge backflip culminated by a textbook landing. “It was one of the scariest experiences of my life,” Travis said afterwards. “But luckily the weather held out [and] the rain went away. The wind was blowing pretty hard – that did not help. But at the end of the day we got it done.” Most of the details behind the You Got This tour were still under wraps as of press time. But, it’s safe to say that Canadian fans are definitely in for some wild nights later this year! With two brand new tours signaling a new chapter in Nitro Circus’ exciting story, one thing is for sure… you don’t want to miss them in 2018. Head over to www.nitrocircus.com to get your tickets.

“AT ITS CORE, NITRO CIRCUS LIVES AND BREATHES PASSION. THEIR ATHLETES ARE DRIVEN TO PUSH THE LIMITS OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE AND CONTINUALLY INNOVATE.”

4 6

Bruce Cook continues to be an inspiration to all of his fans.

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_NitroCircus_v1.indd 5

2018-04-03 11:12 AM


MXP - RC ERGONO-cr.pdf

1

2018-03-14

3:59 PM

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

Distributed in Canada by:

Untitled-1 1

2018-03-20 1:00 PM


4 8 // MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Brown.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:20 AM


TIMEwith Mike Brown TRAVELLING BY ANDY WHITE | PHOTOS BY JAMES LISSIMORE

hen the schedule was released for the Rockstar Triple Crown AX series I usually forward it to all my supported FXR riders. I get lots of questions on the Canadian series so I thought I would be proactive and send it out right away. Shortly after I had hit the send button with the email I had a text message from Mike Brown asking me all about the series. We discussed it for a while and a couple of days later Mike asked me if we could figure something out for the AX round in Calgary. I told him that I would see what I could put together. I needed a Husky dealer in the Calgary area to help me out with a 450, plus parts and a vehicle to get the bike to the track. I looked through my contacts under Husky dealers in Calgary. Blackfoot Direct was on the top of the list so I picked up the phone, called Dean Thompson and told him what I was thinking. Dean responded right away,”THE Mike Brown?” “Yes,” I said, “Mike would like to come up and race the double header.” I could hear Dean mumbling on the phone. Within a few seconds it was a big YES! “ Great!” I replied. I told him that Greg Small, our new employee at FXR, would take the lead on promotional items and getting things set up. Before I knew it we had the whole program dialed in weeks before the event. Mike was already racing the local AX events in the Victory Sport Racing series in Tennessee so it would be fun to have him compete in Canada. As we got closer to the date I was asked by MXP if I could put a story together about Mike. I thought that would be pretty cool. I have known Mike for seven years or so. I brought Mike up to the Montreal Supercross in 2011 when I was the team manager for KTM Canada. I remember calling Mike for that event. I was a little nervous, to be honest. I remember watching him race for Pro Circuit and Yamaha of Troy. Mike won the AMA 125 outdoor national championship with Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 2001. Mike was one tough competitor back in the early 2000s. If you have a chance to check out some of the video footage from back then you will know what I’m talking about. Back in those days scraping paint was an everyday event. Mike raced against some heavy hitters like Ryan Hughes, Grant Langston and Travis Pastrana to name a few. I could go on and on. If you want to check out his history, just punch “Mike Brown” into Google and

W

you will be there for days. So, back to MY story. Once I met Mike I was surprised, he wasn’t scary or mean at all. Mike is a really down to earth guy that just loves to ride and race dirt bikes. Every time I get to hang out with the “legend,” as many people call him, I learn so much from the soft spoken machine from Tennessee. I remember asking him a few years ag, why he still raced so much. He replied, “If I slow down I will seize up.” That’s a pretty good answer and I wish I knew that feeling. As you know, Mike is supported by Husqvarna USA, Rockstar, FXR, Bell, Alpinestar, Dunlop, Protaper, FMF, Oakley, Twin Air and a ton of other companies. For this event he rode for Blackfoot Direct on a stock 2017 FC450. The suspension was set up by the suspension department at Blackfoot and the gearing was changed. They bolted on a new FMF system and we ran some VP fuel. That’s all this Husky needed. We did a little Timeline from the moment Mike arrived in Calgary on Thursday for press day until he left to fl y back home.

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 4 9

18.01_Brown.indd 2

2018-04-03 11:20 AM


TIMEwith Mike Brown TRAVELLING

THURSDAY

track and check out the lines. Riding Press Day gives you an advantage. We were able to test the suspension plus the gearing. We had to make some changes. It was good to figure that out on Thursday and not rush or waste time testing on race day. Mike had a chance to check his speed against some of the other riders too. At the end of the second practice Mike felt the bike was ready for Friday.

1pm - Lunch time - Our tour guide, Greg Small, took us to a Mexican restaurant. Not sure that was the wisest choice for a meal to have while getting ready for press day but it wasn’t me that was riding.

7pm - Back to the hotel, eat dinner and get a early night as Mike was up at 4am that morning. It’s a two hour time zone difference as well. Mike joked around, “I need my sleep. I am 46 -years-old. I need to be ready to race against kids that are half my age.”

Noon - Mike and I arrive in Calgary. The weather was not so good. It was a full-on snow storm. Good thing we rented an AWD Mini for the weekend! As I am used to the snowy conditions, Mike commented, “If we were back in Tennessee the state troopers would have the roads closed up. Here in Canada it’s just another day in winter commuting around.”

3pm - Check in to the Blackfoot Inn. Great location only 5 minutes away from Blackfoot Direct. 4pm - Head to the track to meet the media. This is a good time to walk the

5 0

FRIDAY

7 am - Breakfast. Nothing too crazy. (Fruit & o atmeal) One small coffee. We decide since we are up so early

and we don’t have to be at the track until 1pm we might as well head out to Banff. Mike has never been to that resort, so we set off for the mountains. The weather was not very good as the snow was coming down and the roads were pretty slippery. It takes about one and a half hours to drive out to Banff so this gave me some time to ask him some questions on the past and present. I asked him what type of training he does now to stay in shape? Mike said, “Well, where I live I can get out on my road bike and pedal on this 100 mile loop that takes about 5 hours to complete. I try to get out 2 to 3 times a week. I will stretch and hit the gym but I feel the best training is on my road bike.” I asked him if he gets to ride much during the week. He said, “I do ride a few times a week depending on the weather. Right now it’s a little cool so I will drive down south to get some practice in.” We arrived in Banff and drove around to check out

the sites. We headed up to the Banff Springs Hotel. Only a mere $500 per night apparently. After touring around for a while we headed back to Calgary. On the way back we started talking about what’s next for Mike Brown. Mike said, “I really enjoy racing still. These Canadian events are fun. I know the riders I’m racing against are not looking to take me out. I really enjoy teaching as well, whether it be MX or off-road. There are a few events I look forward to racing. Lorretta Lynn’s is back on the schedule for me again. Last year was really fun. The track was extremely tight. I was racing a 450 but this year I think I will race it on a 350 maybe. The Vet National at Glen Helen and the Vintage race in England were lots of fun too.” Noon - Lunch time. It’s going to be a busy afternoon so it’s important to eat some good food. We stopped at the hotel restaurant and had some pasta

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Brown.indd 3

2018-04-03 11:20 AM


and a salad. On our way to the track I stopped at Tim Hortons. As a Canadian I felt it was my duty to introduce him to Tim’s. He did pick up a decaffeinated coffee. He looked at the muffins but passed on them. 2pm - Head back to the track. Practice starts at 3pm. As Mike is a pretty big deal, lots of parents and riders stopped by the Blackfoot pit area to say hello. It was pretty cool to hear what the people were saying to him. Most talked about how they watched Mike race here or there. They would say, “I have been a big fan of yours for a long time and it’s super cool to see you in Calgary.” Mike is pretty humble and he would always take time to chat. The kids would climb up on the bike for pictures. 3pm - Practice time. This is where Mike gets to test out his speed and figure out lines. It’s pretty cool watching the other 450 guys around him, they

know he is fast but they also respect him for his accomplishments. Josh Hill and a few other riders spent a few minutes catching up with Mike. 5PM - Practice is over. Everything went well. It’s time to clean up the bike and get it ready for the show. Blackfoot’s main mechanic Ken made sure the 450 Husky was ready for the challenge 5:30PM - Time to head out for some dinner. Nothing too big. Pasta and salad again. Lots of water. 7pm - Show time. First heat race of the night started off with a top 3 start. By the second corner, Mike and Brock Leitner bumped going into the corner. I don’t think Brock liked that the two bumped. Brock decided to center punch Mike in the corner after the finish line double. Neither rider went down. At the end of the race Brock wanted to share his frustra-

tion with Brown. The two exchanged a few words. Later that evening the two talked again and cleared the air; everything was good. In the final, Mike got an okay start. He was able to battle with Epstein and Goerke. At the end of the 20 laps, Mike finished 6 th overall. 10pm - Racing is over. Lots of fans worked their way down to the pit area to meet the riders. Mike was pretty busy signing posters for the fans. The Blackfoot guys loaded the bike and took it back to the dealership to prepare it for Saturday’s races. 11pm - Back to the hotel. Time to turn in and rest up for Saturday

SATURDAY

7am - Mike heads down to the hotel gym for a light workout. Mike says it’s important to stay loose when your 46-years-old, so riding the spinner for 30 minutes helps with the soreness.

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // X X

18.01_Brown.indd 4

2018-04-03 11:20 AM


TIMEwith Mike Brown TRAVELLING 8am - Breakfast time. Back to the hotel restaurant. There are a few other riders there. Mike exchanges thoughts about the race. 9:30am - Blackfoot Direct set up an open house for their customers to meet Mike Brown. The weather was not very good as the streets were full of snow. It was a little slow but it got pretty busy just after 11:30am Noon - Lunch time. We headed back to the restaurant for a little lunch. Mike likes to eat light on race day. Salad and some pasta. 2pm - Head back to the arena for practice. The Blackfoot guys had the bike looking like new again for the Saturday night race. 3pm - Mike heads off to the track and gets in a few laps. The Jetwerx

5 2

guys did a great job of rebuilding the track up from all the racing on Friday. The track looks the same. No major changes. 5pm - We headed out to the local casino and had a light dinner. When we entered the stampede restaurant we noticed a KTM450 sitting in the corner with Royal/ Red Bull graphics on it. It had a big number 1 on it too. Pretty cool to see an old race bike from the team I managed back in 2011. 7pm - Show time. Mike was in the first heat race tonight. The track looked great, the berms were all built up. The gate drops and Mike pulls the holeshot. Within a few laps Cole Thompson made the pass for the lead. The riders stayed in the same positions to the end of the race. Because Mike finished 2nd in the heat this put him in the Clash for Cash race, plus it got him into the 450 final. 8pm - The Clash for Cash race is on the line. All the top riders were ready to race for the big payout. Mike pulled

a great start and was able to slip into second. Cole Thompson once again was out in front. The two riders pretty well stayed in the same position the whole 15 laps. Mike finished a solid 2nd just a few seconds behind Thompson 9pm - 450 final. 12 riders on the line for the last race of the night. The first start was red flagged as Davey Fraser crashed hard in the first turn. The second start was perfect for Mike as he pulled the holeshot. Mike had 20 laps to go now. Cole Thompson put in some serious laps to catch Mike. The two battled for a few laps until Cole made the pass. A few laps later Mike was getting into lapped traffic, which gave Facciotti, Goerke and Tyler Medaglia an opportunity to close in on the number 68. As Mike had already done 50 plus laps so far that day you could see he was getting a little tired. Two laps from the end Colton and Goerke made the pass. On the last lap Tyler made an aggressive pass to sneak in for 4th overall. With one lap left Mike hung in for 5th overall. I would say that’s pretty damn good in my books. When I

got back to the pit area Mike was not so happy. He was pissed that the three riders passed on the last two laps. Within a few minutes Mike was all good and was shaking hands and talking to the fans. I thought to myself, Mike is still a full-on racer. No one likes getting passed that late in the race. 10pm - The racing is over and it’s time to head back to the hotel. I asked Mike if he would do this race next year. He replied, “Sign me up! I had lots of fun. The track was good, and look, I made some money tonight!” I headed to my room as it was a long weekend and I needed my sleep. I know Mike had no plans and was looking forward to relaxing before a long flight home.

SUNDAY

5am - Meet in the lobby and head to the airport. We both had early flights to catch. We checked in and headed to the gate. “That was a pretty fun weekend,” I said to Mike. He replied “I want to come back in May to race the MRC outdoor national! Can you put it together?”

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Brown.indd 5

2018-04-03 11:20 AM


LIG HT DON E R IG HT

WE LCOM E BACK JIMMY DECOTIS JGR SUZUKI FACTORY RACING

LIMITED EDITION

H E LI U M

FEEL THE DIFFERENCE Premium Ultra-Lightweight Performance Durable Perforated Omni Stretchâ„¢ Construction Provides Unrestricted Mobility Race-Cut Articulated Fit and Superior Airflow for Maximum Comfort

ASK ANY PRO WHO WEARS IT

FXR.indd 1

2018-01-12 11:07 AM


DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK T H E R E T U R N O F T H E WA LT O N T R A N S C A N B Y

M X P

S TA F F

P H O T O S

B Y

J A M E S

L I S S I M O R E

FOR 25 YEARS, THE WALTON TRANSCAN WAS THE FINAL ROUND OF THE CMRC CANADIAN PRO MOTOCROSS NATIONALS, AND THE CMRC GNC FOR AMATEURS. THE PRO SERIES TOOK A NEW DIRECTION IN 2015 BY MOVING THE FINAL ROUND OF THE PRO SERIES 190 KILOMETRES TO THE EAST TO RJ MOTOSPORT PARK, MINUTES NORTH OF BARRIE, ON. IT WAS A NECESSARY MOVE TO APPEASE THE CORPORATE SPONSORS TO LOCATE THE PRO NATIONAL WITHIN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO A MAJOR MARKET, BUT IT DID PUT AN END TO A LONG STANDING TRADITION. 5 4

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Walton.indd 1

2018-04-02 2:25 PM


“THE 2018 WALTON TRANSCAN IS ALREADY FOCUSING ON WHAT MADE THEM BECOME THE MUSTATTEND EVENT IT HAD BECOME KNOWN FOR.”

“ I’ m not going to lie, the last three years have been stressful,” smiled owner Brett L ee. For 25 years, the L ee family worked to make the W alton TransCan G rand N ational Championships a must attend event for Canadian motocross athletes as well as fans in Ontario. “ In the past three years we have gone from being an important part of the biggest series in Canada to q uickly having to reinvent ourselves. D uring that time it certainly hasn’ t been easy for the staff or community around W alton R aceway.” H owever, despite feeling the wrath of Mother N ature on more than one occasion, and also facing a couple of new competing events, the historic family owned facility has remained steadfast. “ It is exciting to be involved in the series again, in our old slot and to hear that everyone is ready for it to be everything it was. It hasn’ t been easy, but sometimes a little adversity brings out the best in people.” The business partnerships, under strain from the previous two years, began to dissolve forcing the cancellation of the 2017 event. “ It was like a death. It is the only way to describe laying down the event in 2017 ,” remembered L ee. “ I was ready to turn the page and move on but that was too hard. I love the sport. It defines me in so many ways. W hat I saw the J etwerx team doing was exciting and those guys basically gave me some time to find a way to do it in 2018 .” The company was transferred back to the hands of the L ee family under Brett’ s leadership in early 2018 . “ I received some solid investment, a lot of encouragement and a real desire to bring W alton back to what made it such a special event.” The 2018 W alton TransCan is already focusing on what made them become the must-attend event it had become known for. “ If there are positives to take from the past few seasons, it would be that all of this may lead to us - the sport and our facility - purposefully being in this great spot. There has been some real pain, but I believe we are headed in a great direction in this country.” The R ockstar E nergy Triple Crown A renacross series, which kicked off the 2018 season, is one of the changes that has outdoor promoters excited. L ee says that the A bbotsford and Calgary A renacross really opened his eyes to what the sport of motocross can look like in Canada. The challenge is always how do we take “ motocross” to new fans. The first two rounds offered up great arenas situated

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 5 5

18.01_Walton.indd 2

2018-04-02 2:25 PM


THE GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WILL FOCUS ON A WELL EXECUTED EVENT, LIMITED ENTRY GATES, SET MOTO LENGTHS AND STRONG RECOGNITION OF THE CHAMPIONSHIPS WON.

in big cities, and fans at each event took in the best racers in Canada for the opening rounds. For years there has been the mandate to take outdoor motocross close to major cities. But the struggle has been the same as it is in rural areas; the challenge of marketing and educating fans and giving them all the amenities expected in stadiumtype venues. The opening Arenacross events packed an exciting entertaining show into three hours and fans left wanting to know more about motocross. Lee sees this as the opportunity. “Motocross needs lots of space, it is an outdoor sport. It is tough and demanding. There are 40 riders waging war. It is glorious,” said Lee. “But it’s hard to put it into a city, like the Calgary round, and that is where Arenacross or Supercross fill that gap and hooks people into our sport. It drives them to the outdoor tracks and gets them looking at buying bikes and riding.” This gives some breathing room to outdoor venues to showcase the sport of motocross in its natural environ-

5 6

ment. Walton and all outdoor venues are focused hard on putting people through the gate, showcasing the sport to old and new fans alike showcasing the roots of motocross. The outdoor tracks are where people race and ride dirt bikes, which makes them important locations for the continuing health of the sport” For competitors attending the 2018 Walton TransCan, the focus will be about the competition. The Grand National Championship will focus on a well executed event, limited entry gates, set moto lengths and strong recognition of the championships won. The event is backed heavily by the industry who has already committed Factory teams to being on site during the week with support and assistance. “The event needs to have a high standard of competition. If you are driving from BC, you need to know that the standard followed is in line with any elite race. We are going to bring back some of the nightly entertainment. We want that balance that has made this race so important.

People are not only here on vacation but attend to race for a Championship.” It is back to the old in many ways with Walton TransCan. To the people involved in the event, that means working to create a great event and evolving with the times, keeping the soul of the event in tact while pushing forward with new ideas. “It is an opportunity I

am happy to have,” said Lee. “Justin Thompson, owner of Jetwerx, won the first Bronze Boot award we ever awarded at Walton. All the brothers raced here, and Cole won here as an amateur and won the King of Walton trophy. I believe that Walton may be 26-yearsold, but we are right at the beginning of something great. I can’t wait for that first gate to drop.”

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Walton.indd 3

2018-04-02 2:25 PM


Untitled-2 1

2018-03-27 3:26 PM


5 8 // MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Burr.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:39 AM


A

M O D IF IE D L E G A C Y THE BURR RACING STORY

BY MIKE MCGILL PHOTOS BY DAN O’REILLY

f you raced motocross in Ontario during the mid to late ‘ 80s you certainly would have been familiar with Burr Racing. In fact, if you were actively racing during that time there was a pretty good chance you were riding a Burr Racing Kawasaki. If not, you were definitely racing against a bunch of them. The Burr family were regular fixtures at the tracks in those days. Bill Burr, and his team, which included his two sons, Mark and Marty, and his wife, Joyce, became a powerhouse on the local moto scene, and his many riders collected a slew of wins and championships for Burr Racing Kawasaki. While he had no background of any sort in motocross, Bill Burr was a racer at heart. His racing experience, however, was of the four-wheeled variety, not two. Burr started racing Stock Cars or Hobby Cars as he refers to them in the ‘ 6 0s at local tracks like Nilestown Speedway, Delaware, which is west of London, Ontario, and the CNE Grounds in Toronto when they used to have racing there back in the day. Burr, who was based out of Caledonia, Ontario, eventually graduated from the Hobby Cars to SuperModifieds and eventually to Late Models by the end of his twenty-year car racing career. That was around the mid-seventies, and it was also around the same time that Burr’s eldest son, Mike, who was eight years older than the younger brother Marty, discovered dirt bikes and talked his dad into buying him one. “I didn’t even really know what I was buying,” recalls Burr. The bike turned out to be a Kawasaki 9 0cc trail bike, but what really attracted the Burrs to the machine was the fact that the fenders had been removed. “Yeah, it didn’t have any fenders,” recalls Burr. “And that’s what we thought made it a real dirt bike,” he chuckles. “I was pretty naï ve at the time.” Mike rode the bike around and had a great time on the Kawi 9 0, but when it came time to start racing, Burr decided that he needed to educate himself on the finer points of motocross and motocross bikes.

I

“The son of one of my old pit crew members from the car racing days was getting into racing motocross and Mike thought he wanted to try it as well,” recalls Burr. “So, we picked up a 19 7 7 Suzuki RM 80 and headed to the closest track to us at the time, which was Hully Gully, to go racing.” That trusty ‘ 7 7 RM proved to be a real workhorse for them and proved to serve the Burr family very well as not only did Mike launch his racing career on the bike but younger brother Marty also used the same bike to get his motocross career started a few years later. “It was a great little bike,” remembers Burr affectionately. “In fact, I never sold it. I still have it sitting in the basement today.” Never one to rely on a dealer for maintenance and repairs, Burr dove headfirst into the technical aspect of bike maintenance as the family started travelling the local motocross circuit. “That’s the way we did it in car racing so it just seemed natural,” states Burr. And the more he got into it the more he enjoyed it. The fact that Mike and Marty both really took to the sport and were having a good deal of success on the track only served to increase the level of dedication the family was putting into their racing efforts. “My nine-to-five job was in the construction industry at the time,” explains Burr, “but by the early ‘ 80s the industry was experiencing a real downturn. There just wasn’t the work that had been available in previous years.” Burr, who worked in a supervisory capacity within the industry, soon realized that he could easily squeeze all the ever-dwindling amount of time he needed to spend on the job site into only a couple of days a week. This allowed him to spend the rest of his time tinkering in the family garage and wrenching on Mike and Mary’s bikes. Bill’s abilities with the wrenches was becoming well known around the pits at the local races, and it wasn’t long before Mike and Marty’s competitors started actively seeking him out and coming to him with their mechanical issues. Bill, of course, was only too happy to help them out. “It was just kind of a word of mouth thing,” he recalls, “but it really started

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 5 9

18.01_Burr.indd 2

2018-04-03 11:39 AM


A

M O D IF IE D L E G A C Y to grow and took up more and more of my time.” Things didn’t really start getting serious for B urr Racing, however, until Marty began his string of attempts to qualify and win a Loretta Lynn’s title in 1 9 83. “ We started chasing the Loretta Lynn’s thing in the early ‘ 80s,” recalls B ill. “ We would head out to qualifiers mostly in Michigan and that was a real eyeopener,” he recalls. “ Those Michigan guys like B rian Swink, J ohnny Kitch J r. and the B eckington brothers could really go. The competition was tough but Marty did well.” Doing well was a bit of an understatement as Marty did indeed qualify and finished just off the podium in 4th overall in the 80cc 7 -1 1 Modified class in ‘ 83. He also managed to finish ahead of his Michigan rivals beating both Swink, Kitch and the B eckingtons in the process. Perhaps what stood out the most about Marty’s performance was the fact

current batch of fully supported Team G reen kids on his uncompetitive RM 80, J ordan told B ill and Marty that he was going to speak to his counterparts at Canadian Kawasaki and “ see if he could get something arranged,” recalls B urr. “ It all sounded great but after we got home, and a couple of months went by, we didn’t hear anything so we kind of forgot all about it.” J ust as they had begun to think that nothing was going to come of their talks with J ordan, the B urr’s phone did ring and it was Canadian Kawasaki calling with what seemed like an unbelievably attractive offer. What B ill had thought was originally going to be an offer of support for just Marty’s racing program turned out to be not only help for Marty but a professional opportunity for B ill as well. “ They wanted me to become the manager for Team G reen in Canada,” recalls B urr. “ I was going to run the whole program for then. They said it was pretty much a done deal, they just had to get the accounting department in J apan to sign off on it.” The last part of that statement raised a couple of red flags in B ill’s mind but he agreed to the proposal as he felt that this may be a good direction for him to go. The construction industry in O ntario had not really rebounded at that point and he was very passionate about motocross. And it certainly did prove to be a good move for him

“NEVER ONE TO RELY ON A DEALER FOR MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS, BURR DOVE HEADFIRST INTO THE TECHNICAL ASPECT OF BIKE MAINTENANCE AS THE FAMILY STARTED TRAVELLING THE LOCAL MOTOCROSS CIRCUIT.” that he was one of only a couple kids that year who were riding the Suz uki RM 80. At the time, the Suz uki was a bike which was thought to be uncompetitive when matched up against the Yamahas and particularly the Kawasaki KX 80s of the day. It was while at this race and purely by chance that B ill B urr’s relationship with Kawasaki and the beginnings of B urr Racing got started. “ I don’t know if they do it anymore but back then they used to make the top 5 finishers put their bikes into an impound and wait for fifteen minutes in case somebody wanted to launch a protest,” explains B urr. “ It was while I was waiting for Marty’s bike to be released from impound that an older, well dressed gentleman approached me and started asking me what Suz uki was doing for us. I thought this was kind of weird,” recalls B urr, who was wondering who the heck this guy was. “ He obviously wasn’t wrenching on bikes, judging by the way he was dressed, so I figured he must have been a somebody in the industry.” B urr indicated to the man that his local Suz uki dealer was giving them a bit of a discount on his bikes and parts, “ but that was about it.” The friendly stranger turned out to be the original Manager for the Team G reen program in the U .S., Dave J ordan. J ordan searched out B ill a couple more times during their week at Loretta’s and eventually indicated to him one night while they were sitting around the old campfire that he had decided he wanted to get Marty on a Kawasaki for the following season and get him some real Team G reen style support. Seeing as he was currently beating a lot of the 6 0

and his family. “ I never did go back to construction,” he laughs. U nfortunately, the higher-ups at Kawasaki were not so enamoured with the plan for Team G reen North and called B ill back shortly after the original proposal had been made offering a bit of a different deal. “ They told me they had some good news and some bad news,” chuckles B urr. “ They were not going to do the Team G reen thing. They just didn’t think that with the overall number of bike sales in Canada, being so much lower than in the U S, that it made sense to initiate that type of large scale program, but the good news was that they did offer me a Kawasaki dealership.” B ill goes on to explain Kawasaki’s decision in a bit more detail. “ The whole Team G reen model is based on selling bikes, of course, and it had proven itself in America. Put all the fast kids on KX 80s and what do you think every other up and coming kid is going to want his parents to buy him. A Kawasaki of course. It’s a great idea but they just didn’t think that it would work in Canada. We just didn’t have enough people racing motocross to justify it.” While B urr did agree in principal to become a Kawasaki dealer, he did have a few questions. “ When you become a dealer, you generally deal with the whole line of products. In the case of Kawasaki, not only did they sell motocross bikes but personal watercraft was very big then and obviously street bikes as well. I didn’t really have any interest in that and they agreed to let me concentrate on motocross bikes,” which suited B ill just fine. Although he does go

on to add that he could have had access to the other products if he wished. The move proved to pay off for both B urr and Kawasaki immediately. “ We signed the contract with Kawasaki in ’84,” recounts B urr, “ and in 1 9 85 we did some serious numbers.” Referring to the numbers as serious was almost an understatement as B urr sold approximately five times more KXs in 1 9 85 by himself than were sold across the whole country in 1 9 84. “ We certainly had some amaz ing success,” remembers B urr. “ In 1 9 84, they only sold sixteen new KX 1 2 5s in O ntario altogether, but in 1 9 85 I sold one hundred and thirty-five myself. I also sold seventy-five 2 50s and around fifteen to twenty KX 500s.” The higher-ups at Kawasaki were pleased, and the success that B urr racing was experiencing from a business standpoint was certainly transferring to the race track as well. Marty B urr had a fantastic year in 1 9 85 winning the National Schoolboy class in Canada on his B urr Racing Kawasaki. He notched two top ten finishes at Loretta Lynn’s as well and was really on a roll. And Marty wasn’t the only B urr Racing rider putting in some solid results. “ We had some great young kids riding our bikes,” remembers B urr. “ We had guys like Chris Lemmon, Steve B ulyovsky and of course Marty on the 80s, but we also had some up and coming Pro riders like Dave Marcella and Dave B eatty on our bikes. At the time people were very anxious to be with B urr Racing.” Marcella, who rode for B urr Racing in his first two Pro seasons in ‘ 85 and ’86 , remembers B urr as a guy who just really enjoyed working on bikes. “ B ill was the kind of guy who loved being down in his basement shop grinding intake and exhaust ports,” remembers Marcella. “ He was always trying to find the right balance for optimum power delivery. He turned my bikes into weapons.” Marcella goes on to add that one of B urr’s greatest attributes as a tuner was his ability to take input from a rider and transfer it to the bike. “ If I told him I wanted the power down low, when I would get the bike back it would be exactly how I wanted it. J ust how I would have described it to him.” Marcella concludes by saying that B urr was such a perfectionist he wouldn’t let you take your bike home until you rode it on his private track behind his house. “ He would make you ride through a couple of heat cycles and he would stand at the side of the track making sure you didn’t go too hard too soon on it. If you did he would wave you in and give you a little lecture,” chuckles Marcella. “ B reak-in was very important to him.” O f course, relationships between Team Managers and riders, or more accurately some rider’s parents, don’t always go as smoothly as you might hope as B urr related in a bit of an amusing story. “ I was down in O hio picking up a new trailer at the Hi Point factory and they had some trick Kawasaki ignition kits for the KX 80 that they were working on. I took two of them because I was always looking for ways to make Marty’s 80 faster. I installed one on Marty’s bike and gave the other one to Chris Lemmon’s father, who just happened to be hanging out in the shop when I got back from my trip.” B urr goes on to say that he really didn’t think anything of it at the time but when he showed up at the next race he got a bit of a surprise from an irate parent. “ I remember it like it was yesterday,” recalls B urr. “ It was B ig B end Raceway

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Burr.indd 3

2018-04-03 11:44 AM


down near Tillsonburg, Ontario and as I pulled into the pits I immediately had this parent banging on my window screaming at me about a factory ignition kit. He was going on about how much money he spent with me and why would I give the ignition to somebody else rather than him. I was quite taken aback,” recalls Burr. That particular rider was released from the Burr Racing Team right then and there. “That was the end of the deal for him,” laughs Burr. Interestingly, in a somewhat amusing culmination to this story, Bill and Marty tested the ignition extensively and decided it wasn’t an improvement to the performance of the bike so they went back to the stock set-up. Bill, however, decided to leave the oversized ignition coil on the bike. It was situated right behind the front number plate. A bit of a decoy perhaps but Burr insists to this day that it was just an oversight. Maybe it was but obviously his competitors, one, thought he was still running the aftermarket kit. “Well, that individual, he decided to go down to Ohio and get his own ignition kit,” recalls Burr. “U nfortunately, it malfunctioned on him causing a DNF at a big Loretta’s qualifier, that was unfortunate. His dad was fuming mad at me over that whole thing but he ended up doing alright.” Indeed, most of Burr’s riders did end up doing alright, and the Burr Racing Team became a bit of a juggernaut through the mid to late ‘ 80s. Bill admits he enjoyed listening to the announcers at the local races calling out the name of one Burr Racing rider

after another on any given summer Sunday afternoon. “It was pretty cool,” remembers Burr. ‘ We were putting full page ads in magazines, and people were sending us bikes from all over the place. We were shipping parts out to people across the country.” Burr remembers one specific example when he had to airlift a batch of parts to some oilfield workers who were located north of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. “We had to parachute the stuff into them. It was quite something.” It was a great little run for Burr Racing. While it didn’t last all that long, the Burrs certainly made their mark on the Ontario moto scene during that period. Marty moved up to the Intermediate class and won a 125 and a 250 title in ’86 , even though Bill felt he was too young to be riding that class. “After Marty won the Schoolboy title in ’85, the CMA, or more accurately the CMA President Marilyn Bastedo, decided he was too fast for the Junior class so they moved him directly up to Intermediate. I felt he was too young. He was only thirteen and we argued about it but they weren’t going to budge. That left a bad taste in my mouth so we raced most of the time in Michigan that year.” Burr Racing transitioned from Kawasaki to Yamaha when Bill decided to take over a Yamaha dealership in Waterdown in 19 89 . It was also around this time that Marty decided to take a break from racing. “We weren’t really getting along too well at that time,” laments Burr. The hiatus lasted for two seasons but Bill

kept busy working on bikes for other up and coming young Pros like Chris Pomeroy. “Bill was great to ride for,” remembers Pomeroy, who raced a Yamaha for Burr in 19 9 1. “He only ever yelled at me once and he was always very supportive,” he laughs. As the ‘ 80s gave way to the ‘ 9 0s and the old CMA gave way to the CMRC, Marty came back to Pro racing with Bill by his side, spinning the wrenches just as it had been for so many years. “I’m very proud of Marty’s career,” states Bill. “He earned a top ten number for ten straight years in a row.” Marty won the CMRC 125cc National Championship in 19 9 6 . He won all four motos, in what today is considered to be one of the all-time great performances in Canadian Motocross history, at the season finale at Walton in 19 9 5, and in one of the achievements that Bill cherishes the most he took a moto win off of Ross Pederson at the first CMRC National at Walton in 19 9 3. “I joked with Ross afterwards that that win probably cost me close to a million dollars, but it was worth it,” laughs Burr. Bill Burr is 7 8 years old today, he’s semi-retired but says he still works on dirt bikes and snowmobiles. “More than I should probably, but I do hope to be pretty much retired within the next year or so.” The Burr Racing days are long over now. Marty works in the HVAC field and brother Mike is an electrician, but in speaking with Bill you can easily tell the fond memories of those days remain strong. As for the many riders who threw a leg over a Burr Racing Kawasaki back in the ‘ 80s, I’m sure the same can be said for them.

SUNSTAR® is the largest OEM supplier of motorcycle and all terrain vehicle sprockets and brake discs in the world. In fact, your bike probably came from the factory with Sunstar. Trusted by more motorcycle brands than any other, Sunstar’s extensive line of Sprockets, Chains and Brake Discs deliver superior performance for all riding and racing applications. For more than 55 years, OEMs, riders and teams have trusted Sunstar quality, strength, precision and durability off-road, on-road and on the track. This is why Sunstar sprockets and brake discs come installed on more makes and models than any other. Fit your bike with the brand that the engineers who designed it trust: Sunstar - #1 in Sprockets and Brake DiscsTM.

www.sunstar-braking.com

Copyright 2017 Sunstar Engineering Americas

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 6 1

18.01_Burr.indd 4

2018-04-03 11:44 AM


Project

1991 BY BEN MILOT |

PHOTOS BY FORKUS PHOTOGRAPHIE

THE NAME CARL VAILLANCOURT CERTAINLY BRINGS BACK MANY MEMORIES FOR 1990S MOTOCROSS FANS. MULTIPLE-TIME CANADIAN CHAMPION AND MEMBER OF THE CANADIAN MOTORCYCLE HALL OF FAME, VAILLANCOURT ESTABLISHED HIMSELF AS THE TOP RIDER IN CANADA AND INSPIRED MANY ATHLETES, SUCH AS BEN MILOT, A WELL-KNOWN FREESTYLE PILOT. MILOT WAS ONLY 8-YEARS-OLD WHEN HIS IDOL WON HIS FIRST CANADIAN TITLE FOR THE EXPERT 500 CC CLASS. UNFORTUNATELY, THE FOLLOWING YEAR, INJURIES KEPT VAILLANCOURT AWAY FROM THE PODIUM. NEVERTHELESS, 1991 MADE HISTORY, AS EVERYONE REMEMBERS THE WHITE HONDA CR 125 DRIVEN BY THE #1.

6 2

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Milot.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:18 AM


MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 6 3

18.01_Milot.indd 2

2018-04-03 11:18 AM


“ Carl’ s motocross left an impression on me, because he was so different from all others. H e was the only one with a white bike and one of the only pilots in Canada to have one with a Mugen cylinder. It was extremely rare at the time! O n top of it, he was the defending champion, so let’ s just say he didn’ t go unnoticed on the track! ”

C

PROJECT 1991

In the winter of 2017 , Ben Milot was in China participating in The H ouse of D ancing W ater show. E ager to do something special to highlight the contribution of Carl V aillancourt to the motocross world, he came up with the crazy idea of restoring TH E famous 19 9 1 dirt bike. A daring project that would bring its load of surprises. W hile the restoration project was ambitious on its own, Ben Milot had even bigger ambitions. H e wanted to put the vehicle back on the track, with its original pilot at the command. Finding the bike and fixing it seemed daunting enough, but to convince Carl V aillancourt to go back to the race after 20 years of retirement seemed even more challeng6 4

ing. The first step of “ Project 19 9 1” was to find out if the ex-champion wanted to be part of the plan. “It wasn’t easy to reach Carl, because he is really busy and since I was in China, the time difference didn’t help. After many attempts, we were finally able to talk! At first, he was skeptical and wasn’t sure what my purpose was. When I told him I wanted to buy a bike like the one he was riding in 1991 and find partners to restore it, he understood how serious I was. Carl had seen me in a show before and we had worked together on my movie Invasion 1, so he knew I never did things by halves! It was tough convincing him, but in the end, he said yes! He even seemed pretty excited when we hung up!”

THE CR 125 1991

Ben Milot had been thinking of the project for a while now. W ith Carl V aillancourt’ s approval, he could finally move forward. The next step was to find a bike. Milot knew very well it would be almost impossible to find the original one, so he started searching for a similar CR 1 25 19 9 1, looking on all motocross sale sites and reaching out on social media.

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Milot.indd 3

2018-04-03 11:18 AM


“FINDING THE BIKE AND FIXING IT SEEMED DAUNTING ENOUGH, BUT TO CONVINCE CARL VAILLANCOURT TO GO BACK TO THE RACE AFTER 20 YEARS OF RETIREMENT SEEMED EVEN MORE CHALLENGING.” “I found two or three Honda 1991 CR 125s, but there was a specific one in Valleyfield that caught my attention, because it had a Mugen cylinder, just like the one used by Carl back in the day. The chances were slim that more than one of that model would have that kind of performance kit. I couldn’t believe I might have found Carl’s bike! To be totally sure, I sent the owner a few pictures and he confirmed it was the original one! It was in terrible shape but despite its condition, I had to buy it! To restore the bike was going to be a colossal task. It needed a lot of work and it required a team of professionals to put it back on the road.

RESTORATION PROCESS

The first name that came to Ben Milot’s mind to restore the dirt bike was Pierre-Luc Ratelle, sales director at Moto Ducharme. The dealership being a distributor of Honda products, Pier-Luc and his team were used to working with bikes like the Honda CR 125. “It was easy to convince Pier-Luc, because he was also a fan of Carl Vaillancourt. He immediately said yes! It’s an audacious and unique project and he was happy to be part of it. However, because of the terrible condition the motocross bike was in, he knew it was a big job and that it involved a lot of work!” Since Milot was in China, he had the bike delivered to the dealer and sent a picture of what it looked like when it was on the track. It was the only thing the mechanics could rely on to restore the CR 125. They dismantled the bike piece by piece and started over, putting it back together, hoping it would start again. Because of the terrible shape it was in, only a few parts could be salvaged and most had to be replaced: chain, tires, handlebars, pistons, etc. The biggest challenge was to find parts, as many were discontinued and unavailable on the market, especially engine parts. A lot of them had to be custom made to ensure the bike would be functional and faithful to the original. The rest of the parts were provided by Importation Thibeault. In total, $3000 was spent for parts and $2000 in labour by the different partners to put the old bike back together. “Since we wanted the bike to be identical to Carl’s original one, we really tried to respect the mechanics and aesthetics as much as we could. We painted it white and had a custom made graphic designed with Carl’s sponsors’ logos. Jessy Leduc from 75 MX Graphics did a fantastic job. The bike is identical! “ MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 6 5

18.01_Milot.indd 4

2018-04-03 11:18 AM


THE REVEAL

August 2017, the Honda CR 125 was finally ready to race. For the occasion, Ben Milot, Carl Vaillancourt and Pier-Luc Ratelle met at Motocross Deschambault, a significant motocross circuit for the two pilots. No one had seen the completed bike, except for the restoration team. The reveal promised to be emotional. “When I saw the bike for the first time, I was in total choc! Carl, on his part, looked like a kid in a candy store! I looked at everyone around, I felt a great sense of achievement. The bike was identical to the one he rode in 1991 and it was beyond my expectations! The only thing I wanted was to see Carl riding it!” The fact that the restored engine of the old 1991 Honda started right away was met with a sigh of relief from everyone on the track. Finally, Carl, who was wearing his original jersey, mounted his ride. We could see he really wanted to push it to its limits. The few following minutes are now part of history. The

6 6

Canadian champion was back on his bike under the proud stare of Ben Milot. Unfortunately, the inevitable happened and after only two laps, the engine stopped and the bike rendered its soul. All that hard work for two laps, but it was worth it! I will remember that moment my entire life and I’m sure Carl feels the same way!” Ben Milot’s idea to restore his idol’s old dirt bike was a little crazy. He brought together people who had a passion for motocross and along the way, were touched by “Project 1991.” A moment of nostalgia, very significant in motocross history, just as Vaillancourt and Milot were and always will be. To watch Project 1991, visit Ben Milot’s Facebook page. Thanks to the partners who made this project possible: Moto Ducharme, Importation Thibault, Axxel Suspension, Motocross Deschambault, 75 MX Grafics, Focus Photographie, Mathieu Toupin, Dominic Grimard, Andrée-Anne Blais and Carl Vaillancourt.

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Milot.indd 5

2018-04-03 11:18 AM


#FORMA BOOTS

#MDDISTRIBUTIONS #MDDISTRIBUTIONS

NOW A

VAILABLE New highly resistant and breathable inner quick-dry lining New shape and adjustable front plate New reinforced bottom insert for maximum lateral torsional security New ergonomic dual pivot connector

New adjustable security lock strap holder New stainless steel toe cap Only boot to have an anti-shock midsole New soft polymer padding with memory foam

New fitted flexible collar

New rear flexor with cushioned insert for better impact absorption

New double Velcro closure

About 700grams lighter

MD Distributions

418-925-8024 - mddistributions.com

MXP_2018_1801_MDDistributions-FormaBoots_v1.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:52 AM


Superman

Goes t o A spen Catching Up With Blair Morgan BY CHRIS POMEROY

ertainly multi-time motocross and snowcross champion Blair Morgan doesn’t need an introduction to our readers. Beginning in 19 9 6 , Blair was one of Canada’s top riders for over a decade. During the lean times of the late 19 9 0s, Blair won multiple national titles and was one of the riders that helped bring this incredible sport into the next millennium. As we welcomed in the new century, Blair was constantly near the front of the pack in the MX1 class. By 2007 , he had solidified himself as one of the greatest riders to ever throw a leg over a motorcycle in Canada. Then, just as thoughts of retirement began to creep into his head, Blair suffered a devastating crash at the 2008 Montreal SX resulting in a severe spinal cord injury. The news of Blair’s injury hit the action sports world like a hammer. “How could this happen to such a talented and beloved athlete?” was the question everyone began to ask themselves. After his accident, Blair retreated back to his home in Saskatchewan to heal both physically and mentally. Prior to his crash in Montreal, life had been a decade long grind as Blair Morgan the athlete. His days were spent constantly trying to improve his craft, his nights in hotel rooms, all far away from his young family. With his crash and professional racing career firmly in the rear view mirror, Blair found himself reconnecting with his family and enjoying his new life at home. However, after a number of years of relaxing at home and being out of the spotlight, Blair’s presence at the race track was missed and he was talked into returning. At first, he travelled to a few selected

C

|

PHOTOS BY SHELBY MAHON

snowcross events to help advise some of the young Ski-Doo athletes. Then last summer, while attending snowcross festival, Blair was approached and asked whether he would be interested in racing the adaptive snowcross class at the 2018 X-Games. After some careful thought, he agreed, and one of the most intense build-a-bike projects began in the shop of the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha Team’s race shop. Blair’s dream to get back on the race track became a reality as he competed in the recent X-Games in Aspen. Even though his race didn’t quite go as planned, Blair had a ton of fun racing again. We caught up with the rider that we all call “Superman” to get his thoughts on life, as well as this historic moment in action sports. MXP: Hey Blair, how are things going? BM: E verything is going pretty good. Obviously, there was a bit of excitement a few weeks ago with the X-Games, but now we’re back home and back to our normal lives. MXP: After your accident in 2008, you decided to retreat out of the spotlight to spend time at home and with your family. However, recently you started to travel back to selected snowcross events, and then a few weeks ago you made your long awaited return to racing. How did all of this come about? BM: It was no secret that after my crash in Montreal I just wanted to heal up and spend time at home. Obviously, my injuries were life changing, so that definitely had something to do with it. But, mostly I was just tired of being on the road and away from

my kids. At the time, they were getting a little older and they were getting busy with sports and other activities. Before I crashed and got hurt I was already thinking of retiring and spending more time at home. Sadly, my injury ended up making the decision for me. MXP: So what did you do in those first few years after your accident? BM: H onestly, not much! L earning to deal with my injuries took a lot of time, as did healing from them. Life was a certain way for such a long time, and then in an instant it was completely different. Thankfully, I was always a person who enjoyed facing new challenges, and I really just look at my situation as that, a new challenge. As hard as it was to be injured like that and deal with everything that comes with it, when I saw how happy my kids were to have me home all of the time, that made everything okay. With snowcross in the winter and motocross in the summer, I was really never at home, it was just go go go all of the time. So while my accident put a sudden stop to my racing, it really opened up a whole new life for me. MXP: I cannot believe that this fall it will be ten years since your accident in Montreal. The past ten years have flown by. How is your life at home these days and how are the kids? BM: E verything is great Chris, Saskatchewan is great, the kids are busy and doing well. My daughter is into competitive dance, and my son is an avid soccer player. Other than the obvious challenges I face

6 8 // MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Morgan.indd 1

2018-04-03 10:25 AM


MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 6 9

18.01_Morgan.indd 2

2018-04-03 10:25 AM


Superman

Goes to Aspen

“WITH SNOWCROSS IN THE WINTER AND MOTOCROSS IN THE SUMMER, I WAS REALLY NEVER AT HOME, IT WAS JUST GO GO GO ALL OF THE TIME.

everyday, I wouldn’t change the last ten years with my kids for anything. MXP: So what made you decide to get out of the house and attend a few snowcross events in recent years? BM: Good question! A few years ago Ski-Doo approached me about going to a few events and helping out their younger riders a bit. At first I was a little hesitant as it had been awhile since I was at the track. But I made the decision to go and it ended up being really awesome. I got such a warm welcome by everyone, it was great and it felt like I had never left. For the past few winters I’ve been doing that, and then just last summer while I was at a snowcross get-together, I was approached about whether or not I migth want to ride a snowbike at the X-Games. MXP: Was your answer an immediately yes, or did you need some time to think about it? BM: I took a little while to decide, but then I thought why not! MXP: Once you committed to it and the project began, were you surprised at just how excited everyone got? 7 0

BM: That part was amazing. Steve Simms, all of the guys at OTSSF Yamaha, Jay Burke, my old trainer, Todd Schumlick; once the ball got rolling, it really started to build momentum. MXP: That had to make you feel good? BM: For sure, to see and hear that so many people were excited to see me go racing again was really cool. On my end, I did a little training and preparation so I wasn’t completely cold going in, but it was still pretty tough. MXP: I was actually lucky enough to try out a snowbike recently at a FXR media event, and learned they’re really hard to ride. What are your thoughts on them? BM: They are really hard to ride, I don’t think people realize that. Under the right conditions where the snow is deep and the track is smooth, they’re not too bad. But when it’s hard packed and the track is rutted, it’s definitely not easy. MXP: Yes, I found them really difficult and I can’t ever picture racing them. So you show up in Aspen to race for the first time in almost ten years. What was going through your mind?

BM: It was definitely a cool experience and one that I will never forget. It was funny because although it was just a fun event, once it was time to go racing, all of that old nervous energy came back. I hadn’t had those feelings for a long time, even in 2008 I kind of stopped feeling nervous before a race as I’d been doing it for so long. To feel these emotions was really cool. MXP: I know the actual race didn’t go the way you’d planned it to go, but overall, did you enjoy the experience? BM: Yes, it was very cool. The only bad part was that I crashed pretty hard in practice and really hit my head hard. Sometimes when you do these fun things, you forget that there’s still a possibility that you could get hurt. The crash definitely made me slow down a little and think about things, but I still managed to have fun. I really want to thank everyone who made this project possible. MXP: Would this be something you may try again in 2019? BM: I’m not sure, really. If I do it then I will certainly be more prepared. I would like to maybe ride a bike this summer in the dirt and just build a little more

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Morgan.indd 3

2018-04-03 10:26 AM


strength, and then ride a few more times before the X-Games. We’ll see what happens. MXP: It must be a difficult decision, though, to race again. On one hand, I’m sure you want to try again as it was fun to get back on the track, but on the other hand, you really don’t have anything to prove. BM: That’s exactly how I feel. It was fun to get back out there, but at the same time, yeah, I really don’t feel like I have anything to prove as far as racing goes. I had a great career in both motocross and snowcross, and I was lucky enough to have had a lot of success. I guess an X-Games win would be nice, but it’s certainly not going to change anything I’ve done before. MXP: Well, whether you do it again or not, it was very cool to see you back out on the race track. Last year represented the 20th Anniversary of your dominating season in Canadian motocross where you won both classes. You must look fondly back on that year. BM: Yes, that was a great season! Honestly, I knew I would compete for wins in 1997, but I didn’t think I would win that often. I just got going early in that series and never looked back. By the time some of

the other riders like you and Marco Dube got up to speed, I already had a big points lead. It definitely was a fun season.

Sure, at times we all didn’t get along, but we still had fun away from the track. I think it’s great that most of us are still friends today.

MXP: I know you had a lot of success in the late 1990s in motocross, but those days weren’t easy. There were small teams and the CMRC National Series was just gaining traction, but looking back the racing was fun. How do you feel when you look back on those days? BM: I think the most fun I ever had racing was during the late 1990s. Obviously, winning as much as I did made it fun, but just everything. We still drove to the races and my Two Wheel Kawasaki Team was a lot of fun to be around. Even the other riders were fun.

MXP: Blair, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me today. I know this was supposed to be about you racing at the X-Games, but I’m glad we were able to talk about so much more. All the best with life and your family, and I guess with no Regina National this summer, I’ll see you in Calgary perhaps? BM: Always good to catch up with you. Yes, I will probably make it to Calgary and maybe even the new Manitoba National. Thanks for calling.

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 7 1

18.01_Morgan.indd 4

2018-04-03 10:26 AM


“PlacES like Baja ARe becomINg INcREASINgly mORe diFFicult TO fINd, placES wHERE yOU cAN riDE yOUr diRT bike fREely ANd fEEl welcomED by THe local populATIOn.”

7 2

ot much is more satisfying than taking a new group of trail riders to Baja, Mexico. The discovery of such an off-road friendly environment is often met with disbelief. Baja must be one of the few places left in the world where you can ride your motocross bike down main street and wave at the local police. It is no wonder why Baja is considered the ultimate off-road playground for many riders and off-road enthusiasts. The Baja peninsula is about 1,200 kilometers long and averages 100 kilometers wide, but varies

N

in width between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. The terrain is rocky, mountainous and very dry. It is sparsely populated and for the most part untouched. In many cases life goes on like it did for centuries; ranching, some farming and the village life is simple and uncomplicated. For the past 10 years I have been heading down to Mexico to ride dirt bikes a couple of times per year. Part of the attraction of each trip is the warmer weather during the winter, the technically challenging single-track trails and the wide-open landscapes. Places like Baja are becoming increasingly more dif-

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Baja.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:01 AM


STORY BY LAWRENCE HACKING ficult to find, places where you can ride your dirt bike freely and feel welcomed by the local population. Yet B aja first timers inevitably ask, “ Is it dangerous?” The only thing ‘ dangerous’ about B aja is its addictive nature. You will want to keep going back, discovering its new and different places and riding the many trails that crisscross the rugged wilderness. For our most recent trip to Mexico we took a diverse group south of the border. It was a motley crew to say the least, some were newbies, some had been before, and we threw them into the deep end

on a 5-day rip on the best trails to the most iconic overnight destinations Northern B aja has to offer. We rode with our friend Pancho Alonso Diaz , who operates Diespro Adventures. Pancho is a B aja native who has a fleet of bikes, mostly Honda CRF 450Xs, a crew of guys and a support truck. He has a wealth of knowledge, experience and contacts all over the Mexican countryside. O ne important detail to note is when you go with Pancho, the money stays in B aja. Pancho knows most of the landowners in Northern B aja and has permission to use their land. He has access to trails that are usually not open to the public.

In order to keep B aja open to off-roading, it is of paramount importance to maintain good relationships with the Mexican farmers and ranchers. O ur tour started in Ensenada, a few hours south of San Diego, California, and took the long way to the B aja landmark - Mike’s Sky Rancho high up in the mountains. We rode east out of the city along the wider dirt roads, used for the famous off-road races such as the B aja 500 or 1 000, to the farming village of O jos Negros. The first day is usually a warm up using familiar trails and roads, but Pancho threw some exploring into the mix. B eing mid-February it was There is nothing like a trip to Baja in February.

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 7 3

18.01_Baja.indd 2

2018-04-03 11:01 AM


cold at altitude and snow nestled in the shady ditches. We rode past the Kurt Caselli Memorial and down the ‘goat trail,’ a rocky part of the Baja 1000 race course, into the small town of Valle de Trinidad before riding up to Mike’s. During the winter there are always groups off off-roaders riding or driving the backcountry so reservations are always required. The meals at Mike’s are home-cooked, large-sized portions, and the mess hall was packed with riders telling tales and swapping stories. The bar was a busy place that evening with a group of 25 or so American dirt bikers. Our second day was short if you rode as the crow flies, but Pancho took us up to the highest mountain peak in Baja. At 10,154 feet above sea level, the

a sports industry representative, two friends, Toby and Chad, work in the oil and gas industry, Scott is a former NHL hockey player, and Liam Cormier is the lead singer of a heavy metal band called the Cancer Bats. Liam is a coff ee enthusiast and 1000% stoked, or so his personal motto says; he kept everyone buzzing and on their toes the entire week. I knew the trip was shaping up to be epic, with all these personalities plus a couple of wacky Mexican support guys thrown in the mix. After riding the first few kilometers it was apparent these guys liked to shred it up, and we took a noholdsbarred approach to dicing and slicing each other up on the trails. One of our Baja greenhorns was former pro hockey player Scott Thornton. Scott spent 18 years in the NHL battling hard for pucks and goals before taking up dirt biking. Thornton summed his Baja experience with these words: “Dirt bikes bring people together. Our group got along famously, we hung out together, told war stories and it doesn’t matter who you are or whatever, everyone is the same once you pull on your riding gear and click it into gear.” From Rancho Melling we headed west towards the Pacific Coast and warmer temperatures. The ride took us through farming country to Pancho’s hometown of Vincent Guerrero for lunch, then south to San Quintin to the Hotel Molino Vejo. We left Rancho Melling, heading West to ride some sand dunes, riding to do some jumps and powerslides. Baja has really nice dune riding if you know where to find them. Some dunes are big areas with lots of room to let loose. The cool thing is Baja has nearly every type of off-road riding condition, and usually you can hit them all in one day. The terrain in Baja is varied, but if you don’t like riding in rocks Baja may not be for you. The hard packed surfaced is laced with all types of rocks, and in the dried river washes, rocks are what you ride on. On our ride over to the coast we took a vote to see who wanted to ride an exceptionally long and technical single track called the ‘pot farm’ or ‘sleeping bag’ trail. Most of the trails in Baja have designated names usually named on what was seen when first ridden or how long it took to build the trail. After lunch in Vincent Guerrero we made a few minor bike repairs before leaving. We knew it was late and we would have to ride after sunset if we took our planned route, which is one of the longest and most technically difficult trails in the area. Everyone

“ONe OF OUr Baja gRE ENhORns wAS fORmER pro hockey playER ScoTT THORNTON. ScoTT spENt 18 yEArs IN THe NHL bATtlINg HArd fOR pucks AN d goals befORe takINg up diRT bikINg.” Picacho del Diablo hosts one of the World’s most significant observatories; scientists have been going there since 1979 to study the universe. We had a quick tour of the facility and hopped back on the bikes to ride down to Rancho Melling, a working ranch with real cowboys herding real cows. The route took us through the hilly back-country along some really fun two-track sand roads where we ripped it up. Back at the ranch we stayed in bunk-houses that were heated by woodstoves and a fireplace. We took turns getting up to re-stoke the fire. Rancho Melling is a famous place that has remained in the same family for generations. All sorts of animals call the place home. When you have scrambled eggs for breakfast they are truly fresh, coming right from the hen house just outside the front door. A trip to Baja is all about toughing it out and living like the locals. The accommodations are not 5 Star by non-Baja standards, the places are more rustic, and in some minds far more appealing. The meals at Rancho Melling will give you enough energy to keep you going the next day. It is wise to eat your fill in the morning as well. Lunch can be energy bars and snacks sometimes, as riding in Baja is remote at best, but the showers are hot and beds are comfortable. I suggest you take a toque to wear to sleep with because the temperature drops at night to below freezing. Our group was made up of some unique characters. Not all of us knew each other previously, but once we met and shook hands we knew we were going to get along famously. One guy, Ben, is a hedge fund manager, Sean is a downtown bicycle shop owner, another guy, Lance, is 7 4

voted yes so we headed out into the desert to tackle the gnarly track called the ‘pot farm trail’ that wound up and down over and along a narrow canyon. Riding in the desert in the dark is a scary task, but we were ready for some adventure. After some minor struggling we all made it to the hotel with no major problems. After a quick clean up we sat down to steak and seafood in the quaint bar at the hotel. The following day we turned north along the coast out of San Quintin and hit some of Pancho’s favourite backyard single track high above the beach. We rode more sand dunes and explored the beaches along the shoreline to the tiny village of Erendira. The Baja 1000 race often passes through this area. Much of the iconic video footage is shot from helicopters along this part of the coastline. A Baja ride is not complete without a rip down the hard-packed, wet sand beach where we did some laps in an impromtu short track race. Beach riding demands wheelies and power slides, and in fact, they are encouraged; there’s no need to worry what others think about you. Just twist the throttle and have some pure, unadulterated motorcycle fun. Our final night was at a secluded place called Coyote Cal’s, which is one of Baja’s landmark overnight stops. An incredibly spectacular sunset and cold beer set the tone for the evening. We stayed up telling stories and jokes until the innkeeper turned the music down, so we headed for bed exhausted. Our last day had us ride further North on some fresh trails that I had not previously ridden, which is always a treat. We then turned inland to Santo Tomas on the main highway where we met our support truck and crew for a late lunch to catch our ride back to the starting point in Ensenada. At the end of the day we made our way back to San Diego and the flight home. As we said our goodbyes, we vowed to meet up next year in Baja for another longer and even more epic trail ride to take on the ‘Big Three’ single track trails that are further south down the peninsula. They are the Window Rock trail, the 22 Day trail and the especially gnarly Rock Trail that strikes fear into the most hard core riders. Myself, I can’t wait.

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Baja.indd 3

2018-04-03 11:02 AM


MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 7 5

18.01_Baja.indd 4

2018-04-03 11:02 AM


7 6

J

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_MXPChatter.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:08 AM


ver the years we’ve witnessed many great riders rise to fame very quickly, and then in a few short years fall from grace. Some of these riders are never able to find their way back to the top, and their once promising careers are over. As an amateur rider Justin Barcia was as good as anyone. Fast, confident and aggressive, his march to the pro class was as well publicized as any rider in history. He seemed destined for stardom, and by the time he made is long awaited pro debut, he was ready to win. In his early years, he was so aggressive and so determined that fans and media alike gave him the nickname “Bam Bam.” It was a fitting handle as Barcia was famous for not wasting any time behind his competition. And, if they didn’t want to move out of the way, he simply moved them out of the way. This persona served him well in those early years as he became a fan favourite, as well as one of the sport’s top riders. However, somewhere along the way Barcia seemed to lose his drive as he bounced from team to team. By the end of 2017 , Barcia was without a ride, so he was preparing to go it alone in 2018. Barcia’s 2018 plans took a dramatic and fortunate turn when Monster Energy Yamaha Factory rider Davi Millsaps was injured in an off-season crash and he was called to replace Millsaps. What started out as a guest spot on the Yamaha team, quickly turned into a full time gig as Barcia’s resurgence this season has been something to marvel at. If it wasn’t for a small injury at the Dallas Supercross, Barcia would be sitting inside the top three in the overall 450SX points standings. Justin Barcia’s comeback this season has been fun to watch as he looks to be happy again. Just prior to his injury in Dallas, Frank Hoppen sat down with Bam Bam to get his thoughts on the past, the present, and the future.

O

MXP: You are one of the biggest surprises of this season, because nobody expected you at the front. What did you change for this season? JB: I c hanged everything [ laughs] Y eah it’s good, you know, I kind of like it being a surprise because I didn’t have any pressure coming in. Yeah I got the opportunity to come and fill in for Yamaha for six races, and it’s been fantastic and new stuff. I live in California now before the season to test with the team and stuff like that, and I have a fiancé e right now as well, which is really nice in my life, so yeah, everything is going good.

MXP Chatter with

Justin Barcia WORDS AND PHOTOS BY FRANK HOPPEN

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 7 7

18.01_MXPChatter.indd 2

2018-04-03 11:08 AM


“This year I definitely took everything I’ve learned. The good years, the bad years and all that, and I just have to put it together and build a great program.”

mean, it wasn’t so much of an eye opener. It was just more like a fresh start. I let the crap go out the window, all the bad negative things I had around me and I just had fun again. It was eye opening in different ways. It wasn’t really eye opening that I didn’t have a factory ride. It was just like a clean slate to start new. I pretty much went all the way down to the bottom and just build my way back up. MXP: Now you have for some years the same sponsors like Alpinestars and Arai. I guess you have a good relationship with them? JB: Yes, I have a super good relationship with Alpinestars. They have been my number one sponsor and of course Arai on the same level, and Scott has been with me a couple of years now as well. So it’s been a nice time with those relationships and for those companies to stick behind me, still believe in me in the good and in the bad days, they have been behind me. So that’s always a nice time to have a couple of good sponsors like that.

MXP: In Europe, there have been a lot of rumours that you were going to ride MXGP. Do you have any offers from teams? JB: I talk to a lot of teams but they where not fitting well and it just wouldn’t work for me. I felt like I can do my privateer effiort in America better than try to go over to Europe and learn everything, maybe struggle with setup and get used to your bike or something. So nothing really worked out unfortunately. I had an effort in the past to go race for Everts’ team and stuff like that but you know I was always in contracts in American stuff and let it go.

MXP: With Millsaps now retired, it’s just you and Cooper Webb under the Yamaha tent for 2018. You must be very excited for the rest of the year. JB: Yes, I think it’s great. I’m working on staying with Yamaha and it’s been fantastic. We all get along really well and the new bike is awesome. I hope it still works out well for us all. Yamaha is a very big company and I think we’re all going to have a good year. MXP: What do you think about the current situation in American Motocross and Supercross. A lot of good riders, like you last year, didn’t get a ride and had to do it on their own. Did that situation change other the years or has it always been like this? JB: I’m not sure. There are a lot of riders and not a ton of rides. But the stadiums fill up on the weekend with the fans. But it seems like there is less money for teams and stuff. So it’s a little strange. I don’t know much about it, but I know there are too many riders and not enough rides for all this. So that’s tough but you know... If I keep it on the top level you can have a good ride but a few have a couple of bad years like I did, it’s really tough to keep a good solid factory ride. MXP: You got engaged with Amber last year. She is living in England, right? JB: Yes, that is right. MXP: You are a professional athlete with a lot of events and a tight schedule. How do you manage such a long distance relationship? JB: Yes, it’s very hard. But I met Amber when I was in a tough time in my career, and since she came in my life she’s been a super positive thing, and just a great person to be

around that brings me back to myself again. It’s a little challenging because she is over in England and I’m here racing. But we both stay really busy, we talk on the phone every day and just make the best of it right now with the circumstances, but hopefully by the end of the year she’ll be over here with me full time. We get married in November and it will be great [laughs]. MXP: Is the plan that she moves here with you? JB: Yes, Amber is going to move here in the US. We are going to live in Florida and travel here before Supercross and stay in California. Everything is going to stay the same but she is just going to live over here. MXP: Who is planning your wedding? JB: That’s her main job right now, planning the wedding in England. She calls me and asks me what I think and things like that. I would say it’s the hardest part trying to plan a wedding with me not being over there, but you know I trust her and she always sends me e-mails and stuff like that. Yeah it’s good. MXP: How did you meet each other for the first time? JB: We met at Geneva at a Supercross, actually. It’s funny, we did never met but had mutual friends there. After the race we actually bumped into each other in the elevator at the hotel and it was just like a kind of coincidence a little bit. We just hit it off, it was great. MXP: Did Amber change you mentally so you could focus on racing? How did she do that? JB: Yeah for sure. She has her Masters in Psychology and Forensic Criminology, which

7 8 // MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_MXPChatter.indd 3

2018-04-03 11:08 AM


MXP Chatter with

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 7 9

18.01_MXPChatter.indd 4

2018-04-03 11:08 AM


I’m pretty aggressive and I have that style that fans like, but I’m definitely trying to be more consistent, and not be so up and down.

I’m sure helps a little because she figured me out a bit. I was probably the ultimate crazy patient for her to work with. As I said, I was in a really bad place of my career. I didn’t win for a while and was struggling with racing, and just life in general when nothing was going that good. And she just came in my life and showed me that there is more important things than I thought where so important. MXP: Returning to the racing, what do you think about the Triple Crown format? JB: The Triple Crown format is interesting. They try to bring a new aspect into the sport and make it more exciting, but I don’t think any racer loves it. We’re used to doing the normal thing and racing one main event. However, I think all in all they need to explain it a little better for the fans because like at the end of the night the fans don’t really know who won the whole race. So it’s a little bit too confusing I think. But it does switch it up a little and keeps it interest80

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_MXPChatter.indd 5

2018-04-03 11:08 AM


MXP Chatter with

ing, which is good but I just think they need to work out a few kinks and it will be a lot better. MXP: Have you change your riding style over the years? JB: I think I have not necessarily so much over the years. At least I think I got a little smarter the last few years. This year I think it is showing that I’m a little bit smoother and a different rider. I’m still liking it, kind of hanging on the edge. I’m pretty aggressive and I have that style that fans like, but I’m definitely trying to be more consistent, and not be so up and down. MXP: Do you have your own track in Florida? JB: Yeah I have a big training facility in Florida. I have a big Motocross track and two Supercross tracks. It’s been hard to be away from there right now with being out here in California for two months. But we have these Yamaha tracks to test on and stuff like that. So all in all it’s not bad but it’s hard to go when you have

all that stuff at home to be away from for so long. But it makes you more grateful when you go back and have these things. MXP: What is your normal training besides the races? JB: I like to do a lot of different things while training. I like to ride my bicycle sponsored by Scott. They help me out with bicycles. I like to run and obviously do things in the gym. Every now and then I do yoga, because it’s good for stretching and stuff like that. I definitely switch it up and do lots of different types of training. MXP: Do you have any ideas for changing the format from Supercross or Motocross? JB: I think the sport is in a good place right now. I do think there are too many races. Supercross is fine, but I think there could be a few less outdoor rounds. Also, I’d like to see a bigger break between the SX series and

the outdoor series. We need some more time to test and to recover after the long and difficult SX series. MXP: What you like think about Ken Roczen? JB: Oh gosh! He’s okay. We have a history in the past but it’s all right. I don’t really have any beef with anyone anymore too much. I kind of tried of letting that all go and make it up with everyone [laughs] MXP: Could you explain where ”Bam Bam” comes from? JB: Just the 250 days, when I first came in, I was super aggressive and I just didn’t care and slammed people and had fun. It was fun - not for anyone else... It was fun for me. (laughs) MXP: Thanks so much for chatting with us. We can’t wait to see what the rest of 2018 holds for you. JB: No worries. Yes, I’m very excited to see how the rest of the year goes. MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 81

18.01_MXPChatter.indd 6

2018-04-03 11:08 AM


Snowbiking With FXR BY CHRIS POMEROY

|

PHOTOS BY DAVID HAWTHORNE AND DARYL ECKLAND

ne of the things I love about motocross and action sports in general is just how ever evolving it is. From two-strokes to four-strokes, riding techniques, fuel-injection engines, new bikes like the all-new YZ65, as well as the latest craze with snow bikes, the snow bike world has been slowly gaining momentum for the past few years and now appears to be in full swing. With new companies like Timbersled constantly refining their designs, the modern day snowbike

O

82

is getting better and better all the time. The new modifications are so good that recently we watched former motocross legends Ryan Villopoto and Josh Hill compete in the 2018 X-Games in Aspen, CO. Having these two veteran motocross athletes out there on the track really increased the level of attention that snowbikes have received in the past few months. Of course in Canada, we are home to the past two X-Game Gold medalists with snowbike gods Brock Hoyer and Cody Matechuk. Like four-strokes in the early 2000s, it appears that snowbikes are here

to stay, and they’re going to keep getting better and better. Back on February 11th, 2018 I boarded a plane for Minnesota to spend a few days with the fine folks from FXR Racing at their Annual Dealer Show. For years this show has always been held in the company’s home base of Winnipeg, but for 2018 FXR decided to change things up and move the show to Elk City, MN. This small town is located about 45 minutes west of Minneapolis, and it is the home of not only one of FXR’s largest USA distribution centres

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Snowbike.indd 1

2018-04-03 10:21 AM


"Throughout our few days in Minnesota, it felt like more than just a bunch of dealers getting together to look at new product and making booking orders. Instead, it felt more like everyone getting together for a family reunion." but to a facility called ERX Motorpark. ERX is home to one of the coolest snowcross tracks in the mid-west, complete with an incredible track, a heated clubhouse, lights for night riding, and a massive building for banquets and parties. If you’re a fan of snowcross or snowbikes, this place shiuld definitely be on your bucket list. For the folks at FXR Racing, ERX was the perfect place to gather their cherished family together and introduce their 2019 line of clothing. With its original roots being primarily in Canada and the northern snow states of the USA, it was only recently that FXR began to make big, all-season strides around the world. Whereas before you might only see people wearing FXR clothing at snowcross events and motocross events in Canada, it feels like these days FXR is everywhere. For instance, during one of the recent broadcasts of the Monster Energy Supercross Series on Fox Sports, there was a red flag during one of the main events and the riders were forced to return to the starting line. As the riders filtered by the camera for all of the world to see, at least three of the twenty riders in this premier class were outfitted in cool new FXR racing gear. Yes, this growing brand has continued to advance in Canada, thanks in part to the MX101 FXR Yamaha Racing Team and their growing list of amateur riders. However, seeing this gear on live television, on this sport’s largest stage, really drove home the fact that FXR is now everywhere. To help celebrate the 2018 FXR Dealer Show and the launch of their 2019 race wear, a group of North American motocross media was also invited to this unique event. Other than the love for the sport of

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 83

18.01_Snowbike.indd 2

2018-04-03 10:22 AM


"For the folks at FXR Racing, ERX was the perfect place to gather their cherished family together and introduce their 2019 line of clothing."

84

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Snowbike.indd 3

2018-04-03 10:23 AM


Snowbiking With FXR motocross, this sport’s media and the folks at FXR Racing definitely share the same passion as well. To be at this annual show for the first time, and to be able to listen to the feedback from the dealers about the FXR product and their high quality of customer service, was really eye opening. In fact, during one of the shuttle rides from the hotel to the show, I spoke with one really nice couple who own a small dealership in the Northern U SA. When I asked them about the product and what it was like to deal with FXR on a daily basis, they couldn’t say enough good things about the FXR clothing and the positive customer feedback they’ve received over the past few years. They also, when talking about dealing with FXR, used words like “ Family” and “ Team.” I personally found this to be very interesting because you rarely hear positive feedback like that these days. Throughout our few days in Minnesota, it felt like more than just a bunch of dealers getting together to look at new product and making booking orders. Instead, it felt more like everyone getting together for a family reunion. There were a lot of laughs, a lot of mean meaningful dialogue about the FXR product, and of course a lot of trash talking among industry friends. The main reason for the media be being there was to throw our legs over a snowbike for the first time. With the Colton Facciotti of Canadian snowbike racing, B rock Hoyer, on hand to demon demonstrate what we should be doing on these relatively new machines, we all took to the track to see what all of the recent

hype was about. FXR even invited their main brand ambassador, Mike B rown, to participate in the festivities. O bviously, we were all excited as we geared up in the latest FXR winter riding apparel and hit the track for our first laps. Right from the moment that I let the clutch out and twisted the throttle, I knew that these snowbikes felt a lot different than a normal dirt bike. The biggest thing that we all had to adapt to was the heavy steering. With a large ski on the front, the machine was constantly following the grooves that were in the snow. This heavy front end feeling demanded that you constantly had to steer the snowbike around the track. There was no relaxing or taking a breather as you rolled into a corner, you had to ride the snowbike into the corner and not let up, not even for a second. It was definitely an exercise of strength, not fluidity. After my initial laps, getting around the ERX track became a little easier and a little more predictable. There is no time to relax when you’re riding a snowbike. With cornering being a case of pointing the ski and turning the throttle, my next task was figuring out how to jump this cool machine. With a heavy ski on the front and a long track at the rear, I obviously wondered how the snowbike would react as you launched into the air. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised as the snowbike was very stable in the air. It actually felt like a real dirt bike once you left the ground, the only difference was that there was no letting the throttle off on the face of the jump, because if you did, the snowbike would really sink into the

face and slow down quickly. The technique you had to use was similar to that of riding a sand track: y ou had to keep the throttle on as you transitioned up the jump face, and you could only shut the throttle off once you knew you were airborne. As you can imagine, riding a snowbike takes a lot of energy and strength. To sit back and watch B rock Hoyer do it was no different than sitting in the stands at a supercross and watching Chad Reed skim his way through a deep set of whoops. Hoyer made it look easy and all of the media in attendance were in awe. However, for me, each lap I took got better and better, and I felt more and more at home on the snowbike. I would definitely love to try riding one again; maybe next time in some deep mountain powder. After two days of riding snowbikes and getting to know everyone involved in the massive FXR family, we all ended up enjoying a great dinner inside the ERX event lodge. During dinner, FXR’s CEO , Milt Reimer, stood up on stage and gave thanks to not only everyone who made this event possible but also to everyone who took the time out of their busy lives to attend. He also spoke about his humble beginnings and how FXR got its start in the snowcross world. In listening to Milt speak, I came to the conclusion that the passion he feels today is just as strong as it was back in those early days. Now with FXR quickly becoming a major player in U SA motocross and supercross, Milt has even more reason to be excited for what the future might hold. Moments after Milt finished speaking, everyone made their way out to the lobby and the grand finale of the evening, the 2 01 9 FXR fashion show. This entertaining show featured a few of FXR’s male athletes, including our own B rock Hoyer, and also a few of the Minnesota Viking cheerleaders who did a great job showcasing FXR’s 2 01 9 line of clothing. Whether it was the two days of snowbike riding with my fellow members of the motocross media, watching B rock Hoyer win the head to head nighttime snowbike race, the fireworks, the dinner, the fashion show, or just all of the above, this event was one of the best I’ve ever attended and I cannot wait to return in 2 01 9 . I would like to pass along my gratitude to FXR for the invite and their incredible hospitality, to Andy White for putting everything together and for being our go to guy, and to my fellow members of the motocross media for not being afraid to travel to cold Minnesota to try something new. We may not have a future in snowbike racing, but we sure had fun learning to ride one.

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 85

18.01_Snowbike.indd 4

2018-04-03 10:23 AM


BY CHRIS POMEROY AND KRIS KEEFER

86

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_WP.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:34 AM


GETTING SUSPENDED

WP SUSPENSION SERVICES

ne of the coolest things about this sport right now is that almost every stock bike comes with good suspension on both the front and on the rear. Yes, at times the stock forks might be a little soft, or the shock might need more rebound dampening, but for most riders, stock suspension should work just fine. However, as a rider’s speed and aggression increase, so does their need for better, more forgiving and predictable suspension. This is where the aftermarket suspension companies come into play, and trust me, there are a lot of suspension gurus out there. This is also where a rider’s personal preference really comes into play as you have to choose what works for you. First off, does your modified suspension give you added confidence on the track? What is their servicing department like? Does your suspension company have a technician at the race track to help you with adjustments throughout the race day? These are questions you have to ask yourself when choosing what suspension you want to run on your bike. Last season I got the unique opportunity to try out a set of WP 48mm Cone Valve Forks as well as a WP Trax Shock on my KTM 450SX-F. This set of suspension is WP’s equivalent of A-Kit suspension, and right from the first moment I tried it on the track I was thoroughly impressed with how it We are dealing with two totally different types of forks here, so the feel on the track is worked. Although the stock suspengoing to be completely different. The stock AER fork is the best air fork on the market, sion on the new KTMs works very well, but still doesn’t have that predictability over the course of a full day of racing/riding. I will there was very little comparison to the find a good setting with the AER fork but it changes slightly throughout the day. The first workings of the WP Cone Valve Fork thing I noticed when I went out on the track with the Cone Valve fork was that the KTM and the WP Trax shock. Whether I rode turned slightly slower on initial lean. You can feel the extra weight in the front end, but it on a hard pack track, a sand track, wasn’t a bad feeling. I was just surprised I could feel it when entering corners. I started or even on an AX track full of jumps, out with a fork height of 3mm up in the fork but went with a 5mm height setting after I the WP Suspension worked great. It felt the slower front-end lean feel. Along with the extra weight feeling, however, I gained helped to make my KTM feel predictmore front-end traction through every corner (especially flat corners). The Cone Valve able and stable on the track, and it fork leaves you with a more front-end tire contact patch sensation, and you can lean virtually took away all my suspension over more in ruts without getting the high front-end vague feeling like I did with the AER worries while I was riding. The 48mm fork. With the AER fork I get some pushing in the front end through the middle to end of Cone Valve Forks made the front-end the corner, which made me roll off the throttle to try to compensate. With the Cone Valve stick in the corners and soak up all of fork I can lean in the corner and the fork will stayed planted, which let my front-end settle the landings off jumps, while the WP and bite. The CV fork also felt less active on braking bumps. I am able to jump in and out Trax Shock kept the rear wheel on the of bigger bumps (think Marvin Musquin) without having the fork rebound too quickly. If I ground for maximum traction. In the wanted to pound through the bumps, the fork had a better damping feeling through the months I spent riding and racing with middle to end part of the stroke. The most notable change was to my wrists when over this WP Suspension, I felt like I knew jumping or flat landing with the Cone Valve fork. The AER fork holds up well, but I feel like what it was like to ride with factory it stops at the end of its stroke leaving me with a spike feeling that jolts up through my suspension. Now, WP Suspension isn’t hands. With the Cone Valve fork, it’s a smoother action feel and I have less harshness at just for KTMs, they make suspension the end of the stroke than I do with the AER fork. You get more comfort with the spring for all makes and models of off-road CV fork than you do with the AER. The only downside I can see from going to the CV fork motorcycles. Whether you’re a racer is the weight (which didn’t bother me after a few laps) and spending the money to switch or a leisure rider who wants to use a over to spring. The guys over at WP Factory Services have a good setting that got me set of high quality suspension, WP has comfortable in only two tries. Impressive!

O

WP 48MM CONE VALVE FORKS

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 87

18.01_WP.indd 2

2018-04-03 11:34 AM


GETTING SUSPENDED

something for you. WP also offers servicing for their suspension - simply pack it up and send it to WP and they will take care of everything, including shipping it back to you. Just email https://www.wp-group. com/ for all of the pricing and information. Infact, this spring WP is planning on opening five official WP Suspension Service Centres right here in Canada. So stay tuned for all of those details. Down in California, long time test rider Kris Keefer has been using WP Suspension for many years. His experience with it is unmatched in this industry. To assist with this article, we contacted him to get his thoughts on why WP Suspension is one of, if not the best on the market. Here is what Kris Keefer had to say: I have been riding the 2018 KTM 450SXF a lot and am impressed with how well it works on the track. Yes, that’s right, even with the WP 48mm AER fork it is still pretty darn good. However, I can’t leave well enough alone so I must tinker with things to see if I could get the orange brigade even better than where it’s at currently. I called the guys at WP Factory Services to see about getting a set of their Cone Valve Fork’s and Trax Shock. The Cone Valve fork and Trax shock is basically WP’s A-kit option for the consumer. Yes, it is expensive, but if you are in the market for close-to-factory level suspension, it is considerably less money than the Showa A-kits that are for sale. The Cone Valve fork will set you back $3,499.00, which comes with two additional springs for tuning, and the Trax shock is $2,499.00, which comes with a WP pre-load adjuster and two additional springs for tuning. WP even offers this suspension for the Honda, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, KTM, and Suzuki models.

WP TRAX SHOCK The Trax shock gave the rear of the machine a firmer feeling than the standard shock, but it wasn’t so firm that it beat you up around the track. You will lose a little comfort on small bump absorption but gain performance on bigger bumps on the track. Where the stock shock will blow through at the end of the stroke (high speed compression), the Trax shock holds up better and you are able to get more aggressive around the track. I can hit the faces of jumps harder, and the KTM will not give you an empty, low feeling sensation that the stock shock sometimes gave me. In order to combat that feeling with the stock shock I would have to crank up the high-speed compression so much that I lost the comfort coming out of corners. The Trax shock provides you with more high-speed damping and you still get a decent amount of acceleration comfort. I also noticed a little more connectivity to the rear wheel (when hard on the gas) on flat corners with the Trax shock. The Trax shock is firmer so there is less wallow in the rear-end when accelerating, so the rear of the KTM tracks straighter. “Balanced” is a great word to describe both ends of the KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition now (with the cone valve fork and Trax shock). I have the Trax system turned “off” for my setting as I felt like it had more of a dead feeling (which is a feeling that I like). A “dead feeling” is where the bike can be pushed hard into braking bumps or square edge chop and will not move or react as quickly. With the Trax “on,” the rear wheel followed the ground slightly better out of choppy ruts/corners but reacted too quickly when coming into large braking bumps when entering corners. I would think the Trax system would benefit an off-road rider that needs his rear-end to move and follow the ground more at higher speeds. I ran the sag a little higher at 103mm (rather than the standard 105mm), which seemed to be the happy spot where the KTM felt less rear-end low. The Trax shock is very finicky to adjustments so make sure you only do very small, one click increments as you will be able to feel each change you make. One thing that completely is a pain is changing the shock out! KTM has got to find a better design so us novice mechanics out there can make shock changes more quickly. If you’re looking for that next level performance on your KTM and have some money saved up, this is a great choice for all you Orange Brigade owners out there. I have always felt more of an upside going from stock to WP A-Kit level suspension on a KTM than I have with a KYB or Showa A-Kit level on a Yamaha or Honda. While it is expensive to obtain these bump sticks, it is slightly cheaper than other “Kit” level suspension.

88 // MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_WP.indd 3

2018-04-03 11:34 AM


Kimpex.indd 1

2017-11-20 10:06 AM


YO

IS

E

UN

ND ON T H E A G R

EDWARD CUNNINGHAM BY CHRIS POMEROY

To kick off a new year of stories about some of our young riders, this issue’s Young and on the Rise features Ontario Junior rider Edward Cunningham. This emerging young star has only been riding for a few years, but during these years he has progressed very quickly. For 2018, Edward will be competing aboard a Husqvarna and will be racing once again in the Junior class. Not just a good rider, Edward is also a talented scholar and spends as much time studying as he does riding. Recently, after spending three weeks riding in South Carolina, Edward is fit and ready to race this season.

MXP: First off Edward, can you tell me how old you are and where your family calls home? Edward: Hi Chris, first of all

can I just say what an honour it is to be here and to be profiled in MXP. As of right now I’m 14-years-old and will be 15 in June. My family and I live just outside of a small town called Grand Valley, which is west of of Orangeville, Ontario.

MXP: Can you tell us something cool about your home town? EC: The Grand River flows right

through the centre of the town. In the spring, right after the

90

snow melts, it always floods over the road that is parallel to the river. Grand Valley is a small town, so not much happens.

MXP: It sounds like a nice town to grow up in. How long have you been riding a dirt bike? EC: The very first time I ever

tried riding a dirt bike was when my brother first got his 50cc Honda and we rode that thing for a long time. After that I got an 80cc and began to ride almost everyday. That was actually only a few years ago.

MXP: Do you remember your first race and how you did?

EC: I don’t remember my first race, but I remember the day up at Moto Park. I believe I raced 65 B and came 6th or 7th overall that day. One thing I specifically remember was racing beside my brother, and he and I battled for what I think was the entire race. I’m pretty sure I beat him overall because I kept rubbing it in that I got a bigger trophy than he did. MXP: That is a funny story Edward. Tell us, do you have a favourite rider? EC: Right now I’d probably have

to say that my favourite 250 rider is Austin Forkner, because he’s just aggressive all the

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

YAOTR_18.01.indd 1

2018-04-02 2:31 PM


time. In the 450 class, I’d have to say Chad Reed, because at 36 he’s still able to go out there and compete. My favourite overall rider though would have to be James Stewart because of how insanely fast he was and just the combinations he was able to put together. In my opinion, he always had some of the greatest style.

MXP: Can you take us through how your 2017 season went? EC: Overall it was a good

season with no injuries, it was also was my first year on my 125. I had a lot of fun training at Moto Park, plus I got a few wins, but overall I was a little sad that Walton was cancelled because I was looking forward to riding that trac. Iit’s always been one of my favourite tracks just because it’s so difficult.

MXP: What would you say was your best race in 2017? EC: I would say the ECAN in

Deschambault. I rode really smooth and placed well after a summer of training.

MXP: Motocross racers and winter don’t usually get along. What do you do in the winter to stay active and entertained? EC: During the winter I tend

to focus on my schoolwork a lot, but Netflix mainly keeps me entertained. For exercise, I do a lot of snowboarding with my friends and family. We go almost every weekend and I really enjoy it.

MXP: What is your favourite activity to do besides riding dirt bikes? EC: Other than riding dirt bikes

it would probably have to be snowboarding or just board sports. I ride my skateboard sometimes when I’m at my Dad’s house, and I’ve tried surfing, which I’m not very good at but I quite enjoy it.

MXP: What is your favourite training facility in the south and what do you like about it? EC: Honestly, I don’t really have

a favourite. I’ve tried a couple of them and I like them all. One year we went to MTF; that place is really cool because they have

every technical aspect of a track you could ask for. There is also County Line, which is cool because a lot of my friends go there. And last but not least is ClubMX, which is really cool because it has everything. There are three different tracks, a large gym, and even a wakeboard park for when it’s really hot or when you’re finished riding.

MXP: Llooking back at your race results, which finish are you most proud of? EC: Probably the very first time I

ever raced my 125. I remember going into a 250B class just really nervous and not knowing what to do. Should I just act like I stalled by accident, hit the gate on purpose, or what do I do? Then I remember the 30 second board going sideways and I was just thinking “Well, you might as well give it a try.” So when the gate dropped I just got out of the gate with a good jump and was right beside two guys, I was still super scared but I just didn’t let off the gas. I ended up getting the holeshot and actually winning the race. It was obviously a really cool feeling and one that I will never forget.

MXP: That is a very cool story. Do you have a favourite track to ride? EC: My favourite tracks have

always been sand tracks because they’re always super rough. Even though I’m not that great in sand, I still enjoy riding them. So Gopher Dunes is always tons of fun, but my favourite track would probably have to be one in Florida near County Line. They never groom it and it’s just so rough. After a good rain that track is so much fun. My favourite non-sand track would have to be the track at your parents’ house Chris, I’ve ridden it for a long time and it’s always just super fun.

MXP: What is your funniest or scariest road trip story? EC: Good question! One time

we got lost in Detroit at night because apparently my brother was reading the GPS upside down and we took a wrong turn, so it just escalated from there.

It was pretty sketchy because we had no idea where to go or how we were going to find our way back. We also weren’t sure if some of the bridges were high enough for our trailer, so we had no idea which one we were able to go under. In the end it all worked out, but it was a little scary.

MXP: That is scary and I think that has happened to almost everyone in Detroit. Tell us, what grade are you in and what is your favourite subject? EC: Currently I’m attending

Kings College and I’m in Grade 9. My favourite subject is probably Science because I find it easy for the most part, except ecosystems and the water cycle, that is still a little confusing.

MXP: What are your racing plans for 2018? EC: For 2018, I’m going do all

the ANQs for Walton and race AMO events in Ontario. Plus, I think I will race the Moto Park Cups events, and maybe the Baja brawl, or another big race in the USA.

MXP: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? EC: Five years I see myself in

University somewhere, just studying, focusing on life and racing as a hobby more than anything I’d assume. I’m not sure what I will be studying though, since I’m not sure what I’d like to do.

MXP: Your brother, Andrew, is famous in his own right. Can you give us your best brother story? EC: My brother “Chow” is

definitely something (lol). My best story is hard to pick because there so many. However, I’d probably have to say when we were at Hukka Bucka slam last summer and he had just passed for the lead a couple corners before. So when he came around the starting line, my friend Tyler was standing there cheering him on. Andrew took one hand off the bars and shook it because he thought

“MY FAVOURITE TRACKS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SAND TRACKS BECAUSE THEY’RE ALWAYS SUPER ROUGH. EVEN THOUGH I’M NOT THAT GREAT IN SAND, I STILL ENJOY RIDING THEM.” it would be funny I guess, or maybe because he wanted to celebrate. I’m not quite sure what he was doing. But then he lost control and got into a wet spot that riders had been avoiding all day. He almost crashed because he wasn’t paying attention. He ended up winning the race, so it was all good. But, it was pretty funny at the time.

and agreeing with me while we are arguing with our parents. All my friends at the races and school who support me. Also, you Chris because I’ve been riding and training with you for a couple years now. Iit’s been a lot of fun and I’ve made so much progress. Thank-you, and I can’t wait to see everyone at the races in 2018.

MXP: That is very funny! Okay, final question, who would you like to thank? EC: First of all my Mom and

Dad. They do everything for me and I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for them. My brother for always making me laugh

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 91

YAOTR_18.01.indd 2

2018-04-02 2:32 PM


Gearing

4

Up 2

1

6

3

5

1

2

SCOTT

550 BOOTS Q $599.99 The new 550 boots are engineered for high performance. Carefully crafted, important features include the multi-axial pivot, replaceable outsole insert, easy locking buckles and the free open entrance. Made in Italy, these lightweight boots combine durability and protection with mobility, grip and feel, ready to improve the precision of even the best riders.

SCOTT

550 HELMETS Q $269.99 The new SCOTT 550 Helmet is a high end helmet that pushes the limits of ventilation and safety. Equipped with the latest safety technologies such as MIPS® and Conehead and the perfect cooling management with strategically placed vents, you will feel good and safe throughout your entire ride.

importationsthibault.com

3

SCOTT

PROSPECT GOGGLES Q $128.99 The Prospect gives the rider a maximum field of vision due to the extra height of the lens. It features an innovative SCOTT lens lock system that makes the lens stay in the frame no matter what impact is coming from the outside. The latter are equipped with an extra wide, non-slip silicone strap. The Prospect comes with two lenses, chrome and clear.

importationsthibault.com

4

TAG MeTALS

T1 HANDLEBAR Q $159.99 Born from a fusion of innovation, the TAG T1 Handlebar offers oversized 1-⅛” tapered bar technology with the added strength supplied by a crossbar. Constructed from 2014 series aluminum using the highest level of craftsmanship and engineering, the T1 has the edge over the competition in the event of a severe crash.

matrixconcepts.ca

5

6

TAG MeTALS

100%

The Low Pro Rebound grip offers a slimmer profile while still utilizing rebound technology. The Grip Width is comparable to a half waffle grip yet gives you the rebound technology advantage you would expect. With 20% more soft compound material throughout the DNA-modeled wrap of larger diamonds this grip allows you to race harder and longer.

MX performance tech sock constructed with a custom Coolmax moisturewicking fabric blend. Compression arch support and engineered mesh air channels for an active fit. Lightweight construction with strategic heel and toe padding elevates the comfort level.

LOW PRO REBOUND GRIP Q $16.99

HI-SIDE PERFORMANCE TECH SOCK Q $32.95

ride100percent.com

importationsthibault.com matrixconcepts.ca

92

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

GearingUp_18.01.indd 1

2018-04-03 11:06 AM


10

11

12 8

9

7

7

MOnGOOSE MACHinE BEADBUSTER Q $139.00

No adjustment is needed for different tire/wheel sizes. It is small, portable, and perfect for stashing in your glove box or tool box. Save time, money, and frustration by quickly and easily changing your own tires whenever, and wherever you want.

mongoosemachine.com

8

MOnGOOSE MACHinE REKLUSE CORE MANUAL TORQ DRIVE CLUTCH Q $1,159.00

The best manual clutch available, period. Core Manual TorqDrive delivers unprecedented performance, tuning and durability. TorqDrive provides more disks in less space, allowing us to add up to 4 additional frictions disks over stock. More frictions = more torque capacity thus unlocking the full power of your engine without stiffer pressure plate springs.

9

10

11

12

FOX

FOX

SHifT

SHOT

The Fox 180 boot introduces our exclusive ActiveLock closure system. This patentpending calf closure flexes with the rider’s natural biomechanics, for unrestricted movement on the bike. Completely redesigned and built off our championship-proven instinct, the 180 boot provides a precise fit around the ankle and toe box for maximum support and comfort.

The Fox VUE was designed and developed exclusively with Ken Roczen featuring an unmatched field of vision, an injection molded polycarbonate lens, and our exclusive TruLock quick change lens system.

180 BOOT Q $329.95

foxracing.com/ca

VUE GOGGLE Q $149.95

foxracing.com/ca

3LACK LABEL G.I. FRO 20TH ANNIVERSARY JERSEY Q $64.95 The all-new 3LACK Label Jersey features Jeff Emig’s 20th-anniversary graphics to pay homage to his historic 1997 season where he set out to do things differently, crafting a narrative that would send reverberations through the sport for decades to come. Matching white snowcamo pant available to complete the gear set.

X11 BOOTS Q $199.99 Anatomic pre-curved construction, injected molded plastic shin protection with 4 adjustable micrometric straps with strong lock buckles. Textured internal side resists abrasion and offers grip and control of the motorcycle. Lined with comfortable breathable polyfabric and cushioned inserts to protect the ankles.

motovan.com

shiftmx.com

mongoosemachine.com

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 93

GearingUp_18.01.indd 2

2018-04-03 11:06 AM


Gearing

16

Up

17

14

13

15

13

14

15

16

17

ZOX

LeATT

BLADE BARZ

LUCAS OiL

LUCAS OiL

Blade Barz Profile series are built with aerospace grade 2014-T6 aluminum alloy, a 4.2mm wall thickness and has a tapered design which help reduce rider fatigue and improve shock absorption. Additional features include, laser etched positioning grid, knurling on clutch side to prevent grip slippage, shot peened & anodized finish for optimal fatigue life. Available in anodized black or silver and comes with a high-density molded foam pad.

Lucas High Performance Motorcycle Oils are TRUE racing oils that FAR exceed all manufacturer specifications and can outlast other oils up to 4 times on the track or on the street. Lucas Motorcycle Oils are built for endurance. These oils will lower oil temperatures, extend the life of vital components, reduce noise and leaks and increase performance.

Lucas Complete Engine Treatment is a unique formulation that cleans and lubricates multiple systems in your vehicle. When added to fuel, it cleans and lubricates all components from the fuel tank to the cylinders. When added to your oil, it cleans your engine and forms a protective barrier against heat and friction, improves oil flow and extends oil life.

LucasOil.com

LucasOil.com

MATRIX CARBON KEVLAR Q $329.99 The Matrix Carbon Kevlar is a lightweight competition Carbon Kevlar MX helmet providing superior value, a high quality liner for ultimate comfort and maximum venting. This ECE/DOT safety standard approved helmet is available in 2 shell sizes with a large eyeport fits most goggles. The removable/washable interior and cheek pads make it easy to clean.

NECK BRACE GPX 5.5 Q $537.99

The Leatt GPX 5.5 Neck Brace offers new features such as, a new improved helmet side clearance with new adjustable over the shoulder height and new on-board size adjusting. No parts needed. On board 4-angle rear thoracic adjustment, - 0, 5, 10 and 15°. CE certified as Personal Protective Equipment 89/686/EEC

motovan.com

motovan.com

PROFILE ALUMINUM HANDLEBAR Q $89.99

HIGH PERFORMANCE MOTOR OILS Q N/A

COMPLETE ENGINE TREATMENT Q N/A

motovan.com

94

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE ¡ MXPMAG.COM

GearingUp_18.01.indd 3

2018-04-03 11:06 AM


PROUD TO SUPPORT

Untitled-1 1

2017 MX1 CHAMPION

2018-04-02 1:11 PM


EV O LV ED NU TR ITIO N W I T H

GET OUT AND PLAY

illions of people around North America play recreational sports as a way of staying in shape. What many people don’t realize is that the sport itself is only part of the equation and, unless paired with a regular gym routine, could be doing more damage than good!

M

Here are the four reasons you and other recreational riders should be training:

1. INJURY PREVENTION

In a lot of cases, athletes playing in recreational sports underestimate the physical toll it takes on the body and end up getting injured as a result. Studies have found that weight training can have a serious impact on preventing injury and reducing the seriousness or duration of injuries. People who get into the gym 2 to 3 times a week, warm-up properly, stay hydrated and get adequate rest see a marked reduction in injuries and are able to hit the court sooner in the event an injury does happen.

96

D R E W

R O B E R T S O N

2. INCREASED SKILL ABSORPTION

Another advantage of weight training and conditioning that a lot of people overlook is performance late in the game or later in a ride or a moto, as well as what experts call “skill absorption.” How often have we heard people talk about being rested for school? Learning a skill, be it a math equation, or learning a new drill in hockey or on a motorcycle are no different. By weight training and conditioning you will be able to maintain a higher level of output for longer, so halfway through a practice or a ride you are still sharp and able to absorb new skills. How many of us late in a moto have made mistakes we know we wouldn’t have made earlier? A well-rounded program will help build endurance and thus minimize fatigue later in the moto, keeping you sharp and being able to ride more consistently throughout.

3. LONGEVITY OF PLAY

We want to be able to enjoy our sports for many years to come. There are more and more studies that are promoting the advantages of weight training in addition to aerobic activity. Do you practice a couple of times a week? Great! That can be a portion of your aerobic activity, but you need to make sure you’re working on adding some strength training to your week as well. By weight training you increase your muscle mass, improve your metabolic rate, and provide a hormonal advantage to glucose metabolism, keeping you lean and mean. Resistance training is associated with greater bone mineral density, meaning you’re less likely to break something, and long-term increased bone density can even help prevent osteoporosis.

4. GREATER ENJOYMENT

Weight training and conditioning will help make you stronger and faster, enabling you to perform better at your sport. You will be stronger on the bike, be able to ride longer, and stay sharp throughout our motos. Even in recreational sports we have a competitive spirit and a drive to win. By adding some strength and conditioning you can perform at a higher level and impress your friends!! So get your butt in the gym. You’ll stay healthy, be able to extend your career, and enjoy riding even more than you do now!!!

“A WELL-ROUNDED PROGRAM WILL HELP BUILD ENDURANCE AND THUS MINIMIZE FATIGUE LATER IN THE MOTO, KEEPING YOU SHARP AND BEING ABLE TO RIDE MORE CONSISTENTLY THROUGHOUT.”

// MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_Nutrition.indd 1

2018-04-02 2:36 PM


THE M W I T H

S E A N

ENTA L SIDE

P O I T R A S

BUILDING PILLARS ow mental is motocross? For many, this is a very personal question pertaining to the intricate and complex non-physical skills developed over time. Many sports, including motocross, can be broken down into four pillars of both training and competition. Those pillars include the physical, technical, tactical and mental aspects of any performance. We train in the gym and eat healthy to ensure our body is physically ready to compete. We practice our technical skills starting at a very young age with the fundamentals of the sport. We later master the tactical strategies that allow us to compete with our opponents. Now, if you could put a percentage on the mental skills required to be successful when competing in motocross, what would it be? 50%? 75-85%? Maybe even more? Consider your answer and then consider the amount of time you spend training, developing and mastering those mental skills that you know are necessary to be successful. Consider a time or moment where all other skills were irrelevant and it was just you and your thoughts trying desperately to take control of the situation. Perhaps it’s on the start line before a big race when expectations are high and the sudden shred of doubt enters your thoughts. Or maybe it is during a race when one small mistake leaves you behind the pack, and you are forced with the decision to

H

give up hope or to be persistent and up the effort. If we can agree that the mental pillar of our sport is a load barring aspect of our performance, why is it that it receives the least amount of attention when it comes to training, development and coaching? Your mental skill sets can be the difference between a good performance and a great performance. Under stress you will find that you can compete significantly better or worse depending on how you interpreted and utilized the stress. I am a sport and performance psychology consultant, and I work with a very wide variety of athletes and performers of all ages and competitive backgrounds. I hold a specialized B.A. in Sport & Exercise Psychology, as well as a M.Ed. in Athletic Counseling Psychology. I have a competitive background as a college Div. III hockey player, and as a result I have specialized in working with college aged student athletes. However, I coach my clients on the cognitive aspects of their given sport. Each program being 100% customized to meet the needs of each individual athlete based on their experiences, personalities, attitudes, and strengths and weaknesses as a competitor. Throughout the years I have been working in the field of sport psychology, I have come to realize that there are many common misconceptions of this type of training. My favourite encounter was with a gentleman who asked me about the line of work I was

“YOUR MENTAL SKILL SETS CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOOD PERFORMANCE AND A GREAT PERFORMANCE.”

in. I told him, “I am a sport psychology consultant.” His face lit up as I saw him processing what I had told him. “That’s really cool, man! I actually just picked up a ticket earlier today,” he said as he reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like two lottery tickets. Turns out his man thought I was a Sport Psychic, and that I could help him pick the winning teams for his ProLine ticket. The cognitive performance components that are commonly attended to in any given program may include, but are not limited to; strengthening performance under pressure, confidence/self efficacy development, motivation identification, overcoming failure/setbacks/injuries, resilience training (mental toughness), individual and team role identification, and the athletic identity when transitioning out of the sport. Another common misconception is that athletes only work on mental skills training when there is a problem with their performance. This is definitely not true. Just like with the physical, technical and tactical skills, they must be practiced and developed over time in preparation for high performance, not in the instance of poor performance. How the programs are structured can vary with each individual. However, we typically start with an initial consultation where I can learn more about the history, tendencies and strengths and weaknesses of the individual(s) I am working with. It is also important for the client(s) to learn more about my background and history in the field. The primary goal of the consultation is to identify areas of personal strength, as well as areas in their performance where there is room for growth and development. From there we begin developing

strategies to identify and overcome the mental obstacles currently affecting performance. The goal throughout this step is to increase our knowledge and become more aware of the different thoughts, behaviours and attitudes that influence both good and poor performances. Different points of this process can be more difficult, as habits and routines may have been instilled in our mind and these patterns of behavior can be tough to change. My job throughout this process is to first hold my clients accountable for their effort, attitude and behavior, while at the same time providing support and guidance along the way. The next question you may have is how can all of these techniques be applied to Motocross Racing? The answer will be unique to you. Consider all of the mental aspects that you had thought of earlier. Was it the race day anxiety, the anticipation of different weather or environmental conditions, past injuries, or perhaps a rivalry or goal you want to overcome? There is a mental strategy for any aspect of your game that you want to improve on. And just like the physical, technical and tactical skills, the mental training require time and practice to perfect. Over the next few issues I will be outlining different areas of mental performance training for you to consider for your own practice. Techniques like visualization, progressive relaxation, thought stopping, goal setting for performance enhancement and other useful skills that will not only boost your performance but also your outlook on life. Sean R. Poitras M.Ed. Sport Psychology Consultant Focus North Performance sean@focusnorthperformance.com @FocusNperform

MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM // 97

18.01_Guest.indd 1

2018-04-03 10:33 AM


THE INSIDE LINE P H OT O

BY

JA M E S

WITH ANDY WHITE

SAFETY FIRST “THE PROMOTERS NEED TO BUILD TRACKS THAT CHALLENGE THE RIDERS TO A POINT WITHOUT KILLING THEM. IF THE TRACKS ARE TOO EASY YOU HEAR IT FROM THE RIDERS.”

ow that the Monster Energy AMA Supercross is more than half way over, it brings to mind a number of questions, like what do you think of the series and the new Triple Crown format? What is your opinion about all the injuries? Come to think of it, there are quite a few subjects we could spend all afternoon talking about. Let’s get to the heart of the main issue that seems to be on the minds of most in this industry. That of course would be injuries. Just why are there so many this year? Seems to me that most of the top guys have been hurt at one point or another this season. Are the tracks just way too dangerous? Are they too fast or are the 450s just the issue? Like I said, there is plenty to talk about. I really don’t have the answer. I have listened to the pro riders and they don’t really know what the problem is either. I’ll tell you one thing though, the fans really don’t like it. I was at the Arlington round a few weeks ago and there was a fan commenting on how she was really looking forward to seeing her favourite rider but due to an injury she was upset.

N

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

L I S S I M O R E

I can tell you the rule of thumb these days as a fan, it’s to try to get to the first few rounds in California if you want to see all the top riders at one event. Top rider Eli Tomac crashed at A1 and hurt his shoulder. It was a simple little crash where he landed on his shoulder as he tried to wheelie through the jump section. He lost traction, the front wheel washed out and he went down. I would say that was rider error and not a track issue. Then Marvin Musquin went down the following weekend in the whoop section. Yes, they are hard to skim, but Marvin tried hopping through them and it bit him. He didn’t cartwheel or go down super hard. It was a tip over. Barcia was landed on because he didn’t do the triple after getting the holeshot. That crash could have easily been much worse. The next factory rider on the injury list is Roczen. I feel this instance was his own fault. Yes, I know Webb was involved in some way, but if these two just focused on racing and not on who is the bigger stud, I think Ken would be out front with a good sized points lead right now. I do agree that the 450 riders have so much more power than the guys back in 2000. With extra HP and traction control, these bikes can clear almost anything you put in front of them. Justin Hill was looking really good on his JGR Suzuki 450 until he went for the triple out of the corner that only Tomac was doing that weekend. Now Hill is sidelined for a while. Did he have to do that triple? I would say no but the bikes are capable. I was listening to the PulpMX show a few days ago when they were commenting on the tracks and rhythm sections. Last week in St Louis there was a quad that only a few 450 guys were doing. Well, right off the start in the Lites class Forkner busted out the quad. Now the riders that saw that were thinking, “Ah crap, now I have to bust it out or I have no chance of winning.” Maybe the promoter should have built the track so there was not even an option to do a quad? I bet if you look at some of the tracks from years back there were quads, but no one was even looking at them. The promoters need to build tracks

that challenge the riders to a point without killing them. If the tracks are too easy you hear it from the riders. I will admit that when I watched the Anaheim 2 race, the track looked pretty easy. The racing was tight, the leaders really didn’t pull away and it was a close one. For the average spectator they probably thought it was a great race. I do have to remind you that these promotors are offering entertainment to the public. If the racing is tight and you have no idea who will win until the last corner, well that’s a win in the promoter’s eyes. As it is with most of the hardcore supercross fans, we want to see obstacles that challenge the riders. We know how hard those jumps are to clear. What do you think of the Triple Crown format? I really like it as a fan because you see the top riders in three finals. How cool is it to see Tomac and the rest of the guys race three finals in one night? We usually only see them once. Now as a brand manager for a gear company that is trying to make it in the big show, I don’t like it so much. My budget right now does not allow me to hire a “Tomac” or a “Roczen” (maybe soon down the road). I am also thinking about all the privateers that don’t make the night show. Their day is over right after the LCQ. That’s at 5pm on Saturday. So a regular, everyday privateer pays $200 for sign up plus all his travel expenses to get to the race. He probably is paying for a mechanic as well, plus he doesn’t get everything free like the factory guys. So at the end of the day, the top 18 factory guys advance to the night show plus four guys from the LCQ. This past weekend, Malcolm Stewart won the LCQ. I have seen Chad Reed in a few this year plus other semi-factory guys like Weimer and Blosr to name a few. Overall we still love supercross and we will watch it to the final round in Las Vegas. Riders will always take chances that will result in injuries. That is a fact. It’s just ingrained in a racer’s DNA. Factory 450 bikes will continue to get faster too. Is there a fix in the future? Who knows but someone will have to figure something out before there is a full gate with 3-digit riders in half-empty stadiums.

98 // MOTOCROSS PERFORMANCE · MXPMAG.COM

18.01_White.indd 1

2018-04-03 1:42 PM


2018

YZ 65 /// MEET THE NEW KID EXCELLENT POWER AND TORQUE CHARACTERISTICS I TRUSTED YZ PERFORMANCE AND RELIABILITY ALL-NEW TWO-STROKE ENGINE AND AGILE CHASSIS

CLASS DISMISSED.

Untitled-1 1

2018-04-02 1:31 PM


IVE ASSKICK-OFF! MSEASON MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

APRIL 19-22

ALL 4 LOCATIONS! GUELPH | INNISFIL | SUDBURY | WHITBY

SAVE UP TO

$1,500

OFF!

MSL

OF YOUR GET 5%PURCHASE BACK! PLUS

ROYAL REWARDS!

2018 MODELS SAVE THE TAX!

*

IN STORES ONLY!

PAY NO TAX!

BICYCLE SALE PLUS

PAY NO TAX! OVER

‘17 BOLINAS RIDGE 27.5

OVER

BIKES 1000 , CHAIN WIDE!

SALE!

$388

$125

MSL $514.99 B10-748513

SAMPLE DEALS

SO MANY MORE IN STORE!

PLUS

PAY NO TAX! OVER

‘15 MOUNT VISION XM7 27.5

SALE!

$2,599

$1,500 OFF MSL

MSL $4,103.99 B10-514316 16”

PLUS

‘16 ARGENTA

PAY NO TAX! OVER

SALE!

$599

OFF MSL

$315

MSL $914.99 B10-644043

OFF MSL

NO TAX TENT SALE! IN STORES ONLY! % 85 ENTER TO

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

APRIL 25-29

SAVE

UP TO

WED

THU

FRI

SAT

9AM-8PM 9AM-8PM 9AM-9PM 9AM-5PM 9AM-4PM

EXTENDED HOURS!

OFF MSL!

SUN

EXTENDED HOURS!

25 26 27 28 29

PLUS ALL DAY SUNDAY APRIL 29TH

CLEAR THE TENT EVENT: ADDITIONAL SAVINGS ON RED TAG ITEMS! BUY 2 ITEMS + NO TAX + TAKE 10 % OFF

HUGE RED TAG SALE ON ATV, MOTORCYCLE & MOTOCROSS APPAREL, PARTS & ACCESSORIES!

OF YOUR GET 5%PURCHASE BACK! PLUS

ROYAL REWARDS!

WIN!

DOORCRASHEAERLSS! IPAD MINI 4 128 GB AND D 1 WINNER EACH DAY AT EACH LOCATION! $549 VALUE!

MX APPAREL

STREET GEAR

TIRES & MUCH MORE

OR

BUY 4 ITEMS + NO TAX + TAKE 15% OFF OR

BUY 6 ITEMS + NO TAX + TAKE 20% OFF

NEW PRODUCT DIRECT PRICING!

FREE SHIPPING! ON ORDERS OVER $89

*

MON-FRI 8AM-6PM EST EN/FR 4 HUGE RETAIL LOCATIONS! GUELPH 519-822-7081 SUDBURY 705-566-8111 MAIL 925 Woodlawn Rd W 3085 Kingsway ORDER: WE SELL FUN! SHOP 7 DAYS A WEEK! WHITBY 905-619-8000 INNISFIL 705-431-9364 ONLINE: WWW.ROYALDISTRIBUTING.COM

1.800.265.2970

900 Champlain Court

1954 Commerce Park Dr

*Discount equals to no HST. Some conditions may apply. See in store for full details. While supplies last. † No purchase necessary. All contest winners will be contacted May 4th, 2018. No cash value. Call or visit us online for Free Shipping Details.

Royal-MXP-SinglePageBackCover-April-02-2018.indd 1 Untitled-2 1

02/04/2018 6:04:32 PM 2018-04-03 2:53 PM

18 01 MXP Magazine  

Motocross Performance Magazine

18 01 MXP Magazine  

Motocross Performance Magazine

Advertisement