The overwhelming success of the Nanaimo Motocross Association’s Open House at The Wastelands left me overwhelmed with feelings and thoughts. Perhaps the most dominate emotion though, was ‘gratitude’. I’m so grateful to all the people who worked so incredibly hard to make it all happen, and I’m also a little bit grateful to some higher power who seemed to be working with us! It takes a lot of people with a common vision, doing a lot of work to make an event like this, or the track as a whole, function the way it can. The success of this weekend showed how it can be done! Many people seemed to come together with a common vision of what The Wastelands and Nanaimo Motocross Association could be; President Mark Swanwick for example, made the creation of a new improved Mini-Track his number one priority. A serendipitous intersection of desires had Ryan Bradley stepping in with a plan, the means, and a similar vision. He spear-headed the plan, worked straight through an entire weekend, and with the help of Jim Waterhouse, Steve from Tallboy’s Contracting, and his sons, he got the job done! Then Blaine Johnson took on the task of providing safe fencing around the back of the track. Great work guys! The kids absolutely love the new track, and a lot of the dads are eyeing it up with a gleam in their eye as well!
At eleven sharp, or so, Mark Swanwick (the big kid in the denim jacket) officially introduced the kids to the new Mini-Track. You can see Craig Weme, who helped us with track drainage of to the extreme right, and Ryan Bradley with his arms crossed over-seeing the proceedings.
Ryan Bradley was the man of the hour the past two weekends. Last weekend he built the mini-track, and this weekend it was unveiled to the world!
Jim Waterhouse jumped in to help with the building of the mini-track.
Last year’s 50cc Champion Ryder Roth was given the honours of being to the first rider to officially take a hot lap around the mini-track.
The Mini-Track was fun to ride no matter how much experience you had, or how fast you went! Harrison Bradley (777) gingerly creeps by Kaden Waterhouse (7)!
The main track was in phenomenal shape! All day I kept telling anyone who would listen, “You could have a National on that track today!” And you really could have! We were blessed, again with the gratitude, with the help of many and a little luck from some higher power. Due to an incredibly light winter the track was already in better shape than I can ever remember seeing it this time of year. About 80% of the track was spot on right off the bat. For the other 20% Craig Weme of Craig’s Bobcat, and Mike Schott stepped in and made the track the work of art it was by Sunday. Craig did a lot of work last weekend fixing some drainage issues we have with the track. If we can fix the drainage issues we can theoretically keep the track in great condition all year long! Craig is well on the way to making this dream a reality! Then Mike Schott came in with his bulldozer on Saturday and worked all day fixing up the water holes, and sunken corners. When I say he worked all day, I mean he worked from sun up to sun down, and I never saw him stop moving or take a break all day! I just can’t say enough about the track these guys provided for us.
We had tons of small wheel bikes out riding both the mini-track and the main track. One of the best things about the condition of the track is that it allowed the kids on small wheel bikes to have a great time on the track. After they had booted around on the mini-track for an hour or so, the faster mini riders made their way over to the main track. Joe Nikirk and Harrison Bradley looked great, but that’s no surprise. Wyatt Youland might have surprised some with the speed and smoothed out riding style he displayed, but I know he’s been riding in Arizona and his back yard quite a bit so I wasn’t surprised. He was fast enough to ride around with Joe Nikirk, who I think had big wheels on his mini, but it was clear that Joey was playing a little bit. Here are some shots of a few of the small wheel riders.
After we all watched the kids ripping around the new mini-track for a while I wandered back to the big track to see who was riding, and how they looked. I had to ask someone who the #96 guy on the Yamaha was the first time he blew by me…he was hauling! Before anyone answered me though, I recalled seeing Darcy Lalonde at the track, and I had heard Ryan had switched to Yamaha. It was easy to see that it was him once I made the connection. Ryan was super fast at the end of last season and rumour has it he has been practicing hard and riding a lot all winter. The guy on the #96 Yamaha rode like I would expect an even more improved Ryan Lalonde would ride. He’s faster than ever, but he has achieved that benchmark only the very best riders achieve; Ryan Lalonde is making it look easy! He has fun when he rides.
It looks like it’s going to be another exciting year in Junior. Many of the fastest Juniors from last year have moved up to Intermediate of course, riders like: Jason Abernethy, Chase Krompocker, Dylan Hansen, Jesse Ryan, Brandon Williams, Bryce Currie, and Andrew Madeo. Congratulations guys, I can’t wait to see you all tearing it up against each other and the talent that has accumulated in our Intermediate class! With these riders moved up many Juniors will battle to try and fill the vacuum. There were three riders, Alex Haley, Zack Mix, and Kyle Klaric, who barely missed pointing into Intermediate last year; they will all be front runners this year. There are others who will be right there as well though. Specifically Steve Weme and Eli Titus come to mind, but also last year’s beginner sensation Nathan Donohue-Bragg, who I can see is still improving exponentially, and also Isaiah Haylett who has a new 4-stroke and looks very solid in practice. Here’s some shots of some of the faster Juniors in attendance.
Then there was the really fast guys…I dream of having 12 or more Intermediates at every race. A solid Intermediate class can provide some of the best racing around; a dozen or more Intermediates can make for better racing than 28 Juniors sometimes. They are faster, and the racing can be closer and more intense. Intermediates don’t give up a position easily, and they have a lot of ‘pro-like’ moves and ability. This is going to be a fantastic class this year! Aside from the half dozen super fast Juniors I already mentioned who will be making the jump, there is also Damon Riesach, Connor Barnes, Daniel Vanderbasch, Shawn Miller, Trevor Devlin, William Blackburn, Kyle Morlock, and Timmy Aiken, just to name a few…it’s very easy to imagine having 12 fast Intermediates at every race! I haven’t even mentioned fast guys like Corey Cardinal and Bryce Adams who may or may not show up to race. In fact, you may notice I left one very notable Intermediate name off this list. I expect the racers I have named will all be very competitive against each other; I expect Ryan Lalonde (the missing name!) will spend most of his time ahead of these riders racing with the Pros. I mean no criticism of the other Intermediate riders, but my gut concurs with reason, Ryan Lalonde is more ‘Pro’ than ‘Intermediate’ at this stage. He will be competing against Nick Syrotuck, Coleton Mclean, and any other Pros that make it out to a race. In fact, Ryan has earned his Pro points, but has elected (and been allowed) to remain an Intermediate due to his age, short racing experience, and in order to allow him the opportunity to compete in Raymond and Walton if he so desires.
And then the hail came down! One minute it was sunny with a few thin clouds, then it blackened over and let loose a torrent of hail! It did put a damper on riding for some of the older, wiser riders, but many of the kids rode right through it! It was actually kind of nice, aside from the riding thing! It was almost magical, like a sign from above. Of course, a clear blue sky with a double rainbow would have been a nicer sign, but as signs go this one was pretty cool!
The kids were not defeated by the weather. They soldiered on, and tackled a very greasy track for an hour or so before the sun returned.
While it was still sunny I stopped by and got a cheese-burger and a coke from NMA Promotions Manager Marla Daniels, who cooked all day for everybody. I listened to the sweet tunes coming from the new P.A. system that got all hooked up thanks to NMA Vice President Matt Muenzler, and admired the grounds and how well NMA Site Manager Joel Bradbrooke had presented them. I took note of how organized everything had gone as I watched my sweetheart and NMA Secretary D.J. hustling around piles of paper in the tower. I wandered over and watched NMA President Mark Swanwick put on a tire changing clinic; Mark has presented NMA with a vision and a lot of ambition, and he has backed it up with hard work and diligence. He has a great team working with him on the NMA executive. Once again I was struck with gratitude. As well as all the members who have been stepping up, I have to say I’m grateful for the great bunch of people we have currently running Nanaimo Motocross Association. It’s really been a pleasure working with them, and I see great things being done!
Am I ever stoked for racing to begin!! April 15th in Campbell River can’t come fast enough for me! Except that I have a lot to do before then. You may have noticed the Race Report looks different this year? This was my attempt to kill a few birds with one stone. I wanted the site to be more attractive to readers, and give me more creative control, and I also wanted to speed up the process. It takes a huge amount of time to individually load up 100 photos each week! I think I have succeeded for the most part, but I invite your thoughts and opinions. Riders photos will be made available for the first two or three races, separated out by rider #, in galleries on the Seehorse website. Due to the immense amount of time it takes not only to organize these folders, but also adjusting and cropping them, I will only be able to maintain this service for riders who have either purchased a Photo Package, or made a $20 contribution to Seehorse. You can arrange this either at the track, or online through paypal.