Settled Dust

Words and Photos by Zach Burke

5562km driven – roughly. That doesn’t the extra trips for chicken fingers and cookies at Walton or the seemingly never ending drive to Woodstock from Gopher Dunes. This season was of course a bit different. Racing was a 3 moto format for 2 days over 5 rounds. We never even ended up leaving Ontario, in fact we only saw 3 different venues. It was a season full of constraints and restrictions but it was a season that got to happen – short season or not.

I knew this season was going to be different and I thought it would be a great opportunity to do something a bit different myself. This year I followed the MX101 team through a condensed Triple Crown Series (Only MX and SX this season).

There is never anything guaranteed in racing. This is even more true for Motocross. Your season can be over before it starts, it doesn’t matter how much work you did to prepare or how fast your bike is.

This year I wanted to try and show a different side of motocross, one thats less focused on the racing. I wanted to try and tell the story of the team and the riders. The folks under the tent and the faces under the helmets. This isn’t about the results this is about the ride.

The 2020 Triple Crown Series started with all the Western Canadian rounds being cancelled due to the pandemic. When July came around things were easing up enough to allow for racing to happen – of course all under strict guidelines. The dates were set and the preparation for Gopher Dunes began. If one thing is certain in motocross, it is for sure that any race at Gopher Dunes will be hot – no one was shocked when the temperature climbed into the high 30’s both days. It’s just like a day at the beach, except theres no water and you have to race a dirt bike for 25 minutes.

Home for round 1
Full house

Saturday morning practice notes

Hayden Halstead on track for the first practice of the year
Marco Cannella practice 1
Austin Jones practice 1
Jamie Powell practice 1

Post practice one – Spirits are still high

I asked KT what he thought of the gate choices – ” What a bunch of donkey’s”

Donkey’s
Spoiler alert – Pettis smokes everyone all year

Gopher Dunes – Moto 1

Jamie, how was race 1 ?

Saturday night/ Sunday Morning pit scenes.

Austin asking me “did you hear that?” 2 laps later the bike explodes. The joys of racing.

Sunday Practice – Pre moto 2

Just swap a few things over, nothing major.
KT keeping an eye on things.

Sunday Moto’s 2/3

Sunday night everyone was beat. There was a sense of relief it was finally over. No more sand, no more sun. The first race of the season is always hard. When the first race is one of the hardest tracks in Canada it is an even bigger relief to be headed home. The season is short, there won’t be much time to rest between the rounds.

The next 2 rounds are back to back at Walton raceway. The week between the pro races is the Canadian amateur championships or the Walton Transcan. What’s usually a highlight event with a huge social aspect is now a boring week in the middle of no where. Lucky for me I was able to leave but most of the racers stayed and raced the Transcan.

2 different weekends, same conditions.

Walton was a bit of a change of pace. Round 2 would follow the 3 moto format. Round 3 would use a traditional one day, 2 moto format. One thing was the same over both weekends. Rain on Sunday.

Walton is not fun in the mud as you are about to see. The clay is heavy and sticks to the bikes. So you can imagine how thrilled everyone was a week later when the rain started up Saturday night.

Friday night lights
Friday night track walk. What a nice night!
Walton 1 – Round 2. New race, new sponsor for MX101

Saturday morning – Pre practice

Walton, Saturday morning
Bonus photo – one of my favourite shots from 2020

Saturday – Pre Moto 1

Saturday – Post moto 1

Sunday – Moto 2/3

And then Saturday night happened.
It is going to be muddy

Sunday – Pre moto 2

Looks like fun doesn’t it?

Ok, moto 2 is done. Moto 3 is in 45 minutes or less. The joy’s of racing.

Sunday – Moto 3
Nah ruts aren’t that bad

Sunday – Post moto 3

The first Walton round saw 2 very different tracks on Saturday and Sunday. In one week, everyone will be lining back up at the same Walton gates for the third race. I know I wasn’t the only one checking the forecast for the next weekend that night leaving the track. Most of the racers stayed for the week between to race the Transcan for some extra practice. Most of the amateur 450 races looked like a pro national. That poor vet 30+ class.

The Walton Transcan – Amateur week.

The final day of Transcan was Saturday. Saturday was a nice day. Now, stay with me here but Saturday night happened again and guess what? It poured most of the night

Saturday night – post Transcan

Sunday morning – New sponsor, same weather. What a difference a week makes
Pulp MX – Walton 2 presenting sponsor.
Yeah so, no ones going out for practice.

Staying dry and waiting for moto 1

Basically, after lap one I had no idea who I was looking at for the most part…

I don’t know who this is but they did not have a good time.

All hands on deck. Post moto 1/ Pre moto 2/ Post moto 2

Walton was a mess. Goggles and tear offs flying, bikes exploding and bikes just getting stuck in the thick slop. Sounds delightful right?? Everyone was more than happy to be leaving Walton after 2 rounds. Now with 2 weeks off to recover and replenish depleted parts supplies all sights are set on Sand Del Lee. The MX101 team is heading home.

This was a point in the season that everyone on the team was looking forward to. Home track advantage. Most riders aren’t the biggest fans of sand tracks but when your home track is a sand track – its a different story. There was scores to be settled coming back to Sand Del Lee

Local legend
Home town hero

When I left for the track Saturday morning it was raining. Was anyone surprised by this? Not at all, in fact it would have been more of a shock to race in the sun in 2020. Thankfully sand holds water (Thats a joke for the fans at SDL).

Hey its raining! It is always good to be home, everyone was of course disappointed to see rain yet again but as I said at Walton – “It will blow over”

Couple last minute texts before the gate drops
ok, it was actually tear offs

“The rain is supposed to stop around 9:30” or at least thats what the nice lady at the gate was telling everyone. Turns out she was right… who would have thought.