May 28th, 2014

Got my first race of the 2014 motocross season under my belt at Sand Del Lee on Saturday, May 24th. It was also my last local race before the MX101 Yamaha Race Team heads out to British Columbia for round 1 of the CMRC Pro Nationals in Nanaimo.

I have to admit that it felt a little unreal to get dropped off at the track by my folks and, instead of unloading all my stuff and setting up our family pit area, I was welcomed under the tents in front of the massive MX101 Yamaha rig. It’s hard to describe the feeling that came over me as I realized that this was the first time I wasn’t on the outside looking in, but rather was under the tent … as a pro.

Being at your home track is both a good and a bad thing. With one week left to go before the nationals start, it was nice to be at a familiar track and to know you have so many people who want to see you do well. The bad thing is you don’t want to disappoint all these people, so it adds that extra little bit of pressure to perform. But once I line up at the gate and the 30-second board goes up, I get into race mode. The nerves settle down. The bike roars. I block everything out but the track and the work that’s ahead of me.

So … how did it go? Well, I didn’t get off to a great start in moto 1 of the joint Pro/Am and MX3 intermediate race on Saturday, May 25th. There was a little bar banging with Dawson Tracey to my right and Shawn Robinson to my left off the start. Fortunately, none of us went down during this bar-to-bar combat. I was about 4th from last heading into the first corner of the track. I put my head down and managed to pass a bunch of racers until I worked my way to 3rd place. But by the time I did, there was just no way I could catch up with Kaven Benoit and Jesse Wentland. While I was pretty bummed about that, I was happy with my lap times because they were in the same ballpark as these guys.

This gave me a reason to be optimistic about moto 2. I was so relieved to get a good start, putting me in 2nd place behind Kaven Benoit, who got the hole shot. It also put me in front of my team-mate Jesse Wentland who was right there on my back tire for most of the race until he went down during the last lap of the moto. It was such a confidence booster to know that I can run with these guys as we get ready to go head out to Nanaimo on Thursday, May 29th.

On Sunday, I didn’t get any racing in but enjoyed watching lots of races, cheering on and getting some laughs in with some of my buddies from kids in the 50 and 65 cc classes to the intermediate classes and even the +40. It was nice to chill at the track.

On Saturday, I pitted under the MX101 Yamaha tent for the first time as a pro. It was humbling to receive so many congratulations and wishes of good luck for the upcoming season from family, friends and fans at the track. But what really made it sink in for me that my pro career is about to start was watching the MX101 Yamaha rig pull out of Sand Del Lee on Saturday night to make its way to British Columbia. Somehow, things are getting more “real” all the time. I suppose my next reality check will take place later this week when I board a plane for the first time to head out for round 1. I can’t wait!!!!!