I am writing from the love shack in Springhill where local hero Ryan Lockhart was born. We were greeted by a huge parade as we entered the town this morning. Kids screaming Newf’s name, girls taking off shirts and swinging them in the air, and lastly banners were hung from the Doctor Carson and Marion Murray centre where just three months earlier Lockhart stole the show and became more famous than singing icon Anne Murray. Okay, so all of that was complete BS but Lockhart had a dream that it happened as we rolled into his hood. LOL
Road trips are a huge part of this sport. For me, I have put hundreds of thousands of KMs through this vast Canadian country side. We just put another 1600 on my fourth generation super van. Newf killed it behind the wheel and we polished this drive off in 14 hours. Pretty stoked to be on the east coast before the best national of the year in Moncton, New Brunswick. The track, the fans, the atmosphere is so electric that the Monster Energy Motocross Nationals are very proud to come east. They welcome us with open arms. Round seven will be another amazing memory from the east coast in Moncton this coming weekend.
Last week the crew from Walton had a media to show of all the amazing new changes. The boys sent this from the day:
Walton Raceway: Upgrades and improvements greet racers and fans for 2012
For the 21st year of hosting the Walton TransCan there are some big changes underway at Walton Raceway. On July 25th, the Lee family and Walton Raceway staff greeted a large group of media, fans, supporters, and local and federal politicians at this hallowed motocross ground to share their vision for the future.
Already recognized as a major tourism event in Huron East and across Huron County, the Lees are never content to rest on past success. With the future and a vision of diversity in mind, they have been seeking out community partnerships and making on-site improvements to attract new visitors to give their loyal Walton clientele added value.
“We’re making changes for the future,” explains Chris Lee. “We are trying to set the operation up so it’s more diversified and more viable so we can get another generation growing. We are looking for opportunities to grow and putting together partnerships that add to the atmosphere and the diversity.”
The first thing you’ll see when entering the gates at Walton this year is a giant new Event Centre building. The south-facing roof features 65,280 square feet of solar panels that can produce 100KW of power a day when the sun is shining. Built in partnership with local business – KW Power Solar – the new building will become the hub of all future Walton Raceway events. This will be the new home of registration, food service and some vendors for this year’s TransCan.
On your way in the gate, you will also notice a billboard announcing another new community partnership with Ducks Unlimited. The Lee Wetland Restoration project was implemented in 2010 and demonstrates the Lee’s commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. For Ducks Unlimited, it’s a great opportunity to reach out to a new demographic. “We were able to offer a new area and a new base of people to educate so it was very simple,” explains Brett Lee.
Just past the Event Centre, there is a new bicycle pump track being developed. For use by TransCan campers and Walton Raceway visitors, the track may someday play host to events of its own. Entering the bush to the right of the gate is a new mountain bike trail system. With demo riders taking to the trails at Wednesday’s event, it’s easy to see the potential for an extensive trail system here that offers another opportunity for future growth and events.
Walton Raceway has always enjoyed overwhelming support from Municipal, Provincial and Federal politicians and that was clear at Wednesday’s event. With Federal MP for Huron/Bruce Ben Lobb, Huron East Economic Development Officer Jan Hawley and a long list of municipal mayors and council members in attendance, it’s clear the community realizes the value the Raceway provides.
“I aligned myself immediately with Chris and his crew after recognizing the economic impact of this event,” explains Hawley. “Not just in Huron East but for Huron County and beyond the borders. With the influx of people coming in for the TransCan and their regular races, I think their gates are 25,000 to 30,000 over the TransCan week and their spring and fall events bring even more people. With that many people travelling through your community, people are stopping, spending money on gas, visiting restaurants. For every dollar spent at Walton there is another $7 in spinoff being spent in the community by those coming to watch the event and participate as well.”
With the added support of Celebrate Ontario funding this year, a Friday night concert with signature country artist Jason Blaine has been added to the TransCan lineup. With no change in admission fees, the Lees were able to add extra value for TransCan visitors while reaching out to an even larger audience of country music fans.
“They are providing more bang for the dollar and really there isn’t much of that going on these days in terms of events, tourism or concerts,” explains Huron/Bruce MP Ben Lobb. “You get to compete or watch a world-class event like this plus you get to take in a concert from a legitimate country artist. It sure offers good value for your time at Walton.”
Continuing their mandate to reach out through social media, Raceway staff unveiled a new 3D dynamic lap around the Walton track. The video, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAeMDL8vu34&feature=youtu.be, was posted live on Twitter and Facebook at the same time it was shown to media at the on-site event.
Several changes have been made to the track including relocating the start to the north end of the track and the addition of a sand section. “The rest of the changes are just tweaks to throw some challenges at people,” explains Chris Lee. “A lot of the work has also been recovering from the heavy rain on the last day of the TransCan last year. We’ve added about a foot of topsoil to the entire track. The changes will be an equalizer for riders from across the country”.
With pit locations also changing this year (amateurs will now pit and camp at the in the previous pro area with pro pits moving to the lower entrance) and additional camping and parking being added, Walton Raceway is now more capable than ever of hosting large scale events. “We could get into hosting bicycle events, competitions on the pump tracks, truck mud bogs and truck races on the actual track,” explains Chris Lee. “We have also greatly expanded our camping capacity so we can actually take on bigger events. For things like Tough Mudder and those sorts of events, the first thing they ask you is can you park 5,000 cars? Actually we can now! So that opens a lot of doors and creates a lot of possibilities.”
“The potential is endless here,” says an excited Jan Hawley after the presentation. “Chris and his team are always pushing the envelope and exploring new opportunities. I am so proud of this event. It’s not just a local event; this is a global event, happening right here. We are a community of 100 people and we invite the world. You can’t get better than that.”
For more information on Walton Raceway and the Parts Canada Trans Can please visit www.waltonraceway.ca
The 21st edition of the Trans Can sounds like it could be the best yet. We are just a short two weeks before the gate drops. The fastest amateur racers will all be there chasing the dream of becoming a Canadian Champion. It’s the biggest event in the country, and with all these amazing new plans for the future the sport looks bright when it comes to the Trans Can.
Now back to the east coast. Moncton this coming weekend is going to be amazing. The weather looks to be great. The track looked pretty sick at 6am this morning as we passed through. The passion from the crew at Riverglade is one that rivals any US national track crew. It’s always a special weekend here in Moncton and I for one am super excited for it, especially since we saw Dusty Klatt kick some serious ass last round in Ste-Julie. I truly believe he will be the man to beat in the final six motos. I had a good chat with Dusty this past week and he seemed very excited after some small changes to the motorcycle that has made him feel way more comfortable. We all know when a comfy Dusty is on the track, it usually means asses kicked for the rest of the competition. Both Matt Goerke and Bobby Kiniry don’t really need to worry about Dusty as they both have a big lead in 1st and 2nd in the MX1 points. It will also be interesting to see if Tyler Medaglia comes back this weekend. I chatted with him as well and he says his ankle is really swollen and sprained. He will try to ride tomorrow then make the call for the weekend. He figures he should be okay unless he snags it in a rut.
Over in the MX2 class the battle for the third spot in the points is going to get very interesting. Jared Allison owns the spot right now but Kyle Beaton, Topher Ingalls and Brad Nauditt are all within 14 points. The wild thing is all these four riders are dealing with some sort of hiccup with six motos to go in the series. Jared Allison has a bum knee and will have to show some serious toughness if he wants that 3rd spot, Kyle Beaton has had issues with arm pump and nerves while running up front, and Topher is on his own from here on out. Lastly Brad Nauditt has not put two motos together yet at the eastern rounds. It should make for a pretty good ending with these guys as they all need to be on their game with the series soon coming to an end. I love the drama and it will continue to unfold this weekend in Moncton.
That’s all I have this week. We are heading to Moncton tomorrow to ride, so stay tuned for some pics of the track and updates as we invade the Glade!!