Not every race goes according to plan. The weather can turn, the course can turn out harder than expected and even a properly prepped bike can fail brilliantly, making the day go sideways in a hurry. While all of this happened to me at last week’s season opener XC Race, I’m immensely thankful for the opportunity to race in light of the pandemic closures affecting our daily lives.

Gopher Dunes is a dirt track near Courtland in Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada – about 2 hours West of Toronto. It’s an MX facility with a small Trials area, but this year (probably bored during COVID lock-down), the owners cut a new double-track trails section that extended the course from usual 5-6km to almost 12km of fast, flowing trails. The new course is much more enjoyable for cross-country riders and no longer feels like a really long MX race with a small section of dirt roads thrown in as an afterthought.

This year, a very localized but nasty thunderstorm soaked the track the night before and the ground never recovered. The sandy, dry MX track was perfect, but the clay in the forest formed a sloppy mess. Ruts over 3ft tall covered by deceiving muddy soup swallowed bikes whole… During just two laps around the course (about how much my bike lasted before quitting repeatedly and blowing 4 main fuses due to a major short somewhere in the wiring) I saw at least 3 bikes completely swallowed by the mud with the rider looking helplessly while waiting for ATV recovery… Riders had to make new lines around the mud, it was a proper moto disaster.

If you want to skip the story and hear me whine about the utter failure the race was for me this day, click here, but for the full video, including one lap around the track please see below:

As always, tremendous thanks to some incredible individuals and companies that help me go out and ride on race day, including:

ALDO Shoes – Iconic Canadian, super environmentally-focused shoe retailer
Lang’s Offroad – Quirky, but absolutely the best BETA motorcycle specialist in Ontario
Silverware POS – Best hospitality POS solution on the maket
Globe POS – ACQ5 Award-winning Canada’s Best POS Software Company
CPU Design – Quebec’s top IT VAR and one of canada’s Top etail IT Soluion providers
Pirelli MX and Steve Simms Racing – Tires, Tires, and Tires
TripleClamp – These boys have great products and even better advice to give


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