This past weekend brought us to Raymond Alberta as riders from all over gathered for round 1 & 2 of the AMSA series. The double-header weekend brought some heat both with the weather and the competition as everyone was revved up and ready to go after a long winter off! Day one for our Cycleworks Foothills #73 YZ450f started off just as we’d hoped with a holeshot into turn one, followed by an uncontested win in the first MX1 Pro Moto of the Alberta season! As morning turned to mid-day and intermission ended, we took to the start gates for the MX3 Open Pro 30-min shoot out (a winner takes all, 1 moto format). With the 30 second board in the air and the bikes into gear, you could feel the intensity on the line. The board flipped to 5 and the gates dropped. We found ourselves into turn one mid pack and pushed wide from the pack… (alright, we got some work to do now). First lap in however, we ran into some more issues as I had to pick our Yamaha from a hungry mud hole, so now we really had our work cut out for us. Grateful for all the intense training and the amazing race package we have put together for our Yamaha 450, we picked through the group one after another & made it back to 5th for the checkered flag. Finally, pressure washer time!
Last moto of the day got off to a better start as our #73 Yamaha pushed through into second place after turn one. With first place in our sights the pursuit began. We fell just short of mustering up the speed to get to the podium’s top step and settled with a second place finish giving our Cycleworks Foothills team a 2nd overall in MX1. All in all, it was a good day with some awesome competitors and though proud of the outcome, it was time to regroup for an improved Sunday finish.
As the cool morning crispness was burned off by the warm rays of the sun, you could hear the pits rumble as riders prepared for Round 2 in our back to back opener. MX1 was 4th moto up. The track was in great condition and everyone was itching to get to the gate. When the board dropped and we tore from our starting gate, we pulled a hole shot from the outside of the group. We were back out front and ready to lay down some distance! After pulling a small gap, we settled into a steady pace. The laps counted down and we soon crossed the line with an enthusiastic waving checkered and another win for the Cycleworks Foothills team!
We headed back to the pits to get refueled for the 30 min MX3 moto and hopefully another podium worthy finish to improve on the day before. For the final time, intermission wound down and the Pros approached the line for our final heat of MX3. The gate dropped; the 450s & 250s alike roared to life and plunged into turn one. We pulled through with a second place start (definitely an improvement on the day before) and after some tough work and aggressive passing, pushed our way up into first place. As we approached the second half of our race, we found ourselves in a real battle as the 2nd place rider was hot on our tail. The track grew more challenging and rough with every lap; lines constantly changing. Everyone was on their toes as the minutes counted down, and the pace kept getting faster. We worked frantically to maneuver lapped traffic and hold our lead. Fending off a couple last-lap challenges, we held onto our first place position as we crossed the checked flag. It was a grueling race, but we pushed to the end and brought home the win!
Moto 2 of the MX1 Pros were next to the line but we were unable to make the start as we had to make a difficult judgement call about a possible mechanical issue. We opted to play it cautious, save the bike and get it ready to do battle another weekend. I cannot thank everyone enough for all the tremendous support as we come off another amazing weekend aboard the Cycleworks Foothills Yamaha 450. Hope to see you all in Kamloops this coming weekend, May 7th & 8th.
Photography by: Steve Szabo at www.stevenszabophoto.com