If you don’t follow us on twitter, start now, and in the mean time I’ll have a pretty good recap of it, including some of the tweets I was making, up later this week. But enough delay, onto my 5 Things X Games Edition. It worked out pretty good because 5 Canadian riders were invited to race the event, a great way to celebrate Canada Day if you ask me!
5 – So, let’s start with the obvious: 5 Canadians!
This is pretty big, especially with the big “Oh, no Canadian is man/woman enough to go out and race in the States,” or “We’re not good enough.” I say that’s all a big pile of beautiful stories, to use the words that my high school History teacher used. The EnduroX @ XGames was an invite only event, and five of our best riders received invites. I’d say that the debate is over; if you try hard enough, if you’re willing to work hard and sacrifice (sometimes make huge sacrifices), it is possible. It is possible.
4 – Ben Rego is a Beast!
Rego didn’t have the best run; he didn’t finish in the top two to make it to the main in either his heat or the LCQ but he did have some stacked competition to go up against. And, unlike most of these guys, Ben didn’t even know he was “fast” until 2009 when he showed up at a WEC CEC. He blitzed on to the national scene the next year in 2010 and set the world on fire with a heavy four stroke and an indomitable will. CGRT picked him up in 2011 and he’s been unstoppable since. I’m super happy to see Rego doing well; he’s a great guy with an awesome outlook and, well, yeah, he’s a beast on that bike. Even the announcers were a little impressed watching him haul that bike around.
3 – Lexi Pechout is Amazing!
The announcers made a big deal of 17 year old Stewart Baylor, but there was an even younger competitor on the course: Lexi Pechout. The 15 year old from Calgary, Alberta set the tone for an amazing career with a 4th place finish. When I spoke to her earlier this week Lexi was nervous about racing against women of Forsberg, Forsley and Geiger’s calibre, but it looked like the #3 Honda just didn’t have what it took to take out the experienced EnduroX Racer. While I’m proud of all of our racers who got the call for X Games, I think Lexi deserves a special congrats for her performance. She has a long career ahead of her, and doing so well on such a big stage will certainly go a long way.
2 – Bobby Prochnau Rides Like the Boss
I was sad that Bobby didn’t make the main, but man did he ride like he owned it in the LCQ, making the pass for the lead and leading for what looked like two laps. Bobby Prochnau is an amazing rider with a tonne of skill and a “Let them come” attitude. When I spoke to him before the event the big BC native wasn’t worried about the competition, and it didn’t look like he was too worried Saturday night either. When he made the pass for first in his LCQ it was pure Bobby; aggressive, strong, fast and dominant. He wasn’t afraid to show anyone his wheel, which is awesome. Like I said, he didn’t make it to the main, but never the less he had a great run, and two great motos on the EnduroX track in front of the national cameras. Prochnau is another one who, like Graffunder, who should have a great chance at making a go of it in the US should he so choose.
1 – Cory Graffunder and Chantelle Bykerk Bring Home Bronze
Oh. My. God! Two medals. Yeah, okay, so they’re bronze, but really? They’re awesome. They’re amazing. They’re spectacular. And they belong to Cory Graffunder and Chantelle Bykerk.
Graffunder was amazing. Byrker was unbelievable. I was on the edge of my seat for both motos, and while I was only cheering to my computer screen, I was so excited for these two. Graffunder has made a full time go of it in the US, while Bykerk is still living in Canada but racing the entire EnduroX series, having finished second in Sacramento. For both riders this was an important moment. It’s awesome to do well, but to do well on a stage as big as the X Games is phenomenal and will, hopefully, translate into an easier time for the two of them as far as sponsors go.
Look for interviews and twenty questions featuring Graffunder and Bykerk in the coming weeks, as well as updates from the Western Canadian Enduro Championship, where Prochnau, Rego, Bykerk and Pechout will try to bring home some of the good mojo they worked in California to Vernon, BC and Coleman, Alberta.