Missing a whole season of motocross isn’t ideal when you are hoping to win a Canadian championship. But that hasn’t kept Cruz Gordon, Carter Roberts, and Drew Roberts from getting in as much practice and racing in as they can ahead of the 2020 Walton TransCan Grand National Championship.
The three Fort St. John riders are headed to Walton, Ontario, August 12 to 15, for the Amateur Grand National Championship, the biggest annual amateur motocross event in Canada. Though Ontario has had more cases of the coronavirus than most other provinces, motocross has thrived in that province this season, and there will be more than 600 entries in rural Ontario for the event.
Neither of the three kids have competed at Walton before, though they’ve won at every other level they’ve competed at so far.
Gordon, 9, is in his final year racing a 50cc bike, and he and his parents thought going to the national championship would be a great way to cap that era. He was the 2019 PMA 50cc 7-0 champion, and finished second and third at the 2019 Western Canadian Championship. The Westerns, the typical qualifier for Walton, didn’t take place this year.
“I’m really excited. A lot of my friends have gone and I’m going with my friends this year. I feel fast on my 50, I’m more confident, and I want to see how I can do,” said Gordon.
Gordon will compete in the 50cc Open, 50cc 7-8, and 65cc 7-11 classes. He has raced in Rocky Mountain House and Taber this summer, in addition to practice sessions at the Taylor motocross track and the Roberts’ homemade track.
The Roberts brothers have put in countless hours over the years, take it seriously, and push themselves to be the best they can. Carter, 13, and Drew, 11, are at the top of their game.
Drew won the 2019 Western Canadian Championship in the 65cc class last year and went undefeated in the PMA 65cc class. Carter won the 2019 PMA 85cc 12-16 class and was first in the Super Mini class as well. Both will competed in the 85 cc Super Mini 9-16 class in Walton, while Drew will compete in the 85cc 7-11 class and Carter the 85cc 12-16 class.
“I’ve always wanted to go and it will be a lot of fun, just to meet some new kids and try and win a championship,” said Carter.
Carter said he has a bunch of nerves going into the event as it’s the biggest one they’ve competed in, but he’s excited all the same. Drew feels the same way.
“I’m really nervous but sort of excited at the same time. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’d like to make a living with this eventually,” Drew said. “I’m hoping to win, and if not, get a top-three finish.”
On the surface, 2020 might not seem like the most opportune time to make the trip to Walton, but each of the boys’ parents were proud of the work their sons have put in, and because most local racing was cancelled, thought it was a great time to reward them with this trip.
“They worked really hard, we don’t push them at all — I’ve told them to quit lots. But they eat healthy, train on their own, and they have the opportunity to win, so we think it’s a great opportunity for them,” said Calvin Roberts, Drew and Carter’s father.
Calvin and a family member will be driving all three boys’ bikes across Canada, leaving Fort St. John on August 6. The boys and the rest of the family members will be flying into London, Ontario, and meeting Calvin there.
Gordon’s parents are excited for the opportunity, but acknowledge that it’s a big commitment.
“It’s a big commitment, a lot of time, and expensive, but this being his last year at 50 and with there no Western Canadian race, we thought it would be a great way to finish it off,” said Dean Gordon, Cruz’s father. “He’s ready and in good shape. It will just be a matter of getting in that first (race) in at Walton and getting his groove back.”
“We decided at the end of last year we would definitely go this year. We are try thankful to Cruz’s sponsors who have helped Cruz achieve his dream and we can’t wait,” said Melissa, Cruz’s mom.
Though the majority of the racers will be from Ontario, kids from B.C. and Alberta have a history of performing very well at the national championships.
Braxton Zeitner, a friend of Cruz’s from Chilliwack, was the 2019 champion in his age class, and Blake Davies, who the Roberts have raced before, won the championship last year as well. Drew, Carter, and Cruz are all the same quality of driver as those two, and have what it takes to win a trophy or two and leave their mark at Canada’s biggest motocross event.
“I hope it works out. As long as they give 100 per cent, which I think they will, then whatever happens happens and we’ll be happy with it. They’ve put in a lot of work,” said Calvin.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.