PreMXON 2010 Print
Written by admin   
Friday, 31 December 2010 20:39



Before Andrew set off to race the MXON in Lakewood CO, he stopped by Aztec for some practice laps. Thanks to Byron for getting some pictures before he headed out.








Location: Aztec Family Raceway Colorado Springs, Colorado. Thurs Sept 23 2010

After interviewing MXON Team Canada I was fortunate enough to catch up with Team Finland
After talking with different members of the team I now have a greater appreciation of all that
goes into getting smaller teams like the Finnish to America to race. With a budget of 20000 Euros
with 12000 of that going just to ship 3 bikes to the US I can see some of the difficulties they run
into. The team arrived Tuesday evening, The bikes arrived Wednesday. To save money, the bikes are
completely taken apart. Final assembly for Harry's bike was not done until Thurs afternoon.
Fortunately Team Finland had an advocate here Robert Shondeck and his two sons Cole and Bryce
both local Colorado racers supplied the team with a large truck with lift to transport the bikes
to and from the races. Aztec track own Byron Wolf supplied the Finnish with a place to set up and practice.
Mark Bickford (Aztecs resident mechanic) supplied the Fins with a shop to set up the bikes as well as jets and
exhaust analyzer.



Unlike the Canadian team which had a 18 wheeler and room for practice
bikes the Finnish team rode what they brought. While the Canadians were already getting parking
at Thunder Valley race track, the Finnish team were assembling bikes and making changes to jetting.
Here is what they had to say.


18 year old Harri Kullas spearheads the team with his 11th place finish in FIM world championship in the
MX2 class, he will be racing MX2 at the MXON


How was the flight over and any issues with the time change?
Harri: The Flight was OK I slept on the plane along 3 seats. But not having much problems with time change

Do you feel any effects of the high altitude?
Harri: I don't feel anything doing normal life but if I do running or training it affects me


Do you feel prepared for the MXON?
Harri: We arrived Tues evening the bikes arrived Wed. But you know we are flexible and it is always like this.


Do you always have to put the bike together every time?
Not in Europe but when we race USGP and Brazil this time we put the bike together. Maybe next time we get a bigger box
so we only have to take the handlebars off.


How did you feel when you were told you would represent your country.
Harri: I knew this, because I am the only one that rides FIM world championship the other riders only ride FIM European races (UEM).
(At the time they were still putting together Harry's bike so he had not had a chance to ride at Aztec)



20 year old Jon Soderberg will be racing the MX3 class, his accomplishments include 9th place in the FIM European championship (UEM) and
first in the Finnish Championship

How was your flight over to the US and are you feeling the time change?
Jon: I am Tried from flight and time change. I woke up several times in the night the first night we were here but is getting better

Do you feel the effects of the high altitude.
Jon: After riding Aztec you get tired a little more than usual. But I expected it to be worse.

What were your results racing in Finland
I took 1st in Finnish Championship in MX2 and 9th in the UEM but I did not race full series because of expenses.
This is the first time racing in the US and I am looking forward to it.

Did you know you were going to get picked for the MXON team?
I had a hunch that I make it but there was another so I was not sure..
It is good we came here (Colorado Springs and Aztec) The Shodecks help us with carb setting. It would have been a catastrophe to head straight to the race.
Such a big change in the engine. (Aztecs mechanic Mark Bickford used his exhaust to further
tune the bikes for jetting. Aztec is within a few hundred feet in altitude compared to the Lakewood track)



Through a translator
24 year old Toni Eriksson will be racing the MX2 class at the MXON

Did you think you would get picked for the MXON Team
Translator: He was not sure until after the Finnish MX1 Championship, He was first place in the Finnish championship

Do you feel the effects of the time difference altitude.
Translator: He is feeling the effects of the time difference. The first time I took 3 laps I felt the difference and was a little more
exhausted than I would be at home but it got better when I rode longer.

What were your results in Finland for motocross?
Translator: He almost won all the motos in Finnish championship and took 1st place.

How did you feel when they told you that you were chosen for the team?
Translator: He was ecstatic, he was happy.

Did coming out to Aztec help?
He is feeling very good about this whole day. They (the mechanic) got the bike working much better than the beginning of the day. Also a very good warming up. He is happy and confident about racing.

What is your strategy for the race.
(Laughing) He does not really like to say. Of course he wants a good start.

How do you like your team and working with them?
Translator: Feeling good about it. Toni and Jon are good friends and live very close to each other. Harry is a great rider and he is happy about the team, very comfortable.

After the interview I found it very enlightening as to what the Europeans have to do to come to the US.
It would appear to me they have a number of obstacles to overcome and being on a smaller budget only
makes it more difficult. I think that altitude will come into effect since most Europeans live near sea level
I visited the Swiss Alps and at the top of one of the mountains they told me it was 6k feet. Colorado Springs is at
6k feet with Pikes peak reaching over 14k feet just to give it some perspective.

I respect what the Europeans have to do to come to America to race especially the smaller teams with smaller budgets.
I wish the Finnish team luck and for them to have good results with no incidents.




MXON Canadians invade Aztec Family Raceway

Location, Aztec Family Raceway, Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Canadian MXON riders roll into Colorado on Monday to prepare for the MXON race at Thunder Valley Raceway in Denver. Tues managers and mechanics set up camp at Aztec Family Raceway to prep bikes for the higher altitude of Colorado. On Wednesday riders practice with practice bikes to acclimate to the higher altitude. Kyle Keast, Kaven Benoit, and Jeremy Medaglia all were tearing it up on the track in preparation for the race on Sunday.

Factory Honda Canada rider, 25 year old Kyle Keast, took 4th place in MX1 in the Canadian nationals and was chosen to represent Canada in the 450 class. I asked him a few question about the race and coming to America.

How did you feel when you were chosen for the MXON?
Kyle: I was honored to be picked. It was a dream of mine to race the Lakewood track in Colorado after seeing some of the races there on TV.

Does the altitude seem to be affecting you?
Kyle:I have not felt it while I was practicing. That may be different at Lakewood at the end of a long moto though. But for now I feel pretty good.

What is your strategy going into the race?
Kyle: To have fun mostly. I hope to check out some of Andrew Shorts lines at Lakewood track since he has had a lot of experience there.

Do you think coming to Aztec has helped?
Kyle: Sure, it has helped me get a feel for the altitude and loosen up before the race. This track is tighter that we are use to in Canada but it was well groomed and rutted up well.


21 year old KTM factory support rider Jeremy Medaglia riding his #21 practice bike had this to say.

What class and placing did you make in your nation series?
Jeremy: I rode MX2 and placed 3rd in the point standings.

What were your feeling when you found out you were chosen for the MXON?
It was awesome. I am honored to represent my country in the MXON. It was great they chose me when they had so many riders they could choose from.

Do you feel the effects of the higher altitude here?
Jeremy: Yes a little, but did not really effect me when I was putting some hard laps in on the track. We got here Monday and have been doing some training as well so I will have some time to get use to it before the race.

What is your strategy going into the race?
Jeremy: To get a good start, be consistent and not crash. To have fun and do the best I can.

Did coming to Aztec help you?
Yes, I did not have a place to ride and this gave me the chance to get some practice laps in.





The youngest of the Canadians 20 year old Kaven Benoit is  the lone French Canadian from Quebec (the other two are English Canadians from Ontario)place 4th in MX2 in the Canadian nationals riding his factory support KTM.

How did you feel when you were picked for MXDN?
Kaven: I was honored and really wanted to race this race.

Has the altitude effected you at all?
Yes, I did feel my throat get dry during practice, more than normal. I don't think it will be a problem though.

What is your strategy going into the race
To get a good start and not crash. Be consistent, this is a team event so all of us must do well and I will do my part.

Did coming to Aztec help?
Kaven: Yes, it gave me a chance to ride at this altitude.


After meeting and talking with Jeremy, Kyle and Kaven, I came away with a feeling that this was a friendly great group of guys that are proud to represent their country. I welcome them to America and  wish them luck in the race and hope our brothers from the great white north do well without incident.


Last Updated on Friday, 31 December 2010 20:43