At first I thought two days of back to back cross country racing would be about as much fun as a route canal. However I was greatly mistaken. Both days at Walton XC were filled with great racing and good people.
Saturday and Sunday were run as individual events so you didn’t have to ride both days if you didn’t want to. It seemed like there was a bit more of a turnout on the Saturday but the majority of racers stuck around for both days. They kept all class motos at a two hour duration. This would make it more of a sprint and definitely had more of a motocross feel to it. Walton XC would also decided the World Enduro Canada CXCC Championships so riders were giving it all they had.
Walton is one the nicest motocross facilities in Ontario and the track is iconic in the scene so having the opportunity to race on it was epic. Although the track wasn’t prepped like it would be for a motocross event, it was still fun and included the famous step down, natural double and roller section we’ve all seen on TV. Walton also offers what may be one of the best races for spectators all year since lap times are shorter and a good portion of the lap are in sight. We also had a live engine start for the first time this season which may have been a disadvantage for some that aren’t used to a gate drop.
The track on day 1 was basically an obstacle course of mud puddles. Riders would either carefully navigate around them or dive-bomb right through them! The woods sections were very slick, they offered a vast selection of lines to choose from, however only one of them was dry enough to carry speed through. These lines would get rutted fast and unearth very slippery roots that would often send you into the weeds without notice. Mud puddles were found throughout the wooded sections. If you gambled and decided to try and pass through the muck, you would risk getting stuck. The entire lap flowed nicely and was quite short so average speeds were kept high. Arrows were placed well but there was one section in the woods that sent a lot of riders off course.
Originally we expected day 2 to be running the same course only backwards. By the end of day 1 though, It seemed this may not be happening as some of the muddy trails became nearly impassable by the end of the afternoon motos. Instead the organizers decided to keep the same direction and change certain lines within the woods to change things up. Riders would end up loving this decision. A combination of traction and course familiarity would make day 2 speeds considerably faster than day 1. Day 2 would be significantly more dry and add a lot of dust into the mix.
Rumor has it that Walton may not be available to ride or race any longer after this year so it was amazing to have an opportunity to ride these events. Thank you to the folks at Walton for your efforts for this event and for everything else Walton has offered the Motocross community over the years.
Thank you as well to World Enduro Canada and Off-road Ontario for again putting on a fantastic series where we can escape our stressful weeks and enjoy ourselves on the same level the kids do!
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Take a ride for the first lap or so!