Last year, in his rookie professional season, Cole Thompson of Brigden, Ont., came to the Toronto Supercross showing all kinds of promise but he never got to prove it in front of his home-country crowd.
A concussion due to a hard crash during practice took Thompson out of the race that day and for the rest of the Supercross season.
He’s back in action, though, and will be looking to prove a point when the Monster Energy Supercross riders arrive to do battle at the Rogers Centre next Saturday night.
It’s tough for a Canadian privateer to compete against the Americans, but if you can do well you will get noticed and that might just get you a place on one of the big teams. This is Thompson’s dream, but also one of many other kids and the competition is tough.
“It was a real big setback because I kind of had a roll going and I was getting more comfortable with the jumping in Supercross. It was tough crashing in front of your home crowd,” said Thompson, in an interview.
With that kind of a setback, all you can do is get right back up and continue where you left off. By the time the American Outdoor MX Nationals started, Cole was ready and managed a couple of good finishes on his 450cc Honda, finishing 25th in the standings while only competing in 11 of the 24 races.
After a slow start to this year’s Monster Energy season, Thompson who is competing in the Lites East division on a Honda CRF250R, has again shown what he can do, with top 10 finishes in the last two races. With the help of his brother Kyle, who manages the team and maintains the bikes along with some other dedicated family and friends, the Thompsons hope to show that last year’s disappointing finish to the Supercross season will not be repeated.
Thompson comes from a motocross family. The youngest of five boys, he grew up at the race tracks. Oldest brother Justin had done well enough to compete for one of the top Canadian teams in the late 90s and the other brothers had varied success, but everybody noticed that Cole had something special. For all of the years Cole competed in the Canadian Amateur Nationals he accumulated more titles than anyone else in the 20-year-history of the event.
Hailing from Brigden (near Sarnia), the Thompsons took advantage of the proximity to the U.S. border and went racing in the more competitive American MX environment. So when it became time for Cole to move into the professional MX classes they did not waste any time moving their operations down south to Georgia, where he can practice year-round.
It seems to be paying off; Thompson is getting noticed and not only in the U.S. but back here in Canada. He is the favourite to lead the Canadian team at the Motocross of Nations in Germany later this year, one of the biggest events in the sport.
When the Monster Energy Supercross series rolls into the Rogers Centre next Saturday, Cole Thompson plans to show that what happened to him last year was a fluke and give the Canadian fans something to cheer about.
Two other Canadians, Nicky Beatty and John Pauk, have been trying to qualify for the Supercross races but seem to be just off the pace and are missing the cut by tenths of a second. Maybe the excitement of being at the only Canadian stop on the Monster Energy tour might give them the boost they need.
The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series will also feature top riders like Dean Wilson, Ryan Villepoto, James (Bubba) Stewart and Chad Reed. The gates will open at 12:30 p.m. for all Level 100 general admission ticket holders.
Full stadium seating will be allowed at 5:30 p.m. with the first race scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Tickets start at $125 for a total access pass. Adults can purchase tickets for $42, $25 and $15 while children aged 2-12 can get in with a Pizza Pizza Kids ticket (not valid on Gold circle $42 tickets.)
Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and also at Gate 9 at the Rogers Centre. Charge-by-phone at 1-855-985-5000 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.ca.
For more information about the event, go to www.supercrossonline.com.