The end of the 2022 Flat Track Canada season had to sting for Tyler Seguin. A contender all season long in a championship battle with Dave Pouliot, Seguin went into the final race of the year feeling confident that finally that elusive first Flat Track Canada Open Expert Championship could be his. Despite being down a few points going into the final race, things seemed to be lining up for Seguin as the series headed into the final event of the 2022 schedule. With the race being held at Humberstone Speedway, the track was close to home so there would be a legion of fans cheering Seguin on. Perhaps the biggest confidence factor for Seguin was the track surface itself. Humberstone is a clay stock car track and not only did Seguin have much more experience than Pouliot on clay, but it was also no secret that Pouliot had an absolute dislike for clay tracks. So, going into the final round Seguin had a plan, and hopefully when that plan played out, he would be the 2022 National Champion. That night Seguin executed the first part of the plan perfectly, leading the race almost start to finish to take the much-needed victory. What wasn’t part of the plan was an inspired ride by Pouliot to finish just behind Seguin in second. When the final points were tallied Pouliot had taken the title by one point. Or in Seguin’s eyes, Seguin had lost the title by one point. Just one point.
Despite the initial hurt of losing the title by such a slim margin, Seguin almost immediately set his sights on the 2023 season with the hopes of not feeling that sting once again. To start with he renewed his partnership with Chris and George Evans, which not only ensured he had some top notch bikes to ride, but it also gave decades of experience to lean on when needed. Seguin also started entering motocross events which not only provided valuable seat time, but also helped build stamina and endurance which becomes important in a 20 lap flat track race when the track becomes rough. Seguin also set up a gym in his garage, started doing lots of biking, and for the most part quit drinking other than the odd beer after hockey. Long story short, heading into 2023, Seguin was in the best shape of his career.
Seguin’s march toward a potential title in 2023 didn’t quite start as planned. With the opening race of the season at Welland County Speedway, a place where Seguin has won many races in the past, big things were expected when the lights flashed green on opening night. When the dust had settled and Seguin ended up with a sixth place finish, he knew he had his work cut out for him if he hoped to avoid the disappointment of last year.
Next round of the season was in Wheatley, and this was perhaps the first turning point in Seguin’s campaign. With his better half Jenna at home waiting to deliver the couple’s first child, Seguin wasn’t even sure that he was going to attend the Wheatley race. At the last minute on race day, he piled into a pickup with his dad Rich (with Jenna’s blessing no doubt), and made the drive to the track hoping that he would have a good race but more importantly hoping he wouldn’t miss the birth of his child. Seguin was unbeatable that day, taking the victory in both the Open Expert final as well as the DTX Expert race as well. More importantly the plan was coming together, as title contender Dustin Brown finished third in that race and son Reid was kind enough to wait five more days before making his first appearance.
If Seguin needed any more motivation for 2023 it might have been provided by Brown himself at the following round at Flamboro Downs. Brown took the victory in that race with Seguin finishing in second, but it was in the post-race interviews where the gauntlet was laid down by Brown. After the convincing victory at Flamboro, Brown was asked about his chances of finishing at the top of the standings come season’s end. His simple response, “We’ve got this”, was all the prodding Seguin needed to work even harder, hitting the gym in the garage the next morning as those words played over and over in his head. The motivation seemed to work, and other than a slight hiccup at the round in Quebec, Seguin would finish ahead of Brown in every other race.
Coming into the final event of the season at Humberstone once again, Seguin had one goal in mind, beat Dustin Brown and the championship would be his. Despite the drama of a couple of restarts in the final, Seguin left little to chance, leading every lap of the race in a dominating performance on his Evans Racing limited edition Factory HRC CRF 450. After debating sitting out the DTX final in order to concentrate on the Open Expert race, Seguin decided to run the DTX race and a third place finish would be enough to give him the title in that class by one point over Brown. That’s right. Just one point! Talking to Seguin over a victory beverage late in the night, he admitted that this was the first time he had felt a bit tipsy in well over a year. I guess even a champion deserves a night off the training regimen once every year or so.
With two titles and the birth of his son, 2023 has been quite the year for Seguin. One of the high points would have to be his victory at Ohsweken Speedway where he was joined in victory lane not only by Jenna and Reid, but by his brother Brandon who finished third in that race. Although proud of his accomplishments Seguin is the first to admit that he couldn’t have done it by himself. He is quick to thank Jenna and the rest of his family as well as Evans Racing, Parts Canada, Performance ATV and Leisure, FT Telecom, and Choppers Custom.
Seguin had a goal of taking the title in 2023 and that has been checked off the list. Now the plan is to pull off the repeat in 2024 which means once again lots of time dedicated to training and hard work. For Seguin, the 2024 season starts now!
- From Todd Vallee