BTOSports.com Observations from Montreal SX

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Photos by James Lissimore

Hold up there, I know everyone is still recovering from the Motocross des Nations that took place in Lakewood, Colorado (otherwise known as the big drunk) but the racing’s not quite over yet! The 33rd annual Montreal SX took place this past weekend in the place that is most like Europe in North America, otherwise known as Montreal, Quebec, Canada!

The Montreal Supercross has been on for a long, long time. Like 33 years long! It’s the longest running motorsports event in Canada (only one year missed when a chunk of the stadium roof fell down onto the track the day before the race was going to be run. It resulted in a cancellation) and has been at the Big O Stadium since its inception. The race is a cornucopia of motorsports with dirt bikes, quads, endurocross, freestyle and in the past, buggies that raced in between and on the supercross track. I could never quite tell what the goal of the buggies was; I think they just tried to tip each other over like a turtle.

Thankfully, the buggies have been gone for a few years and the Endurocross took its place.
The track at Montreal isn’t usually a full-on supercross like an AMA race because they have some amateur racing on it during the day, quads, the Endurocross dudes and things like that so it’s more of a challenge to win than usual. This being because the top riders are all doing all the obstacles right away, there aren’t too many gnarly things out there and the guys can pick it up pretty easy. Now I’m no Gary Bailey but I can tell you that the start is the biggest factor in winning Montreal. The track is tight, the obstacles are easy, and the track gets a little rutty and sketchy.

Nick Wey was a winner the last time he raced Montreal on a Suzuki and he ventured up to Canada to try and make himself a two-time winner. I was privy to the intense negotiations between Nick and the promoters and he wasn’t able to strike a deal until the week before the race. It was that close to the Canadian fans not being graced with the NYK’s presence.

The night before the race, a bunch of us went out for dinner at a Japanese steak house. When it came time for the all-important rice selection, Wey chose the white rice and 24 hours later, he won.
The night before the race, a bunch of us went out for dinner at a Japanese steak house. When it came time for the all-important rice selection, Wey chose the white rice and 24 hours later, he won.

It was a good thing for Wey that he made a deal as he won his heat, was up front the whole main event and then pressured leader Josh Demuth into a mistake with three laps remaining to take the win. Wey skipped Friday practice as his flight got in a little late but no matter, he made the best of it in the two practices that he did get, mastered the track and more importantly, got the good start he needed.

I don’t know what Wey is going to do next year but I’d look for him to stay on Kawasaki’s. The green team likes him, they’ve said that they would back-door him help on whatever team he makes/joins and let’s face it, Wey was the biggest name there and he had to win. It’s always a good sign when you’re favored, the pressure is on you and you deliver. No matter what, where or when-a win’s a win y’know?

Early race leader Jason Thomas of the BBMX Suzuki team was certainly a surprise to me. A good friend of mine, Jason was counted out by myself and my partner Todd Kuli in the booth (I went up to Montreal and did the webcast for directmotocross.com. The archive can be found right HERE) before the race and truthfully, I must have been high. I was going off the way JT$ looked in practice as his times weren’t that good and he looked to be fighting it a bit.

And JT ordered the fried rice which we all thought was odd for such a finely tuned athlete. 24 hours later, Thomas was leading when he was struck down from "side cramps." Just sayin...
And JT ordered the fried rice which we all thought was odd for such a finely tuned athlete. 24 hours later, Thomas was leading when he was struck down from "side cramps." Just sayin...

I should’ve known that there are two things that JT is very good at. Racing in Germany and racing the Montreal SX.

And we were in Montreal.

So when he rounded the first turn in first, it all came crashing back to me. Of course I should’ve called him for the win. He’s won twice! Of course I should’ve known his practice times didn’t mean anything. His practice times always suck! He’s a racer first and foremost and once again, I proved that I’m an idiot.

Wey and Thomas went at it and in the corner before the trailer jump (two flatbed trailers put together side by side and covered in dirt. Then a single is added before it) JT would swing wide to clear it and Wey would come in on the inside. If they weren’t buddies, if this was later in the race, Wey could’ve parked the diminutive one but he couldn’t quite close the deal and Thomas would go on to lead four laps of the main before suffering from side cramps and dropping back. Eventually Thomas crossed the line in fourth and wasn’t happy with himself at all. Later on, when I told Tim Ferry that he got side cramps, Ferry remarked that his five-year old kid got side cramps from running around playing soccer. What are friends for right?

Josh Demuth raced in Canada all season for the Billy Whitley-owned Monster Energy Kawasaki team and had a surprising season. Not picked to do much, The Sheriff was really fast and without some crashes and bad luck, would’ve ended the season third in points. As it was, Demuth was fifth on the year and coming in Montreal, not much was known about how much he’d been riding. Well, despite a very late night on Friday, Demuth showed his natural talent on the bike as he blitzed through the pack, passing all the way from fifth to first and looking like he was going to win the whole shooting match. Like I said before, the dream died when he washed his front end out with three laps left while leading. Getting up but still safely in a podium spot, Demuth charged back up to second place Teddy Maier, passed him in the sand section and then promptly went down again. This was the coup de gras for Demuth and he ended up fifth on the night but oh what could have been.

Kaven Benoit won the MX2 race in true underdog fashion. He's had a great year and look for him on the official KTM Canada squad in 2011.
Kaven Benoit won the MX2 race in true underdog fashion. He's had a great year and look for him on the official KTM Canada squad in 2011.

What a couple of weeks for KTM’s Kaven Benoit. The kid from Quebec came out of nowhere this year to win a MX2 national, got picked for Team Canada’s MXDN effort and then showed up at Montreal in an underdog role. All day long Blackfoot Yamaha’s Tyler Medaglia was the fastest guy by far in the all-Canadian 250F class (we have this thing in Canada called Can-con where a certain % of Canadian actors/musicians/shows, etc, etc have to be seen or heard during an hour of radio or TV so just think of this rule as the Can-con of mx) but in the main event, Tyler made a few mistakes that allowed Kaven to lead the whole way in taking the win.

It was cool (well not so cool if you’re Tyler) because the French need a mx hero (cue Tina Turner in a Thunderdome singing “We need another hero..”) and they blew the room off the dome when he crossed the line. That was pretty cool I must say.

So Tyler Medaglia ended up second and Blackfoot Yamaha’s 450 guys (the dominant team in Canada) had a night they’d rather forget. Colton Facciotti, who managed to win every moto up there that he finished (the problem being that he KO’d himself twice which caused him to miss races) got off hard in practice over the triple when he either hit neutral or dragged his pegs up the face. It was classic step through the bars and roll the windows up. He sat out the night which is a good thing. He needs to just stay off a bike for a while.

Klatt had the sweet look going but his start was sour.
Klatt had the sweet look going but his start was sour.

The teams other hope, Dusty Klatt, certainly had the speed to win the whole she-bang. He was the fastest guy in practice and was riding a super-sick 1993 Bradshaw replica YZ450F. Everything was lining up for him to win but unfortunately, remember when I said the start was key? Yeah, well…he didn’t get it. A crash or two later and Klatt’s night was ruined. Too bad for sure but I’m sure all his pugs still love him.

Mike Brown is gnarly. We already knew that but just to confirm that he is, the ex-125 national champion showed up in Montreal to ride the Endurocross and the 450 supercross class. He was dominant all day in the EX and won that going away. He showed his versatility when, right after the EX finished, he jumped on a KTM 450SXF and scored tenth in the main event. That was a great couple of rides for the Muddy Creek Assassin (that’s the nickname bestowed on Brownie from Michelin’s Randy Richardson).

Here's Mike Brown blasting through the water, shortly after this, he lined up and jumped triples.
Here's Mike Brown blasting through the water, shortly after this, he lined up and jumped triples.

Another couple of guys that could’ve won but got bad starts and crashes- Matt Georke and Bobby Kiniry. Both guys were really fast all day but Kiniry’s fate was sealed in the heat race when he couldn’t make it into the top nine and was forced to go to the LCQ. You know what that means…bad starting gate spot and that was it for him. Georke won his heat in convincing fashion but didn’t get the start on his decal-less Yamaha.

Georke probably deserved better. Trees on a SX track? Only in Montreal folks.
Georke probably deserved better. Trees on a SX track? Only in Montreal folks.

Let’s take a look at the 450 main event standings:

1-Nick Wey
2-Teddy Maier- Teddy was superfast last year and couldn’t make the box. This year he brings it home in second and rode well all day. Glad to see it sort of pay off for the friendly Maier.
3-Troy Adams- Seriously, I have no idea how Troy got third but good job!
4-Jason Thomas
5-Phil Nicoletti- Filthy Phil was on the move early on in the 450 main but he collided with Wey and tipped over. He definitely rode great after picking his KTM 350 up.
6-Josh Demuth
7-Michael Willard
8- Jeff Gibson
9- Dusty Klatt
10-Mike Brown
11-Kyle Keast- No one who knows Keast (Canadian national #4) would ever say that supercross was his strong point but the guy was motivated by my incredible speeches and put in a good showing in the main.
12- Bobby Kiniry
13-Tony Gallo
14- Matt Georke
15- Daniel Blair
16- Ronnie Stewart
17-Justin Starling- The kid from Florida rode his first professional race and finished second in the heat. It was all downhill after that. JSR, the second best Canadian motocrosser ever and kind of the guy who runs the Montreal SX now, is a friend of Justin’s and got him in the race.
18- Freddie Karrle
19-Kaven Benoit- Benoit double-classed it!
20- Tim Trembley

That’s all I got from Montreal! Good times and I suggest that everyone head on up there to see the Montreal SX at least once in their lifetime. Email me at steve@pulpmx.com if you want to tell me all about stuff.