Craig Decker: North of The Border, Round 5 & 6

Extreme Sports 2003 Canadian Motocross Championships Round Five and Six Race Reports from RJ Motorsport Park, Midhurst, ON and Riverglade MX Park, Moncton, NB

By Craig Decker

Wow… It’s been a busy couple of weeks! I write this race report with sweat still on my brow from all the running around I’ve been doing lately. I’ve been so busy that I didn’t get the chance to write in last week to report the racing action from Midhurst, so I’ll give you a quick recap before I dive into last weekend’s race at Riverglade. For those of you that don’t know, I am also a test rider for Team Kawasaki’s Supercross and Motocross racing programs. With the 2004 Supercross season just a few months away, we’ve already begun our testing out at Kawasaki’s Supercross track. I’ve been pulling double duty by riding Supercross during the week on two-stroke Kawasakis, and then heading up to Canada to race my Yamaha YZ450F on the weekends. Needless to say I am pretty spent!

Well, if you tune into the results from the Canadian Nationals you may already know that the last couple of weeks, last weekend in particular, haven’t exactly gone as planned. I’ve been feeling great on the bike and I am certain that my lap times are good enough to win motos, but for some reason I just haven’t been able to put it all together. RJ Motorsports Park played host to round five, and after two weekends off I was eager and ready to do battle. The weather up there was cloudy and felt a bit humid, and on Sunday it actually rained between practice and our first moto. The track was slick, rocky and pretty long. It got rougher than a lot of the tracks we’ve raced thus far, which I actually enjoyed. The rougher, more demanding tracks help to separate the competition a bit. I won my qualifier on Saturday, beating JSR, so I was pretty stoked and felt confident heading into Sunday’s action.

The rain on Sunday morning actually helped the track because it had been pretty dry. When the gate dropped for moto one I found myself in third place coming out of the first turn, right behind Damon Huffman. We quickly moved our way into first and second respectively, but JSR was on the move behind us. By about the half way point, JSR got by me and put a little bit of a gap between us. He later tipped over in a corner allowing me to close the gap on him, but he remounted quickly and was actually able to pull away again. JSR was definitely the fastest guy on the track in the first moto and proceeded to put a pass on Huff Daddy to take the lead, and eventually win the moto. We finished in that order… JSR, Huffman, and myself.

In moto two I got another pretty good start and once again sat in third place early on behind Lange and JSR. We both got by Lange and JSR started to get away again, but I wasn’t going to settle this time out. I threw down a hard charge and closed back in on him. Unfortunately a serious tank slapper left me reeling and put a pretty good scare into me. On the last lap, with only a few turns to go, I somehow kicked my bike into neutral in a corner and Huffman got by me for second. We finished in the same order as moto one, and my 3-3 moto finishes ended me in third overall for the day.

Round Six took place last weekend at the Riverglade MX Park in Moncton, NB. The track up there is hard-packed and really easy. It’s pretty one-lined as well so there wasn’t a whole lot of separation between riders, making the start that much more critical. During our qualifiers on Saturday we got rain, leaving the track really slick. When the gate dropped I pulled a mean holeshot and went on to win the moto pretty easily. Why the heck can’t I have that same luck on a Sunday? My lap times are fast and just as consistent, but I keep finding myself on the losing end of bad luck for some reason.

In the first moto on Sunday my bad luck came in the form of a first turn pile up. My jump oout of the gate wasn’t that bad but somebody went down right in front of me, leaving nowhere to go. Starting in last place I certainly had my work cut out for me. With a fast, one-lined track, I was only able to work myself up to seventh place by the end of the moto. JSR won the moto with Evan Laughridge coming in second. I spoke with Huffman after the moto. Apparently he had been leading but went down himself and ended up scrapping together a fifth place finish. When I got back to the truck I discovered that my first turn incident left me with a pretty good-sized gash in my right forearm. I taped it up for moto two but eventually ended up spending a couple of hours in the ER after the race to get stitched up. Not the way I wanted to end my day!

The second moto unfortunately didn’t go much better for me. I had a pretty poor gate and came out of the first corner outside of the top 20. I put my head down and picked off one guy at a time, ending the moto in fourth behind Huffman, JSR, and Lange. With 7-4 moto finishes I had to settle for sixth overall.

With only two races left in the series the points are getting pretty spread out, so a championship isn’t looking good at this point. In fact, if I’m not careful I’ll even be in jeopardy of losing third place in points to Lange. Regardless of the title chase getting out of reach, I am going to really focus the next two weeks to put this bad luck behind me and win some motos before this thing’s over. JSR mentioned that the track next weekend in Deschambault is really good, probably the best of the series, so I am looking forward to it. I’ll check back next week to give you the scoop from north of the border.