Craig Decker: North of The Border, Round 7

Extreme Sports 2003 Canadian Motocross Championships Round Seven Race Report from Deschambault, QC

By Craig Decker

Seven rounds down, and one to go… This past weekend marked the seventh of eight rounds for the Canadian Nationals, and as the points race currently sits it looks as though I should finish third for the series, barring any unforeseen problems. Thus far we’ve had a fun, competitive season north of the border, and this past weekend in Quebec was no exception.

The track up in Deschambault was really fun! I am sure most of the racers would agree that it’s probably the best track of the entire series. With lap times falling near two minutes, this natural terrain circuit was wide, sandy, and featured uphills and downhills along with turns filled with rolling sand whoops. It was definitely demanding and did a great job of separating the riders. The weather, although humid, stayed pretty close to perfect the entire weekend. We did experience some rain on Saturday night and again on Sunday prior to our second moto, but the sand soaked the moisture right up, which made the dirt just about perfect. The other cool thing about racing in Quebec is that they have a really big motocross scene up there, so the crowd on hand was great, giving the event a really fun vibe.

In Saturday’s qualifier I started the moto with a third place start. While trying to get around the leaders early on, Evan Laughridge snuck past me and was able to get by them first. Once I got passed, Laughridge was out front and had pulled a small gap. I was able to reel him back in, but not before the short qualifying moto was over. Evan rode well and finished first, and I came in second close behind.

The start of moto one on Sunday saw Greg Schnell pull the holeshot and I was right on his heels in second. I got by him before lap one was complete, and continued to lead for about four laps. Huffman was coming strong, however, and got by me for the lead. The two of us stayed pretty close before Damon was able to slowly inch away. I was cruising and had a good rhythm going when I saw John Dowd closing in on me. Yep… John Dowd and teammate Keith Johnson visited the Canadian Nationals, and Dowdy looked like he felt right at home on the sandy circuit. John was going faster and put a pass on me with only three laps to go, and we finished in that order; Huffman, Dowd, and myself.

Exiting the first turn of moto two I found myself once again in the second spot, but this time behind Dowdy. I was running pretty solid behind Dowd for the first three to four laps before Huffman snuck by and took over the second spot. I stayed close and dogged him in third until about the halfway mark, at which point my bike began running really rough. Later determined to be an electrical problem, I rode as hard as I could with the bike spitting and sputtering toward the checkered flag. JSR, who was about 17 seconds back before my bike problems, was able to close the gap and got by me just before the end of the moto. The moto finished with Dowd up front, Huffman in second, JSR third, and I limped in for a forth in the moto, and also on the day.

Other than the electrical problems in the second moto, my bike worked great the entire weekend, despite the fact that the heavier four-stroke is probably not the weapon of choice on sandy tracks. I could definitely feel the extra weight by the end of each moto! All things considered, I really enjoyed the event. The track, the crowd, the weather, and the competition made for the best race of the series thus far. The final race is being held next weekend in Walton, ON, and I am still determined to bring home a victory. I raced in Walton two years ago, but heavy rains and mud cut the event down to just one moto. When dry, I’ve heard it’s another really good track, so I am looking forward to it. I’ll check in next week to give you my serries wrap up from north of the border. Stay tuned…