Stouffville, ON, Canada (6/8/05) ¿ After winning both motos of the125cc MX2 West class at a rain soaked opening round of the CMRC Canadian Motocross Championships in Mission, BC last Sunday, current champion Dusty Klatt will resume defence of his title at The Wastelands this weekend in Nanaimo.
The Campbell River, BC native will have home track advantage as he takes on the best 125cc Pro riders from Canada. He handily won both motos in Nanaimo last year and is odds-on-favourite to repeat as winner this weekend.
¿I always look forward to racing in front of my friends and family at The Wastelands,¿ said Klatt. ¿I just hope we¿re going to be spared the rain and mud we had in Mission. It will make for much tighter racing.¿
Among the series favourites in addition to Klatt are fellow BC natives Colton Facciotti and Kyle Beaton. Aldergrove¿s Facciotti finished fourth in the ¿04 MX2 West points chase. Surrey¿s Beaton chalked up a No.6 ranking, something he is bound to improve on this season.
At Mission Raceway 16-year-old Beaton, who rides for the Yamaha Canada factory team, finished second overall on the strength of 2-2 moto results. While running up front, Facciotti crashed in the first moto, relegating him to an 11th place at the checkered flag. The Richmond Racing/Kawasaki Canada rider rebounded in the second moto to finish third. He carded fifth overall for the day.
Klatt will also have to fend off a contingent of Americans including Kevin Johnson (Team Faith Yamaha); Jeff Northrop (Richmond Racing/Kawasaki Canada); Shane Bess (Pacific Yamaha) and Eric Vallejo (Morgan Racing Yamaha), if he wants to stay ahead of the game in the title hunt.
Johnson, who made his Canadian racing debut in Mission, is expected to be one of the top American contenders in the MX2 West series. He completed the podium at Mission Raceway with a third place overall finish.
Northrop, runner-up in the ¿05 American Arenacross Championship, had a disappointing season in the ¿04 MX2 West title hunt, finishing with a No.10 ranking. The California native¿s best performance in the series was at The Wastelands, where he carded third overall.
Klatt¿s Team Honda Canada Blackfoot Fox Racing teammate Jean Sebastien Roy ¿ winner of both MX1 motos at Mission Raceway ¿ will continue his quest to nail down five consecutive championship titles in the premier 250cc class. Canadian motocross pundits have no doubt the Quebec native will succeed.
¿When I returned to race in Canada from the States in 2001 I was under a lot of pressure to win the 250 Championship, and it was a tough year,¿ said Roy. ¿After that winning didn¿t come any easier but it has been a lot more fun for me.¿
JSR, who like Klatt won both motos at The Wastelands in ¿04, will be facing the likes of Canadian motocross heavyweights Blair Morgan of Prince Albert, SK (Morgan Racing Yamaha); London, ON¿s Doug DeHaan (Team Yamaha Motor Canada); Sherbrooke, QC¿s Simon Homans (Team Yamaha Motor Canada) and Springhill, NS¿s Ryan Lockhart (Richmond Racing/Kawasaki Canada).
Among the American invaders looking to dethrone Roy are ¿03 MX2 West Champion Evan Laughridge (Richmond Racing/Kawasaki Canada); Keith Johnson (Team Suzuki OTSFF Racing); Craig Decker (Morgan Racing Suzuki); Brad Hagseth (Team Yamaha Motor Canada); Gavin Gracyk (Team Suzuki OTSFF Racing) and Ryan Huffman (Team Honda Canada Blackfoot Fox Racing).
Huffman, who carded eighth overall last weekend, was runner up in the MX1 Championship in ¿03 and ¿04. He was the only rider besides JSR to win a national round last season.
Racing action gets underway with qualifying motos on Saturday, June 11th. The first moto of the MX2 West Championship starts at 11:00AM, Sunday, June 12th.