North vs. South battle heats up in Canada

Motocross fans in Quebec can expect furious racing action at Deschambault this weekend as the CMRC Canadian Motocross Championships starts winding down its 2004 tour. With just one round left on the schedule after Deschambault, all riders in contention for a single digit national ranking know it will be the most crucial round.

The points deficit between the top four candidates in the 125 East title chase is so negligible even the pundits are reserved in their predictions as to what the final outcome will be. Only 11 points separate front runner Donnie McGourty (Richmond Racing Kawasaki) from fellow American Jim Neese (Coors Light Suzuki) who is in fourth place with 73 points.

Compared to the points spread facing the top three, however, McGourty¿s deficit over Neese seem like a major chasm. London, ON¿s Doug DeHaan (BMR Yamaha), the only Canadian in the hunt for the title, has 82 points on the books while Ohio¿s Gavin Gracyk (Richmond Racing) has 80.

¿Although it¿s nice to have a comfortable lead in the championship it definitely makes it more interesting for the race fans when the points are really tight,¿ said McGourty. ¿My Pro Circuit KX250F is running awesome and I feel great so I¿m in good shape to win this series. All I have to do is keep Doug, Gavin and Jim behind me.¿

KTM Canada¿s Chuck Mesley and BMR Yamaha¿s Ryan Lockhart, with 55 and 54 points respectively, are locked in a battle for the overall No.5 plate. Mathematically, both are still in position to launch an attack for a fourth, possibly third place finish in the series.

The remaining top ten slots in the 125 East are also totally up for grabs. With 44 points, Diablo Honda¿s Mike Treadwell, currently holding down sixth, tallies only five more than Justin Thompson (Honda) who¿s in tenth. Bainbridge, Georgia resident Shane Lusk (Blackfoot Honda) is one point down from New England¿s Treadwell while Quebec native Simon Homans (Riverside Yamaha) is two down from Lusk.

While the 250 Nationals are in firm control of Blackfoot¿s Jean Sebastien Roy, the Quebecer¿s first moto tire problems in Moncton last Sunday have given his nearest competitor and teammate Damon Huffman a glimmer of hope.

¿I¿m still looking at 35 points between myself and Jean but that is considerably less than before we got to Moncton,¿ said Huffman. ¿I know I¿m going to need some extremely good luck to overtake him but if nothing else I am confident that we will again nail down the top two positions for our team.¿

OTSFF Suzuki¿s John Dowd is the only other rider looking at realistically finishing the series with a top three ranking ¿ he counts 222 points to Huffman¿s 241 and Roy¿s 276. Best case scenario for the Massachusetts native is to reel in and pass California¿s Huffman and grab runner-up.

Coors Light Suzuki¿s Craig Decker, in fourth with 180 points, is the buffer zone between the rest of the top ten contenders. Thirty points separate the Californian from Diablo¿s Keith Johnson. Then it gets interesting again. Only one point looms between the Massachusetts native Johnson and Quebec¿s Marco Dubé (Dubé Racing Honda). Former champ Dubé for his part has only a one point advantage over multi-time champion Blair Morgan (BMR Yamaha). Morgan in turn tallies one point over Canada¿s newest motocross sensation Dusty Klatt (Blackfoot Honda).   

The remaining two top ten slots will also be fought over tooth and nail. Machine Racing/Pacific Yamaha¿s Brad Hagseth, in ninth with 126 points, has Doug DeHaan all over him. DeHaan trails the Washington native by three points. And then there¿s Simon Homans and California¿s Evan Laughridge. With 116 and 94 points respectively, both will be making last ditch efforts to wriiggle into the illustrious top ten club.

With the top ten in both classes split evenly between Canadians and Americans, one thing is certain, the 2004 season is wrapping up to be another North vs. South confrontation.

125 East ¿ 2 of 4 rounds:

  1. Donnie McGourty (Kaw) 84 pts
  2. Doug De Haan (Yam) 82
  3. Gavin Gracyk (Kaw) 80
  4. Jim Neese (Suz) 73
  5. Chuck Mesley (KTM) 55
  6. Ryan Lockhart (Yam) 54
  7. Mike Treadwell (Hon) 44
  8. Shane Lusk (Hon) 43
  9. Simon Homans (Yam) 41
  10. Justin Thompson (Hon) 39
  11. Paul Perebijnos (Hon) 35
  12. Joel Saarits (Suz) 30
  13. Ryan Gauld (KTM) 27
  14. Mike Island (Yam) 24
  15. Kyle Keast (Hon) 22

250 Nationals ¿ 6 of 8 rounds:

  1. Jean Sebastien Roy (Hon) 276 pts
  2. Damon Huffman (Hon) 241
  3. John Dowd (Suz) 222
  4. Craig Decker (Suz) 180
  5. Keith Johnson (Hon) 150
  6. Marco Dubé (Hon) 149
  7. Blair Morgan (Yam) 148
  8. Dusty Klatt (Hon) 147
  9. Brad Hagseth (Yam) 126
  10. Doug DeHaan (Yam) 123
  11. Simon Homans (Yam) 116
  12. Evan Laughridge (Kaw) 94
  13. Julian Cerny (Yam) 76
  14. Chuck Mesley (KTM) 63
  15. Mike Treadwell (Hon) 60

Media release prepared by Bull¿s Eye Media Relations