Canadian MX: A Slam-Dunk for Willard in MX2 East Thriller ¿ JSR Repeats as MX1 Champ

Ste-Julie, QC (8/14/05) ¿ KTM Canada¿s Michael Willard claimed the MX2 East Championship at the final round of the points chase in Ste-Julie, QC on Sunday with a convincing double moto win, presenting KTM their first National Canadian Motocross Championship. Willard came into the ultimate showdown of the four-round title hunt trailing series leader Kyle Chisholm by eight points. When all was said and done he put a point deficit on Chisholm to win the championship.

Willard, who becomes the fourth American to win the MX2 East title since its inauguration in 2000, grabbed the start he needed in the first moto to take an early lead. He then took that position unchallenged to the finish line, gapping his pursuers in the process. Richmond Racing Kawasaki mounted Chisholm put forth a valiant effort to keep the championship in the Kawasaki camp for another year by working his way from a mid-pack start to grab second place at the checkered. 

In Moto 2, Willard was third off the start behind his KTM teammate Matt Barnes and Chisholm. Barnes led the pack for a while but was passed by Chisholm, who needed to win the moto in order to snare the title. In a thriller of a moto that had Team KTM holding their breath for the entire race, Willard first disposed of Barnes to then gradually reel in Chisholm who had banked a bit of a lead. In the final laps, Willard stuck a pass on his rival cutting to the inside of Chisholm when he lost contact with his footpegs on a rutted downhill section.

¿I knew I had to stay focused on the race and not think about the championship being at stake. That would have been too much pressure,¿ said Willard. ¿I just kept on reeling in Kyle and I saw my opportunity to pass him when he ran into a bit of trouble. I¿m really happy with the outcome of the championship and proud that I won it for KTM. The team really deserves the championship. They really worked hard for this.¿ 

For Mitch Cooke, who was second in the standings after three rounds, trailing Chisholm by seven points, the dream of winning the championship came to an end on lap one of the first moto. Despite getting a great start Cooke went down when he and his Honda Canada Blackfoot Fox Racing teammate Chad Charbonneau ran into each other, while running with the front of the pack. Cooke remounted dead last, nearly a lap down, to claw his way through the field and finish 11th at the flag.

In the second moto, Cooke, the only Canadian in contention for the title, got a fifth place start which he converted into a third place finish behind Chisholm and Willard. The Atlantic Canada native concluded the series with a third place ranking.

In the MX1 Championship, defending champion Jean Sebastien Roy reconfirmed his superstar status by clinching his fifth consecutive title for Team Honda Blackfoot Fox. Despite severely bruised ribs, sustained during practice on Saturday, which put his participation for Sunday¿s race in question, JSR nailed down his seventh overall victory of the season on the strength of 2-1 motos.

¿After crashing yesterday I knew I was in trouble because my ribs were hurting bad, I was scared that I might have broken one or two and I didn’t know if would be able to race today,” said Roy. “Luckily there was nothing broken and I was able to start today. I wasn’t sure if I could wrap up the title, though. I’m glad to say that that was the case. It feels great to have made it five in a row. Without a great team like Blackfoot behind me and great bikes to ride like Honda, I’m not sure if that would have been possible.¿

In Moto 1, Team Suzuki OTSFF Motorsports¿ Keith Johnson snared the holeshot to basically run away with the race right to the finish line. Johnson first held off his teammate Gavin Gracyk, and towards the end second place finisher JSR, who had gotten a lacklustre start. JSR and Gracyk swapped positioons in a nail-biting duel that lasted a number of laps before JSR finally stuck a pass on the American.

In the second moto, Gracyk got the holeshot but his lead position was taken over by JSR¿s teammate Dusty Klatt early on the first lap. JSR got a much better start this time, rounding turn one in fifth. Klatt, who repeated as MX2 West Champion earlier in the season, led for half the race but had to concede that position to a strong running JSR. Klatt managed to keep a pesky Gracyk at bay to follow JSR across the finish line in second place On the strength of 9-2 motos Klatt carded fourth overall for the day.

Johnson, meanwhile, was unable to do much better than the fifth place he started in when the gate dropped for Moto 2. He eventually finished fourth, which with his first moto win saw him take second overall. Gracyk, on the strength of 3-3 motos, further put Suzuki in the limelight by taking third overall.

Results: Round 4 MX2 East Championshi

  1. Michael Willard 1-1
  2. Kyle Chisholm 2-2
  3. Matt Barnes 4-4
  4. Derrick Fisher 5-5
  5. Mitch Cooke 11-3
  6. Jay Burke 7-6
  7. Trevor Hall 10-9
  8. Johnny Montes 13-7
  9. Ryan Lockhart 3-DNF
  10. Clint Shealy 9-14

Top 10 MX2 East Standings (Final)

  1. Michael Willard (KTM) 176 pts
  2. Kyle Chisholm (Kaw) 175
  3. Mitch Cooke (Hon) 156
  4. Chad Charbonneau (Hon) 113
  5. Matt Barnes (KTM) 102
  6. Kyle Keast (Hon) 101
  7. Jay Burke (Hon) 99
  8. Doug DeHaan (Yam) 74
  9. Ryan Lockhart (Kaw) 70
  10. Pierce Chamberlain (KTM) 62

Results: Round 8 MX1 Championship

  1. Jean Sebastien Roy 2-1
  2. Keith Johnson 1-4
  3. Gavin Gracyk 3-3
  4. Dust Klatt 9-2
  5. Shane Bess 10-5
  6. Craig Decker 7-8
  7. Blair Morgan 4-14
  8. Simon Homans 13-6
  9. Doug DeHaan 12-9
  10. Damon Huffman 6-16