Craig Decker: North of the Border, Round 3

Extreme Sports 2003 Canadian Motocross Championships
Round Three Race Report from Wild Rose MX Park, Calgary, AB

By: Craig Decker

I’d like to start this week by thanking all of you readers who prayed for a stoppage in the rainfall this past week in Calgary. Originally the forecast was for more rain, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the weather was great all weekend. It was sunny and hot with temperatures in the 80s. The great weather brought out plenty of spectators as well. It was by far the best turnout we¿ve had thus far.

The Wild Rose track in Calgary was great! In fact, it was the best we¿ve raced so far this season. It¿s a longer, faster lap with more jumps and technical obstacles. The dirt there is fairly hard-packed and with the little bit of breeze that we got, fairly slick as well. To keep the dust down the track crew was forced to water quite a bit. At times¿ I¿d even say a bit too much. The second moto on Sunday got pretty wet and greasy, making certain sections trickier than normal. All-in-all it was a really good track and I felt great on it all weekend. The location of the facility is pretty unique as well. It sits pretty much right in the city of Calgary, with views of the city and its buildings. This is pretty rare for an outdoor circuit so it was a nice change. One of the buildings that can be seen from the track is the Blackfoot Honda facility. With that in plain view, I knew that the Blackfoot guys would be tough all weekend.

My qualifying on Saturday went exactly like I¿d hoped. When the gate dropped I got my Yamaha Canada/Blair Morgan Racing YZ450 out front with a holeshot and led wire-to-wire. I was able to stay in front of Jean Sebastian Roy (JSR), the current points leader, and won the moto without too much difficulty. Roy came in behind me for second and fellow American Greg Schnell came in third. The second qualifier saw Evan Laughridge take the win with Dube and Huffman close behind. I left the track on Saturday feeling great! Everything seemed to be clicking and I had plenty of confidence going into Sunday¿s motos.

I woke-up Sunday morning ready to race. The skies were still blue and I felt great. When the gate dropped for moto one, JSR pulled the holeshot with Damon Huffman in second. I came out of the first turn right around seventh or eighth place, but by lap two or three I had moved into third behind Huffman. I was feeling great on the bike and put a pass on Huffman before letting too much time slip by. I started to get away a bit, but made a mistake in a tricky section and ran my YZ450 off the track, letting Huffman get back by. I quickly got back on the track and set out after Damon again. I was able to put another pass on him and got back by for the second time in the moto. Meanwhile, JSR was riding great up front and began checking out. With only two laps to go, however, I made the same mistake that I made last week¿ I stalled my bike. I am not sure exactly what happened. It was a tight left hand corner and before I knew it, I was kicking my bike over as Huffman went back by. The moto ended and we finished in that order; JSR, Huffman, and me.

I was really disappointed in myself after moto one because I really felt that I had the speed to challenge Roy. After riding off of the track and then stalling my bike, there was no making up the lost time.

The start of moto two definitely added to my disappointment. The starter held the gate for what felt like an eternity, and when it finally dropped, I got a terrible jump. I came out of the first turn in about 18th place. With my work cut out for me, I started picking off guys one at a time. The track was pretty slick and greasy at that point, making it difficult to be aggressive. I rode hard though and eventually moved into third place on tthe final lap. Up front Huffman pulled a good lead early and held off JSR for the win. My 3-3 was good enough for third overall with Huffman taking the win with a 2-1, and JSR taking second with a 1-2.

Once again a few critical mistakes on my part kept me off the top block on the podium. I am feeling really good though, and I know that I have the speed to win. I am going to really concentrate next weekend at Moto Valley Raceway in Regina, SK to eliminate the mistakes, and bring home the win. Roy is sitting on a pretty comfortable points lead at this point, so there¿s no time to waste. With guys like Huffman picking up the pace, hopefully we can mix up the points a bit and get back up into contention for the championship.

I¿ll check back in next week to keep you informed on the racing action north of the border. Until then¿ have a great week and go ride!