TEXT & PHOTOS | CMRC
A pair of KTM riders achieved career firsts as race fans were treated to some incredible action at Round 9 of the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan at Motocross Deschambault in Quebec. The weather was perfect and the Quebec fans were out in full force, lining the fences to see their native son, KTM Canada Thor Racing's Kaven Benoit, win the first MX1 race of his career and solidify himself in the position as the best Motocross racer in the country. In the MX2 class, Benoit's teammate, Cole Thompson, took the win as well as the 2016 MX2 title, making this an extraordinary day at the racetrack for the KTM team.
KTM Canada Thor Racing's Kaven Benoit thrilled the hometown crowd grabbing the first overall win of his career after posting 2-1 moto finishes. Benoit started well in both motos and ran the entire first race in second position, finishing only one second behind his teammate, Davi Millsaps. In Moto 2, Kaven took advantage of his teammate's mistake on the opening lap and seized the lead, going wire to wire for the win and posting the fastest lap of the race. The Quebec rider in his rookie season has now become the fastest Canadian rider in the series and will be looking for another solid performance in the series finale next weekend.
It looked as though KTM Canada Thor Racing's Davi Millsaps would leave Round 9 with the MX1 title after he grabbed the Royal Distributing holeshot in the first moto and took the win, posting the fastest lap of the race in the process. All he needed in Moto 2 was to earn 3 points more than Matt Goerke to claim the title. After Millsaps took the holeshot in the second moto and capturing the Royal Distributing Triple Crown, he lost his front end on the opening lap and fell back to fourth. By lap 3 Davi was up to second but could not get close to Benoit who had checked out. Millsaps decided to back it down with the bigger picture in mind, on a track he described as very gnarly. Goerke would eventually pass Millsaps and finish third, forcing the KTM rider to wait until next weekend's race before claiming the title.
Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha's Matt Goerke went down early in Moto 1 and fell outside the top 30 before charging through the pack to finish fourth, eating a lot of roost on the way while he picked off one rider after the other. Goerke rebounded in Moto 2 after getting by Millsaps on the opening lap while Davi was on the ground. The KTM pilot passed him back before Goerke got by him again on lap 9 and finished in second. Matt's 4-2 moto scores earned him the last spot on the podium and forced the series to be decided in the final round.
Finishing inside the top 5 for the first time this season was Redemption Racing Big Steel Box KTM's Cade Clason who went 5-4 for fourth overall. Clason has had good results all year, finishing every moto and never being outside of the top 10. His fourth place result this weekend is his personal best since the talented American pilot joined the series last year. With a good result in the final round, Clade could move into the top 5 in the series standings.
Giving the partisan Quebec crowd another reason to cheer was Frenchman Yamaha/Motovan's Tim Tremblay who rounded out the top 5 with 7-5 Moto finishes. Tremblay got good starts in both motos and used his local knowledge to negotiate around the gnarly sand circuit to his best finish ever in the MX1 class.
Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha's Brett Metcalfe started well and had a strong first moto, finishing third, but was well back of the leaders. Metcalfe was again running strong in Moto 2, inside the top 5, until he crashed hard on lap 9 taking him out of the race. Parts Canada Husqvarna's Tyler Medaglia came back from first turn crashes in both Moto's, and a scary endo while running wide open on a quadruple jump to grab a pair of sixth place finishes, putting him in sixth overall for the day.
Coming into Round 9, KTM Canada Thor Racing's Cole Thompson had a huge 79 point lead in the series, which would have allowed him to cruise around in the top 10 all day and still win the championship. Instead, the talented Canadian rider finished 1-2, grabbed the overall win, his sixth of the year, and clinched his first National MX2 title with one round remaining in the series. Thompson went wire to wire for the win in Moto 1 after taking the lead on the opening lap and posted the fastest lap of the moto during lap 2. In the second moto, Cole took the lead on lap 6 and ran up front for 5 laps before being passed by Dylan Wright with 3 laps remaining. Cole Thompson was all smiles on the podium, and the champagne was flowing in the KTM pit area as the whole team joined in the celebration.
MX101 FXR Yamaha's Dylan Wright was the fastest qualifier in Deschambault and finished 4-1, on the second step of the podium for the third time this season. Wright got into a good battle during the first moto with Shawn Maffenbeier and Dakota Alix for second place before being taken wide in a turn and forced off the track. In the second moto, Dylan passed both Alix and Cole Thompson to get into the lead, posted the fastest lap, and took his third moto win of the year. On the podium Dylan said that the second Moto was probably his best one this season, and thrilled the Quebec fans when he spoke to them in French.
Coming off his first career win last weekend in Moncton, KTM/Factory Connection/Fox's Dakota Alix finished on the podium again in Round 9 after posting 2-3 moto finishes. Alix ran strong in Moto 1, getting by both Maffenbeier and Wright to finish second. He came out in the second moto and grabbed the Royal Distributing Holeshot and led for 5 laps. Dakota eventually was passed by both Wright and Thompson. After the race he said he suffered from arm pump after making some changes to the bike for the second moto.
Redemption Racing Big Steel Box KTM's Shawn Maffenbeier was fourth overall after posting 3-5 moto finishes. Shawn had a great battle with Alix and Wright in Moto 1, and then went down early in the second moto while battling to get into the top 5. Maff's top 5 finish puts him in a good position to take second overall in the MX2 class going into the last round next weekend.
Equaling the best result of his career, MX101 FXR Yamaha's Jesse Pettis rounded out the top 5 with 4-5 moto scores. Pettis got good starts in both motos and was only outside of the top 5 in either moto for one lap. Jesse has been very consistent all season and sits fifth in the series standings, and with a good result this weekend could move up a position.
Round 10, the final race of the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan, will take place next weekend, August 14th, at RJ Motosport Park in Barrie, Ontario.