TEXT & PHOTOS | CMRC
As the racing resumed following a two week break for the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan, a record number of fans were treated to some of the best racing action so far this season at Round 5 at Gopher Dunes Raceway in Courtland, Ontario this past weekend. Under perfect racing conditions, the brutally rough Gopher Dunes race track lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest circuits in North America as the series reached the halfway point while moving to Eastern Canada.
2016 Gopher Dunes MX | MX1 Overall Results
After posting the fastest lap time in practice, Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha's Matt Goerke's winning streak at Gopher Dunes continued in Moto 1 when he took over the lead on lap 17 after Davi Millsaps crashed hard while under heavy pressure from the Yamaha rider. Goerke captured his second moto win of the year and looked like he was going to sweep both motos until he went down on lap 6 of Moto 2 but got back up in seventh position. Matt then put on a charge and by the end of the race and managed to work his way up to third place, giving him the overall win for the day with 1-3 moto finishes. On the podium after the race, Goerke was all smiles and said, "I made it hard on myself today, stalling the bike in the first moto and then endoing after getting into the lead in Moto 2." The Florida Native is the fastest person to ever ride Gopher Dunes and calls the track his favourite.
Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha's Brett Metcalfe took advantage of his teammate's crash in the second moto to capture his first checkered flag of the season. After inheriting the lead, Metcalfe rode a mistake-free race and managed to hang on to a comfortable lead for the rest of the moto. He registered his best overall result this year after posting 4-1 moto finishes and taking second overall on the day. During his post-race interview Brett praised the track and said, "That track kicked my ass today."
KTM Canada Thor Racing's Davi Millsaps came into Round 5 nursing some bruised ribs after crashing while practicing in California last week. After qualifying in fifth place Millsaps was leading the first moto before crashing hard and cartwheeling off the track. He managed to lose only one position until going down again, and remounted to finish third. Davi was looking a little beat up in the second moto; after getting himself into second place he was unable to put a dent in Brett Metcalfe's lead and had to settle for second. His 3-2 moto finishes put him third overall for the day, and like many riders he praised the track after the race. "That one was tough. This is one of the roughest tracks I have ever ridden."
After battling for third place with Brett Metcalfe, local favourite Honda Canada Racing Fox GDR's Colton Facciotti inherited second position after Davi Millsaps went down for the second time in the first moto. Facciotti got a poor start in Moto 2 and could only manage to work his way up to sixth after being passed by a hard charging Matt Goerke late in the moto. Colton's 2-6 finishes put him fourth overall for the day but dropped him one position in the series standings.
After qualifying second, KTM Canada Thor Racing's Kaven Benoit grabbed the lead early in the first moto and ran upfront until his teammate Davi Millsaps got by and into the lead. Benoit went down on lap 6 while running second and finished the first moto in fifth. Kaven went down again in Moto 2 while battling for the lead with Mike Alessi. After remounting, he managed to work his way into second before falling back to fourth where he finished Moto 2. His 5-4 Moto finishes put him fifth on the day and the ultra-fast MX1 rookie looked very impressive, passing some of the fastest guys in the class and setting the fastest lap of the race in both motos.
Monster Energy Alpinestar Kawasaki's Mike Alessi grabbed the Royal Distributing Holeshot in both motos but at the end of the day said that he didn't ride as well as he could of. Alessi finished 6-5 for sixth overall.
2016 Gopher Dunes MX | MX2 Overall Results
After going down in the first turn of Moto 1, KTM Canada Thor Racing's Cole Thompson came from near last position to take the moto win. On his way to the front, Thompson made a lot of passes but none as spectacular as when he got by both Mark Worth and Dylan Wright in the same corner while moving into second. In Moto 2, Cole got off to a good start. After falling behind Shawn Maffenbeier, he reeled him in and made an aggressive outside pass to take the lead on lap 13. "Tommy Gun" looked super smooth on the rough Gopher Dunes race track and had a perfect day qualifying first and going 1-1. After admitting to struggling here in the past, in his podium interview he said," I came here on Monday and did some practicing. I wanted to get some redemption and prove myself in the sand."
After getting caught up in the starting gate in the first moto, MX101 FXR Yamaha's Dylan Wright charged hard to finish third, and on the way thrilled the fans during an epic battle with eventual race winner Cole Thompson and another with Shawn Maffenbeier. The 17-year-old Canadian superstar qualified third, and after getting a better start in Moto 2 finished in third again giving him a second overall for the day, his best overall result of his career. Dylan was very happy on the podium after the second moto and said," I almost died out there a few times, and I hope to better this result next weekend."
Newcomer to the series, American rider KTM/Factory Connection/Fox's Dakota Alix looked very impressive in his debut and turned in 2-4 moto finishes to grab the last spot on the podium. After leading most of the first moto, Alix admitted to underestimating the roughness of the Gopher Dunes circuit and to having a little arm pump on the last few laps. During his post-race interview, Dakota referred to the track as an animal and said he will be lining up again next weekend.
Redemption Racing Big Steel Box KTM's Shawn Maffenbeier was another rider who went down in the first turn of Moto 1 but managed to charge back to finish fifth. Maffenbeier led most of Moto 2 before being reeled in and passed by Cole Thompson. He ended the day in fourth overall after posting 5-2 moto finishes. Shawn appears to have shaken off the heartache he suffered at Round 4, and qualified in second position before posting the fastest lap in the second moto.
Rounding out the top 5 was Monster Energy Alpinestar Kawasaki's Mark Worth who had solid 4-5 moto finishes on a brutally rough track.
MX101 FXR Yamaha's Jesse Pettis had a pair of sixth place moto finishes, and ended up sixth overall, while Honda Canada Racing Fox GDR's Jeremy Medaglia, in his first race back, made a last lap pass in Moto 1 to finish seventh. He took the Royal Distributing Holeshot in the second Moto but failed to finish the race.