TEXT | CMRC
The long anticipated first round of the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan didn't disappoint as to the delight of the record setting crowd, the action on the track was as intense as the 36 degree temperatures (96 degrees Fahrenheit) at Whispering Pines Raceway in Kamloops, BC.
The riders' fitness levels were pushed to the limit as temperatures soared, and the brutally rough, loamy, sand based circuit turned into a chatter bumpy test for the bikes as well. After the dust settled it was a great day for the orange and black as KTMs finished on the top of the podium in both classes.
2016 Kamloops MX | MX1 Overall Results
KTM Canada Thor Racing's Davi Millsaps served notice this weekend that he is ready to battle for wins and the souvenir he wants most to take back home with him after his summer in Canada is a Rockstar Energy Drink MX1 National Championship. The multi-talented US rider took his first overall victory north of the border finishing 2-1, giving the Canadian race fans a taste of what they are in store for this summer. Millsaps kept Matt Goerke in his sights for the entire first moto and was in striking distance on the last lap until a little mistake almost sent him over the bars. In Moto 2, Davi built up a 10 second lead by lap 5 and managed to hang on for the win ahead of a hard charging Colton Facciotti.
After setting the fastest time in practice, last year's champion, Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha's Matt Goerke, grabbed the Royal Distributing Holeshot in Moto 1 and led the entire race, holding off a charging Millsaps on the last lap. In Moto 2, Goerke was fifth on lap 1 but a tip over early in the race forced him to play catch up, but once he caught up to Facciotti he was unable to get by and had to settle for a third. Matt's 1-3 finishes were good enough for second overall on the day.
Canadian hero, Honda Canada Racing Fox GDR's Colton Facciotti, got off to a good start in the first moto and was in second place behind Goerke until Millsaps got by him pushing him down to third, where he would finish the moto. Colton took the Royal Distributing Holeshot in the second moto but again was passed by Millsaps, and after falling over ten seconds behind managed to put in a late moto charge to close the gap by the end of the moto to just over a second. It was a great effort by "Colt 45" and his 3-2 finishes earned him the last spot on the podium.
KTM Canada Thor Racing Team's rookie Kaven Benoit had a good outing in his first race in the premier class finishing 6-4 for fourth overall. Kaven made a few mistakes but has to be very happy with his performance today and will take a lot of positives into Round 2. Rounding out the top 5 was Monster Energy Alpinestars Kawasaki's Mike Allesi who went 4-6 and was the only member of his team to crack the top 5 after entering Round 1 with high expectations.
Former MX1 champion, Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha's Brett Metcalfe, in his first outing with his new team, had to settle for a couple of fifth place finishes which landed him in sixth overall. Monster Energy Alpine Stars Kawasaki Team's Vince Friese, who was very fast in morning practice, struggled during both motos and ended up finishing fourteenth for the day with 7-26 moto scores. Tyler Medaglia, aboard his Parts Canada Husqvarna, also struggled this weekend ending up seventh overall after posting 8-7 moto finishes. Tyler had finished in the top 5 in each of the last 3 years here so expect the Canadian born, 2 time MX2 Champion to get back to work this week and have a better result in round 2.
2016 Kamloops MX | MX2 Overall Results
Redemption Racing Big Steel Box KTM's Shawn Maffenbeier hadn't scored an overall win since 2013 but a pair of second place finishes changed that this weekend as the rejuvenated Canadian stood on top of the podium, claiming the overall victory in his first race with his new team. After setting the fastest time in practice Maffenbeier led almost the entire first moto after passing MX101 FXR Yamaha's Dylan Wright, who had pulled the Royal Distributing Holeshot, early in the race until a broken front brake forced him back to second. In Moto 2, Shawn pulled off another good start and got into the lead before being passed by eventual race winner Cole Thompson, and then battled with the other MX 101 Yamaha rider Jess Pettis over second until Pettis was forced out with a mechanical issue.
It didn't take long for Cole Thompson to make a splash in the MX2 class. After getting a poor start in Moto 1 and charging from fourteenth position on the opening lap to finish fourth, "Tommy Gun" got off to a much better start in the second moto and passed all the principal players en route to a second moto win. Cole looked very comfortable aboard his KTM Canada Thor Racing factory machine and was well ahead of the field by the end of the moto.
Triple Effect/Strikt/Stewarts Kawasaki's Brandon Leith came into the opening round under the radar but grabbing the Royal Distributing Holeshot in the second moto helped the Salt Lake City native finish third, and together with his sixth place finish in Moto 1 was good enough to earn him the last spot on the podium. Leith took advantage of other riders' second moto misfortunes and rode a solid race to grab his first ever podium finish.
Rounding out the top 5 were Honda Canada-GDR-Fox Racing team's Jeremy Medaglia who finished 8-4 and California's Tallon La Fountaine aboard his BTO sponsored KTM who went 7-6 on the day.
One of the pre-season favorites, Monster Energy Alpine Stars Kawasaki Team's Jacob Hayes, went down in the first turn of Moto 1 when Medaglia got sideways and Hayes hit him. The American rider, in his first Canadian National, then got hit by Cole Thompson and was unable to finish the moto. Hayes did not line up in Moto 2.
After winning the first moto, MX101 FXR Yamaha's Dylan Wright jumped the gate in the second moto forcing a restart, and then crashed hard ripping off his front brake and ending up thirty first. Wright's teammate, Jess Pettis, finished third in the first moto and was running strong in Moto 2 briefly leading until suffering a mechanical breakdown while battling for second with Shawn Maffenbeier.