2017 Motocross of Nations | Team Canada Post-Race Interviews
By Billy Rainford
The 2017 Monster Energy Motocross of Nations has come and gone. This event is the biggest on the calendar and everyone wants to perform well in front of the world’s best. Team Canada MXON went in with high hopes of possibly matching or even besting their best-ever finish of 8th overall with a very strong team heading over to Matterley Basin in Winchester, England.
It rained all night before the final motos on Sunday, so conditions weren’t picture perfect. We had compiled a threesome of top-level riders who weren’t afraid of a mud race, but, as the old saying goes, anything can happen in a mud race…good or bad.
We grabbed our three riders for a quick chat at the end of the day, before the celebrations started back in the pits, after a hard weekend at the office. Here’s what our three guys had to say about the event and the team’s performance this time around.
MXGP – #28 Colton Facciotti HON
It was a little bit of a rough week. I had a practice crash during the week, and then I crashed yesterday (Saturday qualifying race), as well. I felt good. I knew I could do good in the mud and things just didn’t quite seem to work out today.
The first moto, I got a not bad start and just made a few mistakes and had a fairly good crash again. I was coming out of a corner and the bars went sideways and I went forward. I just kind of tweaked my neck a little bit. It wasn’t too bad; I knew I could line up for the second moto. It just sucks, you know…coming into the moto a little bit hurt.
The second moto start was awesome. I ripped a good one from the outside and just held it wide open around the first turn. I made a few mistakes on the first lap and then had to throw my goggles off, and then I got a rock in the eye and that was kind of the end of it for me, really. I just kind of rode around as good as I could. My eye was pretty blurry, so I did as best as I could and I’m happy with my effort. Obviously, not so much the results. I would have liked to do a lot better than that, but that’s the thing with the mud – you never know what’s gonna happen.
Tyler (Medaglia) was riding awesome and the first time I saw him coming up I kind of just let him go. I wasn’t really riding the pace that I should have been and he was riding awesome, so I kind of let him by. He went down and then I kind of let him by again, and then he went down again, and the same thing happened I think 3 or 4 times, I don’t know, it was crazy. He was going good. If only he could have kept it on 2 wheels he would have probably done a lot better. But like I said, that’s kind of how it works in the mud. It’s just unfortunate.
Anything in the top 10 is…it’s pretty stacked up there, so if you want to get in the top 10 you pretty much have to have a good moto every single moto, and we didn’t quite do that. We had a couple bad motos. Even myself, I pretty much botched both of them, so unfortunately that’s just how it goes.
13th is good for the bad motos that we had, so I’m happy with that and it’s something to build on. I want to give a big thanks to Kourtney Lloyd for putting the whole program together and all the sponsors, GDR Honda Fox, and just everybody who’s helped out tremendously this whole weekend to get us here and even the guys just helping at the races here. Thanks.
MX2 – #29 Shawn Maffenbeier YAM
I was a little bit optimistic (heading into the morning). We showed up at the track and they’d actually done a pretty good job of packing it in. We knew it was going to be muddy but they actually did a really good job with the track. I mean, it was definitely raceable, but it was super, super hard. Obviously, it would have been awesome to have it like Saturday and get some better racing in and stuff, but it was what it was.
We actually had the new Dunlop S12, I believe it is, so it’s almost like a partial 32 and their sand tire, so it actually worked pretty good.
Both motos I gave the good starting position to the 450 guys just because I knew that if one of us was able to get the start, like Colton or Tyler, if they could drag race a little bit to that first corner and put themselves around that 10th position, they would have a better chance. Obviously, being on a 250 you’re trying to drag race 450’s into the first corner in the mud and I just knew they would have a better chance.
Starting with 30th gate pick obviously wasn’t the best and you kind of shove yourself to the back. The other guys are in the same position…there were probably 10 or 15 250 guys on the outside, so we made the best of it and ya, 30-27 score.
(The first moto) was OK. Like I just said about the starts, I came around and I was probably in about like right around that 30th range. I would basically catch up to a bunch of guys and my goggles would go to crap – they would fog or they would get water in them just from the rain. I actually pulled in 3 times for goggles and they actually said to me after, they were like, “Man, you would like catch up to all these guys and then you’d pull in for a set of goggles because you couldn’t see!” I think that hurt me a little bit.
In the second moto, same thing, we kind of tried a different deal on the start. We tried to just check up a little bit and then send it down the inside to see if we could get away with it. I was basically kind of last going around the first corner because I actually caught into some other guys that were trying to do the same thing. Me and Thomas Covington, he actually kind of got squirrelly in front of me and ended up falling right on top of me, so he and I were like dead last in the opening lap and I just honestly tried to put my head down and find some good lines. Same thing as before – my goggles went to crap probably 2 or 3 laps in so I just ditched the goggles and was able to finish 27th at the end of that moto.
“You know what, maybe if I went in, got a set of goggles I could catch these guys, pass them, and then ditch my goggles.”
I think it’s (the MXON) just different, you know what I mean? I think we’re realistic in the fact that we’re not going to win it, but can we do really well? Ya, I really, truly believe that we can and there are countries every year that show that. Finishing 13th this year was really good considering some of the stuff that happened to some of us, like Colt with his dirt in the eye and then Tyler with a couple falls.
It’s just different pressure. You put a little bit of pressure on yourself but then, at the same time, you’re overseas and you’ve put in an extra month of training and you really, really want to do well for your country because you know how many people are proud of you back home. I would say that it’s a good pressure. After yesterday, honestly, my biggest goal for all of us was just to get through the qualifiers really solid and just make into the A Mains with a good gate position, and that’s what we did. With the conditions today, I think we rode to the best of our ability.
In the first moto, I would come in for goggles and I’d lose those guys and then go back out and catch them. Then the second one there was a group of us and none of us had goggles so the guy in the front of us, I think there were 3 or 4 of us, he knew that if he just kept crisscrossing across the track and roosting all of us that we would back off. There were 2 or 3 of us that did not want to give up and it’s funny because I actually…eventually they put on the pit board, “Goggles” and I’m like, “You know what, maybe if I went in, got a set of goggles I could catch these guys, pass them, and then ditch my goggles.”
I came in, got the goggles, and ended up actually throwing the goggles off like halfway through the next lap because they were messed up already, so I’m like, “Man, that sucks! I should have been up with this group!” And then, sure enough, on the last lap, one of the guys went down and the other guy actually let me by because he thought I was lapping him or something. I actually caught those guys that I was in that group with and, ya, it was just a wild race to be in.
Honestly, there were a couple times I came out of the corner and I was like, “I’ve got the drive to do this!” (about the uphill triple) I thought more guys were doing it and I came in after the first moto…no, it was the second moto because I was with Tyler, and I asked Tyler, “Tyler, did you do that uphill triple?” and he was like, “No” and I’m like, “Oh. (Laughs) Dude, you’ve got to do it this next moto, it’s easy, I did it a couple times!”
The track is wild! The jumps out there were big on a dry day, so to be doing them in the mud was like a whole other level, so I’m glad to be coming out of here on two feet.
I’m going to explore London with Robin (Hutchinson) tomorrow and then on Tuesday we head back to Kamloops and then get adjusted back to the time and get on some Arenacross tracks and I think we’re going to do the Future West (Moto) stuff. I’ll jump into that a little bit. The schedule is kind of spread out, so obviously I think December and January there’s pretty much no racing so I’ll take that off and kind of wait for what’s going to happen as far as series goes. I think everybody is kind of playing the waiting game right now. That’s the plan.
A big shout out to Kevin Tyler and Johnny (Grant) at MX101. Those guys gave me my bike to come over here but they also put a lot of time and effort into the entire thing. Same with FXR for building the awesome set of gear and building a couple extra sets to give away. It’s really cool to see all the sponsors get involved and really get on board with the effort to get to this race. It takes a lot of money and there’s a lot of people involved, Forma Boots, Mobius, Newf at 100% for taking care of the goggles all weekend, my mechanic Cale (Foster), he had his work cut out for him this whole entire week in the mud and stuff. There are so many people that help out the program and just thank you guys for just making it happen, and thank you to my teammates for supporting me, Kourtney (Lloyd) for putting together the program. It’s been an awesome year and I’m pumped to finish it out the way we did.
Open Class – #30 Tyler Medaglia HON
(The weather) was pretty much forecasted for a week and it was funny because we were joking on our phones and everything that it said, “100% chance of rain” on Tuesday, so were were kind of expecting it. It was probably 115% by the time we got to the day of!
No, it was all right. It wasn’t too bad when you were riding. It was just technical, like long, deep ruts but then there were some shiny spots so we were running the sand tire and I’m light and it was actually better for me – the bike was working better. Some spots I could feel it spin where it was shiny but it was pretty gnarly, just the huge jumps and…ya, it was good.
The first moto was good. I got a mid-pack start and if you’re not in the front on the first lap you lose so much time because you can’t see. Every time somebody roosts you it completely plugs your goggles. It was really spread out right away. I had to work my way through some traffic and I had a battle going with Tommy Searle for most of the race and Jeremy Seewer kept passing me and crashing and passing me and crashing…kind of what I did in the 2nd moto.
I had a battle with those guys and I knew Tommy Searle was right behind me because I could hear the air horns going the entire way around the track, so I was like, “Aw, man!” I knew he was right there. And (Jeffrey) Herlings was coming on the last lap, so we saw the blue flag and I kind of wanted to get out of the way because I didn’t know if there was a battle for the lead going on and it was so close to the finish that the last thing I wanted to do was affect the outcome of the race on the very last lap!
I moved a bit and Herlings goes by and Searle is like an inch from his rear tire in the same line and snags it right by me! And then a couple corners later was the finish, so I was kind of bummed on that because I was in 15th. I was in 14th most of that moto and then lost a couple spots on the last like 2 laps. That kind of pissed me off. But it was good. The bike was actually working good and I felt good.
“This isn’t a track for pussies, that’s for sure, or beginners. There are some people I know that wouldn’t even be able to roll around that track. It’s unreal.”
(The second moto) was interesting, to say the least. I finally got a good jump off that grid stuff but…Colton figured it, everybody figured it out, and moved his holeshot device really low. Mine is low but I should have moved it lower because I got a good jump out of the gate and then, as soon as it dropped off, my holeshot button unclicked and then my front end wheelied and we went down a hill. That’s why my starts were sub-par but still mid-pack.
Colt gave me the good gate pick because I had a good result in the first one. Ya, so mid-pack start and then on the 2nd lap I was moving forward, I was in a good position, and I had a pretty big get-off. There was like a single -to-table and on the inside there was a big hump and I hit it and as soon as I landed on the tabletop my front end washed out and I pile drove myself into the roller in the corner. So it was a bit of a bummer.
I went back and charged up again and made a bunch of passes and fell again. And then I’m like, “Man, please, I hope I don’t see Colt back here!” And then I was coming back through and I see Colt is right in front of me and I was like, “Oh, man!” And then I came up, he let me go by and then I was catching up to another group, made a bunch of passes and me and this guy got together in this one rut that kind of joined and I went down. And then a bunch of guys passed me again, I picked it up and kept going.
The last 4 laps, I had some good lap times and I was charging. One of the guys, (Jeremy) Van Horebeek, lapped me and I just stayed right in behind him for the last couple laps and it actually brought me back up and I made a couple more passes right before the finish. It was all right.
(Getting lapped) is obviously demoralizing, but at the same time, I’m a realist and realistically I could have easily been on the lead lap in both motos. I had the speed today. The second moto, I crashed so many times I wasn’t surprised.
The first one was such a gong show off the start that Herlings lapped me on the very last lap. Like I said earlier, if you get out front, especially in those conditions…like, if it was dry, I feel like me and Colton and Maff would all be on the lead lap. This kind of shit separates everybody really quickly. But it doesn’t really bother me. I mean, Dean Ferris got lapped. Really great riders get lapped…Jeremy Seewer got 3rd in one of the qualifiers and he was one position in front of me and he got lapped, you know what I mean? So, there are world class riders getting lapped so it’s not that big of a deal. It happens all over the place. It’s just positioning off the start.
That was my only downfall I think this weekend, other than crashing in the second moto, was my starts on that grid stuff. I just didn’t know what I was doing, really. I tried everything I could but…it’s like full traction.
Romain Febvre started beside me, to the left of me in the second moto, and his fender was almost touching the front wheel. His forks were bottomed out. It was unreal! And we come out of the gate, and I probably had a better jump than him but his front end stayed low and he just drove down.
It was good…it was tough, you know what I mean? This kind of racing is…these guys go for it, it doesn’t matter. And the jumps were…we’re doing these 80-foot jumps with Supercross kickers and there are ruts like 20 feet before it. So, you pick a rut and you’re going for it! There’s no turning back. This isn’t a track for pussies, that’s for sure, or beginners. There are some people I know that wouldn’t even be able to roll around that track. It’s unreal. You’ve just got to pin it and take your balls out.
I think with just a little bit better circumstances…we kind of had some bad breaks, but, I mean, we all tried hard, there’s no doubt there – nobody quit. 13th is whatever. It was better than what we qualified. I’m stoked that I was able to have at least one good moto and get in some battles with some different riders that I don’t usually ride with. That was pretty cool.
All the support we had with Kourtney and Sascha and the whole team that we were with, Newf (Ryan Lockhart) was here from Atlas helping clean my stuff…Chris Alldredge was here helping the team the whole time, like washing our boots…he’s not lazy, that’s for sure! He was getting stuff done. And Kibby (Pollack) is brown right now from head to toe. He’s literally fully brown! It almost looks like he was mud sliding. That kind of cracks me up. Everybody’s shirt and coat is like kind of a little bit dirty, but Kibby’s looks like he was out there racing, it was sweet.
I think I might do the very last GNCC at Ironman MX. That’s what I’d like to do because I’ve been riding off-road lately. I’d like to have a go at that with my RX. There’s talk of maybe doing the last round of Endurocross with (Steve) Matthes. There are a few things in the works, but honestly I’d like to just go home and hang out with the kids and take a little bit of time off. Hockey is going to start here soon too so I’m pretty stoked on that.
I’d like to thank everybody that helped us out. This whole experience was huge and everybody works hard. There’s nobody that’s lazy. We got spoiled, really. So, everybody that was here and part of Team Canada and cheering us on and everybody that followed the race and I hope we made you guys proud and know that we tried our butts off.