2018 Direct Motocross Awards | 8th Annual DMX-ies
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
It’s that time of year again when we dust off the tuxedos, roll out the red carpet, and broadcast the annual DMX Awards around the world on live television for millions and millions of viewers to watch live. OK, OK, maybe it’s not quite on that level, but we always enjoy handing out our annual Canadian Motocross awards.
The choices for our awards are always up for debate and that’s what makes coming up with the final list so much fun and yet challenging.
It was another great year for racing in Canada with huge changes and an increased number of races to watch and judge. We had 3 disciplines — Arenacross, Motocross, and Supercross — so this year will be a lot more work for us to pare down our winners.
Sit back and enjoy our 8th Annual DMX Awards, The DMX-ies.
Most Dominant Amateur Rider
Billy: Jake Tricco gets the easy nod for 2018. He proved he deserves to be a full-time Pro rider with good support.
Jeff: Jeremy Mckie stands out the most for me. He looked like a pro rider in the junior class.
Most Dominant Pro Rider
Billy: MX2, Jess Pettis. MX1, Indoors, Cole Thompson. Outdoors, Colton Facciotti.
Jeff: Jess Pettis was straight up the most dominant. Cole Thompson was the most consistent, but Jess was dominant.
Most Dominant Women’s Rider
Billy: Kennedy Lutz out west and Eve Brodeur in the east. This one was pretty easy.
Jeff: Eve Brodeur dominates…it’s what she does.
Feel Good Story of the Year
Billy: It was great to see Kevin Tyler and Johnny Grant’s MX101 FXR Yamaha team win the MX2 Motocross and Supercross championships with Jess Pettis. These guys showed everyone that the “little guys” can win and did! The question is, what will they do for an encore in 2019?
I actually copied and pasted that from our 2016 Awards but changed Shawn Maffenbeier to Jess Pettis. We’re hearing a few things about their replacement rider who will be fast enough to challenge for the titles. Stay tuned for more on that.
Jeff: I love that the MX101 team was able to win their 2nd straight National Championship. The little team that could! Tyler Medaglia winning his 2nd ever 450 National at Gopher Dunes 10 years after his first was pretty damn special too.
Billy: I was really impressed with how dominant Colton Facciotti was at times last season in Motocross. He’s done things like that before, but he’s no spring chicken anymore and I really thought his days of winning by 40 seconds or more were long past him. Nope, he still had a few more in him. I was surprised and impressed.
Jeff: Colton Facciotti moto 1 in Calgary. Colton looked as damn perfect as someone could on a dirtbike. The worst part was, Colt didn’t even look like he was pushing. I completely overlooked him in the pre-season predictions and he slapped me in the face with how fast and prepared he was.
Billy: How can I not pick Kaven Benoit for this one?! Just when we all thought he was poised to take over the Canadian Motocross throne, a couple of injury-ridden years put him into an early retirement. I really thought he was about to roll off a few national championships, too. You know who’s probably more bummed than we are? Kaven…or maybe JSR.
Jeff: Matt Goerke had some serious bad luck. He should be fighting for a podium every gate drop, but his bad luck didn’t let that happen. Kaven Benoit gets honorable mention for 2018. Canadian MX will surely miss Kaven in 2019 and beyond.
Billy: It always seemed like Matt Goerke was making things difficult on himself and having to charge from the back more often than he should have. He’s obviously not a bad starter, but things may have ended differently had he started out front more last season.
Jeff: I don’t want to hurt any feelings.
Billy: I don’t even remember how many he got, but I’m going to give this one to Mike Alessi. Starting from the front the majority of the time has really got to be nice. Most of us wouldn’t know.
Jeff: Mike Alessi is the greatest starter in the history of Motocross and Supercross. He’s just got it down.
Billy: As a photographer, there are some really fast riders out there who I have a hard time making look good in photos. I can never really put my finger on why, but it just happens. I won’t throw anyone under the bus on this though.
There are also a few riders out there who I really have a difficult time taking a bad photo of. I’m going to give this one to Graham Scott. No matter how poor my composition may be at times, he makes me look good. Thank you, Graham. More in 2019, please.
Jeff: Cole Thompson and his silky smooth style gets the nod.
Pro Track of the Year
Billy: This one is pretty tough for me. Tracks are good for different reasons. To be honest, I’m happy that Sand Del Lee is back on the schedule. It’s close to our nation’s capital and it has just the right combination of sand and solid. I think all the riders like it, too, so that helps.
Jeff: Sand Del Lee was the best that I attended, but from what I heard, McNabb Valley was epic.
Least Favourite Track (carefully worded!)
Billy: I don’t want to throw any track crews under the bus, so I’ll just blame it on the unpredictable weather when I pick Calgary for this one. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Wild Rose track, but something in the prep was missing this time. I’m sure they won’t let that happen again in 2019.
Jeff: I thought Calgary was pretty bad this year. I rolled into town on the Wednesday and there was zero water added until later Friday evening. It’s sad because it really could be one of the best with proper preparation.
Billy: For this one, I have to go with Gopher Dunes. No other track on our circuit causes such emotional response by the riders. Having a track the separates people like this one does s great, in my opinion.
The crew has this place ready to host a whole bunch of people and it always looks like something big is going on. No offense to any of the other tracks we hit, but this place has that mystique that is pretty hard to duplicate.
How can a track in a flat field be this legendary?
Jeff: I really love the atmosphere in Deschambault, Quebec. They have a great track, great fans, and that always equals great racing.
Billy: I really enjoy talking with every rider at the end of a long race day. Even though everyone is completely spent and ready to just head to the hotel, they’re all very open to giving us a few extra minutes.
I really enjoy talking to Dylan Wright, Shawn Maffenbeier, and Tyler Medaglia for the simple reason that they just tell it like it is. Everyone else is great, too, I just had to pick because it’s a category here.
PS I do the editing around here, and I just read Jeff’s pick. Marco Cannella is definitely a good one.
Jeff: For me this year, it has got to be Marco Cannella. This guy has style and fun on and off the track. It’s nice to get a rider that doesn’t give the same old boring “cookie cutter” interviews.
Billy: Year in, year out, Hayden Halstead proves he’s got a personality that should see him do well in whatever he decides to do after Motocross. He’s fun to interview and he seems to have a great time doing whatever it is he’s got to do.
Jeff: Once again, I’m going to go with our good friends Cade Clason and Shawn Maffenbeier. Honourable mention to Tyler Medaglia. All 3 of these guys will make you laugh non-stop.
Most Improved Rider
Billy: Well, this has definitely never happened before, but I can’t fight the urge to hand this one over to Jess Pettis for a 4th time in a row! Seriously, who would you choose? He just keeps finding ways to get better and better.
Jeff: This one is the easiest every year. For me, once again, it is Jess Pettis. Jess improved, once again, and was very dominant.
Rider of the Year
Billy: I think we have to give this one to young Jess Pettis. He’s got everyone cheering for him because he’s willing to put himself out there and chase the AMA Supercross dream. He and his family have given their all to get him to this point and he just keeps improving.
Jeff: Jess Pettis is my rider of the year. He entered the AX series late due to injury and instantly dominated. He was a beast outdoors. How does a ‘non sand guy’ go out and dominate qualifying, and both motos at Gopher?! And nobody had anything for him in Supercross. The future keeps getting brighter for Jess.
Jess Pettis is our ‘Rider of the Year.’
Billy: Well, since Kennedy Lutz has hung ’em up, I’m thinking Shelby Turner shows up and runs the table in 2019.
Jeff: Shelby Turner. She’s just so damn good!
Billy: Eve Brodeur. However, I’m thinking we’ll see a hotshot or two journey north from the USA to make it interesting.
Jeff: Eve Brodeur. Eve could win the East with a half assed effort, she is that much ahead of the game.
250 Arenacross Champion:
Billy: Tyler Medaglia. If we get a couple “weird” tracks, Tyler will thrive. I think he’s going to come out of the gate and surprise some people as a 31-year-old in the 250 class. He’s only 140 pounds and will be able to cycle more in the spring to be light and wiry and love the little bike again. It’s going to be fun.
Jeff: Jess Pettis. He’s only getting stronger. Look out 250 class!
450 Arenacross Champion:
Billy: Cole Thompson will crush the indoor game again in 2019.
Jeff: Cole Thompson will once again dominate.
250 National Champion:
Billy: To keep this interesting, I’ll pick the wily veteran Tyler Medaglia to sneak in more wins and consistent finishes to take this one home.
Jeff: Jess Pettis will be a beast on the powerful Red Bull KTM.
450 National Champion:
Billy: I think Cole Thompson is going to run the championship table in 2019. Of course, I always say I don’t bet against Colton Facciotti as long as he’s racing, but I’m doing it anyway.
Jeff: Phil Nicoletti and Colton Facciotti will fight for this right up until the final moto, but I’m giving Filthy Phil the championship.
250 Supercross Champion:
Billy: I think Jess will have the advantage in Supercross and dominate. Of course, as of this posting, we dodn’t know for sure who MX101 is picking up, so we may have to make adjustments.
Jeff: This is too easy. It will be Jess Pettis.
450 Supercross Champion:
Billy: Cole Thompson will probably win every main event in 2019, unless Montreal is a joint race and some top AMA riders come north again. Even still, the championship is his to lose.
Jeff: Cole Thompson is just too damn consistent and just awesome indoors in Canada.
250 Triple Crown Champion
Billy: I’ll go out on a limb and put my money on Tyler Medaglia to get it done next season. Why not make things interesting, right?
Jeff: Jess Pettis will win all 3 250 titles with ease.
450 Triple Crown Champion
Billy: Cole Thompson will do it again in 2019. He’s too solid a rider to bet against when we combine all 3 disciplines.
Jeff: Consistent rides in AX and SX, and dominating outdoors will give the Triple Crown to Phil Nicoletti.
Congratulations to all the winners. There are always other great choices for each award, but these are the ones we went with for 2018. Thanks for another great year of racing. We’re looking forward to doing it all over again in 2019.