Brainstorm | 2018 450 Motocross Preview

By Billy Rainford

The first round of the Rockstar Triple Crown Motocross Tour is less than 2 weeks away. We already took a look at the 250 Class, so let’s have a closer look at what I think we can expect this summer in the premiere 450 Class.

These are in order of overall standings from 2017.


450 Class

#2 MATT GOERKE: Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha

#2 Matt Goerke is the 3-time and defending 450 champion. | Bigwave photo

Matt is a 3-time 450 Canadian champ. He knows what it takes to work through the long summer and get it done. He doesn’t always make things easy on himself and I think that will hurt him this summer, unless he can get his starts in check.

He’s healthy now after his wrist injury that hindered his results in the Arenacross Tour this winter, so I see him trying to show everyone that he’s back and ready to go for wins. Matt will be one of the guys up front again in 2018, but I’m not sure he’s my pick for this championship.

#377 CHRISTOPHE POURCEL:

#377 Christophe Pourcel was 2nd but is now enjoying retirement. | Bigwave photo

Christophe retired after finishing 2nd in our championship last season. He’s interested in writing a column for DMX so if anyone out there would like to sponsor such a thing…

#45 COLTON FACCIOTTI: Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing

#45 Colton Facciotti was 3rd in 2017. | Bigwave photo

I’ve always said that if Colton is racing the Canadian series, I have a hard time betting against him. I have a feeling Colton is nearing the end of his racing career and so I think he’ll be extra motivated to win the title this season. Retiring with a nice $100K cheque would really help feed his growing family!

On the other hand, if he gets out there and finds he’s not winning, he may take it easy and make it to Walton safely and take whatever place that puts him. You know he’ll be at or near the top, I’ll just wait to see which Colton shows up in Calgary and then make a prediction on him.

#800 MIKE ALESSI: Monster Energy Alpinestars Piller’s Kawasaki

#800 Mike Alessi was 4th. | Bigwave photo

Like Facciotti, Mike is in the twilight of his Pro racing career. He’s about to have his first child and that will keep him motivated for at least another summer.

Mike didn’t race Supercross this past winter and instead took the time to heal and rekindle his racing flame. Because of this, I see Mike coming out and showing everyone what’s what at round 1. Remember how fast he went there a couple years ago?!

We all know Mike has the skill to win the title, but will he finally put it all together? Many signs point to yes.

#5 TYLER MEDAGLIA: Monster Energy Alpinestars Piller’s Kawasaki

#5 Tyler Medaglia finished 5th in 2017. | Bigwave photo

Whenever Tyler throws a leg over a bike he’s competitive. He was expecting to win some races during the Arenacross portion of the Triple Crown and showed he had the speed but not the luck to get that done.

I don’t know if an overall title is in the cards for Tyler, but he will be there every weekend, keep the crowds cheering, and likely take a few moto wins and overalls.

#111 KYLE CHISHOLM:

#111 Kyle Chisholm was 6th. | Bigwave photo

Kyle finished 6th behind his teammate Medaglia last summer. He never really got going or had the results he was after and will not be returning to Canada in 2018.

#7 DILLAN EPSTEIN: Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha

#7 Dillan Epstein was 7th. | Bigwave photo

Dillan is the rider out of California who I think is ready to have a better series than he had either last summer or in the Arenacross series. He didn’t, at all, have the result we expected indoors this winter.

Dillan has had a solid training season and should be a rider who snags wins all across the country. Do I see him winning the title, probably not, but I’m sure there are lots of you out there who do. Again, we’ll have to see how his speed stacks up when we get to Calgary.

#38 TIM TREMBLAY:

#38 Tim Tremblay finished 8th. | Bigwave photo

Tim has a new ride and will be riding the eastern rounds of the Nationals. Watch for him to have some top 7 results but only doing the east won’t have him in this title hunt.

#9 CADE CLASON: Sky Racing Holeshot Motorsports Honda

#9 is Cade Clason in 2018. | Bigwave photo

Cade was forced out of FIM/AMA racing but has landed on his feet with a ride in Canada. Cade would be a title contender here if it were just a Supercross series.

Cade should have races where he’s pushing the top 5 and it would be great to see him doing that on a consistent basis. He’s always liked Hondas, so this should have him feeling very comfortable this summer.

It’s great to have Cade back in Canada. Cade is free!

#10 KEYLAN MESTON: Carlson Racing Husqvarna

10th was Keylan Meston. | Bigwave photo

Keylan Meston is always a top 10 threat. When I was out in California and saw him riding his Husqvarna I think I saw a new Keylan. He was throwing the bike around like I’ve never seen before.

I think Keylan is very happy at his new home and will have his best summer yet. If he can snag a few great starts, he will keep the top riders fighting to get around him and that will do him well in the standings.

He’s not going to win this title, but he’s going to have people noticing how good he looks on the track this summer and get his lowest number yet, or at least tie it.

#16 COLE THOMPSON: Red Bull Thor KTM Canada

#16 Cole Thompson moves back up to the 450 class in 2018. | Bigwave photo

Look out 450 class, Cole Thompson is coming! Cole was a 450 title threat when he was in the class a few years ago. He moved down to the 250 class and won the 2016 title and then they wanted him to run the #1 plate and defend in 2017.

Unfortunately, Cole broke his thumb at round 6 and was done for the summer. He’s back, healthy and ready to race the class he’s most comfortable in. That’s great news for the 250 class but not so great for the 450 class.

Cole is a rider a lot of people will have at the top of their lists to take this one home. Cole says he’s always like the big bike better and he will be at or near the front all summer.

#26 KAVEN BENOIT: Red Bull Thor KTM Canada

#26 Kaven Benoit is healthy and ready to go. | Bigwave photo

Kaven was forced out of the series after re-aggravating his injured ankle. If you saw his ride in the first moto of round 1 at Whispering Pines last spring, you know Kaven has the speed to win this title.

There were rumours Kaven was injured and out again this season, but he has confirmed that he only needed some time off the bike and will be “ready to race” in Calgary.

A healthy Kaven means there’s increased potential for the 450 champion to come from Canada.

Of course, there will be a few other riders who make intermittent appearances in the top 10, but these will be your season-long contenders.

We will see Davey Fraser, Mike Brown, Michael DaSilva, and some others in there from time to time. I also hadn’t heard back from 2018 #4 Jeremy Medaglia about his plans, but we know he’ll be a top 5 threat at any event he races. I’m sure I’m missing a few other riders who will move up to the 450 class, and I look forward to covering them this summer.

Bottom Line:

I feel this is the best chance for us to have a Canadian winning on Canadian soil in a long time. With no Davi Millsaps or Christophe Pourcel in the line-up, it’s wide open for our guys to challenge for top spot.

It’s not my place to choose a winner publicly, as I need to remain an unbiased media guy, but this one should be a dog fight right to the end, and we may all be waving the red and white flag at Walton!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the races…