Brainstorm | Rockstar Triple Crown | Abbotsford 450 Class
By Billy Rainford
Photos by John Meaney
As we headed in to round 1 of the all-new Rockstar Triple Crown series at the Abbotsford Centre in Abbotsford, BC, we were all full of excitement and anticipation of all that could be. With the highest prize ever of $100K for Canadian Motocross to be handed out in the fall, we are looking at the most highly anticipated series we’ve seen in the country. This is big.
All of the top teams came out to play and committed the extra funds necessary to expand their budget for the added Arenacross and Supercross portions of the new series. 3-time and defending Canadian champion Matt Goerke was lining up, 4-time Canadian champion Colton Facciotti was also going to throw his hat in the indoor ring again, after a rather extended hiatus. Cole Thompson has raced many AX Tour events in Canada and in the US, so we knew he’d be one of the top contenders. All that was left to do was drop the gate…
Unfortunately, Mother Nature lives in BC and she just loves rain. In fact, that area receives some of the highest rain amounts in the entire continent. It’s wet there.
For those of you who haven’t really thought of this, the dirt for these events is stored outside in a big pile somewhere. It’s not a full-time moto facility. However, there can be no excuse for leaving this particular dirt exposed in any way to these amounts of rainfall. What we were left with for round 1 was an absolute quagmire with riders and teams just trying to salvage points and have their bikes make it to the checkered flag.
I’ve always said that if Colton is in a series, I have a very hard time betting against him–he’s got the pedigree. Of course, as the old saying goes, mud is the great equalizer and anything can happen when tracks get like this.
Here’s a look at the top 10 from what was a very different night at an Arenacross.
1. #45 Colton Facciotti HON
Colton turned Pro when he was 14 and is now one of the elder-statesmen of the sport; he’s been around…been there, done that. He grew up in Aldergrove, BC (just down the road) so he knows a thing or two about riding in the mud.
A lot of people didn’t know if he would have the intensity to go after it like the youngsters on a tight, aggressive Arenacross track, but the mud sort of took all that speculation out of the equation. We’ll save that argument for rounds 2 and 3 in Calgary.
Anyway, Colton was gated on the far outside and blasted out of it like he was on the only dry patch in the building! He withstood the challenges from behind as well as the chaos of the lapped traffic, which they hit after only a couple laps.
2. #16 Cole Thompson KTM
Cole knows how to race indoors. He’s done his share of Supercross races as well as Arenacrosses. Mud is the great equalizer, but some seem to still be more comfortable than others in it.
Cole had a terrible start in his heat race but managed to push his way through and take the win. He had to be feeling pretty confident heading into the Main Event.
He was lined up on the second gate from the inside — the opposite end from Colton. He got a 3rd place start behind Colton and #5 Tyler Medaglia and ahead of #7 Dillan Epstein. As he plowed through his tearoffs, he and Tyler had a great battle for 2nd that went back and forth a few times.
Cole would close right in on Colton out front at the end of the race, but an innocent tip-over cost him any chance he had of making a last lap move for the win. He took 2nd a little ways off first place.
Surely, Cole will be looking forward to more normal conditions throughout the rest of the series where his actual indoor skills will have a chance to shine through.
3. #5 Tyler Medaglia KAW
When we all got a look at the track conditions, everyone agreed that one of the guys to watch would be the Nova Scotia resident who is willing to race hard in anything, Tyler Medaglia. Tyler excels at any form of two-wheel racing, whether it be straight-up motocross or the tight and hellish confines of a grueling GNCC. He’s done it all and somehow come out smiling. He’s just crazy enough to enjoy this stuff!
Sure enough, Tyler was solid and was in contention right from the start. Unfortunately, his bike started over-heating pretty early and started to make the arena look like a scene from the opening 30-minutes of ‘Saving Private Ryan!’ “Covery fire!!!”
He managed to keep his thirsty bike running to the end and crossed the line 3rd. Not a win, but he wasn’t pushing his bike back to the pits halfway through the main event, either.
4. #910 Carson Brown HON
Like I said in the 250 Brainstorm, Carson Brown could be the first rider who creates a similar buzz to James Stewart when you watch him ride a bike. Seriously, head over to his Instagram page and tell me I’m wrong.
After winning the 250 Main on a borrowed 2015 Honda with lots of hours on it, he lined up beside Cole Thompson near the inside of the gate. Unfortunately, he didn’t get off to a good start and found himself lost in the mess that was the middle of the pack.
He said in our interview that he actually enjoyed the conditions out there! It reminded him of ripping up his yard for hours on end in different but similar conditions. Again, check out his Instagram.
When the flag waved, he came across the line in 4th place. He’s unsure what his next move is and will go home and consider his options. Hopefully, Kourtney Lloyd and the Cycle North gang see fit to support this kid, at least to rounds 2 and 3 in Calgary and then make a decision.
All I know is that this series is better with a flashy rider like Carson in it. Stay tuned…
5. #10 Keylan Meston HSK
I really liked what I saw out of Keylan early in the day. He got out front in his heat and rode like he belonged up there, even with Colton Facciotti hot on his heals. Keylan said he wanted to compete with the top guys and he did it. We’ll have to wait and see if he can continue to do that when the conditions are more “normal” like they should be in Calgary. Good ride by Keylan.
6. #7 Dillan Epstein YAM
Dillan is a rider who expects to be up front, and so a 6th place at round 1 isn’t good for him. He got off to a decent start, up in in 4th, but stalled his Yamaha and had to play catch up. Of course, it’s a long season and he got some points in those conditions, so all is not lost. We’ll see a different rider when we get to Calgary next month, you can bet on that.
7. 2 Matt Goerke YAM
Same goes for the defending Canadian MX1 champion, Matt Goerke. He blew a clutch early in the day and didn’t look very happy out there on the track. He was dead last in the start of the main event and had to fight his way to get as many points as he could.
It was survival out there and you can be sure Matt will have something to say about this result in Calgary…he won’t be 7th. He even got sort of punted to the ground by Thompson when they came around to put the champ down a lap.
8. #3 Karl Normand KTM
I really didn’t notice Quebec racer Karl Normand out there. He’s a big, strong guy and usually thrives when it comes to the tight indoor tracks. With the conditions as they were, he wasn’t able to put his skills and aggressiveness to good use and will have to wait a few weeks to get another chance at better finishes.
9. #101 Ryan Lockhart KAW
Ryan is out there having some fun and I’m not so sure he had a whole bunch of that this past weekend. It couldn’t have been great for the 9-5’er, father and husband out there trying to mix it up with the top guys in those conditions. However, he enjoyed it enough to state that he’s planning to get himself to Calgary, so maybe he loved it out there, after all!
10. #22 Brock Leitner KAW
Brock has been steadily improving his indoor skills as he races the 250 West Supercross series down south. Surely, he was hoping to show up and prove to everyone just how much he’s been learning and improving, but nobody really got to show anybody anything last week.
Brock survived and will move on to the next round where he will hope to be further up the results sheet.
Let’s put this one behind us and move forward to what should be some great racing. See you in Cowtown.