McThoughts: 2016 Rockstar MX Nationals|MX2 Preview
By Jeff McConkey
The MX2 Class (250cc) this season in Canada has a great mixture of veterans, rookies, and guys ready to establish themselves. Two-time defending champion, #11 Kaven Benoit, has parked his trusty 2-stroke and moved to the 450 class. That means teammate #4 Cole Thompson will drop down and lead the way for the orange bikes. GDR Fox Honda will once again put their championship hopes in the #14 of Jeremy Medaglia. Jeremy has changed up some things in his program and will no doubt be there for all 20 motos. #15 Shawn Maffenbeier is the 3rd guy I think we will see in this championship fight. He finally looks to be healthy going into round 1, so that could be the difference. It will be a great season, so let’s see my thoughts.
#4 Cole Thompson: Cole is the strong favourite by most going in. He’s on a great team and a great bike. He finished 4th o/a in 2015 in the MX1 class and drops down to the MX2 class for 2016. In my opinion, Cole will be very strong everywhere, and very hard to beat. He’s coming off a not-so-hot SX season, and I’m sure he will come out swinging at Round 1. I think Cole will split the majority of the overalls with Medaglia, but finish a close 2nd in the championship.
#12 Jimmy Decotis: Jimmy will not be returning for 2016.
#14 Jeremy Medaglia: Will 2016 finally be Jeremy’s year? I believe so. Everything has to align perfectly for Jer to be at his best. Unfortunately for everyone else, I think Jeremy has the total package for 2016. He has a familiar team and a great bike. He’s back in his familiar Fox gear, and finally got his wish and has his very close friend ‘Mike’ (Adam Turner) wrenching for him. Jeremy won’t dominate, but he will be on the box every weekend.
#15 Shawn Maffenbeier: I like that Shawn is going into round 1 healthy. He looks good on his new Redemption Racing KTM, and he will be there every moto fighting for podiums. His consistency will keep him in the fight all season long. I see him winning a moto or 2, along with at least one overall.
#16 Blake Savage: Blake will not be returning for 2016.
#17 Dylan Wright: Dylan spent the majority of his off-season in California this year. I’m expecting that we will see the best Dylan yet. He will be very fit and very fast. I see him leading some and landing on the podium all season long. A moto win or 2 is very possible.
#18 Brad Nauditt: Brad is back on his trusty Honda’s, so you expect him to get the most holeshots out of the class. He will lead some laps and should be good for 2-3 podiums.
#20 Jess Pettis: Jess had a breakout year in 2015, and don’t look for him to stop now. After seeing Jess early on in the pre-season, he looks stronger and ready for all 10 rounds. I think training with Colton Facciotti will make a huge impact and he will be around the top all season long.
#23 Dustin Creson: At this time, I’m not sure if Dustin will be back. If he does return, you can expect some top 10 rides as he has a year of Canadian racing under his belt. I’d like to see him get better starts and see if he can run with the top guys for a few laps.
#24 Marcus Nilsen: Marcus has been racing some Arenacross this past winter. I think a year of racing our tracks has helped him, and he will be able to move up the standings.
#25 Seth Rarick: I don’t think we will see Seth this season.
#29 Jeremy Pronovost: Jeremy will be back on his trusty 2-stroke. We can expect good starts, and a run at the top 5 at Dechambault.
#34 Westen Wrozyna: Westen has that ‘WOW’ factor when you watch him ride. He has changed colours and will now be riding green. He looked very fast in the pre-season, it will just depend how good his equipment is, and if it can hold up.
#35 Hayden Halstead: Mr. Logistics will now be riding for MX101 and driving the truck to and from the races. I haven’t seen Hayden on a 250f yet, but you can count on him to be well inside the top 10 when we hit the sand.
#36 Davey Fraser: Davey will be piloting a Husqvarna 250 2-stroke, so you know his starts will be on point. I just hope we see the fist pump again after his holeshots.
#42 Jean-Christophe Bujold: Our fastest Intermediate racer from 2015, Bujold, will be the guy that has you looking in your program to see who #42 is. I expect big things from J.C. so keep an eye on the young Frenchman.
#50 Alex Jeffery: This will be the first season for Alex on a 4-stroke. I think it will benefit him and we will see him with some good rides.
#52 Vincent Lauzon: Vincent is another rider who is going from a 2-stroke to a 4-stroke. He looked good early in the pre-season so I expect to see him lower his number this season.
#59 Joey Crown: No word on whether we will see Joey this season, but if the #59 shows up, you can expect an instant front-runner. (Editor’s note: After speaking with him at Motopark, Joey hopes to make an appearance at a round or two in the east.)
#76 Guillaume St-Cyr: After contesting the East last season, watch for St-Cyr to look more at home and scoring some solid moto finishes.
#79 Tommy Dallaire: Tommy enters his first pro season in 2016. This guy has the best style going. I look forward to watching his smooth scrubbing style on the way to some top 15 rides.
#100 Jacob Hayes: The big question mark of the series. Jacob is a huge indoor talent. I honestly don’t know what to expect outdoors. He’s a true professional, so you can expect he will be ready to go 10 rounds. I personally see him just outside the top 5, but I’m usually wrong. He will definitely battle Nauditt for the most holeshots.
Only time will tell. See you at the races…