McThoughts | Sand Del Lee – 450 Class

By Jeff McConkey

Photos by Bigwave

Just when you think there is a guy ready to go on a tear in the 450 class, somebody else steps up. First it was Colton Facciotti, then it was Kaven Benoit, and now it is Colton again. And all the while, Matt Goerke has been very good, along with Tyler Medaglia.

I don’t think we have ever had the depth like this in the 450 class, and it is very nice. There are so many guys that could have a great day and end up fighting for a podium, and maybe even a win. Now that we are East, the tracks are going to be much rougher, the weather is going to be way hotter and every point counts as we continue to get closer to the 100g’s Triple Crown payout. This past weekend we had a rough track and it made for some good racing. Here are the results and my thoughts.

1st Colton Facciotti 2-1: Word on the street going into SDL was that Colton was under the weather and dealing with the flu. Sure could have fooled me! He wasn’t dominant, but he was very good everywhere, and he stayed very strong late in the motos where he made the most important passes.

2nd Tyler Medaglia 4-2: As a fan, I really want to see Tyler win a moto. The way he rode SDL, I really thought it was going to happen. Tyler looks great on the Kawi and his starts were fantastic. Again, as a fan, I really hope he gets the call to represent Canada once again at Des Nations. Some guys tail off as they get older, T-dags just keeps trucking along and getting the job done.

3rd Matt Goerke 3-3: Matt was disappointed in his riding, but I really think he rode well. He was bouncing from hay bail to hay bail trying to find new lines and ways around people. He may not have had the speed to win, but the effort is always there. And oh yeah, we head to the Dunes this Saturday. You might remember a quote from John Nelson from a few years back, “Somebody should black flag him, I think his throttle is stuck!

4th Kaven Benoit 1-8: Kaven had the perfect race in moto 1. He got the holeshot and led wire to wire. He had some issues in moto 2 and took too long to get going, and headed out in dead last. I still think he is going to catch fire and stay on fire right until Walton. He will make this championship very exciting.

5th Cole Thompson 5-4: Cole was quiet on Saturday. Still good, but quiet. I am still waiting for that breakout ride where he waxes everyone and makes it look like he is just cruising out there.

6th Dillan Epstein 6-5: After Dillan qualified so well, I figured this was going to be his breakout weekend. Unfortunately, he just never really got going. He told me that they made some good changes to the bike, so I’m watching for him at Gopher to turn things around.

7th Ryan Dowd 9-6: Ryan was very good in both motos. His fitness seems to be much better this season, along with his speed. I expect we will see him at the Dunes, where he should be in and around the same positions.

8th Cade Clason 8-7: We give poor Cade a hard time, but he has really upped his sand skills. His 2nd moto ride was great after going down at the start, and he proved that he has got the fitness when he held Benoit off late in the day. He needs a fresh haircut and a shave, but other than that, he is a pretty good guy.

9th Jeremy Medaglia 7-9: Very impressed with Jeremy after only 2 days on his brother’s practice bike, then only 1 day working on the race bike. His starts were good and he was up there early. He looked to be fighting the bike late in the motos, but that is expected. I heard that he may have been fighting a bit of a stomach issue and wasn’t 100%. He will get much better with more time on the Green bike.

10th Keylan Meston 10-10: Keylan was very solid in both motos. He has been a little bit quiet as of late, I would like to see him rip a start and run with the top dogs again and build his confidence.


Biggest Stud: Colton is my stud, for sure. Whenever we maybe start to doubt this guy, he blows us away. His pass on Tyler Medaglia late in moto 2 was insane. He was very good in both motos.

Biggest Dud: There were a few guys trying to qualify that never really even rode the Intermediate class. That is what the 250 class is for.

Biggest Surprise: 43-year-old former top National Pro Jason Thorne dusted off the boots and made his first National appearance in 17 years. Yes, 17 years! Jake Tricco wasn’t even alive when Thorne last raced a National. Very cool, Thorny, much respect.

MC’s ‘G’d Up from the Feet Up’ Award: Cade Clason looked very good in his new FXR kit. The colours just caught my eye, and it was a good match. He he completed the outfit with Sidi boots, and Arai helmet and 100% goggles.

Thanks for reading, see you at The Dunes!