Monday Morning Coffee
By Billy Rainford
The time for guessing and speculating is done. We have an answer: Christophe Pourcel could win this thing. No, it shouldn’t surprise anyone – he’s the 2006 World Champion and a 2-time East 250 Supercross champion. He’s got, probably, the best credentials we’ve ever seen in Canada to race our series.
But let’s start with the MX2 class.
#12 Shawn Maffenbeier won Kamloops in 2016 without winning a moto. This year was different. When the gate dropped for the first moto, it was Californian #338 Ryan Surratt out front. Ryan had arm pump surgery after the Las Vegas Supercross, so we weren’t sure how his arms would hold up. Luc ‘Frenchie’ Caouette said that his arms would swell up like sausages and we wouldn’t know how he’d react until we got well into the race. Ryan handled it well.
MX2 – Moto 1
The Nut Up Kawasaki rider, Surratt, grabbed the holeshot and had the two MX101 FXR Yamaha riders #16 Jess Pettis and Maffenbeier nipping at his heals early. You could see both of these riders did their homework over the winter and looked fast!
They both got around him and had a gap on #787 Redemption Racing’s Josh Osby, but he was stalking them. He was new to the Canadian scene and wasn’t really sure what to expect. He also mentioned that he was more used to riding in softer conditions and wasn’t sure how he’d fair on the Whispering Pines track.
By the 6th lap, Maff had opened up a gap and was looking great. Pettis had Osby all over him, fighting for 2nd. Surratt was back a ways with a slight lead over defending champion, #1 Cole Thompson, but Cole’s smoothness was masking his speed, like usual, and he was closing in.
#14 Dylan Wright had gone down in the first corner and was clawing his way through the field from last place on his new Honda Canada GDR Fox racing bike. He was riding angry, and that’s never good for the competition.
Around half way, the field looked like this: Maff with a nice lead over Pettis who had a nice lead over Osby in 3rd. Thompson was around Surratt but a long ways behind the top 3.
Early in the moto, #100 Jacob Hayes was riding with Thompson, but he fell off his pace and was now riding alone in 6th ahead of Australian rider, #614 Geran Stapleton. Geran (soft G and pronounced like the Duran from Duran Duran).
There was a great battle going on a ways behind him between #47 Tallon LaFountaine, #25 Taylor Arsenault, and #266 Christopher Fortier. Just behind them, #21 Davey Fraser was riping it up on his Carlson Racing Husqvarna 250 2-stroke.
At the flag it was Maffenbeier, Pettis, Osby, Thompson, Surratt, Hayes, Stapleton, LaFountaine, Arsenault, and Fortier in the top 10. Dylan Wright managed to get up to 16th.
On the podium:
Surratt – Got the holeshot cheque. Said he froze up when he got out front early.
Osby – Pettis went down and he got by. He fell late in the moto. He sat back to let the top 3 make mistakes. Lappers didn’t seem to know who the fast 3-digit rider was.
Pettis – He had a good start. He put in an early sprint. He didn’t feel great.
Maffenbeier – He said he took his time the first couple laps and then put the hammer down. Said the team has made a lot of progress over the winter.
So, how would Pourcel do was the question, and very well was the answer. How would KTM Canada Thor Racing rider #3 Kaven Benoit do with his sore ankle? Was the old Colton Facciotti back? Let’s have a look.
MX1 – Moto 1
#3 Kaven Benoit picked up where he left off at the MXON in Italy and blasted out to the holeshot and started to take off. Yes, he started to gap the fireld and looked very comfortable as he did it…and he wasn’t slowing down, either.
Early on, it was Benoit with a nice lead over #5 Mike Alessi who had #6 Tyler Medaglia on his new Huber Motorsports Honda hounding him. They had a little gap on #38 Tim Tremblay and Pourcel, followed by #108 Nut Up Kawasaki’s Dillan Epstein, #2 Matt Goerke, #7 Cade Clason, Facciotti, #58 Jeremy Medaglia, #77 Nathan Bles, and #111 Kyle Chisholm.
Jeremy was in Kamloops on an extremely stock-looking Honda 450 with his dad, Derek, at the gate with him. It was great to see him back on the track and he was looking pretty solid.
#8 Keylan Meston got himself up in the mix and was in a dog fight with Tremblay, Clason, and J. Medaglia.
When Benoit washed out the front end of his KTM, he handed the lead over to Epstein who had T. Medaglia looking great and holding a very solid 2nd ahead of Poucel, Goerke and a charging Facciotti.
At the flag, it was Epstein, Medaglia, Pourcel, Goerke, Facciotti, Benoit, Alessi, Meston, Tremblay, and Chisholm.
On the podium:
Benoit – He washed out the front end and went down. He could feel the pain in his ankle late in the moto.
Epstein – When he found out he was first he was like, “No way dude!”
MX2 – Moto 2
Osby got the holeshot and led Maffenbeier early. Maff got around him and started to check out a bit again. This time, Cole Thompson looked like he was on it more than he was in the first moto and started to make passes and chase after Maff out front.
Osby was in 3rd with a gap on Hayes who rode alone ahead of Surratt, Wright, and Pettis, who had a gap on #19 Hayden Halstead, Arsenault, #119 Jared Petruska, Stapleton, and #33 Casey Keast.
Osby and Hayes got into a good battle, as did Wright and Pettis.
On the final lap, it was Maff out front ahead of Thompson. They had a gap on Osby in 3rd ahead of Pettis. Surratt and Wright were fighting to the finish with a sizeable gap back to Halstead, Arsenault, and Keast.
At the flag it was Maff, Thompson, Osby, Hayes, Pettis, Wright, Surratt, Halstead, Arsenault, and Keast.
On the podium:
Thompson – Shawn did his homework. It was a very physical track.
Osby – I’m an east coast guy.
MX1 – Moto 2
The holeshot came down to a nobby between Canadians Benoit and Facciotti, but it went to Kaven and he took the Royal Distributing ‘Triple Crown’ money for getting both starts.
At the end of the first lap it was Pourcel out front.
A few lap in it was Pourcel, Goerke, Benoit, Medaglia, Facciotti, Tremblay, Chisholm, Clason, and Alessi.
Unfortunately, Tremblay started having some engine problems and would be forced to drop out of the moto.
At the half, Pourcel, Goerke, and Facciotti gave the crowd what they wanted…a tight race. It was a great battle.
Goerke passed Pourcel to take the lead, but Pourcel took the lead back again as Facciotti stalked them both in 3rd.
Behind them were Medaglia and Benoit.
Late in the race, it was Pourcel, and Goerke with a slight advantage on Facciotti. They had a big gap on Medaglia who was alone in 4th ahead of a good battle between Epstein (who came from way back), Benoit, and Chisholm.
Clason rode alone in 8th ahead of a distant Alessi, Bles, and #56 Brock Leitner and #72 Graham Scott.
On the final lap, Facciotti had gotten around Goerke and was taking a run at Pourcel for the lead. When Pourcel got around both #501 Ryan Millar and #41 Michael Fowler (who were in their own battle for position) cleanly, he was able to build the gap he needed as Facciotti struggled to do the same.
After the checkered flag, Colton was sure to let Fowler know how he felt about not being able to go after the win. He apologized on the podium and said it was just a heat of the moment thing. However, way after most people had packed up and left the track, Michael was still talking with head referee, Paul Kingsley, about the incident.
It definitely slowed Colton’s progress, but there’s only so much you can do when you’re in your own battle fighting for 14th.
At the flag, it was Poucel, Facciotti, Goerke, Medaglia, Epstein, Chisholm, Benoit, Clason, Alessi, and Bles.
Jeremy Medaglia was absent from the 2nd moto line up as we were told he is fighting some sort of bug and decided not to roll to the line. It sounds like he’s getting some blood work done to sort out the problem. God luck, Jeremy.
Whispering Pines – 6/4/2017
OK, again, the west coast time zone puts me well behind schedule. I hope this got you through a cup of Monday Coffee. We’ve got a ton of content to go over and get up on the site. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back later.
You can listen to the podcasts with some of the riders, too, but don’t look for one with Matt Goerke because I got waved off by a team member when I tried to get to him. He’s never happy when he doesn’t win…but that’s always the best time to talk with him! Oh well, next time, Matt.