Good morning from Calgary, Alberta. If you missed this day of racing yesterday, you missed a lot. Things got shaken up at the Rockstar MX Nationals at Wild Rose MX Park!
I’ve been coming to this race for quite a few years now, and this is one of the only times we actually remembered that the day starts 1 hour late due to the noise within the city. I usually find myself proud to have gotten up early enough to make it to the track before the 7:30 riders’ meeting…and then someone always takes pleasure in telling me I’m an hour early.
I usually then walk around on my weekly coffee hunt and by the time the meeting starts at 8:30 I’m 4 cups in and vibrating too much to focus the camera!
Fortunately, Jeff McConkey made it out for this round and we were able to divide the day’s duties nicely. I think you will have noticed just how many tweets were being posted from the DirectMX Twitter account Sunday, so thank you very much, Jeff. Too bad he can’t just live on the road in my van for the next round in Regina!
The weather was great for racing, as it didn’t get too hot. The only thing the Wild Rose club had to contend with was the high wind that dried things up very quickly in the low humidity. Yes, there were some dusty spots here and there, but they let the track get rough, so that made for some serious racing.
ROCKSTAR MX NATIONALS
In MX2, #12 Shawn Maffenbeier my have put himself at the top of the list as the guy to beat. We knew he was fast and fit, but I’m not sure anyone not named Maffenbeier thought he was going to be this strong.
As the top 7 were wheel to wheel in the first moto, Shawn messed up and fell back to 6th. Just past the halfway mark in the morto, he passed both #338 Ryan Surratt in second and then #1 Cole Thompson out front to take the lead.
Cole took a late run at him and was on his rear wheel on the last lap as they put a gap on the rest of the field. #787 Josh Osby worked his way up and took 3rd.
I’ll have to leave it there and get over to editing our video highlights from the day. Watch for those to be up later this afternoon after I get Jeff to the airport.
Shawn Maffenbeier went 1-1 even after falling in moto 1. | Bigwave photo
In MX1, we have a new points leader. Red plate holder, #377 Christophe Pourcel is difficult to read on the track, sometimes. He looked content to finish 3rd in the first moto, yet you got the sense he wasn’t showing everything he had. #108 Dillan Epstein grabbed the early lead and had a bit of a lead before #2 Matt Goerke slowly reeled him and made it very close at the flag ahead of Pourcel and #10 Colton Facciotti. These 4 were way ahead of the rest.
After Pourcel went down in the first turn of the 2nd moto, he took quite a while to make sure he was OK before heading out in last place, well behind the 39th rider. In what was a very interesting moto, Matt Goerke took the win ahead of Facciotti, giving him the overall. More importantly, Matt now has the red plates!
Matt Goekre took the MX1 overall and now leads the points | Bigwave photo
Like I said, we’ll have the highlights up later today, so we’ll leave it there for now.
There were lots of other stories to talk about Sunday. #14 Dylan Wright‘s problems flowed over in Calgary and he found himself playing catch up again. #16 Jess Pettis actually crashed into him on the track and went down hard, taking a DNF in moto 2. #350 Ben Evans showed up to race the MX2 class and didn’t have the kind of day he was hoping for, but seemed pretty happy to be at the races.
#9 Morgan Burger came up to Calgary for his one-and-only appearance. Things didn’t go well for him as he got tangled with Pourcel in that turn 1 crash. He moved his way up to 11th but then a front flat left him limping home in 15th. It was still nice to see the gang and have a malt beverage with them at the end of the day.
#8 Keylan Meston fell in the first moto and did some damage to his launch control resulting in his bike shorting out periodically. And #7 Cade Clason was forced to race moto 2 with no rear brake.
#65 Michael Dasilva made it to his first round of the season but didn’t have luck on his side. He didn’t hurt himself but he hit a downed rider and struggled home in 31st for moto 2.
#77 Nathan Bles was 12th in moto 1 but then crashed and had bike issues that took him out of the 2nd moto.
Of course, there are many more stories, but we’ll leave some of them for the Photo Report. The series now heads to Moto Valley in Regina, Saskatchewan this Sunday. See you there!
I still haven’t even had time to watch this week’s AMA races, but here’s a look at the results and points:
Baggett Emerges with Second Consecutive Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Victory at High Point, Takes Over Points Lead
Martin Breaks Through with First 250 Class Win of the Season
MT. MORRIS, Pa. (June 17, 2017) – The fourth round of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, hosted the 41st annual Red Bull High Point National at the beautifully landscaped High Point Raceway, which served as the first east coast stop of the season. Following a breakthrough first career win at the previous round, RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM rider Blake Baggett kept the momentum rolling as he captured a second straight 450 Class victory, taking control of the championship points lead along with it. In the 250 Class, two-time champion and GEICO Honda rider Jeremy Martin emerged with his first win of the season.
The opening 450 Class moto witnessed Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant emerge with the Motosport.com Holeshot, narrowly edging out Team Honda HRC’s Christian Craig and Australian import Dean Ferris aboard his CDR Yamaha. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac quickly found himself passing for third, however, he made a costly mistake that sent him to the ground and was forced to restart in dead last. At the completion of the opening lap it was Grant, Craig, Ferris, RCH/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Justin Bogle, and Baggett rounding out the top five. Entering points leader Marvin Musquin was buried in the field aboard his Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine and was credited with 13th position.
While Grant set a fast pace at the front of the field, Ferris went to work on Craig and took control of the runner-up position. Baggett used every inch of the track searching for lines and overtook Bogle for fourth on Lap 1. Baggett, who earned the nickname “El Cupacabra” after a heroic ride during the 2011 High Point National, continued his march to the front as he closed in on Craig and made the pass stick for third on Lap 2. Ferris shocked the crowd as he began to chase down early race leader Grant, latching onto his rear fender and stalking his every move. Ferris would eventually pull alongside the Kawasaki rider through the deep forming ruts and take over the race lead with an aggressive pass on Lap 4.
Baggett had his sights set on the race lead and instantly began applying the pressure to Grant on Lap 4, following Ferris’ closely. Once into second, Baggett dropped the hammer and started to lower his lap times as he started reducing the gap to Ferris. On Lap 5, Ferris lost traction exiting a corner that resulted in a bobble, ultimately allowing Baggett to use his momentum and make the pass for the lead. Once into the lead, the KTM rider quickly used his creative lines and blistering pace to open a comfortable gap that he continued to build on with each passing lap.
As the checkered flag waved, it was Baggett who used a dominant performance to claim his second moto win of the season, more than 22-seconds clear of his nearest competitor. Ferris rode incredible to take the runner-up position in his first ever Pro Motocross moto, while early race leader Grant held on for his fourth moto podium of the season. Tomac recovered from his first lap mishap to finish 12th, while Musquin, who apparently entered the race with a nagging injury, battled through to finish 16th.
RCH/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Broc Tickle launched off of the starting gate to take the Motosport.com Holeshot in Moto 2, edging out Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson, Tomac, Baggett, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Dean Wilson. In the opening stages of the race, Baggett made a mistake that cost him several positions, while both Anderson and Tomac moved their way around Tickle and into first and second, respectively, at the completion of the opening lap. Tomac was determined to rebound from a difficult first moto and was on a mission as he charged his way to the front.
Anderson and Tomac set a torrid pace that allowed them to open a small gap over the field early on, leaving the battle for third to unfold between a handful of riders. Tomac was hot on the heels of Anderson and capitalized on the leader, who made a mistake by missing his line in a turn, to overtake the top position on Lap 3. Once into the lead, Tomac demonstrated why he came into the season as the championship favorite and turned some of the quickest laps of the race to break away from the pack of riders behind him. First moto winner Baggett started to find his flow and began picking riders off one-by-one, and broke into the top five on Lap 4.
Just one lap later Baggett continued his charge forward and moved into podium position with a pass on early race leader Anderson. There was no slowing down Baggett as his blistering pace quickly put him onto the rear wheel of Tickle, who had passed Anderson for second, as they dueled for the runner-up spot. On Lap 6, Baggett made the pass stick to secure the position and put his head down in hopes of mounting a charge on Tomac.
Despite Baggett matching his lap times for several laps, Tomac went unchallenged throughout the remainder of the race to secure his third moto win of the season. He crossed the line 20.1 seconds ahead of Baggett, with Anderson following in third after a late pass on Tickle.
The 1-2 effort for Baggett was enough to clinch his second consecutive victory, which also made him the first double winner of the season in the 450 Class. Anderson finished second (5-3) and Tickle completed the overall podium in third (4-4), his first top-three result of the season.
“The new layout was really good, it was a little muddy this morning, but the track shaped up great for racing,” said Bagget. “I got off to decent starts today and I was able to kind of run away with the first moto win and cruise it in for second in Moto 2. I was going to make a charge for Eli [Tomac], but I was coming up on lappers quick and it’s hard to judge where they are going to go. It wasn’t worth hanging it out and taking the chance of crashing and handing the championship over, so I tried to be smart with my decisions out there.”
Baggett’s victory moved him from third place in the 450 Class standings and into the championship lead for the first time in his career. He holds an eight-point advantage over Musquin, who finished 11th overall after a stronger second moto (16-6). Tomac sits third, 11 points out of the lead and just three points out of second. Baggett will carry the red number plate as the points leader for the first time next weekend, marking the first time a bike with the No. 4 will sit atop the standings since Ricky Carmichael back in 2007.
The first 250 Class moto saw Jeremy Martin lead the 40-rider field and grab the Motosport.comHoleshot with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger in tow. Plessinger powered his way around the points leader, Osborne, in the opening corners to move into second. At the completion of the opening lap, it was Jeremy Martin, Plessinger, Osborne, GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy rounding out the top five.
With Martin asserted himself out front, Plessinger and Osborne battled bar-to-bar as they engaged in an all out war for the second spot. Osborne began to hit his stride and heat up as he charged down the steep hills in search of a passing spot, eventually blitzing his way by for a successful pass on Lap 5. While Martin pushed hard and meticulously navigated the technical track to establish a small advantage over the competition, it was Osborne who put his head down and started nipping away at the deficit. By Lap 7, Osborne had Martin in his sights and started to apply pressure.
The duo encountered heavy lapped traffic near the halfway point in the race, gaining an advantage in one section of the track and then being held up in other sections as the race for the win tightened up. Osborne pulled alongside Martin to show a wheel on several occasions, however, small bobbles and Martin’s championship experience kept the Honda out front. On Lap 9, Osborne continued his relentless charge and launched past Martin through the rollers to gain control of the race lead. Osborne immediately distanced himself from Martin, who soon began to fall under attack from a hard-charging Plessinger.
Osborne took his third moto win of the season 7.8 seconds ahead of Martin, with Plessinger rounding out the podium. Alex Martin, who entered the race runner-up in points, fell victim to a first turn pileup and rode brilliantly from the back of the field to finish seventh.
For information about the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, please visit ProMotocross.comand be sure to follow all of the Pro Motocross social media channels for exclusive content and additional information on the latest news:
OK, it’s time to get Jeff on his way back to Ontario. I’ll be hunkered down in a coffee shop somewhere between Calgary and Fernie working on the highlight video from yesterday. I spoke to the guy who was at the track yesterday filming for Vice Media and he was pretty happy with the fact that he just pops out his memory cards and hands them over to a video editor. Man, that must be what living is like!
By the way, Vice Media is doing a special video series on the top cities of North America and Calgary is in. The spot on the city will include some footage from the national, so that’s pretty cool. It won’t be out for quite a while.