Wow! That’s pretty much all you can say after being at a MXON in Europe. I woke up in a cold sweat last night having nightmares of bladeless chainsaws revving out at 12000rpms, and megaphones, and horns, and anything you could modify to make an already loud machine even louder. I forgot to put in my earplugs and if someone could answer the phone, I would really appreciate it.
Anyway, we missed the race in 2015 and were back this year in Maggiora, Italy. This is the famed track that saw the aptly named ‘USA Dream Team’ of Ricky Johnson, David Bailey, and Johnny O’Mara dominate 30 years ago in 1986. The team they sent this year in an attempt to bring the Chamberlain Cup back to the USA consisted of Cooper Webb, Alex Martin, and Jason Anderson. They didn’t win, but they almost did.
Team Canada Manager, Kourtney Lloyd, was at her first big dance and put together a team that would see Kaven Benoit, Shawn Maffenbeier, and Tyler Medaglia go straight to the A Finals and put on an incredible show.
With a reported 85 000 screaming fans in attendance, the steep hills and deep valleys of Maggiora MX Park hosted an amazing weekend of top level motocross racing. Here’s a look at some of the action through the lens of official Team Canada photographer, James Lissimore.
I remember following along with this event 30 years ago (no, not live) and to actually be here was really something special.
This hill doesn’t look all that steep here or in the videos. I went around the back and then stood just to the left of that SMX sign there. I had to lean on the structure or I was going to actually tumble all the way to the bottom!
If you walk just past the top of the track, you actually end up in downtown Maggiora. Pretty cool.
There was always something more for Team Manager, Kourtney Lloyd, to do and she handled it well.
Team Canada’s 66 Graphx helmets looked amazing.
Kaven Benoit, Tyler Medaglia, and Shawn Maffenbeier during track walk – Team Canada.
Huge thanks to KMP Racing from Germany’s use of their rig. They took great care of us.
Crew Chief, ‘Disco’ Stu Robinson, kept an eye on everything for the team.
While everyone was there, we snapped a quick team shot.
And then danced? Yep.
Kaven’s mechanic, Mathieu Deroy, making sure Kaven’s bike was as good as it could be.
Summer Knowles was there to…what WAS Summer Knowles there to do? Just kidding. She was running around getting things done all week.
In this photo, Shawn was promising to start working out?
Shawn had his guy, Josh Snider, there to keep his bike in tip top condition.
At one point, I think Tyler Medaglia pulled a gun on Maff! You can’t quite see it here, but I think that’s what happened.
He had his guy, Kibby, with him in Italy.
There was lots of support in and around the pits.
Check out Shawn’s butt patch tribute to his buddy, Bobby Kiniry.
Each team had its own wash bay in the pits.
Then it was time to go racing! Yes, that’s Jeremy Medaglia in the grey shirt. He was there to watch his brother and cheer on the team.
Team Canada qualified 18th and went straight to the A Mains. You should have heard how loud the crowd was before the first moto! It was deafening.
It was great to see our old buddy, Kerim Fitz-Gerald, again. His South African team didn’t do well but Kerim was all smiles anyway. They finished 25th.
Noah McConahy races some of our races out west and represented Puerto RIco. They didn’t make the A Mains either, but he had a solid 3rd in the B Final.
I don’t know the final standings in this class…
Cody Cooper was there and was even the top finishing rider on the New Zealand team. They ended up 17th.
The Germans didn’t even make it into the A races, but #27 Ullrich won the B Final Sunday morning.
I had never heard of Josiah Natzke before but he was probably having some of the most fun out there. He was Cooper’s teammate on the NZ team.
Russia’s Evgeny Bobryshev was the top rider for his nation. Russia finished behind Canada in 11th.
Tyler had a good battle with #39 Freddy Noren in one of his motos. Noren led Sweden to its 13th place.
Do you remember Jaromir Romancik when he lived out in Kamloops back in 2009 or 10? He raced for the Czech Republic and took them to 16th spot.
I was impressed with the riding of Jeremy Seewar on the Swiss team.
Jeremy Van Horebeek finished 5-7 for Belgium.
But it was Kevin Strijbos’s 3-3 that led the team to 4th place.
This was Tanel Leok’s 16th consecutive MXON for Estonia. They finished 2 points up on Canada for 9th place.
We decided Tommy Searle looks just like Jacob Hayes. His 5-6 motos were tops for Great Britain and gave them 7th.
Kaven held off Todd Waters as long as he could in the first moto. He helped Australia to 8th overall.
Tony Cairoli is the King in Italy. That’s Kaven Benoit trying to usurp the crown!
Cairoli was lucky to escape this awkward crash uninjured.
Alex Martin was the MX2 rider for Team USA. He probably didn’t have the results he expected of himself but he made a lot of new fans with his humble speech at the end of the day. He was 9-9.
Arnaud Tonus was another rider who looked to be having a ton of fun. He was the top Swiss rider.
I should probably know more about France’s Benoit Paturel than I do. He had a solid day with 10-14 motos.
I’m sure Cooper Webb has seen enough coverage of his fall at the end of the final moto, but here’s my take: You only focus on the final mistake when a title is lot, however, let’s not forget about the missed baskets or dropped balls in the endzone earlier in the games! See what I’m saying?
Cooper battled hard to 4-10 finishes and should be back next year in England for redemption.
Apparently, Jason Anderson broke his foot Saturday and still went out Sunday.
He had a great battle with Jeffrey Herlings early in his moto.
Unfortunately for Jeffrey and the Dutch fans, he fell and let Jason run away with the moto win.
Jason slowed down to celebrate his win with noth hands in the air and got landed on by the following rider. He wasn’t able to line up for his second and final moto.
It was Herlings who came out and won moto 3 (MXGP/Open) and helped his Dutch team to 2nd, just 1 point behind eventual winners, France.
Romain Febvre won the first moto (MXGP/MX2) and led Team France to victory…again.
Team Canada’s MX2 entry, Shawn Maffenbeier, suffered a few setbacks Sunday but fought hard to move up through the pack.
His 32-25 motos helped the team to 10th overall.
Our Open class rider, Tyler Medaglia, showed he had the speed to run up near the front of the pack but also had a few troubles.
He was moving up through the pack in the final moto when a hard rut bent his chain guide and throwing the chain. He put it back on but when it did it again he knew it was too risky to push it and puled off the track. The team threw away that 35th and his 18th in race 2 counted.
We got a new, aspiring ‘Captain Canada’ on the horizon and his name is Kaven Benoit! Yes, that’s him #112 there.
Not only did Kaven get great starts, but he held his own against World Champions!
He admitted he handed over a couple passes but his 8-12 motos had everyone talking about Team Canada. He led the team to a very respectable 10th overall.
That’s him behind Coldenhoff and Cairoli!
2016 MXON podium: France, Netherlands, USA.
Team USA’s Roger DeCoster probably wasn’t thrilled with 3rd place but he’s a racer and knows what can happen.
Thumbs up from France’s Gautier Paulin.
Herlings took the final win of the day and you can bet he will be in contention in the MXGP class in 2017.
It went over ‘fairly well’ when Cairoli came onto the podium. The crowd went nuts and even sang a ‘Tony Cairoli’ song!
And that was that. All that was left to do was load up and head to the afterparty on Lake Maggiore. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you at the races! Time to go caption the ‘Faces at the Races’ article…