Photo Report: Gopher Dunes AMO ANQ
By Billy Rainford
It feels so good to be at outdoor races again! Well, the weather could have cooperated a little more, but it was still a nice change to come out from under the lights and into the sunshine…and snow, and sleet, and wind, and hail…
It was a weird day, weather-wise, for sure, Sunday at Gopher Dunes. With a high of only 5-7 degrees C, and wind that had it looking like a scene from one of those horrible Mummy movies (not the great old ones, the new terrible ones). Sand storms had spectators and photographers ducking for cover and riders trying to land back on the track!
I heard they had just under 400 entries and the racing was actually great, regardless of what Mother Nature tried to do. Here’s a look at some of the racing action from the Atlas Brace Madskills RD3 – SWO ANQ #2 at Gopher Dunes.
To my surprise, there was a solid handful of top Pro riders, including #2 Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing rider #2 Colton Facciotti.
#4 MX2 rider Cole Thompson was also there to get some seat time in race conditions.
#11 Kaven Benoit was one the line with his big KTM Thor racing 450 and new mechanic, Mat.
#15 Big Steel Box Fly Redemption Racing KTM’s Shawn Maffenbeier is still in Ontario and lined up with his mechanic, Josh Cox, at his side.
It took me a few laps to recognize the riding style of #56 Nathan Bles. There aren’t too many riders who can lead Facciotti at Gopher Dunes, so the list of possible candidates was short.
With a line-up like that (plus more), there was nothing left to do but find a good spot to watch from and wait for the action…Right, Randy Weibe?
The two Scott brothers, Tanner (shown here) and Hunter, are definitely a couple young riders to keep an eye on. Tanner finished 2nd to Hunter in the 85 (7-11) class.
Hunter took the win with 1-1 motos and was catching and passing most of the older 85cc class that left the gate first.
#124 Tyler Evanitski was the rider to beat in the Supermini class (1-1).
#140 Tyson Fehr took 3rd in Supermini and went DQ-2 (9th) in 85 (12-16) because he lined up with big wheels in the 85cc class for the first moto.
#77 Zach Sullivan took 2nd in Supermini and won 85 (12-16) after winning both motos.
Tyler Evanitski also lined up in 250 Junior (1-1 1st) and Schoolboy 2 (6-8 7th).
#16 Brad Williams took 2nd in Schoolboy 1, 2nd in 250 Junior, and 6th in Open Junior.
Was Bill Van Vugt there, you ask? Of course he was! And on a new Husqvarna 4-stroke, too.
I always assumed my first amateur number had been retired across the continent. Jacob Parsons may be breaking an unwritten rule here…
If you were wondering if Randy ever made it up, he did.
#818 Davin Grose won 450 Intermediate.
#424 Austin Watling and #46 Marco Cannella went at it tooth and nail every time they were on the track together.
Marco won Schoolboy 1 and 2.
While Austin won 250 and 450 Intermediate and traded wins with Marco in Schoolboy 2.
#98 Julia Krzemein finished 1-1 in Ladies A.
#31 Heather Bennett took second with 3-2 motos.
#927 Robin Hutchinson was 3rd.
A Junior moto hits the first turn and then chases us off the berm when there was a big pile-up.
#17 Damon Luksys was 14th.
Dylan Langlois is back and took 13th.
#38 Jason Burke took 12th.
The Plus 30 A motos were fun to watch as #38 Jay Burke and #713 Zeb Dennis were this close the entire time with Zeb eventually going 1-1.
Zeb had to pull out all the stops to make it happen!
#77 Justin Roney took 10th in Open Pro.
#4 Cole Thompson wound up back in 9th spot after going 2-DNS. He crashed late in the Under 30 2nd moto and decided to sit out the final Pro moto. He was on a 350, by the way.
#37 Drew Roberts got off to his usual strong starts and finished 7th (8-7).
#68 Taylor Ciampichini finished just ahead of him in 6th (7-6).
Zeb finished 5th.
Nathan Bles took 4th overall (5-4).
#15 Shawn Maffenbeier had a few issues but still took 3rd (4-3).
#2 Colton Facciotti sounded like he was just cruising and took 2nd place (3-2).
#11 Kaven Benoit found some smooth lines and looked great in his 450 Pro races against some top-level riders. Kaven won all 4 of his motos and looks ready for action this summer in the big bike class.
Thanks for looking, and see you at the races…