Photo Report | Rockstar MX Nationals | RJ’s Round 10 | OTSFF
By Billy Rainford
The 2017 Rockstar Energy MX nationals came to an exciting conclusion this past weekend at RJ Motosport Park in Barrie, Ontario. With neither class clinched, both points leaders were terrified to make a mistake, while the riders chasing them down wanted to do whatever they needed to make up the difference.
The MX2 battle was close, but not nearly as close as the MX1 title chase came! Points leader, Matt Goerke, came very close to throwing this one away and, in the end, won it by a mere 3 points.
Here’s a closer look at the final round.
This was the round that had the entire ‘Fab 3’ racing at the Pro level, and most were pretty interested to see how #424 Austin Watling…
…and #146 Marco Cannella would do.
But first, I’d like to wish #327 Brandon Gourlay all the best after he took a hard crash and hit his head pretty hard in the 2nd MX2 moto. Hopefully, the bells have stopped ringing.
#21 Davey Fraser signed up to race all 4 motos. He and Hayden Halstead had a great battle going in MX2 moto 1 until Davey kinda landed on the rear end of Hayden and went down for a nap and a possible broken wrist. As he said in our Tailgating episode, he “got too greedy.” He went in for 4 motos and came out with none.
And #27 Westen Wrozyna was looking awesome on his Yamaha but, after clawing his way up through the field, he had a motor go on him and he is scored a DNF-DNS. Hopefully, they get it fixed and we see him at the last couple big races in the area.
It wasn’t the greatest ending to the season, to say the least, for #807 Drew Roberts (DNF-DNS). He’s got the speed to do well, but after his younger brother, Travis, got hurt at Deschambault he’s sort of over it for now. We’ll see what happens in a little while…
Intermediate rider #175 Anthony Spadaccini from Ottawa did the whole series and ended it on a sour note, too. 26-DNF put him way back in 35th.
#110 Brock Kelly slammed the outside berm 2 turns after the finish line so hard that I waited around to see if he’d do it again when I was ready with my camera. It didn’t happen. His 31-29 put him 33rd.
#211 Jack Wright has got some buttery smooth style and had to dust himself off and make a charge. He finished 20-24 for 23rd.
Anyone else catch #184 Tanner Ward when he tried to do the big uphill double on Saturday? He didn’t make it but it was cool to see someone try it on a 250F! Sunday was a rough one for him. He got together with Watling at the start of moto 1 and wasn’t able to finish. He had troubles at the start of moto 2 as well and charged his way up to 10th for 18th overall.
#19 Hayden Halstead signed up for both classes but secided to sit out the 2nd MX1 moto after taking 16th in the first. He finished 9-23 in MX2 after having trouble and dropping way back on lap 4.
#338 Ryan Surratt was a lock for 2nd place, heading into round 10…or was he? He charged through the pack to 5th in moto 1 and then passed his way into the lead in moto 2. Unfortunately, as they were coming through lapped traffic he got out of shape and went down hard on the finish straight. He got up and then got down again with a leg/ankle injury. 5-DNF left him 1 point short for 2nd place in the series. That’s a heart-breaker right there.
It just wasn’t Austin Watling’s day. He had troubles early in both motos and had to fight his way toward the front both times. 14-15 gave him 14th. He’ll be back, and close to the front.
How about this guy?! #35 Jason Benny took the Royal Distributing Triple Crown money for grabbing both holeshots. He fell back to 12-12 finishes for 11th.
That’s #41 Michael Fowler on a 250. He also raced both classes. He finished 10th (13-11) in MX2 and 26th (DNF-21) in MX1.
#62 Jarett Pesci made another appearance. He had to come from the back in moto 1 and then had a solid 7th in moto 2. 15-7 gave him 9th.
#384 Jeremy Pronovost rode very consistent races at the final round. His 11-9 gave him 8th.
#33 Casey Keast was so consistent that I didn’t really notice him out there. His 8-8 motos gave him 7th.
#288 Conner Mullennix came up from San Diego to get his feet wet at the Pro level. He definitely looked like he belonged out there and finished 7-6 for 6th
#146 Marco Cannella made his long-awaited Pro debut Sunday. He looked like a seasoned vet out there and diced with some top riders. His 6-5 motos gave him 5th in his first try.
#16 Jess Pettis looked like he was having a lot of fun this past Sunday. He rode smooth and stayed out of his teammate’s way. He finished 4th (2-4).
#100 Jacob Hayes really started to come on strong at the end of the season. He was right there in both motos this week and finished 3rd with 3-2 motos.
#14 Dylan Wright final took the top spot in moto 2 and it gave him 2nd on the day. It also leapfrogged him ahead of Surratt in the points and he finished 2nd overall.
What’s the easiest way to make sure you keep your points lead at the final round? Go out and win the overall, and that’s just what your new MX2 champion did. He killed it in the first moto for the win and then kept himself out of trouble in moto 2 for 3rd and the title.
Shawn admitted he was nervous heading into the day, and this is what it looks like when all the weight is lifted off your shoulders.
I have photos of Shawn hugging just about everyone, but after all the years they’ve put into this thing, this one of Shawn and his dad, Randy, kinda tugs on the old heart strings.
MX2 season podium: Shawn Maffenbeier (468), Dylan Wright (424), Ryan Surratt (423).
Soak it in, team! Now, what does he do next season…
Of course, we always take some shots of the new #1 riders at the end of the day.
Steven Anderson lined up against the best MX1 riders at the final round. He was down early and had to fight for positions. His 34-29 motos gave him 35th and they said they learned a lot.
#40 Taylor Ciampichini made the long drive from…Barrie. He knows a lot of people at this round and loves to throw the bike around for the crowd. 23-19 gave him 22nd.
#44 Jay Burke had to fight from the back of the pack to 22nd in the first moto. He had a much more sold race in moto 2 and took 15th for 21st overall.
#262 Jesse Wentland got help from Mike Parliament at MP1 Suspension and WCK Honda for the final round. He put his new ride up in 10th in moto 1, but then, after being as high as 6th, he suffered 2 flat tires in moto 2 and was forced out. 10-DNF gave him 20th.
#538 Addison Emory is up from Oklahoma. We don’t see many folks up here from Oklahoma. His 20-16 gave him 17th.
It was fun to watch #108 Dillan Epstein butter the big uphill double only a few riders tried. He was back in action after hurting his leg in Moncton. He had a solid 5th in moto 1 but then decided to sit out the final moto. 5-DNS for 16th.
#8 Keylan Meston said he was fighting some mechanicals at RJ’s. He still finished 17-13 for 15th overall.
#5 Mike Alessi’s season didn’t end well, either. He was a solid 3rd in moto 1 but then when he could tell his transmission was going on him in moto 2, they decided it was wise to call it a day. He spent the rest of the moto helping to announce in the tower. You’ve got to appreciate this guy’s love of the sport! 3-DNF gave hm 14th.
#32 Eric Jeffery also seemed to be getting stronger near the end of the season. He finished the season with 15-14 motos for 13th.
#56 Brock Leitner was chosen ‘Most Improved’ for the year at the CMRC banquet. It’s well deserved for the rider who finished 13-12 for 12th.
Um, sir, you’re on fire. Not to worry because after this seemingly flaming end to #6 Tyler Medaglia’s day, he kept right on going and finished 2nd in moto 2! Kibby said something about a battery blowing up. He suffered an issue that led to a broken chain in the first moto with 2 laps to go while in 6th and took a DNF. DNF-2 put him back in 10th.
#464 Kyle Keast came out on his 2018 Husqvarna and was in some heated battles. He came from outside the top 20 in moto 1 for 11th and then broke the top 10 in moto 2 for 9th overall.
#311 Mike Brown made an appearance and ran his career #3 in practice. He looked like he could have gone 4 more hours out there and finished 7th (8-7).
#111 Kyle Chisholm got out of shape and took a nasty fall over the big table on lap 1 of practice. He hurt his shoulder and had a big lump on his shin. He managed to line up for the motos and even did well! 9-5 gave him 6th.
#7 Cade Clason decided to give the uphill double a try earlier in the day.
It could have…
Better. He thinks he popped his shoulder in and out and then was dead last at the start of moto 1. He clawed his way all the way up to 7th and then took 6th in moto 2 after a really good fight with 4 other riders. He was 5th.
#58 Jeremy Medaglia exorcised the demons and had a really good day. He ran 4th almost the entire first moto and then worked his way up to 9th in the second for 4th overall.
The record will show Mat Goerke is the 2017 champion, but it almost didn’t! He had troubles on lap 4 of moto 1 and dropped out of the top 25. It was the end of his hopes unless he made passes all the way to the flag. He got out front early in moto 2 and took 3rd. He couldn’t drop another place because Pourcel was out front and he needed the points. It was pretty intense. 6-3 gave Matt 3rd and the championship by just 3 points.
#10 Colton Facciotti still has the speed to win these things, and he did it in moto 1. He messed up on lap 4 and dropped back but found himself in the lead again on lap 13. He had Porcel on his back wheel and the 2 of them were 40 seconds ahead of 3rd place! He was 4th in moto 2 for 2nd on the day.
I get the feeling #377 Christophe Pourcel could have won any of these rounds if his head and heart were into it. He’s a calculated rider and took only the risks he felt he should. He got out front in the second moto and made it look pretty easy. 2-1 gave him the overall and 2nd in the c’ship.
The MX1 championship overall podium: Matt Goerke (520), Christophe Pourcel (517), Colton Facciotti (479).
Matt comes on stage to collect his #1 plate and trophy.
You’ve got to be ready with the #1 shirts.
After so many podium shots of an angry Matt, this is a nice change.
Donk and Steve Simms make the necessary changes to the number plate.
After a long, tough season, that has got to feel great.
I feel I’m better than rhyming a word with itself, but, teamwork makes the dream work! Congratulations to the entire Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha crew on another title.
Matt ripped a few corners with the new #1 plates attached.
The silly season normally involves riders, but this one is going to be different and start early. To quote Joe Strummer, “The future is unwritten…”
Next on the agenda: get Dylan Wright through Budds Creek this weekend. Someone ready the minivan!
Thanks for reading. It’s been an amazing summer. I can’t believe it’s already done. Miles were accumulated and more memories were made. Thank you to everyone who made this another summer for the record books. We’ll let these two lovebirds say it: “See you at the races…”