Report Card | MX Nationals | 450 Class
By Billy Rainford
It’s time to hand out the report cards for the top 10 of the 450 class in the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown MX Nationals.
Here’s a look at how I scored each rider.
1st #1 Colton Facciotti HON (A+)
There was a chance we weren’t going to see Colton again after his awful crash in Supercross last season, so to have him come back to go after his 6th 450 title this summer was definitely a bonus.
The competition was as stiff as it’s ever been, so for him to seal the deal on this championship before heading off into retirement is a big deal.
Colton easily takes home an A+ report card for this performance.
2nd #800 Mike Alessi HON (B+)
A B+ may sound a little low for someone who finished 2nd overall in the series. However, Mike expects to win these things and he was actually off the podium 5 of 8 rounds.
Yes, he still took runner-up spot but when your name is Mike Alessi, we don’t throw A grades around lightly.
We’re not sure what the future holds for Mike but he was great to have at our races. Good luck with what comes next.
3rd #54 Phil Nicoletti YAM (A-)
Phil is a rider who was hired to win this championship. He came close to it and showed he was one to beat by finishing the season with 3-1-1 overalls.
3rd place would be an A+ score for most riders, but Phil is another rider who is expected to win.
I think the SX series is going to a barn-burner between Phil and Cole Thompson this season, so be sure to watch for that.
4th #16 Cole Thompson KTM (B)
Cole came into this MX season with one goal in mind– to win it. We know he’s got the indoor pace to win against this group, but he had yet to prove it in the MX discipline.
He came out firing and then had that back injury that hindered his performances. He finished the season with a nice first moto win at Walton.
He will be one of the top guys to watch in SX and will be trying to chase down Nicoletti for the $100K prize.
5th #12 Cade Clason HSK (A)
Great season for Cade finishing up in 5th place. He was always in a nice battle with that next group of riders behind the podium guys.
It will take quite a bit to make the leap to them, but Cade keeps improving, so anything is possible.
He’ll move to a new team for the SX portion of the series, so it will be interesting to see how he does in his comfort zone, indoors.
6th #10 Keylan Meston YAM (A)
I’m giving Keylan an A, too, because he also keeps improving year after year.
That first moto DNF at Gopher Dunes really hurt him but he kept pushing and looked really good this summer.
He was in a good battle for 6th place and held on to take it.
7th #39 Ryan Dowd SUZ (A)
Ryan did his first full Pro season with us here in Canada.
Like Cade and Keylan, he was one of the riders who was there to capitalize should someone in the top few falter.
His best was a 5th overall at Deschambault, so he should be very happy with what he accomplished this summer.
8th #3 Shawn Maffenbeier YAM (A)
Shawn was the rider in the “next group” who improved enough to be considered one of them as the season was progressing. I was really impressed to see his speed in the 450 class.
An unfortunate collarbone injury during practice took him out of contention and that was really tough to see.
He landed on the podium twice and then came back early from his injury to salvage 13th place and move up a spot to his 8th in the series, so he gets an A.
9th #2 Matt Goerke KAW (C)
This is a season Matt will try hard to forget all about. Wow, that was a tough one to watch at times. Matt is a 3-time champion and he had almost nothing but problems this summer.
He came back and won the single moto at Minnedosa with a broken finger in the mud. That was his highlight. The rest, unfortunately, did not go his or the team’s way.
That was an emotional rollercoaster for the friendly Floridian. He capped the season off with that freak first turn crash at Walton that knocked him and Tony Alessi out and injured his shoulder.
This C score certainly isn’t to kick him when he’s down, I just don’t know how we can score him higher.
Hopefully, he comes back strong and we see what he can really do, again.
10th Sam Gaynor YAM (A+)
Sam is a rookie racing in the 450 class, and he finished in the top 10! That’s a heck of a feat.
When Shawn got injured, Sam moved over to the full factory spot and handled it like a seasoned Pro.
He and his team should be very happy with his finishes and progress. He will be up for ‘Rookie of the Year,’ for sure, at the awards banquet.
We now move over to. the Supercross portion of the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Tour where we will crown our next $100K winner.
Thanks for reading and we’ll see you at the races…