The Changing of the Guard | Who’s the Next Guy in Canada?
Colton Facciotti Has Left Big Boots to Fill
By Billy Rainford
Colton Facciotti is the rider from British Columbia who took the motocross world by storm at a very young age.
Colton turned full-time Pro at the tender age of 14. While most of us were trying to sort out which pair of jeans to wear to grade 10 or who to invite to the dance, Colton was trying to figure out a way to compete with the likes of JSR, Marco Dubé, and Blair Morgan, to name just a few.
This column isn’t intended to be a look back at the career of one of Canada’s all-time greatest riders. No, this column is to spotlight the difficult task ahead as the sport tries to fill the massive hole he’s left us with.
As the lead photo shows, Colton came along and took the reins from 5-time Canadian MX champion, JSR. Now, Colton has retired after winning his tie-breaking 6th 450 MX title.
So, now what?
When JSR quit racing, Colton immediately stepped in and showed Canada and the world that he was now the “it guy” in our country.
Although Canada isn’t short on talented riders, we’re still left without a clear choice for who will dominate the sport for the foreseeable future. Who will step up to fill these big boots is the question?
While many of us expected that role to be taken by multi-time champ, Kaven Benoit, injuries sent him to retirement before he really got the chance to etch his name in this hallowed position.
Heir-apparent, Cole Thompson, seems to be the likely choice. Cole came up racing the AMA amateur circuit with full intentions of making the prestigious Monster Energy AMA Supercross his home.
While he did get the opportunity to live that dream, he now finds himself trying to solidify his name at the top of the list of riders ready to step into this newly created void. Is he the guy?
Facciotti spent the past couple years grooming his 450 replacement at the Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing team, Dylan Wright.
Never short on talent or speed, Dylan was always known as a fun rider to watch, as his aggressive and energetic riding style sometimes made for a “checkers or wreckers” kind of highlight reel.
Dylan put that reputation behind him in 2019 and proved himself to be the most dominant rider of the season, taking the Arenacross, Motocross, and Rockstar Triple Crown 250 titles.
Dylan now moves up to the premiere class to fill the position left vacant by Colton. Like the old adage goes, you’ll always take a rider with raw speed because then you have something to work with. Dylan has that in spades and will now use his mentor’s influence to add consistency to the big bike class. But is he the guy?
The question is yet to be answered whether or not he can be an immediate threat to Cole’s rightful place at the top of the heap, and that’s what has got us all excited for this upcoming season.
Of course, you can never count out the multi-talented rider who now calls the maritimes his home, #5 Tyler Medaglia.
This 2-time 250 champion will move back up to the 450 class for the new year and has full intentions of proving he belongs in this conversation. Could he be the guy?
Also looking to get himself into this upper echelon of 450 competitors is long-time national circuit rider, #3 Shawn Maffenbeier.
Before getting hurt last season, Shawn was showing weekly improvements in the big bike class and should be poised to show these other 3 riders a wheel from time to time as we head into 2020. He wants to be the guy.
With defending Rockstar Triple Crown champion Phil Nicoletti and 3-time MX champ Matt Goerke both coming back to race in Canada in 2020, our guys will definitely have their hands full trying to knock these two seasoned veterans off the top spots of the podium.
So, as we head into our first Facciotti-less summer of Canadian Motocross, let’s keep an eye on who steps up to this seemingly impossible task and can elevate their game to lead our country into the future, both inside and outside our borders. It won’t be easy, but it seems someone always manages to do it. Who’s your guy?