Things to Watch for at Round 5 |The Final Round
By Billy Rainford
It’s hard to believe but we’re heading in to our final weekend of racing to decide the champions in the 2020 Rockstar Triple Crown Tour MX Nationals.
We’re back at Sand Del Lee just outside Ottawa, Ontario. There are two clearcut favourites in Jess Pettis (250) and Dylan Wright (450), but there are other stories to keep an eye on.
Here’s a look:
10th 21 Quinn Amyotte KTM 88
Quinn was last season’s Most Improved Rider and we’re still waiting for him to have a stellar ride this season. We’ve been hindered by mud races and Quinn is traveling with his brother, Bennet Amyotte, so they’ve been busy trying to keep his bike running, let alone trying to improve!
9th 381 Jacob Piccolo KTM 106
Jake just had his best-ever showing last week at Round 4. He had troubles in moto 1 but then came back with 2-2 motos to just miss the overall podium in 4th. If he can back that performance up this week, he’ll put himself in the conversation for future championships.
8th 164 Ryder McNabb HON 121
Ryder is the young, rising star who was racing Supermini just last year. He grabbed himself a 4th place in a moto last week and is just a holeshot away from landing on the podium.
7th 41 Jeremy McKie KTM 142
Jeremy is the rookie Pro who is also ready for a big finish. He got his first podium in the muddy race at Walton 2 and now wants to do it again under normal circumstances. He’ll need a great start to run the leaders’ pace.
6th 123 Ryan Surratt KAW 146
Ryan is the sole rider on the Sky Racing team this week. His teammate, Richard Taylor, left last week. He had two 5th places to start the season but he hasn’t got the starts he needs since then. Watch for him to get in and out of the first turn in the lead to try and land on the podium before we’re finished with MX for the season.
5th 30 Hayden Halstead YAM 151
Hayden is on the verge of his best finish in the Pro class. Unfortunately, Hayden is set to get married next weekend and he won’t be with us this week. He wasn’t going to move up in the points, but he’ll likely slip a couple after missing this weekend.
4th 46 Marco Cannella YAM 202
Marco is only 6 points out of a podium overall. He’s always right there for a podium and with a good start should have the pace to give the leader a run for his money. It all depends on his start because he could go down in the first turn and make it up far enough to hold 4th in the points.
3rd 18 Tanner Ward HON 208
Tanner finally looks like he belongs racing for podiums and maybe even wins every week. We’ve watched both him and Marco move their way into this position and it’s great to see both of them having so much success this season.
2nd 19 Marshal Weltin KAW 218
Marshal seemed like the guy who was going to give the leader fits this summer. It started out pretty well for him but he’s hit a run of bad racing luck and is now almost 2 motos behind in 2nd. He looks like a lock for 2nd in this championship.
1st 15 Jess Pettis KTM 266
Jess has had the points lead since the first round at Gopher Dunes. He really looks like he’s head and shoulders above the rest of the field. He’ll win this championship going away. It’s not going to get any easier for the others when we move over to the SX portion of the season, either.
18th 77 Casey Keast HQV 47
Casey had his breakout moto 2 last week with a 3rd place at Sand Del Lee. Unfortunately, he crashed during practice early this week and has hurt his leg behind his knee. He says he’s going to race this week, no matter what the doctors tell him is wrong with it. It’s going to be difficult to back up that result.
10th 36 Parker Eales HON 115
Parker is on the verge of his first top 10 overall. He said in our interview that it was was his goal for the season. He’s just 9 points ahead of Josh Cartwright and the two of them had some good battles last week. Keep an eye on these two.
9th 50 Bobby Piazza YAM 134
I’d really like to see Bobby get through the first few corners up in the top 3 or 4. I think that’s what it will take for him to make a habit out of finishing up there. He seems to have the riders behind him covered but needs a great start to see what it’s like up at the front.
8th Liam O’Farrell KTM 135
Liam is just 1 point ahead of Bobby and they’ve also been close on the track. While you’re watching Bobby and Josh, you won’t have to look far to keep an eye on Liam, too.
7th 10 Keylan Meston HQV 145
I think another battle that should be good is between Keylan and Sam Gaynor who is just 4 points ahead of him. Keylan looks to have his number lately but dug himself a bit of a hole early on. Keep an eye on this one, too.
6th 28 Sam Gaynor YAM 149
Sam needs end this season with a solid finish. He can’t move up in the standings but he’s got riders chasing him down, so he’ll be running scared this week to hold that spot.
5th 5 Tyler Medaglia KAW 195
Tyler is in a dog fight with Shawn Maffenbeier in 4th. Tyler will concentrate on getting good starts and that’s what he needs to prove he’s got the speed to mix it up with the top couple riders.
4th 3 Shawn Maffenbeier YAM 202
Before the season started, I wouldn’t have thought Shawn would be ahead of Tyler at this point, but he just seems to keep getting faster. Positions 3, 4, and 5 are going to be up for grabs this weekend, so it will be important every moto between these 3.
3rd 2 Matt Goerke KAW 207
Matt is coming off a terrible injury and it’s just great that he’s back at the races at all. He doesn’t seem to have the pace of the top 2 riders but he’ll have enough to worry about with Shawn and Tyler trying to leapfrog him in the points this week.
2nd 54 Phil Nicoletti YAM 236
Heading into the season, it would have made more sense if Phil were battling Cole Thompson for this title, but there’s rookie in the ointment. Phil looked unbeatable last week when he wasn’t 40 seconds back in the first turn. He may win the overall this week, but the damage is done and it will take something very weird for him to take this title.
1st 9 Dylan Wright HON 260
Dylan is 24 points up on 2nd place. Dylan could finish with enough points to win this title with one arm tied behind his back. But, guess what? Anything can happen in this sport and that’s one of the reasons we love it so much. He hasn’t clinched so there’s always a reason to drop the gate. Does he run away with wins or finish 3-3-3 to take the title?
15th Cole Thompson KTM 53
This has been a year to forget for Cole. He came in with such high hopes of taking the 450 MX title only to have a weird energy-sapping illness take him out before he got rolling. Hopefully, he gets it all sorted out and we see him up in the mix before too long.
#777 Tim Tremblay KTM
Tim came out to fill in for Cole last week but they decided to commit their resources to Jess Pettis winning the 250 title and pulled him in after one lap in the first muddy moto.
He came back and was running up near the front when he tangled with Dylan Wright and went down hard, taking him out for the day. It would be coold to see him back this week to show he’s still got podium potential.
Those are just some of the things to keep an eye on as we head into the final MX round at Sand Del Lee. Good luck, everyone.