Monday Morning Coffee

By Billy Rainford

Anytime is a great time for another cup!

If you feel like me this morning, you’d better make this a strong cup.

It’s weekends like this past one that make me think about those idle ones in the middle of the winter when I wish I were at a race. Although I love almost nothing more than being at the races, driving through Toronto at 1:00am on a late Sunday night 5 hours into a trip home from Ottawa tends to make one feel a wee bit fragile. It makes sitting at home on the couch on a Sunday afternoon seem like a distant fantasy.

You know the feeling – your mind starts actually considering taking maybe a short 30-second nap as you stare at the dotted line speeding past in wide sweeping loops. Suddenly, you realize just how ridiculous that idea is, give your head a shake, and look for a louder radio station.

Having said all that, we made it home safely once again and now begins another long week of doing something with all the content generated from two full days at Sand Del Lee for round 2 of the Women’s East Nationals, round 2 of the KTM East Supermini Nationals, and round 6 of the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals.

I shot photos of the women’s racing Saturday, photos and video of the epic Supermini battle Saturday, and photos again on Sunday. My laptop is bogged down with gig after gig of material waiting to be edited.

For this week, let me go over what happened in the 4 Pro National motos yesterday. I’ll head back to my trusty little note pad. It feels almost like it was yesterday…

MX2 Moto 1

Let me start by trying to express just how thick and muggy the humidity was on Sunday. I always talk about how grossly hot and sticky the weather was back in 2010 when I went to Loretta Lynn’s. Picture a late summer’s day in the deep south and you’ve pretty much got what we had Sunday just southwest of our nation’s capital, Ottawa. Seriously, it may not have been the 116 degrees we faced in Tennessee, but you can’t get much more humid than 100% and that’s pretty much what we had. People were making their own gravy! If you had to hurry anywhere for even a second, you paid for it with drenched clothing immediately when you stopped.

The Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki team again had #108 Shawn Rife racing, but they also had their original rider, #134 Cole Martinez, back in the line-up. Cole said he rode during the week and although it hurt when he finished, he felt fine on the bike so he was in Ottawa.

When the gate dropped, it was Royal Distributing Fox Racing KTM’s #1 Kaven Benoit who got out to the early lead. #105 Canada’s Motorcycle FXR Yamaha’s Jimmy Decotis was caught up in a first turn jam up and rounded turn 1 in last place with a Royal Distributing banner wrapped up in his rear wheel. Uh oh…

When they came around to complete the ifirst lap, it was Benoit, then Honda Canada TLD GDR rider #21 Jeremy Medaglia in hot pursuit. Behind him came Rife, #22 Orange Motorsports Scott KTM rider Liam’ O’Farrell, Martinez, Redemption Racing Fly Dragon KTM’s #17 Seth Rarick, Duroy Racing Motovan KTM’s #29 Jeremy Pronovost, Decotis’ teammate #20 Dylan Wright, #14 Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha’s Shawn Maffenbeier, Honda Canada TLD GDR’s #34 Westen Wrozyna, and Florida’s #803 Marcus Nilsen. #620 GA Checkpoint Scott Yamaha rider Brad Nauditt was also way back in the pack and charging hard.

By the 15-minute mark, Benoit and Medaglia had checked out and were engaged in an amazing battle as they neared lapped traffic. Behind them, Rife and Wright were wheel to wheel, as were O’Farrell and Maffenbeier. Martinez rode alone and Pronovost now had Devil’s Lake MX Yamaha’s #762 Blake Savage challenging him for 8th. Nilsen and Rarick were wheel to wheel behind them as were #716 Ryan Dowd and hard-charging Nauditt. Title contender was having issues getting through traffic and when Intermediate standout #456 JC Bujold went down in front of him, Jimmy also fell and took a long time to get going again.

As the moto wore on, the battle for the lead raged a long way ahead of Wright (now in 3rd), Maffenbeier, Rife, O’Farrell, Martinez, Savage, Pronovost, Nilsen, and #9 RMX Strikt Scott Yamaha’s Morgan Burger.¬†After a gap, Wrozyna, Dowd, and Nauditt were having a great battle of their own.

#39 Vernon Motorsports 100% Yamaha rider Jess Pettis was alone behind them ahead of #444 Fox Drill Tech Yamaha’s Dustin Creson and then a distant Decotis.

The battle between O’Farrell, Savage, and Martinez was a good place to keep your eyes, once the lead duo went out of sight.

With 2 to go, Benoit had a slight gap on Medaglia who had a huge lead over Wright who also had space over Mafenbeier in 4th. Behind him, O’Farrell and Savage were attacking each other. Martinez now had a big gap over his teammate Rife who then had a lead on Burger and Pronovost. Decotis had caught Pettis and was challenging for 13th. Nauditt rode behind them alone ahead of the #1 of Benoit who had now lapped into the top 15.

At the flag, it was Benoit, Medaglia, then a huge gap to Wright in 3rd. Next came a lonely Maffenbeier and the O’Farrell/Martinez battle that came down to the final sweeping left-hand corner. Then it was Savage over Rife, Burger, Pronovost and Nilsen just missing the top 10.

Top 10: Benoit, Medaglia, Wright, Maffenbeier, O’Farrell, Martinez, Savage, Rife, Burger, and Pronovost.

Rarick had crashed and bent his sub-frame. The motor was then sucking sand into the brand new engine and it gave up forcing a DNF for the friendly rider who has had more than his share of bad luck this summer.

MX1 Moto 1

To the cheers of the big Sand Del Lee crowd, #1 Honda Canada TLD GDR rider Colton Facciotti rounded the first turn with the lead and immediately began building a gap. #7 Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry was up in 2nd, #72 Orange Motorsports Drew Roberts was way up in third on his all white bike, #24 Danyluk Suzuki rider Kyle Swanson was behind him with his black number plates with silver duct tape digits.

When they passed the line to complete lap 1, Facciotti was checking out ahead of Kiniry and #761 Redemption Racing Fly Dragon KTM’s Cade Clason, now #101 Rockstar OTSFF’s Matt Goerke, #5 Monster Thor Kawsaki’s Teddy Maier, Swanson, #978 Red Bull Suzuki’s Franklin Nogueras, Parts Canada Thor Husqvarna’s #3 Tyler Medaglia, #148 Royal Distributing Fox racing KTM’s Cole Thompson, Roberts, #123 Monster Thor Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe, #160 John Dowd, and #104 KTM rider Richard Grey.

By the 4th lap, Facciotti was pretty much gone ahead of Kiniry and Goerke who were having a good battle. After a gap, Medaglia, Maier, Thompson and Metcalfe were in their own fight for 4th place well ahead of Swanson who had a small gap over Nogueras. The battle behind them was intense between Dowd, Parts Canada Thor Husqvarna’s #475 Kyle Regal, #33 Duroy Racing Motovan KTM’s Shawn Robinson, #53 HAF Kawasaki rider Davey Fraser, Clason, Grey, Freedom Cycle FXR KTM’s #23 Dylan Schmoke, and Duroy Racing Oakley KTM’s #26 Michael Da Silva.

Moving ahead to around the 20-minute mark, Facciotti had a nice 20-second lead as he seemed to get around the track in the stifling conditions effortlessly. The Kiniry, Goerke, Medaglia, and Metcalfe fight was a good one for 2nd while Thompson sat just off them in 6th. Maier rode alone behind him ahead of Swanson, Nogueras, Dowd, Regal, Clason, a good fight between Fraser and Robinson, Schmoke, Da Silva, and now Honda Canada TLD GDR’s #30 Kyle Keast who was looking fast and strong.

Kiniry messed up and dropped a few spots to behind Thompson who chased the epic battle that was raging between Metcalfe and Medaglia. I was hoping to get to the finish to see them high five each other but Metcalfe made the pass and then went after Goerke in 2nd.

At the flag, it was Facciotti was out front by 25 seconds, Goerke, Metcalfe, Medaglia, Thompson. Clason, who was way up in 3d at one point, crashed after the mechanics’ area and then had to fight back up to around 9th. With 2 laps to go, he had massive motor failure that resulted in some parts that are supposed to be hidden from view, out in the sand for all to see. It will be a busy couple days for Josh Snider and the crew as they stay on the road and head towards Quebec City and the Deschambault track.

Top 10: Facciotti, Goerke, Metcalfe, Medaglia, Thompson, Maier, Kiniry, Swanson, Dowd, Keast.

MX2 Moto 2

After taking a DNF in the first moto, Rarick was forced to start from just inside the far gate heading into the tight 180-degree left first turn. When they came around the corner, it was Beoit out front again, ahead of Maffenbeier, Burger, Rarick, O’Farrell, and Creson. #108 Rife was way back.

When they came across the line to complete their second lap in the most ridiculous heat and humidity you can imagine, it was Benoit building a lead over Maffenbeier, while Burger had Decotis all over him. Then came Rarick, Savage, Wright, Medaglia, Pronovost, O’Farrell, Wrozyna, Creson, Nilsen, Pettis, #267 Travis Ouimet, and #456 Bujold.

By the 5th lap, Maffenbeier had charged and wasn’t letting Benoit get away. Close behind him came Decotis with a gap over Burger then the Savage/Medaglia battle. Rarick came next ahead of O’Farrell, Wrozyna, and Nilsen.

At the half, Benoit had managed to get away a little in traffic and Maffenbeier and Decotis were apart too. Burger now had Medaglia all over him ahead of Savage, Rarick, and O’Farrell who all rode alone. A couple great battles took place between young sophomore Pros Wrozyna, Pettis and Wright as well as Pronovost, Martinez, and Creson.

Behind them, I actually counted a 12-bike battle taking place through the Hell’s Kitchen area. It was intense!

At the flag, it was Benoit 6 seconds ahead of Maffenbeier, then Decotis 12 behind him. Medaglia and Burger were tight, then Savage, Wright, O’Farrell, Rarick, and Pettis.

Top 10 overall: Benoit, Maffenbeier, Medaglia, Wright, Decotis, Savage, O’Farrell, Burger, Martinez, and Rife.

MX1 Moto 2

When the final moto of the day lined up, rain had moved through the area, there was lighting off in the distant sky, but there was now a slightly cool breeze to help the racing conditions. You could see the lightning wasn’t heading our way and so the racing went on as scheduled.

Facciotti was lined up on the inside gate with #42 RMX Honda’s Riley Brough and Keast beside him and came around the first turn with another holeshot and the Royal Distributing Triple Crown cash.

#24 Kyle Swanson was told he wasn’t allowed to line up if he didn’t have the correct numbering colours on his bike so he was on the line with a white tape background with black electrical tape numbers. Don’t worry, it sounds like he will be testing with the Devil’s Lake team this week to replace injured rider #194 Jake Streichert.

At the end of the first lap, it was Facciotti with a slight lead over Metcalfe, Thompson, Medaglia, Goerke, Kiniry, Maier, Roberts, Nogueras, Swanson, Fraser, and #55 Keylon Meston.

At the 11:00 minute mark, the three-way battle for the lead between Facciotti, Metcalfe, and Thompson was great. They were all in the same corner at the same time! Behind them, Medaglia and Goerke were wheel to wheel. Maier and Kiniry were behind them and then after a gap, Swanson and Nogueras. Robinson had Keast all over him and then Regal and Clason.

#104 Grey was rolling around the track with his goggles off and then headed off to the pits.

At the half, Metcalfe had taken the lead but had Facciotti right on him. Thompson came next a bit ahead of a charging Goerke, then Medaglia with a gap over the Maier Kiniry battle. Swanson and Nogueras had gapped Keast and Clason who had a gap over a good battle between Regal, Fraser, and #35 Red Line Thor Yamaha’s Matthew Davenport.

Late in the moto, Metcalfe, Facciotti, Thompson, and Goerke were close!

Close to the end, Goerke had made passes and was challenging Metcalfe for the lead. It was the reverse of what we’d seen at Gopher Dunes and in Regina.

At the flag, Metcalfe manage to hold Goerke off after a great moto. Thompson had Facciotti on him but lappers gave him a little breathing room as they crossed the line. Medaglia came next ahead of Kiniry and Maier who put on quite the show. Keast broke into the top 10 with 8th, Nogueras had a solid race for 9th ahead of Clason who came back after a first moto DNF to round out the top 10.

Top 10 Overall: Metcalfe, Goerke, Facciotti, Thompson, Medaglia, Kiniry, Maier, Keast, Swanson, and Dowd.

OK, that was a bit of a play-by-play as I saw it. Be sure to check back for all the photo reports from the weekend as well as a short video profiling top Intermediate rider Motovan Drift Oakley Honda rider #456 JC Bujold.

Have a great week. And don’t forget to read Carl Bastedo’s report of Team Canada over at El Molar in Spain for the FIM World Junior MX Championships where both Jake Tricco and Marco Cannella made the motos.