Photo Report: Rockstar MX Nationals|Kamloops Round 1
By Billy Rainford
This Photo Report is brought to you by RTR Performance in Kamloops, BC. Be sure to check them out while you’re still here in town!
The big day has finally come and gone. Round 1 of the highly-anticipated 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals came in like a lion and left like a…well, let’s just say it left like something that had been set out in the hot, hot sun all day and left for dead. They actually set heat records here in the North Thompson-Okanogan desert! It was just that hot on Sunday. Some performed like champions while others were left wilting and choking in the dust. You can prepare all you want, sometimes the heat and exertion just get the better of you.
Here’s a look at some of the racing action from Whispering Pines MX in Kamloops, BC.
Yep, we’re starting here. It seemed people were either expecting #118 Davi Millsaps to be well off the pace or win. What were you thinking, going in? Davi has his Supercross ride still for 2017 and needed to keep busy and sharp for the summer, so here he is as probably the biggest name we’ve ever seen here in our outdoor series.
The other big news involved #4 Cole Thompson dropping down to the MX2 class for the summer. He’s won MX1 overalls here, so if you thought he’d struggle in the 250 class, you were a little off.
And how would #11 Kaven Benoit do as a rookie in the MX1 class? These were 3 of the main characters on people’s minds heading into this one.
The MX2 Class
Seriously, it was 40 degrees C/104 F Sunday. Who would be crazy enough to try racing both classes, right? #392 Cody Littau is just that rider. He’s listed as 39-21 for 27th in MX2 and 27-DNF in MX1 for 39th.
First year Pro, #67 Kyle Biro, looked fast and took 15th in the first moto. Unfortunately, the heat got to him and he just managed to hang on for 20th in the second moto for 19th overall. As I left, his dad yelled, “It looks like someone needs to train a bit harder!” There’s sometimes nothing you can do to fight those conditions.
#36 Davey Fraser made the trip west on his 250 2-stroke and finished 27th in the first and then toughed out a 9th in the 2nd for 18th.
Alberta’s Ryeley Gallup has the dubious honour of running the most feared number plate for 2016. 12-17 for 13th.
How about #35 Hayden Halstead’s 8th place finish in the second moto! He was on the ground in the first and took a 33rd for 17th overall.
#18 Brad Nauditt is back on red and was very close to grabbing both holeshots, just like the old days. He finished a solid 5th in the first but then motor problems took him out of the 2nd after leading early. 5-32 14th.
There were a few riders I knew nothing about in Kamloops. #767 Mason Wharton is one of them. He’s from Washington State and finished 16-10 for 10th.
Top Intermediate rider was no surprise. But it was a surprise that #217 Casey Keast finished up in 9th overall. 10-14. He said he didn’t get tired but felt heat stroke was a definite possibility!
You’re going to be impressed when you see the 2016 version of #20 Jess Pettis. He grabbed a podium 3rd place in the first moto but then was forced out of moto 2 with a mechanical. 3-27 11th.
Dylan Kaelin has gone back to his amateur #324 and is riding a 2-stroke. He’s got no ACL’s and suffered a very serious intestinal injury last year. How can you not cheer for him?! 11-7 7th.
#17 Dylan Wright proved he’s got the speed to win at this level and took moto 1. Unfortunately, the 2nd moto fell apart on him as he jumped the gate in the second, causing a red flag, and then got penalized hard in the second after crashing and heading into the mechanics’ area. 1-31 put him 8th but he’ll be there again in Nanaimo.
I think just about everyone not from Utah was looking around asking who #71 was Sunday. McCoy Brough really impressed everyone with 9-5 motos for 6th overall. Wasn’t he on Superminis like a year ago?
Another fast rider who had people scratching their heads was #259 Tallon LaFountaine from Redlands, California. His solid 7-6 motos put him 5th.
#14 Jeremy Medaglia expects to be challenging for this championship. I didn’t speak with him at the end of the day, but his speed just didn’t seem to be there in Kamloops. Watch for that to change as we move forward. 8-4 motos for 4th.
SLC rider #70 Brandan Leith was the fastest rider not many had heard of in Kamloops. All I really know is that he trained with Brock Leitner over the winter and is seriously fast! 6-3 for 3rd.
I don’t want to scare anyone, but #4 Cole Thompson made that look pretty easy. He came from a first turn crash that took #100 Jacob Hayes out with a knee injury to 4th and then passed his way into the lead and road to the 2nd moto win. 4-1 for 2nd overall. He will not be easy to beat.
The atmosphere under the Redemption Racing awning seems to be just what #15 Shawn Maffenbeier needs. He’s happy and riding well. He stayed out of trouble and took 2-2 motos to the team’s first ever overall and will run red plates this week in Nanaimo.
MX2 Podium: Shawn Maffenbeier, Cole Thompson, Brandan Leith.
The MX1 Class
#352 Alex Harvill is a World Record holder for distance jumping! He hails from Washington State and finished 26-31 for 33rd.
#54 Brock Hoyer was sick last week and still finished 11th in the first moto. He decided to sit out the second but will head to the island this Sunday for round 2. 11-DNS 16th. Here he is getting reacquainted with #33 Eric Jeffery. After a long winter, it’s nice to say hello.
#32 Michael DaSilva is living the full privateer lifestyle in the west with his GF and a pick-up truck. 19-15 for 17th.
I didn’t know who #58 was until I saw Washington’s Collin Jurin walking in the pits. 23-16 gave him 19th.
Older Brough brother, #26 Riley, was impressive and consistent with 10-14 for 12th.
#21 Kyle Swanson just doesn’t like fancy graphics. He’s back in Canada doing it on his own this year and finished 16-13 for 15th.
“Point, take down, blue!” #28 Keylan Meston waas in a great battle, chasing Burger, Clason, and Medaglia all 2nd moto long. 12-10 9th.
#6 Cade Clason wasn’t happy with his results but 9-8 for 8th is a good place to build from.
#5 Tyler Medaglia will also be looking to improve on his 8-7 7th day. He thinks the Husky 350 will perform well at the Wastelands.
I didn’t get to speak with #3 Brett Metcalfe after the motos, but he just didn’t seem to have his usual spark out on the Kamloops track. 5-5 put him 6th.
Apparently, #800 Mike Alessi had a bent shifter that forced him to race the second moto in 2nd gear. His 4-6 motos gave him 5th overall.
His teammate #55 Vince Friese raced the first moto with a bigger gas tank but was getting splached and didn’t like the feel. They put the smaller one on…and ran out of gas in the second. Ouch. 7-26 for 14th will have him playing catch up the next few rounds.
#11 Kaven Benoit kept his predictions to himself and just went about his business as the rookie of the class. Rest assured, the 2-time MX2 champ looks good on the big 450. His 6-4 for 4th results will attest to that!
#2 Colton Facciotti was up to his old tricks and came on strong late in the motos. He said he paced himself a little too much so watch for him to come out of the gate firing this weekend. 7-2 gave him 3rd overall.
Defending champion, #1 Matt Goerke, looks to have the speed to challenge for this title again. His left palm got ripped apart in the second causing him to over-jump a table and flat land. He fell once and came back to challenge. He won the first moto and took a heroic 3rd in the 2nd for 2nd overall.
Does that look like it stings? Go watch our recap video and watch as they pour some water over it and find out…
Riders should be concerned with how easy #118 Davi Millsaps made that second moto win look. While others were frantically trying to chase him down, he looked smooth and in full control out front, even if Facciotti was on his rear wheel at the checkered flag in the 2nd moto. 2-1 gave him the overall at his first Canadian National.
MX1 Podium: Davi Millsaps, Matt Goerke, Colton Facciotti.
I can’t let Keylan walk away thinking that was the only photo I took of him! See you at the races, Keylan!