Returning for 2016 to defend his MX1 title is Pro Motocross and Supercross rider, American Matt Goerke aboard his Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha. Goerke is looking to win his third MX1 title in Canada; he finished first in 2012, and comes into the 2016 season better prepared than last year when he broke his collarbone six weeks before the series started. Honda Canada Racing Fox GDR’s Canadian hero Colton Facciotti is coming into this year’s series healthy unlike last year when a lower body injury slowed him down early in the season. After getting off to a slower start than he would have liked in 2015, “Colt 45” came on strong towards the end of the summer winning the overall in the last three rounds. Colton is vying for his fifth MX1 title; missing out on it by a mere 6 points last year can only help to motivate the likeable Canadian. Brett Metcalfe will be competing for the title again but this year with a new team. The Australian will be Goerke’s teammate at Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha. Metcalfe won the MX1 title here in 2013 and finished third last year before returning to Australia to continue racing over the winter. Metcalfe has a long and stellar resume with a US National win and a lot of trips to the podium in the USA and Australia. Look for Metcalfe to have a great season in 2016 as he was often the fastest rider last year, and no one won more races.
KTM Canada Thor Racing Team’s announcement that multi-time US Supercross winner Davi Millsaps will be racing MX1 in Canada this summer came as no surprise to those who follow the sport. Rumours had been swirling in the industry and the confirmation that Millsaps would be heading north was greeted with a lot of excitement from race fans. Davi twice finished runner up in the 450 Supercross class and was running in the top 5 this winter before going down with an injury. Millsaps is one of the world’s elite racers and it is an honour to welcome him onto Canadian soil for the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan.
After winning back to back championships in the MX2 class, Canadian Kaven Benoit will be moving to the MX1 class this year and remains with the KTM Canada Thor Racing Team. As a rookie in the MX1 class, Benoit won’t be feeling the pressure like some of the guys he lines up with, which should help him in his transition to the elite class. His pre-season preparation has gone very well and it will not be long before we see the French Canadian rider on the box.
Monster Energy Alpine Stars Kawasaki is fielding an all-new team; in the MX1 class they will have Mike Alessi and Vince Friese on the starting line. Alessi is a multi-time AMA National Motocross winner, a multi-time CMRC Canadian National Motocross winner, and a runner up finisher in both the 250 and 450 AMA National Motocross Championship. Alessi was runner up in the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals MX1 class and is considered to be one of the best starters on the planet. Vince Friese is a podium finisher in AMA 250 supercross and finished third overall in the 2014 AMA Supercross 250 East Championship. Vince finished second overall in the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals’ MX2 Championship, and in his only appearance in the MX1 class last season in Calgary, he took the overall win.
Canadian born, two-time MX2 Champion Tyler Medaglia will return in 2016 aboard his Parts Canada Husqvarna and will again be competing for the podium each weekend. Tyler finished third in the 2013 and 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals and fifth in 2015, but will have his hands full this year with all the talent in the class. Expect the multi-time champ to compete each weekend and be close to the top all season.
South Carolina’s Cade Clason is excited to be coming back to Canada this summer aboard a Redemption Racing Big Steel Box KTM after a great rookie season last year. The likeable 21-year-old finished inside the top 5 more than once and by year’s end was sixth in the standings. Clade is known as being a difficult guy to pass on the track and just finished his most successful Supercross season ever where he has become a regular in the 450 class main event. California native Dylan Schmoke finished in the top-ten five times last year and will be sporting a single digit on his number plate this season. Dylan finished ninth in last year’s championship and will be looking to improve on that result this year aboard a KTM.
One of the best surprises in the MX2 class is KTM Canada Thor Racing Team’s Cole Thompson moving down to the smaller bikes. Thompson has tasted victory multiple times in MX1 and his move to MX2 comes with big expectations from both his team and his fans. Outside of the big three (Goerke, Facciotti, and Metcalfe), no one stood on top of the MX1 podium last year except Cole. “Tommy Gun” spent the winter racing the west coast 250 supercross, and we can expect the 22-year-old Canadian born rider to be competing for the top spot on the podium as soon as the gate drops at Round 1.
Jeremy Medaglia is back and again as part of the Honda Canada-GDR-Fox Racing team. Medaglia has won a race in each of his last three seasons and finished third in the MX2 class last year. Jeremy knows there are some fast riders coming to MX2 this year and is coming into the season as well prepared as he has ever been. Expect the Canadian born racer to be contending for the win each weekend, and don’t be surprised if he wins the championship.
North Carolina’s Jacob Hayes will be a member of the newly named Monster Energy Alpinestars Kawasaki team competing in the MX2 class. Jacob is one of the top arenacross riders in the world and is no stranger to Canada having won the Canadian National Arenacross tour last fall. Hayes also finished second overall in the 2015 AMA Arenacross tour and third in 2016 winning 10 events in the process. With his indoor skills well proven, he looks forward to lining up in 2016 to showcase his outdoor abilities.
Shawn Maffenbeier has had a lot of podium finishes over the last two years but has not been on the top step since 2013. After switching teams for the 2016 season, look for the rejuvenated Canadian to be in the mix each weekend aboard his Redemption Racing Big Steel Box KTM.
The all Canadian MX101 FXR Yamaha team is coming back and has added Rockstar Energy Drink to their list of sponsors. The team will be anchored by 18-year-old young gun Dylan Wright who finished sixth in the championship last year and is as hungry for a win as anyone in the class. Dylan trained in California this winter, so expect him to get his first MX2 win this season and be a contender for the title.
Also under the MX101 FXR Yamaha tent will be Jess Pettis who knows how to run in the top ten. Pettis came on strong at the end of last season and finished inside the top ten by season’s end. With a solid team behind him this year, Jess should be looking to start finishing on the podium.
The 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan gets started on June 5th in Kamloops, British Columbia and will spend the summer crossing the entire country for 10 rounds of adrenaline filled bar banging action. The wide variety of track conditions along the way will test the riders’ abilities and the two new venues we visit this year, RJ’s in Barrie, Ontario, and Pleasant Valley Raceway in Truro, Nova Scotia, will pose new challenges to the teams and riders.
Fans will be able to connect with the racing action like never before with the Conx2share live streaming platform to watch their favourite riders competing from coast to coast. Last season’s MX1 Champion wasn’t decided until the last moto of the year, and with the number of talented riders this year competing for the National titles, look for the racing action to be the best we have ever seen in this country.