Thank goodness the weather gods were on our side for this past weekend in Nanaimo. We are no strangers to what the track conditions are like when it rains at The Wastelands. Fortunately, this year the weather was overcast and almost warm. The track crew did a great job of keeping the track moist and semi dust-free, and as for the crowd, it was one of the biggest I have seen in a long time. I think the word is getting out that there are some big names in Canada for 2016. You have to admit, it’s pretty cool to see names like Millsaps, Metcalfe, Georke, Alessi, and Friese all in Canada. I would have laughed if you asked me 10 years ago if we would see these guys up north. Well, I’m not laughing, I’m excited to see these guys up here racing against our best, and Colton Facciotti, Kaven Benoit and Cole Thompson are doing a great job of representing Canada. To be honest, I had no idea who would be the leader after Round 2. I know Davi Millsaps is a very talented rider in SX and I also know he has not raced outdoors for quite some time. He knows he can pin it outdoors, but how fast would he be after his crash late in the SX season? If you have been living under a rock, here is the news: Millsaps is pretty damn fast outdoors! He is not walking away with the win, but he is one of the fastest so far in the series. At Round 1 in Kamloops, Matt Georke was able to hold off the factory KTM rider. In Nanaimo, Facciotti stayed pretty close throughout the whole second moto. Like I said, it is exciting racing and you need to see for yourself. This coming weekend in Calgary will be a good one. Alessi, Vince and Facciotti have done very well at the high speed supercross-style track.
It is no secret that a lot of riders really don’t like the track at Nanaimo. It’s hard not to like it when you compare it to tracks like Deschambault, Ulverton or even Calgary. Once the weekend was over I didn’t really hear any negative talk about the track this year. I enjoy the whole island experience, especially now that I don’t manage a full-on factory team. It is expensive to get the rig and the team there. Now that we have raced here for 10 plus years, I imagine most teams and riders know to budget for it.
The Women’s National was exciting once again with Sara King and Shelby Turner battling back and forth for the lead. King had the edge as Turner went down hard in the second moto. Brittney Danyluk rode well to finish third for the day. The ladies class had a solid turnout as this is the second round of the four round series. You will see good numbers for the Ladies’ gate when it rolls into Calgary.
There is never a dull moment in the MX2 class. Right off the gate in moto one, Jeremy Medaglia, on his GDR Fox Honda, slid out as he tried to scrub the plateau jump and make a pass on Cole Thompson. This crash caused 38 other riders to figure a way around the downed rider. Caught up in the crash were Jess Pettis and teammate Dylan Wright. The three riders were a little slow to get up after the crash; Jeremy headed to the team rig for repairs. Dylan smashed his foot and worked his way to the pit area as well. Jess remounted and was looking to move up until a downed rider popped his head up on the uphill double. With nowhere to go, Pettis slammed into the rider, which resulted in Jesse cartwheeling off the track. This was not the start that the MX101 team was looking for. Pretty crazy start to the second round of the series. Jeremy would call it a day, Dylan and Pettis made it back for the second moto. Let’s hope Medaglia will be ready for Calgary where he needs to get back on track and get some well needed points. Cole Thompson had a good day going 1-1 for the overall. The points leader going into Nanaimo, Shawn Maffenbeier looked solid on his Redemption KTM 250 by going 2-2. Spokane, WA rider Brad Nauditt had a great weekend on his Honda with a 3-6 for a third overall. Brandan Leith, with consistent results, finished fourth overall. Dylan Wright put in a solid second moto finishing 3rd and his teammate Pettis worked his way to fourth. BC local Dylan Kaelin put in a great ride with a 6-7 for a 5th overall.
Moving to the MX1 class, it seemed as though everything was good until the red cross flag came out for a downed rider halfway into the first moto. Two riders ended up jumping on the red cross. Millsaps and Georke both were protested for jumping. The CMRC looked in to the matter and after further investigation handed out a 10 position penalty to both riders, which obviously changed the results of the first moto. Originally Millsaps won the race with Alessi and Georke finished on the podium. The penalty moved Millsaps and Georke back to 11th and 13th. Alessi was awarded the win, Facciotti second and Metty third. Moto two had no major issues and was won by Millsaps. Not too far behind was Colton on his GDR Fox Honda 450. Third went to a hard charging, much improved Metty. With the red cross penalties, this gave the overall to the 4-time Champ, Colton Facciotti. With a 1-5 for second overall on his Monster Kawasaki 450 was Mike Alessi. Mike commented, “Not the best second moto but I will take it. Looking forward to Calgary where I have had some great results in the past.” Third overall with a 3-3 and looking way more comfortable on his Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha 450 was Brett Metcalfe. Fourth for the day and not very happy with the penalty was Davi with an 11-1. With consistent results, Cade Clason finished 5th for the day with a 4-8. Kaven Benoit on his KTM Thor 450 looked really good until his chain broke in the first moto. Vince Friese’s day started out well with the fastest lap times in practice. Moto one started okay until Vince crashed hard on his head. The team felt it would be best to sit out the second as his head was still ringing after the crash.
Now the teams head to Calgary this coming weekend. With Colton having a marginal 4 point lead on Davi Millsaps, things could get real interesting. In the MX2 class, Thompson has a 5 point lead over Maffenbeier. That’s it for this week, see you in Calgary.