Words and Photos by Krystyn Slack (@freestylephotocross)
Round 9 is smack dab in the middle of the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship season and for the only time on the circuit, we got to head north of the border to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It’s no secret that Canadians love their supercross, and this stop to the Rogers Centre did not disappoint. In a nearly packed house, an exciting night of racing led to fans cheering and on their feet nearly the duration of the Night Program. This season has been filled with career bests and career firsts week after week, making for a truly memorable season.
The evening kicked off with the Frenchman, former MXdN Team France rider, Dylan Ferrandis capturing the first holeshot and first heat race win of the evening. It was a battle royale right until the checkers in the hard fought win for the #108 – which was almost snatched up by the 2nd fastest qualifier on the day, the #48 of Christian Craig during the last turn. This marked a career first Heat Race win for Ferrandis who has been improving each week. Behind Ferrandis, the #44 of Jordon Smith put together an impressive ride as one of the only riders who jumped the quad in the rhythm section. The quad was worth a couple of bike lengths and had him soaring past riders each lap. The 250SX Heat Race 2 continued with more career firsts as the #39 of Colt Nichols took his first career Heat Win. That’s two for two Yamaha’s in the Heat Races – The YZ250F and YZ450F perform exceptionally well with the loose type of dirt present in Toronto. In the second Heat Race, we also saw the #72 of hometown hero, Cole Thompson claim a transfer spot directly into the Main Event. The Rogers Centre crowd was more than enthusiastic when cheering on one of the lone Canucks on the circuit. After wining the 2016 MX2 title during the Rockstar Energy Canadian Nationals, Thompson is looking to make a splash on the American circuit as well.
As temperatures outside the Rogers Centre continued to drop, the racing inside continued to heat up. In the 450SX Heat 1, Marvin Musquin grabbed the holeshot, but was quickly passed by the #22 of Chad Reed. Musquin had unfortunately been dealing with the flu all week, but still managed to earn a transfer spot directly to the Main Event – which would allow for more rest time for the recovering Frenchman. The moment Chad Reed took over the lead, the crowd erupted into cheers and applause that lasted the entire Heat Race. Every time Reed would pass a section the crowd became increasingly more vocal over their support for the fan favorite. Chad would go on to win Heat Race 1 – his first Heat Race win of 2017 and 73rd of his illustrious career! That makes it three for three for the Yamahas in Heat Race wins. In Heat Race 2 in the 450SX class the #21 of Jason Anderson made a move for the holeshot, but was quickly passed by the #3 of Eli Tomac. It’s clear that Tomac is back to 100% and seems to find more and more speed each week, as he has consistently been the fastest rider on the track without question. Behind Tomac, a very interesting situation was unfolding between Justin Barcia and Broc Tickle – neither of whom were in a transfer position. Tension flared between the two after some aggressive passing, which resulted in a minor altercation after the Heat Race that would ultimately leave Tickle penalized and having the very last gate pick in his Semi. The incident must have got the adrenaline flowing in each of the riders though, as both Barcia and Tickle went on to win their respective Semis.
For the Main Events, a newly familiar story began to unfold in the 250SX class. Although he wasn’t first off the line and only led 11 of the 17 laps, Zach Osborne took the checkers for the second week in a row. The previous “waiting on his first career win” Osborne is now a two-time Monster Energy Supercross winner. He also maintains the points lead heading into Round 10 in Daytona. Behind him, the #36 of Adam Cianciarulo finished the evening with a season-best of 2nd place. Rounding out the box was the #48 of Christian Craig making his first podium appearance of the season as well. Great to see Christian back charging after suffering a concussion in Atlanta. In the 450SX class, reigning champ, Ryan Dungey got off to what would likely be described as one of his worst starts of the year. But in typical Dungey fashion, Ryan wasn’t going down without a fight. Although scored in 9th off the start, Ryan remained calm and calculated as he made passes lap after lap, even making contact with the #14 of Cole Seely a couple times throughout the race. Dungey managed to finish the evening in 2nd place behind the lightning fast green machine of Eli Tomac. Whatever “secret sauce” Tomac was missing, he’s found it. Tomac now sits in second place in the championship, just 24 points being Dungey. Rounding out the podium was the #20 of Broc Tickle who secured his first ever career 450SX podium. Toronto is a special place for the RCH Factory Suzuki rider as it was also the place where he scored his career first 250SX podium.
This weekend we head south to warmer weather to the legendary Daytona International Speedway for Round 10 of Monster Energy Supercross.