This past weekend we had the opportunity to watch some great racing at the Riverglade MX Park in Moncton, NB. Larry Northrup and his crew always roll out the welcome mat to the series when it swings into town. This track has been on the circuit for as long as I can remember. The first time I raced the national there was back in 1986 I think. The track looked the same as it did last year but there was a lot of work put into the spectator area with the addition of a huge grandstand section for the fans to watch from. They did a great job of keeping the dust down with the very little water they had. The Moncton area has been very dry for many weeks so the ponds they use to water the track were looking pretty dry. Even the famous Cole Thompson pond was almost completely dry. This would have been a much better year in which to sink a full-on factory KTM450.
The 450 class had the usual suspects up front with Mike Alessi grabbing the holeshot. Unfortunately, Mike just couldn’t hang on for the lead in both motos. Points leader Matt Goerke and Christophe Pourcel swapped moto wins. Goerke still holds a 19-point lead on the Factory Husky rider. Finishing third for the day with a 3-3 was Mike Alessi on his Monster Kawasaki. Mike looked like he had his KX working way better than twelve months earlier when he really struggled. Finishing fourth with a 5-4 was Kyle Chisholm on his Royal Distributing Honda. Rounding out the top five was local hero Tyler Medaglia with a 4-5. Colton Facciotti had a bit of an off day. He looked strong and rode well but was just off the pace. Dillan Epstein had his share of troubles too. The first moto Dillan finished 7thand started off pretty far back. The second moto he had a much better start and on lap three made a pass on Alessi for the lead that lasted about two seconds after Mike blew by him on a small section. All of a sudden, somehow the two Kawasaki riders touched and Epstein was cartwheeling out of control. Once the dust settled Dillan was laying on the dirt holding his leg and his bike was off the track in the ditch. That was it for #108. I saw the video the day after and I am still not sure how it really happened because there was a pretty big banner in the way. They call it a racing incident or rubbing or bumping. I know Mike wouldn’t do it on purpose but I also know Dillan wouldn’t try to make a pass in an area that is next to impossible to get by. That’s why I can’t really call it.
In the MX2 class, MX101 Yamaha team riders of Maffenbeier and Pettis pretty well dominated the entire day with a 1-2 finish. Taking a 1-1, Shawn extends his points lead by 16 points over Surratt and Wright. Pettis looked solid once again finishing with a 2-2 for the day. Not far off the leaders was Hayes on his Monster Kawasaki. It was good to see Jacob up on the box with a 3-3. Finishing fourth for the day with a consistent 4-4 was Dylan Wright on his GDR Honda. Dylan looked solid in the first moto but fell off the leaders’ pace late in the moto. The second moto, Dylan started just behind Hayes again and was not able to make the pass into third. Ryan Surratt on his Nut Up Kawasaki had a descent ride with a 5-5 for the day. Local rider Davey Fraser looked solid on his two-stroke Husky. Fraser finished with a sixth overall. Tanner Ward was having a good second moto until he had a rear shock issue. This slowed him down but he was still able to finish seventh for the day. The third team member on the Yamaha MX101 team, Hayden Halstead, had a great weekend finishing eighth overall.
This coming weekend the series heads back to La Belle Province. MX Deschambault has to be one of the best tracks on the calendar. Track owner Daniel Thibault has put in a ton of hours preparing for this weekend. He must be one of the most passionate track owners I know and he puts his heart into this national. This is one event where you will see a good crowd. These fans are not shy about leaning out on the track and cheering on their favourite riders. This weekend also marks Round 3 of the CMRC Eastern Canadian Women’s Nationals.
August also means that it’s time for Loretta Lynn’s Amateur MX Championship. The best of amateur racing all gathers there and gives you a chance to see who is the next big thing. To participate in this event is a fairly prestigious thing and you have to do the work to qualify for it. The selected few who have qualified make camp at the ranch for the week to compete, memories are made and winners are crowned. If you have a chance, check out the live streaming on their website. You might just see some of our top Canadian riders mixing it up on the track. See you at the races.