Photos by James Lissimore
It was an ugly day at the fourth and final round of the Western swing of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals.
Held at Moto Valley Raceway in Regina, Saskatchewan, the region was thrilled to finally be back on the national schedule. The last time the Canadian Nationals visited Regina was in 2008, which offered just a tad better weather, track and pit conditions for racers and fans.
Everything was set for an energetic return to Regina, with the event taking place on a Saturday and featuring headlining rock ‘n’ roll acts following the race action, there was a better odds to attract less core fans. Sadly, a damper was put on the entire weekend as everyone suffered through some of the muddiest conditions since Morden 2007. Similar to that event, things got so nasty out that the track was deemed unrideable and it was decided to cancel the second motos.
Of course, you can bet with conditions like what we had in Regina, we would see some kind of a twist in the results and we did we with two new winners in both classes. Let’s take a look back at the action through the lens of James Lissimore ….
Things don’t look too bad here, but don’t be fooled, it was a mess in Regina last Saturday. Some riders get excited for the mucky conditions, most hate it and all of the team managers start sweating as they think about their race budget imploding.
Very few riders find fun in slopping around in the mud, but I’ve never met a single spectator that enjoys a mud race. Hard to expect a great crowd with conditions like these … too bad, hard to really say how the return to Regina went with it being on a Saturday and hosting a concert. Next year?
This guy isn’t happy, but on a positive note, he’s capturing some amazing footage with his helmet camera! The worst part is picking up the bike and both your hands and handlegrips are saturated in mud and water. You can’t even turn the throttle or work the levers because everything is slipping. #motocrossnotbecauseitseasy
Mr. Smiley Bobby Kiniry is one of few who was having fun in the mud, but who isn’t having fun when you’re winning? After setting one of the fastest qualifying times, the New Yorker found the dry line all day long on route to winning the one and only MX1 moto on the day. It was Kiniry’s first moto win and overall of the year. This gives us 3 different winners on the season after four rounds: Alessi, Facciotti and Kiniry. Who would be the 4th? We say Josh Hill.
Starts are everything in racing, and even more so when you have mud and rain to deal with. Check out Jeremy Medaglia (4) getting the jump on the MX2 class!
It could have been worse? That may be one way for MX101 Yamaha’s Jesse Wentland to observe his result in Regina, after taking a 9th place finish in the one and only MX2 moto. Wentland is tied for 4th in points, only 20 points back of first. The title hunt remains tight between multiple riders, with six races left.
Muddy conditions usually provide chances for new names to share in the spotlight. In Regina, that was new name was Redemption Racing’s Seth Rarick, who rode his KTM 250 SX two-stroke to a 4th place finish in MX2. His best finish ever in Canadian racing.
The Top Allison of the Weekend Award goes to Jared in Regina, who finished 6th in MX2. His twin brother Parker finished a respectable 13th.
He didn’t get a win in front of his hometown fans, but Shawn Maffenbeier came close, finishing second to Jeremy Medaglia in MX2. The Rockstar Energy Drink OTSFF Yamaha rider continues to impress and he sits second overall in the championship, only 11 points back of Benoit in first.
Defending MX2 champ Austin Politelli isn’t quite as dominant as he was in last year’s series, but he did come into the season with minimal seat time due to a broken femur in supercross. Regardless, Politelli is still in the hunt, taking third in Regina and sitting fourth in the series (but really is third, as Maffenbeier and Friese are tied for points in second/ third).
It’s taken longer than many (including Jeremy) expected, but Medaglia finally topped the MX2 class in Regina. He was definitely due and the points were much needed for the Monster Energy Thor Kawasaki rider. Even though Jeremy is still 7th in points, he’s only 28 points out of first. That’s not a lot to make up with 12 motos left to go.
From Red Bull and Fox, to Monster and Thor, Jeremy features a different look in 2014.
A tough weekend for MX2 series leader, Kaven Benoit. He failed to finish the only moto on the day, giving him no points towards the championship. Thankfully, he still holds the lead with 130 points, 9 more than Shawn Maffenbeier. Will he go four or two-stroke in the sandy tracks of the East Coast? We’ll find out shortly, when Gopher Dunes kicks things back up on Saturday July 12th.
Not as thrilling as his sweep in Kamloops, or win in Calgary, Smartop MotoConcepts Racing’s Vince Friese finished 11th in the muddy Regina mud. Not too bad all things considered (should we get into the Matthes vs Tony Alessi stuff? Naw, not right now … check Matthes Twitter if you want to see the report) and Friese is still tied for second in the points chase.
We talk about the racers, but how about the other brave souls who endure whatever mother nature throws at the Canadian Nationals? CMRC referee Paul Kingsley and one of the beautiful Rockstar girls stuck it out to make the show went on, for half the day anyways.
Pump .. pump, pump it up! Let’s hear it for ‘King of the Mud’ Tyler Medaglia, strutting his stuff in the slop once again and taking his best finish of the season with a second-place in MX1. Whenever the conditions get gooey and just plain crappy, Tyler rises to the occasion and looks forward to racing in it. I remember his younger brother Jeremy telling me how when it rains, Tyler heads to the woods and pounds away muddy laps over roots and rocks. That training obviously works. The last time it was real bad at Walton in 2011, Tyler swept both MX2 motos over Daryn Durham. Only Kiniry would best this Mudder in Regina. The KTM racer now sits third in points.
It wasn’t a favorable weekend in Regina for Mike Alessi, but the American soldiered through it to finish fourth-place in the single MX1 moto. Series points’ leader Colton Facciotti finished one spot ahead of Alessi, so he only lost two points but it’s another two points now he needs to make up (down by 9).
It’s been a while since Bobby Kiniry stood on the top step of the podium. Even covered in dirt and mud, there’s no doubt that champagne tasted just the same for the Yamaha rider. Like Jeremy Medaglia, the win was much needed for Kiniry who currently sits 6th in MX1 points.
Let’s hear it for “Lightning Bolt” Colt! The three-time champ is taking things slow and steady, still going fast, and it’s rewarding him with podium finishes at every round. Facciotti finished third in Regina, expanded his points lead to 9 over Alessi and when the series resume on July 12th, the first race back is 20 minutes from his house.