Round 1 – Kamloops National Preview
The wait is over as the first gate drop of the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan is only days away. Round 1 will take place this weekend in Kamloops, British Columbia at Whispering Pines Raceway along the banks of the Thompson River. This will be the second year in a row that the season opener will be held at the Whispering Pines circuit, located in the south central part of BC, surrounded by the majestic Monashee mountain range. The racetrack is a sand base mixed with loamy black earth that gets very rough and choppy as the day progresses. The track is full of man-made obstacles, and this year will run in the opposite direction it has in previous races.
Racers and teams will switch from preparation to race mode this weekend as all their off-season work is finally put to the test. The Championship cannot be won at the first round but finishing well gives a rider some momentum to carry him into the next round. Getting through the opener in one piece is extremely important in the quest to become Champion.
Reigning MX1 Champion Matt Goerke will be looking to repeat aboard his Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha and in the process pick up his third National MX1 title. Goerke finished second overall in Kamloops last year after coming into the series underprepared when he broke his collarbone six weeks prior to Round 1.
Another rider coming into the season healthier than last year is Honda Canada Racing Fox GDR’s Colton Facciotti. Colton struggled with an injury early last season but came on strong in the second half where he was clearly the fastest guy on the track. “Colt 45” ended up finishing second to Goerke by season’s end and was only 6 points back as the Championship was not decided until the last moto of the year.
Australian Brett Metcalfe swept both motos at last year’s season opener at Whispering Pines, and this year “Metty” will be aboard a Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha replacing the retired Bobby Kiniry. Brett has not had a lot of seat time on his Yamaha and will have to adapt quickly if he wants to capture his second MX1 Championship.
The big three (Goerke, Facciotti, and Metcalfe) have won the last 5 MX1 titles, and 7 of the last 8. If one of them is to become Champion again this year, getting off to a good start this weekend is vital. The inflow of super-fast riders in the class this year that includes KTM Canada Thor Racing’s Davi Millsaps and the Monster Energy Alpinestars Kawasaki Team’s Mike Alessi and Vince Friese will make this the most competitive season in the 24 year history of the CMRC National Championship. Friese finished 1-1 in the MX2 class at Whispering Pines in 2014 and Alessi finished on the podium in the MX1 class in his last appearance there.
Besides the invasion of talented riders and the big three coming into the season all healthy, another storyline to watch this weekend is the appearance of two-time MX2 Champion, KTM Canada Thor Racing’s Kaven Benoit in his first race in the premier class. It will be very interesting to see how Benoit stacks up against the strongest field we have ever seen in the MX1 class.
With Kaven Benoit moving up to the MX1 class, the MX2 class is wide open and will have a new Champion by season’s end for the first time in three years. Honda Canada-GDR-Fox Racing’s Jeremy Medaglia got off to a great start in Kamloops last year finishing second overall on the day. Like his brother, Jeremy seems to like the Whispering Pines circuit and finished on the box in 2014 as well.
Perhaps the biggest story in the MX2 class this weekend will be KTM Canada Thor Racing’s Cole Thompson who after having some success in the MX1 class over the last few years will be lining up with the MX2 boys. The expectations for Cole “Tommy Gun” Thompson will be high as he lines up this weekend, and no one will be surprised if he finishes on top of the box.
Another new entry to the MX2 class this weekend will be North Carolina’s Jacob Hayes as a member of the newly named Monster Energy Alpinestars Kawasaki team. Hayes has proven himself a winner in arenacross and has been putting in the practice laps at Whispering Pines, but will have his work cut out for him this weekend as he starts his rookie season in the MX2 class.
Kamloops is known for its beautiful climate and the forecast for this weekend’s season opener at Whispering Pines is calling for nothing but sunshine. If you haven’t already purchased your tickets you can buy them online easily at the www.mxnationals.ca. If you are in another part of the country and are unable to attend the race, you can watch all the action live by downloading the free Conx2share app and live stream every moto on your mobile phone or computer.
With all the new talent coming north this year to take part in the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals, as well as the returning riders and Champions, this is truly the most competitive and highly anticipated series to date. The first round always has that extra level of excitement as it is the first opportunity for the riders and teams to see how they stack up against the competition, and for the fans to see their favourite riders again. Ten rounds of adrenaline-filled, bar banging action will cross the entire country and new Champions will be crowned in mid-August. It all start this Sunday, June 5th.
Rockstar Energy Drink MX National Preview: Round 1 Kamloops