For this week’s Yamaha Motor Canada Behind the Lens, we go back to Round 3 of the Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals in Calgary. For years, every time the CMRC Nationals visit the Wild Rose MX Park, all of the riders, teams and fans get very excited. With this exciting track being just a stone’s throw from downtown Calgary, the racing is always entertaining and the photos always turn out great with the city in the background. Most of the time, the best photos from this race have been the customary whip shots off one of the many tabletops with the Calgary skyscrapers as the backdrop. However, for this feature I have chosen a different type of photo, while still using the same cool scenery in the background.
With moto wins in the first two rounds of the 2017 MX1 series, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider Christophe Pourcel came into Calgary as the MX1 red plate holder and he was obviously looking at extending his points lead. After finishing third in Moto 1 behind Dylan Epstein and Matt Goerke, Pourcel lined up on the concrete starting pad for Moto 2, beaming with confidence as he had won the second motos at the first two rounds of the series. But, after rounding the first turn just inside the top five, Pourcel clipped a fellow rider’s back wheel as he headed into turn two and down he went. Due to the fact that he did hit the ground hard, which was very unexpected, Pourcel took his time getting up and remounting his Husqvarna. By the time he got back into the race the pack was long gone, and it was clear that Pourcel had a lot of work to do.
It actually took a full lap before Pourcel even caught up to the back of the pack, so that gives you an idea of just how far back he was. With his arch rivals up front and gaining precious points, Pourcel put his head down and began passing rider after rider during the long 35-minute moto. Although Pourcel’s comeback wasn’t as spectacular as Brett Metcalfe’s from 2013, or Mike Alessi’s in 2014, in his defence he did start much further back than both of those riders. In terms of time and space made up in one moto, Pourcel’s second moto ride in Calgary was one of the best I’ve seen in Canadian motocross. During his impressive comeback, Pourcel’s mechanic had but one simple message for his rider. This James Lissimore photo captures not only the unique relationship between rider and mechanic, but also how, at certain times during an important race, it is important to give a rider clear and precise instructions. Too much information can be confusing, and too little information can leave a rider wasting precious energy trying to figure out things for themselves. Sometimes just a simple message is all a rider needs to move forward to do their best. As I said, this photo is just a little different, but I love how it captures one of the great moments from Round 3 in Calgary. Oh, and for record, Pourcel made it all the way up to eighth place in that moto and fifth overall for the day.