For this week’s Yamaha Motor Canada Behind the Lens we go back to a very warm July day at Gopher Dunes. Each year the Gopher Dunes track prides itself on being the toughest race on the national schedule. With its deep sand and massive whoops, this track is a challenge for the riders each and every year. Add in the fact that this race usually takes place in July when Ontario is under a blanket of summer humidity, you have a national that takes everything out of the athletes.
Coming into the 2017 Gopher Dunes National, GDR Honda rider Colton Facciotti was struggling with a virus he’d picked up a few weeks prior. Having not been able to ride and train as much as he would’ve liked heading into Round 5, Colton was hoping to survive the tough Gopher Dunes conditions and then move onto the next race. But this race isn’t just another stop of the national tour for Colton and his GDR Honda Team, it’s their hometown race and one that is attended by their family, friends and bosses from Honda Canada.
With that in mind, Colton grabbed the first moto holeshot and pulled out to an early lead. From there he built on his lead and rode smooth, while behind, the rest of the top riders struggled with finding any sort of flow on the deep sand track. Lap after lap Colton extended his lead until the 30-minute plus 2 lap moto had come to its conclusion. Colton did exactly what he wanted to do, he got out front early, stayed out of trouble and took the victory.
However, Colton’s first moto win was not without its price as it left him physically exhausted. Having not been able to train properly in the days leading up to the race, Colton had to rely on his experience and determination to lead the entire moto and win. This James Lissimore photo was taken just moments after Colton’s tough win and it’s one of my favourite of 2017. In this photo you can see just what it takes to win a national moto and how much suffering has to be experienced. In Moto 2, Colton could only muster an 8th place finish, most likely due to the energy he exerted in the first moto. But after this race, he went on to win four more motos before the series was over, eventually finishing 3rd overall in the MX1 class. I think when Colton looks back on his 2017 season, his opening moto win at Gopher Dunes will stand out as not only his best but also his toughest!