Round 2 of the CMRC sanctioned Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals presented by Motovan is in the books. Prince George, BC was the location and the circuit known as Blackwater MX Track. The layout of the track was on the side of a hill deep in a wooded area about 20 minutes from the city center. The dirt was moist and soft in the morning and by the afternoon the dirt started to harden up. The elevation here made for some exciting lines and the track did get pretty rough with lots of lines that made for some pretty good racing. The crowd was strong on both days and rider sign up was solid as well.
The MX1 class was stacked with the regular heavy hitters except for Kaven Benoit who injured his foot the week before in Kamloops, BC. Kaven crashed pretty hard in Germany in November at a supercross event and his ankle has not healed properly yet. Apparently, we will not see him back until the series heads to the east. The favourite for the day was Christophe Pourcel on his factory Husky. This track, in my opinion, favoured the European rider because the track was fast but had technical spots with lots of off cambers. In Moto 1, right off the gate, Pourcel was out front and Goerke was in second. The two riders pulled away from the rest of the pack. Pourcel was able to put a 5 second gap on Goerke until lap 15, then Matt put on a charge and passed the factory Husky rider. For the next four laps, the two riders were no more than one second apart from each other. The battle was on. Thirty-five minutes and two laps later, Matt won the moto by no more than three quarters of a second over Pourcel. That was one heck of a race! Behind the two leaders in third was Dillan Epstein who was twenty-eight seconds behind but looked great. If he’d had a better start I think Dillan could have battled with the leaders. Fourth was Facciotti on his factory Honda and rounding out in fifth was Mike Alessi.
Moto 2 started with a holeshot from Mike Alessi and just behind him was Pourcel and Georke. Mike was able to hold off Matt and Christophe for five laps until they made the pass. The two leaders then continued where they had left off in the first moto. Georke and Pourcel put on a real show! They were no more than two seconds apart the whole race. The final lap in the last corner, Christophe found some extra corner speed and somehow found a line that allowed him to make the pass over the finish line. The gap was .088 seconds between the two riders. It was one of the best races I have seen in years. This series is shaping up to be a good one. Third for the moto was a hard charging Facciotti, who was not far off the pace. Fourth was Mike Alessi and fifth was Epstein. The overall went to Pourcel with a 2-1 over Matt with a 1-2. Third overall was Colton with a 4-3 followed by Epstein and Alessi.
Prince George’s hometown favourite, Jess Pettis, had a great weekend in front of his local fans by finishing 2-2 behind the 2016 MX2 Champion Cole Thompson. Jess looked solid all weekend and has really stepped it up in 2017. In the first moto, there was a good battle between Cole, Jess and his teammate Shawn Maffenbeier for first. Late in the moto, Shawn made the pass on Cole for the lead and with a few laps to go he tipped over in a tight corner, handing the lead to Thompson. Pettis then slipped into second and Shawn in third. That’s the way they finished the race. Finishing fourth was Josh Osby and fifth was Jacob Hayes. Moto 2 was exactly what the Prince George fans were hoping for, Jess Pettis out in front. The fans were cheering Jess on as he was pulling away from Thompson. Teammate Maffenbeier looked like he was going to make a pass on Thompson for third when his Yamaha came to a stop on Lap 8. The issue was a crack in the water pump cover from a rock he hit in a rut. On Lap 13, Thompson made the pass on Pettis and led for the next two laps to the checkered flag. Pettis cruised in second and Jacob Hayes was third. The fans were cheering Jess as he worked his way up to the podium. Finishing fourth in Moto 2 was Ryan Surratt and fifth went to a hard charging Dylan Wright. Overall for the day was the following: Thompson 1-1, Pettis 2-2, Jacob Hayes 5-3, Surratt 6-4 and fifth was Osby with a 4-6.
The racing at Prince George was the best so far. I know we are only just over Round 2, but if this is what we expect to see each weekend we are in for a treat for the balance of the series. This coming weekend the series heads to Calgary. If you’re in the area, you really need to check it out.