Good day and welcome to another edition of the Yamaha Motor Canada Monday Gate Drop. I hope everyone is having a splendid long weekend and hopefully the turkey is tasting good in your house. This has always been one of my favourite weekends of the year as it always seems to be a good time to chill with family. I like Christmas as well, but sometimes the Christmas holidays get busy and that causes stress. Thanksgiving, at least in my family, has always been pretty relaxed! Anyway, I hope your long weekend was good, and now we look forward to the final round of the 2019 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series this Saturday in Hamilton.
Going back to the mid-1980’s, Copps Coliseum (or First Ontario Centre as it’s called now) has a long history of hosting AX races. I remember going there on a Thursday night in 1986 and racing the 80cc support class. It was so much fun in those days because amateur riders really didn’t have too many indoor races to choose from. That night I had an intense battle with Steve Bulyovsky for the win with neither of us giving an inch. I’m sure he beat me as he always did in those days, but it must’ve been a good race because I do recall the crowd going crazy as we battled. I also remember a Honda mounted privateer rider named Guy Cooper taking the win in the Pro class. Anyway, this coming Saturday night we’ll be back inside this historic arena for the final race of the Triple Crown Series.
Unlike last year where Colton Facciotti was injured and Cole Thompson went into the final round with the Triple Crown Series sealed, this time around both the SXTour classes as well as the overall 450 Triple Crown Series are still up for grabs. In the SXTour Series, Luke Renzland leads Dylan Wright by seven points in the 250 class, and although Dylan has the 250 Triple Crown Championship wrapped up, I’m quite sure he’d love to sweep all three segments of the year-long series. On the other hand, Renzland needs to win as he came into 2019 with so much promise. Both riders were chasing Tyler Medaglia a few weeks back in Quebec City so you can also look for Tyler to once again play the role of the spoiler. Hamilton will also mark the final race in the 250 class for Dylan Wright as all signs are pointing to him moving up to the 450 class in 2020. Anyway, the 250 class is always exciting to watch and this weekend should be no different.
In the 450 class, Phil Nicoletti is leading both the SXTour Series as well as the overall Triple Crown Series. His lead in the SXTour Series is only two points, so even though I’m sure he has some bonus money in his contract for that series, the most important prize for Nicoletti and his Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha Team is the overall Triple Crown Series win. According the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series’ website, Nicoletti is heading into the final round with a 27-point lead over Cole Thompson. So, while the Triple Crown Championship is certainly not a lock for Phil, he’s in pretty good shape with one main event remaining. Obviously, Phil is headed into Hamilton with intentions of staying clear of his KTM mounted nemesis, but just as we witnessed in Quebec City, I think a battle between these two is inevitable in Steel town. Phil is a racer and a competitor, and as much as I’m sure he will have orders to just ride his own race, if Cole runs it in on him early in the main event…look out!!!
Two weeks ago in Quebec City, these two had an altercation on the final lap of the 450 main event when Cole went for an aggressive pass. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the actual pass, after all it’s AX and the tracks are super tight with very little room for passing. Also, it was a million times cleaner than Cole’s final corner pass on Facciotti last year in QC, so at least he’s learned something in a year. The only issue that I think anyone had with the pass was that in order for Cole to get the inside of Phil he had to first hit a tuff block with his foot. After the race there was an official protest put forth by a few of the teams that the MRC Rules Tribunal had to look at last week. Although there was no official press release (not sure why?) it was reported on Social Media that in the end Cole was cleared of any wrong doing. I believe this was the correct call as in any of the videos I’ve seen of the incident, Cole did hit the tuff block but it was not anchored down, and it’s not like he drove over top of it. Also, if you don’t want a rider to take a 45 degree angle up the face of a jump, then put a track marker at the top of it so riders can’t cut across. Anyway, Quebec City is in the past now and all we have to do is focus on Hamilton. I would suggest, though, that all of the members of the MRC Rules Tribunal be present in Hamilton this weekend because it definitely wouldn’t surprise me if they were called upon next week to rule on another whacky incident. If history is any guide, strange things seem to happen in a series when there’s so much at stake.
To make this weekend in Hamilton even more exciting, it was announced last week that 6-time Canadian National Champion Colton Facciotti will be taking a victory lap to celebrate his amazing career, and Larry Enticer will also be on hand to sign autographs. Hamilton will not only be the final race of 2019, but it will also be a night of celebration as we’re officially honouring Colton Facciotti as well as saying farewell to another season of Canadian motocross.
Well, that is it for me this week. My family is having their big Thanksgiving dinner today so it’s time to go and get ready for that. I hope that everyone had a great weekend, and a Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at MXP Magazine. Finally, don’t forget about the Honda Canada Racing/ MXP Magazine Hamilton SX ticket giveaway. The final draw for the free tickets to the Hamilton SX is Wednesday so tomorrow is the final day to submit your answer. Here is all the information you need. Thanks for reading and have a great week!