Photos by James Lissimore
Through the Nikon lens of James Lissimore we take a look at highlights from Round 7 of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals in Deschambault, Quebec. Enjoy!
NOW, THIS IS MOTOCROSS: What a wild ride it’s been during this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals. We’ve had four different moto winners in the MX1 class (three of them here, Bobby Kiniry, Mike Alessi and Colton Facciotti) and the championship is far from sealed. Facciotti does hold a 27 point lead over Alessi but there are six motos remaining and anything can happen.
IT LOOKS BETTER WET? Thank goodness we’re in sandy Deschambault, Quebec and not Regina, Saskatchewan or else we could have been in for another ‘mudder.’ Despite heavy rains on Sunday morning before the race, the Deschambault track soaked up a lot of it and overall conditions weren’t too bad. In fact, by the second motos things were pretty much ideal – rough and rutted.
PICK A LINE: French Canadians like things fast and the Deschambault track features an exciting, high energy layout with lots of flow. This rhythm section features a couple of different options for riders, and if you watched closely on Sunday you’d have seen GDR Troy Lee Designs Honda’s Colton Facciotti doing something pretty creative in the second MX1 moto, which he won by 17 seconds over Alessi.
SALUT, DANIEL ! Here’s the man of the hour, Daniel Thibault. This guy puts a lot of hours, sweat and heart into his facility and racing events at the Deschambault Motocross & Off-Road Park. The track is beautiful, but there is also some amazing off-road trails, mini-bike tracks and the whole facility makes for a great family attraction/ campground.
WELCOME TO MY HOUSE: Ben Milot’s traveling freestyle motocross show, Milot Land Tour, entertained fans at the Nanaimo and Kamloops rounds and now again in the east in the backyard of Milot. He and TV producer, Felix Trepanier, are two great people in the sport and bring a lot of professionalism to the sport.
WHIP IT WEDNESDAY: Tricks are cool, but nothing beats the style and charisma of a good ol’ whip.
TWO VS FOUR: The two-stroke vs four-stroke battle continues with KTM’s Liam O’Farrell giving KTM a 1-2 two-stroke finish in Deschambault. Incredible as Kaven Benoit’s rides were, going 1-1 at his hometrack, it was heartwarming to see the South African O’Farrell achieving his first Canadian National podium. Here we see Rockstar Energy Drink OTSFF Yamaha’s Shawn Maffenbeier trying to chase down O’Farrell in an MX2 moto.
UP AND DOWN: That’s really how it’s been going for MX101 Yamaha’s Shawn Robinson. The always stylish rider has the speed and talent to get results like a 13th in the first muddy moto at Deschambault. But then, usually following that result – like in Deschambault – Robinson DNFs, crashes, has a bike problem, or all three. There isn’t a lot of time to improve his 17th overall series standing, but one or two good rides would certainly turn those frowns upside down before shutting down for the off season. End it on a high note, Shawn!
WAITING ON WROZYNA: Like it is for a lot of rookies, it’s been a learning year for young Westen Wrozyna who is on pace to complete his first full national season, which is impressive in itself because it takes consistency and strength to do so. To date, the GDR TLD Honda rider has five top 20 MX2 finishes with his best result a 12th in a moto at Kamloops. Moncton will be a track he favours, and Walton is somewhere more familiar to him as well. What do you think? Can Wrozyna snag a top 10 before the year is out?
PETTIS OR PETITE? It was good to see young rookie Jesse Pettis back on the MX2 starting gate. He’s missed the entire series thus far after injuring himself at round 1 in Nanaimo. He’s back now and looking pretty darn good taking 9th overall and riding in and around that position in both motos. Side note: possible Ryan Villopoto look-a-like?
BUSY, BUSY: The Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki Team was running ragged on Sunday with Austin Politelli DNFing both MX2 motos due to bike problems, and then Jeremy Medaglia suffered a mechanical in the first moto as well. Onward and upward in Moncton!
JSR? In many ways, Kaven Benoit looks like the King of Canadian Motocross, Jean-Sebastien Roy. Of course, both are from Quebec so they share the same language but it goes far beyond that. The Royal Distributing KTM Fox Racing rider even flashes the #1 like JSR did! I’m telling you, replace the number plate with a #1 and go back to 2005 … it’s like looking at the King all over again. Side note: how do you think Benoit will do in the 450 class? We say act fast and get him onto a big bike next summer!
HALLMARK MOTO MOMENT: Liam O’Farrell’s wife, Pam, cleans up her husband for his first appearance on the Canadian National podium!
VOTE NOW: Who has the nicest hair in Canadian motocross: Vince Friese or a Medaglia brother? (Or Brian Koster)
ANOTHER FIRST TIMER: Along with O’Farrell hitting the box for the first time, Duroy KTM’s Jeremy Pronovost earned his moto podium finish with a third in the first MX2 moto at Deschambault. He would end the day in fifth overall with a 10th in the second moto.
FAST FEMALES: Devils Lake Riverside Yamaha’s Hailey Larson has been trying to qualify at most of the Canadian Nationals and accomplished her goal in Deschambault by making the cut in MX2 Pro. Sadly, her day came to an end in the first moto after badly tweaking her ankle. Hopefully she heals up in time to defend her championship at the Walton TransCan in two weeks!
TWO-STROKE FEVER: Redemption Racing’s Eric Jeffery and Seth Rarick have also chosen to race on KTM 250 SX two-strokes this summer. Here’s a quick fact: 8 out of the top 20 in MX2 at Deschambault were riding a KTM.
FINALLY! We come to the guy who was the story in Deschambault, Mr. Josh Hill! The Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki rider earned his first MX1 win in Canada taking the first moto victory in Quebec last Sunday. With a great start for the first time in a long time, Hill was able to get into second behind Bobby Kiniry and hold that until late in the race when he inherited the lead after Kiniry’s YZ450F blew up. As you can see in this pic, it was by no means easy for Hill to earn his win at the rough and tough Deschambault track. A fourth in the second moto would give Hill third overall on the day. He’s now only 10 points out of third in the MX1 championship.
HANGIN’ TOUGH: KTM’s Tyler Medaglia continues to keep orange on the MX1 podium taking a 3-3 in Deschambault. Strange, you’d think that would give him a third overall at least, but because Facciotti and Hill tied with 43 points on the day it bumped Tyler to fourth overall. Regardless, the Canadian kid remains third in the series.
ZOOMIN’ ZEB DENNIS: Let’s give it up for Moto Park’s Zeb Dennis who has had three top-15 finishes since joining the tour at Gopher Dunes. At Deschambault, Dennis had his best moto finish yet – 10th in moto one – and took 13th overall on the day. Not bad for a privateer racer on a non-current bike.
TOP BLUE MAN: Florida’s Kyle Chisholm remains Yamaha’s best hope for a podium finish in this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals. Chisholm went 5-6 for sixth overall at Deschambault and sits 6th in the points.
PACKED HOUSE: Once again the Deschambault National attracted a healthy audience to watch quality guys like Jay Burke duking it out with factory racers from all over the world.
BEST YET: Normally Gopher Dunes would play host to Kyle Keast’s best finish of the year, but after a slow entrance into the series at Gopher, Keast has steadily improved every weekend. At Deschambault, he rode to 8-8 finishes for 7th overall – his first top 10 this year. That pushes him up to 15th in the MX1 championship with only three races under his belt.
A FAMILY AFFAIR: Mike Alessi’s younger brother, Jeff, joined in on the fun and signed up for the Deschambault National. It’s been a while since Jeff has raced, but he looked good on his MotoConcepts Racing 450 and finished right behind Keast in 8th.
See you in Moncton!