These days, time definitely flies by when you’re having fun. This saying more than applies to the 2017 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals presented by Motovan, as the first two rounds have gone by in a heartbeat. First up was the opening round in Kamloops where Shawn Maffenbeier and Christophe Pourcel drew first blood and took home the victories. Then this past weekend, the CMRC pro tour headed north to beautiful Prince George, BC. If you’ve never been to PG before, it’s located about 717KM inland from the Pacific Ocean (that’s what the sign said), and it’s made of up a mixture of people that were born there, as well as people who have moved there in search of a better and more economical way of life. Either way, the people are very nice and they sure do love their outdoor activities.
For this week’s FXR Racing Tuesday Top Performers, I think we need to begin with the race track itself. I wasn’t able to find one rider in the paddock who didn’t enjoy racing on the Blackwater track. All of the riders liked it. While a few thought it could’ve been a little longer, all was of them were good with the design. I think part of it was that half of the race tracks in this series are fairly flat, and with Ulverton gone this summer, the riders needed to experience some real elevation changes. Well, the Blackwater track provided this as the riders were sent up and down the main hill at least five times in one lap. This allowed them to use their braking skills and test their courage as it’s not easy charging down a rough and rutted steep downhill. Finally, the test for any race track is whether or not it can produce good racing. This track passed that test with flying colours as there were great battles in almost every moto on Saturday and Sunday.
My next picks for this week’s top performers are Jess Pettis and once again Christophe Pourcel. With regards to Pettis, I think we need to give this kid a huge pat on the back for leading almost the entire second MX2 moto in front of his hometown fans. It’s never an easy task to race in your hometown, even with the extra motivation you have inside, because there is usually so much pressure and such a strong sense of urgency. In most cases, an athlete tries too hard and ends up making many mistakes. In Pettis’ case, he rode 23 perfect minutes in Moto 2 and came up just short of pulling off the victory. I can remember leading the final 250 moto in 1996 at RJ’s in front of my friends and family, only to be passed by JSR with a few laps to go. It was heart breaking at the time, however once I processed it and figured out where I could’ve done better, I learned from it and won more motos later on that season. Hopefully Jess Pettis can do the same and we should see him on top of the podium very soon.
As for Christophe Pourcel, I’m picking him again simply because of his last-ditch pass on Matt Goerke for the second MX1 moto win. The set-up, the pass, the race to the checkered flag, all of it was a breathtaking thing of beauty. On a track that was very rough and one lined by the end of the day, Pourcel was able to think up a passing opportunity where very few riders thought there was one. And he did it against a rider that was probably a little faster than he was all day. Pourcel used the element of surprise to his full advantage and it paid off. I guess they don’t call him the ‘Crafty Frenchman’ for nothing. It was one of the all time great passes in Canadian moto history and for that Pourcel earns another FXR Racing Tuesday Top Performer Award. We shall see what happens this coming weekend at Round 3 as the track in Calgary always produces some incredible race action.