With one more weekend off before the 2019 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown MXTour Series resumes at Gopher Dunes, the riders are most certainly starting to get serious about their preparation for the final five rounds. Some of these riders left the western races feeling very confident about where they sit in the point standings, while others are looking for sweet redemption at Round 4. With just over a week left until the gate drops at the Gopher Dunes sand box, we take a look at the Top riders in each class and how they got there.
1. Michael Weltin- 125 points
Coming into the 2019 MXTour Series many people in the know believed that Weltin would be a front runner this summer. With a plethora of USA and Grand Prix experience, as well as a buttery smooth riding style, Weltin’s racecraft is very well refined. However, as good as we figured Weltin would be, very few of us thought that he’d be leading the 250 class points heading into the eastern rounds. But he is and if you look at how Weltin rode during the first three rounds he certainly deserves to be where he is. With a 4th overall at the opening round, a third overall in the mud at Round 3, and a big win sandwiched in between at Round 2, Weltin has ridden great and has really adapted to our tracks well. Now we head east to five very challenging tracks as well as weather conditions that could be extremely hot and humid. Weltin is a known sand rider so potentially he could be even better then he was out west, and that could spell trouble for his competition. Weltin has also been training at Clubmx in South Carolina where the track is rough and it’s been ungodly hot. So theoretically Gopher Dunes could feel like a walk in the park for the Husqvarna rider. I guess we’ll find out next weekend.
2. Dylan Wright- 123 points
Let’s face it, as good and as fast as everyone else has been during the opening three rounds of the 2019 MXTour, Dylan Wright has been on a slightly different level. Since his big win in the AXTour earlier this year, Wright’s confidence has predictably soared and so far in this series he’s won two motos. Well, it’s actually been three motos but he was docked five positions at Round 3 for cutting the track. Unfortunately, for Wright this penalty cost him the red plate heading into Round 4 so it will be interesting to see if he can pick up where he left off in the west? Once the gate drops at Gopher Dunes he will have to deal with not only the difficult conditions, but also a steady Michael Weltin, a healthier Jess Pettis, a confident Luke Renzland, as well as a whily plus 30 rider named Tyler Medaglia. Basically, every rider will be better in the east and Wright needs to be as well. He doesn’t need to come out and win the race at Gopher Dunes, but he certainly needs to stay near the front of the pack and once again avoid any big issues.
3. Tyler Medaglia- 111 points
After a 5th overall and a 6th overall to start the 2019 series, Tyler Medaglia came from way behind to finish third overall at Round 3 in Manitoba. I know he was a little bummed with his riding in the west so to come into the east sitting just 14 points out of the 250 championship lead is pretty impressive. Also, we can’t forget that last year Tyler won the 450 overall at Gopher Dunes so you know he’s just chopping at the bit for next weekend. Will his superior fitness and experience be enough to get in front of the kids and stay there for the remainder of the 250 series? Only the next month of racing will answer that question. The one thing I do know is that Tyler will do whatever it takes to succeed and the more challenging the conditions get, the better he will be. These next two rounds are both a mental battle as well as a physical battle for our riders. Mentally, they have to make smart decisions and also be able to block out the pain that they will no doubt feel during the latter stages of both motos. Physically, these next two rounds take a lot of leg strength and endurance as the riders muscle their bikes through the sand. Is it just me or does it sound like these next two rounds suit Tyler Medaglia to a tee? I guess we’ll find out.
4. Josh Osby- 111 points
If it weren’t for Osby’s awful 17th place finish at Round 3 he could be heading into the east with the red plate in the 250 class. In the opening two rounds Osby was very fast and he looked very comfortable on his Yamaha. Can he get it done in the east and move up the points ladder? That is the million dollar question, well the thousand dollar question since we’re talking about what these poor 250 class riders make. I believe that it’s up to Osby as he is one of the most talented guys on the race track. If he can get through Gopher Dunes in one piece both physically and mentally then I think he has a chance to make something happen in SDL and beyond.
5. Jess Pettis- 106 points
If you had told Jess Pettis the day before the opening round in Calgary that he’d be sitting just 19 points out of the 250 class lead after three rounds, he probably would’ve looked at you like you had been sniffing too much VP. Coming into this series with a still healing arm and very little practice time on his KTM, Pettis was told by his doctor that he shouldn’t even line up in Calgary. However, he did and not only did he finish well but he also won a moto at Round 2 in Prince George. Pettis also received a five position penalty in Manitoba so he’s currently a little further back than he should be. But I’m willing to bet that his arm is feeling much better and considering he won both motos last year at Gopher Dunes, look out for our defending 250 champ next weekend. My not so bold prediction is that we’re about to witness Pettis step-up his game and do everything he can to win his second 250 MXTour Championship in a row.
I also predict that these final ten motos are going to be some of the best racing we’ve ever seen in Canadian moto. So get your water, your sunscreen, and your flip-flops because we’re headed to the beach next weekend!