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Monday Gate Drop

What a difference a week makes when it comes to what Mother Nature supplies us with. After an absolute scorcher last weekend at Gopher Dunes, the weather yesterday at Sand Del Lee was great for dirt bike racing. The track at Sand Del Lee was in perfect condition. After a cold front went through on Friday which dumped a lot of rain on the track and surrounding area, the extra moisture stayed in the dirt so the track on Sunday was just pristine.

 Heading into Round Six of the Monster Energy MX Nationals at Sand Del Lee, both Austin Politelli and Brett Metcalfe had sizeable points leads in the MX2 and MX1 classes respectively. The two Monster Energy Leading Edge Parts Canada Kawasaki riders had survived the previous round at Gopher Dunes and were looking to continue their success. With only a few rounds left in this Championship, we’re certainly in the home stretch, and the time for the other riders to make one last charge to the front is upon us. With the exception of Topher Ingalls in the MX2 class, who had great day last weekend and actually made up some points on Politelli, all the other riders continued to give points away to the Kawasaki duo.

For those of you who haven’t been to SDL before, the track is basically made up of two different parts. While one half is wide open and flowing, the other infield half is tight. Even though there were pre-made berms in the corners, it’s sometimes hard to pass. Another tricky part of the track is the mirage that is the dirt that makes up the track. While it’s certainly sand on the surface, underneath (especially in the tree section) is very hard clay. Once the sand gets stripped away, the track can be very slippery. With all the rain on Friday and the full amateur schedule on Saturday, the MX101 crew did a fabulous job for Sunday. There was more than one rider commenting that this was the best track of the series so far.

brett metcalfe

 While all of the riders who lined up yesterday have my utmost respect and admiration, there were a few that really impressed me. In the MX2 class I really have to give it up to Dylan Wright for a few different reasons. I know last weekend he finished third overall, and trust me, that was amazing, but coming into SDL with all the added pressure of racing five minutes from his house, the kid handled it like a seasoned Pro. It was one thing for him to go to Gopher Dunes with really no expectations, only feeling self induced pressure, and pull out an amazing third.

 Yesterday though he was coming in with heavy expectations to improve on his finish at Gopher and that is a lot to handle for a fifteen year old kid, especially when you start the first moto on the ground in turn one as he did. I know Dylan’s 7-5 moto finishes don’t look great (compared to last weekend), but as I said, in moto one he came from last and in moto two he battled with a lot of riders. What impressed me most was how smart he rode. A lot of kids in his position yesterday would have spent the entire day on the ground because they would’ve been trying way too hard. They might have got injured and there would go the rest of the summer. However, Dylan rode hard but didn’t overdue it. His ride yesterday impressed me more than last weekend for those reasons.

 In the MX1 class it was Cole Thompson who took the overall win and man did he make it look easy. Since he hasn’t been racing up here much I always forget how smooth this kid is on a dirt bike. He flows very well and has the ability to pick great lines to save energy. It was awesome to see him collect his first win yesterday and I’m sure there are many more in his future. It was always good to see KTM win their first MX1 overall since round one in Nanaimo. The orange team definitely deserved it, but it didn’t come without some controversy.

cole thompson

 In the first MX1 moto a rider went down hard on the back side of a jump and the flags came out just as Brett Metcalfe, Teddy Maier and Tyler Medaglia came by. All three riders jumped on the red cross flag and they were docked ten positions each for this infraction. While the rule is black and white, after talking to the riders affected by it, none of them saw the flag until it was too late to slow down enough to not jump, but as they say a rule is a rule and it’s there for the riders’ safety.

 This ruling certainly overshadowed another fine ride by the MX1 points leader Brett Metcalfe in moto one. After going down in turn one and starting last, to watch him slice and dice through the pack is something I will never get bored watching. Once he got going, he was almost three seconds faster than anyone else. I was standing high above the track in the tower and I could see the entire track. About halfway through moto one it suddenly dawned on me who Metcalfe reminds me of. Metcalfe’s relentless charging reminds me of JSR in his prime. Both riders just never quit trying to go faster on every part of the track and for the other riders it’s hard to match their intensity. When riders like this get a bad start or crash early in a moto, this style is really evident. For the fans, it’s sure entertaining to watch. Metcalfe would get all the way up to second in moto one, but his second turned into a twelfth after his penalty. I think this is part of what has made Metcalfe’s addition to the series so much fun to watch. He has had a lot of bad starts so he’s had to pass a lot of riders. In moto two yesterday he took the lead early and went on to win.

 Another rider who had a great charge in moto two was Tyler Medaglia. He also went down in turn one and put on a great show for his former hometown fans. His charge took him all the way to fourth by the moto’s end – it was a great ride. With six of nine rounds complete in the 2013 Monster Energy MX Nationals, the racing has been amazing at each and every round. Next weekend in Quebec is another sand track so things will no doubt be interesting in both classes. In closing, I’d also like to give a shout out to Kyle Keast who also had a great day to finish fifth overall. He now sits tenth in the MX1 points after just two rounds; pretty amazing stuff. I can’t wait for next weekend.

 

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