Words by Jackie Riess
Photos By James Lissimore
Round three of the Thor WMX Series moved to Sand Del Lee (SDL) this past Sunday as the ladies battled blistering heat and ever-changing track conditions. SDL saw the return of an all KTM/Quebec podium, as Eve Brodeur, Sarah-Kim Villeneuve, and Malia Garant had consistent moto finishes. Brodeur and Villeneuve both had great starts in both motos, but Garant battled adversity in moto one and earned her third-place finish the hard way. Bailey Orbanski and Ani Ferguson rounded out the top five in both motos. Now past the halfway point of the series, the top ladies are settling into their positions, but not without a strong desire for continued progress.
Brodeur and Villeneuve got off the start clean in moto 1, but the tight and congested first turn of SDL captured many of the ladies, including Garant. This allowed Breanna Rose to capitalize on a third-place start with Ferguson and Orbanski in tow. Both Ferguson and Orbanski were able to make the pass on Rose early in the first lap as they continued to push forward and battle for the third-place position. Orbanski was able to make the pass on Ferguson by the end of lap one, as she was unfazed by the slick track conditions. Though Ferguson fell just after being shuffled into fourth, she was able to regain the position a lap later and remain in fourth until the last lap. Back up front, the slick conditions had Brodeur looking a bit reserved early in the moto. Villeneuve was able to close the gap a few times, but Brodeur saw her coming and was able to up the pace. By the halfway point, Brodeur was able to extend her gap to 4.23 seconds over Villeneuve, compared to the 2-second gap seen earlier in the moto. The two charged through lappers, as the battles further back heated up. The three-way battle for eighth between Brook Greenlaw, Vanessa Stinson, and Maya Legare was one to watch, as the three continued to switch up lines for both defensive and offensive racing. But just after Legare settled into the eight position, with Greenlaw and Stinson behind, she ran out of gas and fell back to 25th in the moto. All this time Garant was pushing through the pack. Consumed in the first turn pile up, she began the moto in 22nd. By the second lap, she was solidly in the top ten, using the beginning of the moto to capitalize on positions. On the last lap, Garant was able to pass both Orbanski and Ferguson to move into third in moto 1.
In moto 2, all the ladies made it through the first turn clean, as Brodeur and Villeneuve were neck and neck again on lap one. Greenlaw, Orbanski, and Garant rounded out the top five off the start. By the end of lap two, Garant passed into third and her passes were those of a woman on a mission. She settled into third and held the position for the remainder of the moto. Greenlaw and Orbanski continued to battle for the fourth place position, and Orbanski was able to make the pass into fourth by the end of lap two. Similar to Garant, Orbanski settled into the fourth place position and finished the moto more than 15 seconds ahead of the fifth-place finisher of Ferguson. Ferguson utilized her endurance to make her way from 11th to 5th later in the race. After hounding Orbanski for fourth, she went down on the last lap but was able to remain in her fifth-place position for the moto. As Villeneuve kept Brodeur honest at the front, Stinson, Lagare, and Cindy Trudel battled for the eighth-place position. Lagare was able to make the pass on Stinson as Trudel pressured her from behind. After multiple attacks, Trudel was able to make the pass on Legare for eighth in moto 2.
The round three overall podium of Brodeur, Villeneuve, and Garant was followed by the consistent finishes of Orbanski (4) and Ferguson (5). Greenlaw (6), Trudel (7), Rose (8), Stinson (9), and Fraser (10) rounded out the top ten overall on the day. The ladies now get a weekend off before heading to Deschambault, QC on August 1st for round four of the Thor WMX Series.