Canadian National Boycott

Heavy rains on Saturday night and Sunday morning created muddy conditions and havoc at the Monster Energy Motocross Nationals in Morden, Manitoba this past weekend. A boycott by the riders in both classes forced cancellation of the second MX2 and MX1 moto. It was an inauspicious start for the opening round of the MX2 West Championship and Round 3 of the MX1 title hunt.

“This was not a safety issue because we wouldn’t send riders on the track if it was too dangerous. The track underwent a lot of work between motos and it was definitely passable,” said CMRC’s Brett Lee. “This was a decision by the teams based on financial reasons because it would have been tough on the machinery and in some cases meant having to install new motors after the first motos were run. But we don’t make official calls based on what’s most affordable. Motocross is a sport that is raced under just about any condition and it just happened to be muddy.”

Pouring rain, reminiscent of Walton in 2000 and Mission in 2005, turned the track into a muddy mess during the first MX2 West moto which was won by defending champion Jimmy Nelson. The Toyota Yamaha Fox Racing ace saw his win negated, however, after he was docked five positions for jumping on a yellow flag. The same fate befell Clearbrook Yamaha’s Kyle Beaton who had finished the moto in third place.

Gray Davenport snared the MX2 holeshot with Tucker Hibbert, Jimmy Nelson, Ben Evans, and Kyle Beaton chasing the Suzuki OTSFF Rockstar rider through turn one. Davenport’s lead was short-lived, however, when he and Monster Energy/Cernics/Kawasaki’s Hibbert went down early in the race, handing the lead to Nelson.

From the time Nelson inherited the lead till he crossed the finish line he had a persistent Beaton hounding him. But with one lap to go the BC native went down for a mudbath, handing runner-up position to Evans, a Honda privateer who made the trip to Morden from Idaho.

Beaton was able to remount quickly enough to salvage third but his rule infraction saw him officially classified as finishing in eighth place. Meanwhile, Hibbert valiantly clawed his way back through the pack, only to be betrayed by his bike which effectively ended his moto.

Suzuki OTSFF Rockstar’s Tyler Medaglia snared the holeshot of the first MX1 moto only to see his teammate Mitch Cooke take over the lead before the end of lap one. Cooke never looked back and took it all the way to the checkered. Medaglia’s promising start proved to be for naught as he ended up DNFing the moto.

Meanwhile, Rounds 1 & 2 winner Paul Carpenter, who had set the fastest qualifying time, had to contend with a mid-moto pitstop while running in second place to top off with additional coolant. After rejoining the fray in fourth position, the Monster Energy/Cernics/Kawasaki ace reclaimed second place by the end of the moto, which handily fortified his lead in the points chase.

“This was definitely a long, tough moto made even more hectic by having to stop halfway. But we wanted to make sure my bike would make it to the end,” said Carpenter. “Adding the antifreeze turned out to be the right decision.”

There were mud victims aplenty with crashes and bikes littering the track. Blackfoot Toyota’s JSR and Colt Facciotti both went down in the first turn. While JSR would go on to finish seventh behind teammate Blair Morgan, Facciotti did not see the end of the race.

After the cancellation of the second MX2 moto the majority of the MX1 riders showed solidarity with their lite class colleagues and refused to race their second moto. At a meeting between CMRC officials and team managers it was stated that the moto would be run with or without them.

A number of local Manitoba riders and a few MX1 stalwarts heeded the call and gated for an unofficial moto to the loud approval of the many fans who had remained onsite. Mike Harms, Davey Fraser, Josh Snider, Jamie Kennedy, Matt Hamm and Dave Ledarney gated for what turned out to be a four-lap “Good Times” moto put on in appreciation of the fans.

For these brave souls, normally not found on a nationals’ podium, their decision to race proved to be a windfall, as regular moto purse money was divvied up between them. Harms (Honda) won the moto, Ledarney (Honda) claimed second, while Kennedy (Suzuki) came in third.

Don't forget to tune into Canadian Motocross Radio each Monday night at 9:00PM EST after the Monster Energy Motocross Nationals with your hosts Marc Travers and Brian Koster.