This week I was in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada for round seven of the CMRC Canadian Motocross nationals brought to you by, who else, Monster Energy. Lemme give you people a little Coles Notes on the Canadian series thus far. There were four real contenders before the season started for the MX1 (450) class, Colton “Chicken” Facciotti, last year’s champ, his teammate and 2006 champion, Dusty “Pug-life” Klatt, then you had the 2007 champion Paul “Karen” Carpenter and finally, last year’s surprise rider, Tyler “Gold” Medaglia. So far in 2009, Facciotti has been the strongest by being able to get out of the gate the fastest. He went 1-1-1-1 before anyone knew what was happening. Klatt and Carpenter both lost a bunch of points the first two rounds but had been holding steady since then. Medaglia has battled speed, health and team downsizing issues and hasn’t been a factor this year like last.
Last week the rains came down bad, like build an ark bad and Facciotti slip-slided to a second whilst Carpenter and Klatt struggled. That about did it for the title. Colton had a one moto lead over Klatt going into Moncton and I’d suggest that if he wins this title, he did it the first two weeks when the other guys weren’t ready for him.
The MX2 (250) class was shaping up to be a battle royale between Blackfoot’s Kyle “KD Beets” Beaton, Aron “Paul” Harvey, Leading Edge Kawasaki’s Teddy “The Terrible” Maier and the defending champion, KTM’s Eric “The Nye-alator” Nye but it’s turned out to be Maier and Nye that proved to be the strongest. Beaton’s season went poo-poo when he crashed in the first turn in the first moto of the year and hurt his thumb/wrist and he’s been battling that and his usual nemesis, crashes, all season. Harvey has been okay but he went DNF-DNF at the first round with bike problems and has been playing catch-up all season. I’ve been waiting for Aron to lay the smack down like he did last season but nothing yet. Between Harvey and Beets, the Blackfoot team had the two guys that won seven out of the twenty motos last year. They looked good with one guy at least, but it just hasn’t happened.
Maier has had Nye covered for the most part all year and if it wasn’t for a costly blown motor at the Morden round, Teddy would have a good sized lead instead of the fourteen he had going into Moncton. You can’t count out Nye, he is as steady as it comes and will always be in the hunt. So the stage was set for round seven at the Riverglade track outside of Moncton!
The track was pretty cool really; it’s a little hilly and winds in and out of a valley. The dirt is super sweet when watered and disked up but when the sun hits it, doesn’t take long before it gets dry and dusty. The Riverglade track is the longest running national track in Canada with fourteen nationals run there or something like that. It’s a main stay on the circuit and should be, the crowd is great, the vendor row is full, good vibe in the air and it just might be the best Canadian National I’ve ever been to.
Colton Facciotti won the MX1 class with a dominating 1-1 performance. The first moto, he grabbed the lead early and rode off to victory with his usual smooth riding style. Colton might just be the slowest looking fast guy I know. He’s tall so he doesn’t really have to move around on the bike very much, his elbows are down but can he ever go fast. The second time out he wasn’t jumping a couple of jumps that his teammate, Dusty Klatt, was but he stayed real close and then just wore down Klatt just after half-way. That’s eight more points for Colton and he now has a 33 point lead with four motos left.
For those Americans that might think his name sounds familiar, Facciotti did the west coast supercrosses in 2006 out of his pick-up truck. He was on a Kawasaki wearing Moose gear and looked pretty bad at the first few races but picked it up quickly and made the last three main events. Or you might have wondered who that giraffe was that was riding the Kawi 250F, it was Facciotti.
The talk of the day was Dusty Klatt and that was for a couple of reasons. One was his jump that he did in practice. It was something that had never been jumped before in all the years at the ‘Glade. It was a step-up onto a table, Dusty would hit the take-off, clear the one plateau then land on the top of the next table-top. Then he would amazingly enough make the inside after bouncing off the tabletop. It was a big jump, no doubt about it and I would liken it to Larocco’s Leap for you Americans. You’re taking off from the bottom of a hill and landing on top of a mound of dirt. Ryan Gauld, the voice of Canadian moto, paced it off at about 110-120 feet. That’s big!
After practice he and I were thinking about names and I came up with “Klatt’s Revenge” when he just turned to me and said “I got it, The Klatt-apult.” Which is brilliant and so it shall be named, from henceforth until eternity, The Klatt-apult. Only three 450’s jumped it all day (Jeff Northrup and Carpenter being the others) and amazingly, two 250 dudes did it also. They had to swing so wide that they were practically in the next town but still, take a bow Spencer “for hire” Knowles and Kyle Beaton. By the way, Klatt was the only guy to jump it in the actual motos.
So Klatt did that to get people talking and then in the first moto he was right behind Colton in the opening lap when he drug his pegs off a triple and came up big-time short. He then bounced up, rode side saddle for a bit before careening off the track and into a mud pile. Said mud pile made him whiskey-throttle and launch his YZ450 about ten feet in the air and almost into a pond. Yep, you read that right. It was a spectacular crash and left him dead, dead last.
He got up and charged through the pack like his balls were on fire and the checkered flag was a hose. He was scrubbing harder and harder each lap, pushing the YZ through the turns and cutting through the pack like a banshee. He didn’t stop until he was in second. It was a great ride and let m just say that you Americans never saw this Dusty Klatt down south. Great, great ride.
In the second moto Klatt grabbed the lead and started jumping the Klatt-apult almost every lap, he was making up about a second on Facciotti every time he did it. He was also jumping that infield triple for four or five laps and making time on Colton there as well. Just one problem, and that was that he wasn’t pulling away. That made me realize that Facciotti would soon have him when Klatt tired and that’s what happened. The first moto charge hurt Dusty and Colton motored by for the win. It was still a great race for Klatt and although Colton never jumped the Klatt-apult, he got the win, the money and most importantly, a bigger points lead.
The MX2 race was another show in itself with Teddy “The Terrible” Maier putting on a show in the first moto, coming from around tenth to first. He rode great and really checked out on the guys. His rival in the points, Eric Nye, was even further back than him. Teddy rode strong to the win and it’s a testament to Nye’s ability to make stuff happen that he even got up to fourth as he got about five guys in the last two laps to limit the damage.
Second moto and it was Maier’s time to have a crappy start. He was buried and Nye was out front motoring away with the moto win. Maier made it up to third to salvage the overall and put some more points on Nye. It’s nineteen with four motos left now.
A couple of other riders can walk away from Moncton with their heads held high and they would be Jeremy Medaglia and Aron Harvey. I think Aron was really far back at one point but maybe not, I’m not exactly sure. It could’ve been sun stroke, but anyways Aron led the second moto for a while until Nye got by and held on for second and third overall on the day. Good ride for the eighteen!
Jeremy “Jer-Bear” Medaglia had been having a miserable year until a few weeks ago. Y’see, Jeremy’s old team (we’ll get to that in a minute) was a victim of Suzuki’s budget cuts and he was forced to move up to a 450. Jeremy’s really fast but is a bit of a spaz on a bike and weighs about the same as my left leg. In short, I didn’t think he was ready for a 450 and his results showed that. Jer and his dad Derek, bought a 250 and wanted to race both classes in an effort to get him back on track but the OTSFF team didn’t like that very much. There was a disagreement about “stuff” a few weeks ago, Jeremy quit the team and moved to the Murphy Motorsports Suzuki team to ride 250’s.
I should mention that Jeremy scored a Yamaha of troy ride late last year for the AMA nationals and did pretty well. When he accepted that ride, he got fired by his team. So in no way should any of you reading this think that he won’t possibly join the OTSFF team again. There’s been a firing and a quitting so far…what’s next? An annulment?
He did pretty good in his first race in the MX2 class (4th) but last week’s mud-fest didn’t go well. This weekend, he grabbed the lead in moto one and was checking out before getting caught by Maier. He still held on for second and rode pretty good, just revving the crap out of his bike and bouncing off berms everywhere. Second moto, his motor let go and he DNF’d. Still, it showed his speed and if Maier or Nye has some trouble, you could see Jeremy getting in there and hurting the points battle of the two big guys.
The Monster Energy Cernic’s Kawasaki guys (or Team New York) had some travel trouble getting to the race and missed Saturday practice. That wasn’t that big of a deal really as the Saturday practices are a low-key affair. I’ve been waiting for Bobby “next of” Kiniry to do something out there this season as I was talking him up to my fellow Canadians a lot because I really think that Bobby’s a great rider and more importantly, a great starter. He’s got some fourths but can’t seem to really ever run up front and show that he can be a factor for the win.
This weekend it all changed though. Bobby got the start in the first moto and challenged Facciotti for the win for a few laps. It had to help with the confidence to finally stand on the box in third for Bobby. He blew a motor up in moto two but still, it was good to finally see him up front.
Paul Carpenter didn’t seem to be the same hard charging Paul that I know he is but when you looked at the podium at the end of the day, there he was in third. Paul is a real warrior of a moto guy, you always know that he’s going to be there at the end of the day. He’s in shape, he never gives up and he’s a good guy to have ride for your team. He’s just a bit off of Facciotti this year and Klatt at Moncton.
Paul’s cousin Jack rides for the team also (Team Big Apple?) and he had his best race of the season with a 5-5 4th overall on the day. Jack scored thirty-two points which is the best race for him all year and propels him to within three points of the top ten.
I love Kyle Beaton. There I said it, that teeny-tiny Beets is a good kid that tries hard. He’s respectful of people and is truly trying to get better and better. I’ve helped him out in the past here and there doing what I could for him in regards to sponsorships, getting him into the US Open and things like that. He doesn’t need my help anymore as he’s on the Blackfoot Yamaha team (I liken him to a beautiful butterfly that I helped out when he was a caterpillar) but he has to be wondering what he did to the moto gods to deserve this luck. Like I said earlier, he hurt his thumb/wrist in the first turn of the first moto and has struggled since. He can’t ride during the week so his stamina isn’t there right now. He jetted out to the lead in the first moto and was looking good before getting tired and caught from the back. A sixth is the best he could do and he followed it up with a fourth in moto two for fourth overall. Better days lie ahead for KD Beets and I hope Blackfoot picks up his option for 2010 and gives him another kick at the can.
There are two twin brothers that race in the MX2 class with a Blackfoot support ride and both are pretty good. Jared and Parker Allison are identical twins and I can’t tell them apart to save my life. I help them out with X-Brand goggles and always wonder what the proper edict is when you’re talking to one of them. I’ve just resorted to asking “Which one are you?” but my wife says that is really rude so I’m not sure what to do now. Anyways, Jared was fifth in the points before hurting his shoulder a few rounds ago and Parker was around tenth. This weekend Jared blew up in one moto and finished sixth in the other. Parker went 9-12 on the day. I still don’t have a clue who is who but I know they have a nice family and bright futures in Canada.
The KTM 450 team probably wished they would just have stayed home as they had miserable days. The top ranked rider Jeff Northrup battled bike problems all day and could only finish 13-6. Mason “Dixon” Phillips, the Kiwi that won last weekend in the mud, went 10-DNF to pop that winning bubble pretty quickly. South African Liam O’Farrell had a come from behind ride in the first moto to seventh. Second moto out he crashed fifty feet out of the start and was DQ’d for receiving mechanical assistance outside the mechanics area. Good job Kuli!
The real jacked up thing was that they let O’Farrell race the entire moto without black-flagging him! His mechanic was told that he was being DQ’d but no one threw the flag. He risked injury by riding for nothing. But it was a good ride as he worked his way back to twelfth from wayyy back. Should’ve thrown the flag CMRC.
The one bright spot was sixteen-year old Ryan “Time for a” Millar’s ride in the second moto as he came from the back to get seventh. The gangly Millar is slowly getting the hang of this pro racing stuff and whenever I start thinking he should be doing better, I remind myself that he’s only 16. To me, he kind of looks like young Robbie Reynard out there. Ryan’s fourteenth in the points as Moncton was his best scoring day of the season.
Hometown hero Mitch “EZ-Bake” Cooke had a great first moto and a so-so second moto. Mitch was the top placing Atlantic Canada rider and won the Brian House Award which goes along with that. After years of pretty good rides, Mitch is privateering it this year on a Kawasaki and is the top placing non-factory (and I use the term factory loosely) in the standings. He’s won at this track before in the past and is always a crowd favorite for his big whips.
I found out a few things about Mitch over a few brewskies at Boston Pizza after the race. One is that he’s a good dude and two, he raised a squirrel from a baby. Yep, you heard that right, seems that the mom or dad was killed and Mitch found the little guy when he couldn’t even open his eyes yet. He nursed it with milk from an eye-dropper and gave it a little shoe-box for a home even. The squirrel, named Joby, was quite domesticated and Mitch would let it out in the yard and call it back to him. He said he even could rub its belly and pet it. Eventually Mitch let it go out at his dad’s cabin but he says even now, little Joby will come running when you call.
Another thing that I apparently forgot after all these years down in the USA was that Atlantic Canada has its own time zone. It’s one hour ahead of EST. Who knew? There’s also a 30 minute time change for Newfoundland. And I was staying in Magnetic Hill which is a tourist attraction because of this hill that looks like it’s going uphill but is actually going down. It’s some sort of optical illusion and you pay money to park your car at the bottom and then let it get pulled “up.” I dunno man, it seems weird and I never got a chance to go check it out but it sounds creepy.
I went to a Canadian steakhouse called The Keg on Saturday night and because I was deep in the heart of Lobster Land, I figured I should order some sort of crustacean. So I ordered a lobster tail to go with my steak and it was a nice size and pretty good. I just didn’t know that they had to go all the way to the Pacific instead of 45 min to the ocean’s edge because the thing was like thirty bucks!
Last year when I came up to Canada for a few races, I was impressed with a South African named Kerim Fitz-Gerald who was on a privateer Honda and turning in some good races. For 2009, he grabbed a spot on the KTM support team and I thought big things were coming for “Kermie.” Well, it hasn’t happened for one reason or another and Kerim sits eighth in the points. In Moncton, he ran up front in the early laps before suffering a flat tire and dropping out. His so-so season continues…
Kaven Benoit is a Quebecer that joined the series once it hit the east side and has impressed. I don’t know too much about him but he’s thirteenth in the points after missing three rounds.
Honda has really no presence in Canada having dropped out a few years ago. There is a little mini-team run out of a dealership that supports Tim Trembley and Marc-Antoine Genereux (or as I like to call him, Monsieur Brick-Poophouse) with J P Savard spinning the wrenches. Savard worked for Mike Brown at YOT and David Vuillemin at Samsung Honda a few years ago. Tremblay was a kid that I thought really had a bright future a few years ago and is coming back from injury. He’s eighth in the points and is looking to get back to the Factory level. Or maybe Honda will dip its toe in again.
Kevin Johnson is racing the Canadian outdoor series this year and I had to have a little talk with him. Y’see, I think highly of KJ Jr and I’ve seen him ride at a high level but it’s not happening for him in the Great White North. He’s tenth in the points, so it’s not all that bad but I just think he can step it up more. He agreed with me and we talked about changing his outlook. The pep talk didn’t take effect at Moncton but hopefully soon! Kevin is good people and was really bummed when the X-Games cancelled the Speed and Style event.
That’s what I saw in Moncton and I’d like to thank all the fans that came up and talked to me. The CMRC peeps for being helpful and everybody for making it a great day. Want to chat? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can be email buddies.