This week I skipped Una-F-ing-Dilla and went to Walton, Ontario, the final round of the Canadian CMRC Nationals. It was a working vacation… yeah, that’s it. Y’see I have a buddy up there that runs a small privateer team and his number one rider, Jay Burke, was knocked out of the season with what can only be described as a massive hip/leg/pelvis/body injury and the owner, Brad Coles, wanted to give his sponsors some bang for their support and asked me to get him some riders for the final round.
So I immediately thought of Troy “Sam” Adams as one guy that would go up for a few reasons. One is that he wouldn’t want a lot of money to go. That immediately ruled out James Stewart. Second is that it’s a Honda team and he rides a Honda. Third is that he’s pretty fast and a nice guy to boot. So he was in.
My second call was to our own David “Rolo” Pingree as I figured one of his guys would want to go because they’re not racing all the USA Nationals and they ride Hondas. Did I mention that they would probably come cheap as well? In the conversation, Ping mentioned that he would like to go and I ran it by the Brad the team owner, and let him know that Ping was no threat for top five (I thought tenth to fifteenth was about where he would fit in) but Brad is a loyal Racer X reader and immediately got so excited at the Electronic One racing for him that he pooped his pants. At least I’m pretty sure he did.
So it was set, and with me also being the editor of directmotocross.com, a website devoted to Canadian moto, I figured I should go up and see what’s happening in the land of Ketchup chips. Then we thought that we could do a little story on the whole adventure and now everything was really cooking with oil as they say. I last worked for Ping at the World Vet Nationals and that wasn’t the dominating performance that we both thought it would be but THIS time, the Canadians would see the Matthes/Pingree team lay waste to the MX1 class… or at least have some laughs while trying to do that.
The track in Walton is a very natural, GP style track. It has rolling hills, natural jumps and nice dirt to it when watered. It really reminded me of a GP track that you see in the old films of the ‘70s and ‘80s and if I had seen Robert blasting by me with a cig hanging out of his mouth, it wouldn’t have been a shocker. I had never been there before but seen it on TV a bunch and was expecting a rutty, wet track that seemed more suited to slot cars than bikes, but this year, with the weather being hot, and the track not being disked up very deep, it produced a hard, no berm, fast track with rocks.
Did I say rocks? This place could’ve doubled for the quarry that Fred Flintstone works in. Walton reminded me of Unadilla in more ways than one. The rocks come up when it dries out and hand guards and nose protectors were the name of the game. Everyone wore some sort of under-protector, everyone that is except Troy “Sam” Adams. His chest looked like a rabid badger attacked him. Ping had an under-protector and it just looked like a baby badger without the rabies went after him.
After getting situated with our team on Saturday morning, Ping and Adams went out for their practice sessions and immediately Pingree was not happy. There were a few things wrong with the machine including the automatic clutch, the suspension, the front tire and the sun and moon weren’t aligned. He did one fast lap and was fifteenth quickest so all was not lost. Back at the pits, we were trying to explain the virtues of the auto-clutch to Ping when he looked at me and said “I’m old, I can’t get used to new things. Change it back.” It was a great point and kind of ended the discussion right there.
After some spring changes, a new front tire and a regular clutch, Ping was thirteenth fastest in the next practice. He was way faster as far as times go but so was everyone else. Anyways, we made him happy and Troy made some massive changes to his bike also as he turned the compression out two clicks.
The two championships were almost locked up when the teams arrived at Walton. Blackfoot Yamaha’s Colton “Chicken” Facciotti had a massive lead on his teammate, Dusty “Rhodes” Klatt in the MX1 class while Leading Edge Kawasaki’s Teddy “Bear” Maier had a little less than massive lead on KTM’s Eric “Live and let” Nye. Both riders were expected to clinch the titles after the first motos and that’s exactly what happened.
The MX 1 class shot off the line and Dusty Klatt grabbed the lead with Label-It Racing’s Troy Adams in second. I was looking like a genius in my rider selection at this point as Troy was really riding well. Soon Facciotti was on him and they disappeared to the back part of the track only to reappear with Troy in fourth and in a pack of riders. He tipped it over in the back and unbeknownst to him, had cracked the little Y pipe that joins the radiator hoses. The CRF started smoking and losing coolant faster than Ping downs McFlurrys.
Anyway, up front Klatt and Facciotti dueled out front with Klatt getting the win by the narrowest of margins while third place, Bobby “Next of” Kiniry was in another time zone he was so far back. It was all Colton needed to clinch the title and he defended his number one plate with relative ease. Oh yeah, in the second moto, he smoked everyone as Klatt couldn’t get the same start as the first time around. Colton started the year strong, had a little lull in the middle and then walloped everyone at the end. He’s hopefully racing Steel City so that should be a good test for the slowest looking fast guy I know. He rides with such little effort, he’s a big kid and just muscles the bike around under him.
And to add to his winning total on the day, Facciotti proposed to his girlfriend on the podium after the second moto and Colton wrapped up yet another victory on the day when she accepted!
Adams would nurse his Honda around for sixth and in the process, blow his head gasket to pieces. That was it for T-Roy and his Canadian motocross experience was over. He was pretty impressive though for just jumping on some strange bike. Why didn’t we just change motors you ask? Well we couldn’t because Label-It racing’s spare motor budget wasn’t very big.
What about Ping? His plan of getting a good start and fading to the back didn’t come to fruition. He actually had to work for it as he came from around twentieth and worked his way to twelfth by the end. He wasn’t happy with the ride but I thought it was pretty decent for a guy that last put in hard motos in November. He beat some guys that ride motorcycles for a living. Second moto he tried to creep and then jump the start but instead hit the gate. And of course as soon as he pulled the bike back, the gate dropped and everyone went. So now he was thirty-fourth at the end of lap one and had to work really hard to get into the top twenty. Which he did. That included a pit stop to get some new goggles as a rock took out his lens and they filled with dirt. 12-20 for 19th OA and ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you to Canadian national number 72, David Pingree!!
I’m leaving out some details that you’ll read about in a few months but I was impressed with Ol’Ping. He tried his hardest for as long as he could and ate a lot of rocks and dirt along the way. And of course he provided me with endless laughs along the way as you’ll find out next issue.
In the MX2 class moto one went out and it looked slippery like a greased pig out there as the track was just given a light dusting of enough water to flood Toronto. This made it tough for the riders out there but Blackfoot Yamaha’s Kyle “Podium” Beaton shot out to the lead and held it from beginning to end. Beaton was my pick to win the championship this year. Heck, he was almost everyone’s pick but his season went down the drain with injuries and crashes. Second moto he fell opening lap and could only work back to sixth for third overall on the day.
Teddy Maier’s second place in the first moto was enough to give him the MX2 title. Teddy came in as a bit of an underdog but he really showed his speed right from the first round. His one DNF cost him clinching the title earlier and he was, without a doubt, the fastest MX2 rider in Canada. Good for the friendly Iowan.
I got an email from a German race team owner looking for riders for this German supercross series in November and December and Teddy would be perfect for it. I asked Maier about it and he seemed interested and wanted to go. Look at me, just like a little Jerry Maguire!
The winner of the MX2 race was KTM’s South African import, Kerim Fitz-Gerald who won his first ever overall last week and then topped that with a 3-1 score to win this week. I expected Kermie to be a factor in the title chase but he had struggled a bit this year before winning two straight nationals. Scary what that confidence thing can do, eh?
I think with his last two performances, Fitz-Gerald has to be considered one of the favorites for the 2010 MX2 title along with Maier, Nye, J-Dags and for the 394th consecutive year, Beaton.
In another case of too little, too late Monster Energy Cernic Kawasaki’s Bobby Kiniry grabbed the final spot on the MX1 box after Facciotti and Klatt. I was going around before the series started telling everyone that Kiniry was going to surprise some people and then he came out and just really didn’t do much. He was good, but the fast starting, try-so-hard-I-crash-my-balls-off Kiniry wasn’t there.
At the end of the series, Kiniry figured things out and grabbed third in three out of his last five motos and moved ahead of injured teammate Paul Carpenter to finish third in the series. If he comes back with the team next year (the only thing more uncertain than the USA racing scene is what the Canadian riders are going to do) he’ll be better prepared and ready to go from the start.
When I last went to a Canadian National, I wrote about a kid Jeremy “Jer-bear” Medaglia who parted ways with the OTSFF Suzuki team and bought his own bike and joined the Murphy Motorsports team. Well the bike is basically stock and little Jeremy put in a good showing on his own when he finished on the podium in five out of the eight motos that he raced in. The others he blew up or crashed out in and then he got a fifth. Impressive for sure and I really wonder where he’s going to end up next year. If I had to bet, I think we see him on green for next year.
His brother, Tyler “Lahey” Medaglia was last year’s surprise rider but struggled with injuries and some team issues this year. Near the end of the series, Tyler got feeling a little better and rode better than the first half. At Walton he was up front both motos and went 7-7 on the day. One thing about the Medaglia family is they are not scared to go race in other places so look for Tyler on the gate at Budds Creek and Southwick in the next two weeks.
The Hungarian Warrior, Kornel Nemeth came back to race the final round and was again, very impressive. He had to pull in for new goggles in the first moto after a rock took his lens out as well and was wayyyy back. Second moto out, he was on fire in coming from the back to get second. He just never seems to get tired and charges the whole moto. He’s also a monster and I wouldn’t be surprised if he attacks little villages in his spare time.
Andy White, the KTM team manager, needs to sign this guy for next season. I can really see him getting in the way of the annual Blackfoot Yamaha march to the title. He needs to work on his starts but even without that, he’s fast with a capital F.
Funny moment in the staging area before the second moto, I was talking to Kornel when he asked Ping if he remembered Nemeth riding at the KTM SX test track in 2002. Ping seemed a little amused because he probably can’t even remember what team he was riding for then but when Nemeth told him he was the freestyle guy out there with his visor on backwards, it all seemed to come back to Ping. Not many people forget a 6’ 8” goon with a visor on backwards doing freestyle. It seems that Nemeth has come a long way from those days.
Some of you may remember that I wrote that the CMRC DQ’d a guy at the last Canadian round I went to after he had received outside assistance when he crashed off the start. They let him go the whole moto and race back to a decent finish before promptly DQ’ing him from the race. I said that they should have black-flagged him immediately and not had him risk injury or whatever for nothing. Randy Hall the head referee explained to me this weekend that the judgment could’ve been appealed and then, had the rider won, the penalty would’ve been overturned and his finish was reinstated.
I guess this makes sense but in my experience, a DQ is something that is a major infraction and is not an appealable thing. It made more sense to me to dock a guy for outside assistance a number of spots then DQ him. But at least Randy took the time to explain it to me.
I heard from more than one rider and manager that they were upset at the CMRC for only paying back one moto a few weeks ago in Quebec. The track was pretty much impassable and the CMRC made the right call to cancel the second set of motos. The riders weren’t too happy that they only got paid for one moto and destroying their bikes for half the usual payback. Some of the OEM’s halved their contingency as well for that race.
Liam O’Farrell is a South African that had one of his best races of the season in Walton. The friendly O’Farrell raced his KTM to a fourth overall and had Ping in disbelief after practice when he was looking at the times and said “I can’t believe an Irish guy is faster than me” and then did a little Irish jig while sounding like the Lucky Charms leprechaun saying he had to get the holeshot. When informed that he was South African, Ping didn’t seem to care and kept up the accent and the dancing.
The Canadian Nationals: where Hungarians, South Africans, Kiwis, Americans and people from Quebec go to race! It’s a real melting pot, reminds me of New York in the 1800’s.
One thing that really infuriates me about the CMRC is the scoring sheets they give you as well as the points on the internet. The company they use for scoring only lists the points that the rider got, not the position. So you have to do the math when looking at the scores at the end of the day. As well, if you didn’t get in the top twenty, you are just scored with a zero. So if you’re not at the race, you have no idea if a guy got fortieth or twenty-first. It’s all the same on the sheets! C’mon CMRC, can we do something about this?
Well that’s it from the final round of the CMRC Nationals, where in the Label-It Racing pits we laughed, we cried and then we laughed some more at Ping. Thanks for reading and please, if you can help CMRC with their scoring sheets, email me at email@example.com. Or just email me anyways and we can talk.