With the four rounds of the western leg of the national tour now in the rear view mirror, it’s time for the title contenders to get back to business at the five eastern rounds. And with the top five points in both classes being tight enough to fit into a clenched fist, expect the rumble for supremacy to be a motor slugfest till the bitter end.
If history repeats itself – think back to the 2008 season, when Tyler Medaglia was leading the points chase because defending champ Colton Facciotti had missed a race due to a shoulder injury – current MX1 points leader, Bobby Kiniry, could see his reign at the top of the pile come to an end at Gopher.
Unless Rockstar/OTSFF Racing/Two Wheel Suzuki’s Kiniry has discovered the secret of Yamaha/Red Bull/Blackfoot/Fox Racing’s Facciotti’s MX success formula over the past three weeks, Facciotti will no doubt be back in the driver’s seat at the end of the second moto on Sunday. Only 10 points separate Kiniry from Facciotti. The heat is on!
Once Facciotti has control of the points, and doesn’t succumb to another wicked get-off like he did in Calgary, the remaining rounds will no doubt be about where the rest of the players find themselves in the illustrious top five club.
Facciotti’s teammate Dusty Klatt, currently in fourth place trailing Kiniry by 24 points, has his work cut out for him if he’s going to finish runner-up again in the series. Veteran Josh Demuth, who’s holding down third aboard his Monster Energy/Cernics Kawasaki holding two points on Klatt, has surprised friend and foe alike with his Canadian comeback performance. If he keeps stepping it up each moto the way he did out west, he should be assured a top five ranking at season’s end.
Look for Machine Racing Honda’s Kyle Keast to score some major points on his home track this weekend. Currently holding down a fifth place in the rankings, Keast has proved to be a man to be reckoned with and will ride the wheels off of his bike to hold on to fifth, if not improve on it, by the time the checkered flag signals the end of the season at the Walton TransCan Grand National.
As in the MX1 title hunt the MX2 class should prove to be a rock ‘em sock ‘em affair for the remaining rounds. While Yamaha/Red Bull/Blackfoot/Fox Racing’s Tyler Medaglia has a fairly solid grip on the points lead, don’t expect defending champ Teddy Maier to rest on his laurels and race for runner-up in the series. The Monster Energy/Leading Edge Kawasaki ace currently trails Medaglia by 17 points.
Maier’s teammate Shawn Rife, who has proved to be one of the big boys of the MX2 class with three moto wins, two of which were at Round 4, trails Medaglia by 31 points. In his first full season of racing in Canada, the American has exceeded all expectations. If he keeps up the momentum, Rife may just end up being the big surprise of the year.
Former MX2 champ Royal Distributing KTM’s Eric Nye, and Orange Motorsports KTM’s Jeremy Medaglia are currently tied for fourth place, trailing Tyler Medaglia by 39 points. Look for Jeremy, who’s enjoying his ‘break-through’ season, to pull out all the stops and nail down a top five ranking, when it’s all said and done.
No matter how the dice are tossed Gopher Dunes will be a pivotal round for all of the above and the remaining top 10 candidates. As always, Gopher will separate the men from the boys, the players from the dreamers, and set the stage for the remainder of the season!