Toronto’s first-lap action was so crazy that it even had an impact on a rider who wasn’t even at the race! This was the nuttiest first turn we’ve seen since the Dallas 250 race back in 2010. Congrats again on the upset win there, Blake Baggett.
Back to Toronto. Here’s how that crash broke down.
Justin Hill: Hill’s starts were not good at the first two races. Seemed like he finally got a good one in Toronto, but that was just luck. Hill was too far inside and about to get buried…until the seas parted on the outside, and he emerged in fourth. He took care of business from there. This win is exceptionally dangerous for the rest of the riders because Hill has been fast this year, and just needed a little confidence breakthrough after a rough 2015. He just got it.
Benny Bloss: The rookie Bloss was accidentally in neutral when the gate dropped, so the field took off without him. He was half a straight behind everyone going into turn one, then a bunch of dudes crashed, then a few more crashed in the second turn, and somehow by the end of lap one he was in sixth place. Sixth! He was twenty-second one minute earlier!
Martin Davalos: Davalos wasn’t even in Toronto, but that crash nearly saved him. Earlier in the day, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team owner Bobby Hewitt told us the team had hopes that riders like Tyler Bowers could get up there on the podium and steal points from front-runners like Jeremy Martin and Malcolm Stewart. Well, when J-Mart and Stewart were down in turn one, it certainly looked like a boon for Marty! Unfortunately such good fortune didn’t last, because Jeremy and Malcolm somehow fought through for second and sixth, respectively. Luck is never on Davalos’ side for very long.
Matt Bisceglia: Matt was way outside on a start that was almost impossible to get a star from on the outside. But all that carnage slowed everyone just enough for him to sneak through and emerge in the lead on lap one. He finished third after finishes of 11-19 at the first two rounds.
Malcolm Stewart: Malcolm took the blame for this one. “Main event, me and [Tyler] Bowers were coming in. I made a mistake. We wanted that first turn and I just clipped him.” When Malcolm clipped Bowers it shoved him into the back of Jeremy Martin, then RJ Hampshire crashed and Malcolm ended up being dragged into the first turn by RJ’s bike. Ouch!
Jeremy Martin: When Martin was shoved forward by Malcolm, he connected with RJ Hampshire’s bike and couldn’t stop, which sent him flying outside, into his teammate Aaron Plessinger and a Tuff Block and down.
Aaron Plessinger: As luck would have it, Martin’s teammate Plessinger was coming around the outside, because he got clipped by Stewart off the start in his heat race and had to qualify through the LCQ. Poor APless was already limping after the heat, and here he got nailed again by his teammate! Rough night.
RJ Hampshire: Speaking of teammate on teammate crime, Hampshire also got the bad end of this deal, as Stewart fell into his bike, and then Stewart’s bike hit Martin which went flying into Hampshire. He got hit twice! This sent him into the Tuff Blocks and down. RJ thinks his bike also hit someone’s footpeg in the first turn, which ultimately gave him a flat tire.
Miscellaneous: A bunch of riders also got stuck behind Hampshire and Stewart’s downed Hondas: Jimmy Albertson, Arnaud Tonus, Justin Starling, Cody Church and Josh Cartwright.
But wait, that wasn’t all! One corner later, Frenchman Cedric Soubeyras tried slicing inside of a few riders and bashed into Jesse Wentland, putting both on the ground. Soubeyras came back for thirteenth, but Wentland logged the race of his life to net a career-best fifth. Wentland was thirteenth on lap one and stayed there until lap five, then chaos reigned again and he took advantage. He got past Soubeyras, Hampshire started slowing with a flat, Cartwright and Tonus made mistakes, he went around Paul Coates, McElrath got a flat, he got around Gannon Audette, Benny Bloss made a mistake, then he passed Bowers on the last lap to steal fifth. Impressive!
Of course, in a small sense Wentland was lucky too—most first-lap crashes put you in about last place. But this time so many other riders were down in the first turn, he was still thirteenth after a lap. That’s the thing about first-turn crashes: the even impact the riders who aren’t in them.