The opening round of the 2012 Monster Energy Motocross Nationals in Nanaimo won’t soon be forgotten. Even as everyone in attendance cursed the rain, which was relentless in its down-pouring, the event will go down as a spectacle not to have been missed. The cream mostly rose to the top despite the gnarly condition of the track, although even some of the cream sank to the bottom a few times! Perhaps the most poignant moment for me was seeing the line up of riders at the medic tent after the first MX-1 moto, waiting to have their eyes cleaned out. Especially Bobby Kiniry, who made a brief podium appearance after his 3rd place finish, then stood wincing in pain while paramedics tried to clean the mud out of his eyes. I was struck thinking, ‘ten minutes ago he was racing near the front of the pack, and now he can’t even open his eyes’. Yeah, motocrossers are tough! It was a very strange day of racing. After the first couple of laps it became almost impossible to tell who was who, and keeping track of even the top three or four riders was a challenge. Despite this, there was actually some amazing racing. Matt Goerke and Colton Facciotti in particular raced head to head through-out the day, with Goerke holding on to narrowly win both motos. There was never a dull moment on the track; you got to see a rider get completely out of shape every couple of minutes, marvel at the amazing recoveries, and gasp at the horrendous crashes. Almost every rider got down in the mud at least a couple of times, and it wasn’t uncommon to see even the leaders stop mid-race for a new pair of goggles. It was as much spectacle as racing, but whatever it was, it sure was entertaining! I’ve put together a couple galleries of my best shots, which were almost a difficult to get as crash-free motos were for the riders! It was largely a matter of shoot a shot, get pelted by mud, duck for cover, clean my lens, and repeat…all day long. I realized when I was out on the track with all the professional MX photographers from across the country that I had brought a knife to a gun-fight. My little out-of-the-box, $800 camera was suffering severe self-esteem issues looking at the multi-thousand dollar set-ups my photo cohorts carried around, but we managed to carve out a few decent pics.
You gotta’ know that Kyle Beaton is hungry to prove himself this year. After two successive years of being out of it before it even began, Beaton has to do it this year. He came out guns-a-blazin’ taking the holeshot in both motos. In the first moto he and Jeremy Medaglia battled for several laps early on before Jeremy finally built a little gap and held on for the win. Beats was second, and Ryan Abrigo put in a stunning ride to finish on the podium. Who exactly is Ryan Abrigo anyways, and what was he doing so close to the front of this race!? I suspect I’ll know more about Abrigo as the series rolls on, I do know the name from Supercross, so he didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. Abrigo finished 20th in the second moto. Teddy Maier had a rough first moto, finishing 7th. How often can you win an overall with a 7th place first moto? Well, that’s what Maier did by winning the second moto! His 7-1 moto finishes were better than anyone else could muster! Beaton’s 2-6 gave him the runner-up spot. You know he’s gotta’ be happy with that, it’s his best first round in recent memory, and he survived to see round 2! Both of the Allison brothers, Jared and Parker, rode well and were consistently near the front of the pack. Jared’s 6-3 motos were good enough for the final position on the podium at the end of the day, while Parker’s 4-7 placed him 5th. After showing that he was the man to beat in the first moto, Jeremy Medaglia was beaten by the conditions in the second moto. His 12th place second moto left him in 4th overall for the day. Other stand-out performances were put in by Ross Johnson (10-5, 6th overall) and Zach Deiana (13-4, 7th overall). I’m embarrassed to say that I know nothing of this Ross Johnson character, but I do know that Zach Deiana is an Intermediate; I watched him win the class in Saturday’s amateur race. You gotta’ love it when an Intermediate goes out and finishes 4th in a Pro moto! Mark the name ‘Deiana’ somewhere, I suspect it will be coming up again over the next few years. Speaking of young guns, Spencer Knowles had a miserable start to his season in the first moto, going down in the first corner, but he redeemed himself nicely with an incredible 2nd place in the second moto! Following through on my theme of what a strange day it was, how often do you suppose a rider has finished 8th overall with a DNF in the first moto? That’s what Spenny did this weekend. Oh yeah, it was a strange day! Three of our local Intermediate boys qualified for the event: Ryan Lalonde, Corey Cardinal, and Connor Barnes made the show. SG Power rider, Ryan Lalonde, managed to place 16th in the second moto, earning himself 5 National points and a new black and white (Pro) number plate! That’s one position better than amateur sensation Trae Franklin managed! Cardinal got a great start in the first moto, but augured his head into the mud a few corners later and was out for the rest of the day with a concussion. Speed Merchant rider, Connor Barnes, soldiered on through both motos and got credit for 31st overall. Congratulations boys!!
1.Teddy Maier(7-1) 2.Kyle Beaton(2-6) 3.Jared Allison(6-3) 4.Jeremy Medaglia(1-12) 5.Parker Allison(4-7) 6.Ross Johnson(10-5) 7.Zach Deiana(13-4) 8.Spencer Knowles(DNF-2) 9.Brad Nauditt(11-9) 10.Ryan Abrigo(3-20)
Unlike the MX-2 class, where moto finishes were all over the map, the top four MX-1 guys laid claim to their positions in the first moto and repeated it in the second. Matt Goerke, Colton Facciotti, Bobby Kiniry, and Kyle Keast went 1-2-3-4 in both motos. I’ll leave you to figure out the overall results! Considering the conditions this is really quite amazing. It’s almost inconceivable that all four riders rode two motos without catastrophic incident! In fact, despite the inclement weather, all the top guns show up at the top of the score sheet. Tyler Medaglia showed well in his first MX-1 National race with 5th overall and Tyler Villopoto mostly lived up to the hype with 6th overall. I was curious before it all started to know just how fast this guy was going to be. Was he faster than our fastest? Or was he just another young kid from the States? Of course the conditions make it difficult to answer these questions even after two motos, but it’s clear that Villopoto is the real deal. It will be interesting to see how he does as the series wears on. Tyler was one of those guys I saw getting his eyes cleaned out after the first moto. It’s clear that, like his brother, this kid has guts and is certainly no prima donna. Dusty Klatt had an ominous start to the season. His 12-6 finishes (7th overall) are not what you would expect from the multi-time champ. I saw him crash once in the first moto, but I suspect it might not have been the only time. Even when he was going though, he didn’t appear to be riding at the pace of the top few guys. Will Dusty bounce back? That’ll be another interesting development to watch for in the up-coming rounds. Gavin Gracyk, Kyle McGlynn, and Shawn Maffenbeier rounded out the top ten overall. Jaromir Romancik, a Czech rider who has been hanging out with Spencer Knowles, finished 5th in the first moto but was a victim of the track in the 2nd moto. He ended up 11th overall, and BC boy Brock Hoyer was 12th. I already can’t wait for Kamloops to see if Goerke can keep it going, or if more normal track conditions will tilt the table toward Facciotti or one of the other top contenders.
1.Matt Goerke(1-1) 2.Colton Facciotti(2-2) 3.Bobby Kiniry(3-3) 4.Kyle Keast(4-4) 5.Tyler Medaglia(7-5) 6.Tyler Villopoto(6-8) 7.Dusty Klatt(12-6) 8.Gavin Gracyk(11-7) 9.Kyle McGlynn(10-11) 10.Shawn Maffenbeier(8-13)
Of course, the sun finally came out in the afternoon, but it was too late for the track. It just got stickier. It was nice for the fans and photographers though! It allowed for a decent podium ceremony and some friendly mingling in the pits. I think we all felt like we had survived something and lived to tell the story. Every one I talked to started their first sentence with, “Did you see (insert rider name here) crash (insert track position here)!” I’m sure the stories will go on for a while. At least until new stories are created next week in Kamloops!
Stay tuned for Amateur day race coverage, probably next week. Thanks to all the dedicated volunteers for braving the elements and sticking with it! It wouldn’t happen without you.