When Leading Edge Kawasaki signed Americans Brett Metcalfe and Austin Politelli, I suspected it was all over but the crying—before it even began. Both of these riders are regular top-10 guys in AMA National competition in their respective classes and, in fact, both have spent considerable time messing about in the top five.
Only Colton Facciotti really has any significant AMA success of our current crop of Canadian pro riders, but he has nowhere near the amount of high-level experience a guy like Brett Metcalfe has. I’m happy to be a Canadian, but I’m not particularly patriotic. I’m much more enthused and dedicated as a motocross fan than I am as a Nationalist, and as a motocross fan I’m absolutely thrilled to see talent like this in our National series. I just want to see really fast guys ride, no matter what country they’re from. So I’d be thrilled to be watching these guys ride even if they were lapping the field. But it would be nice if a Canadian could run with them.
A glimmer of hope
There was a brief glimmer of hope when Colton Facciotti beat Metcalfe in both motos at the opening round in Nanaimo, B.C., but then Facciotti broke his leg at the next round in Kamloops. Metcalfe and Politelli have won every moto since. Even CMRC is calling this series a “cakewalk” and it’s starting to look like that’s exactly what it might turn out to be.
As much as I like having these fast guys in our National series, I don’t like the thought of the same guys winning at every round. It certainly dashes some of the excitement. I suppose we’ll just have to enjoy the spectacle of watching these top-flight racers trounce the best Canada has to offer, and focus our attention on the battle for second.
The battle for second
In the MX1 class, there is only one Canadian in the top five, but at least Tyler Medaglia currently holds down second place. Last year’s runner-up finisher, Bobby Kiniry, is a scant two points back though. Kiniry was a consistent qualifier for this year’s AMA Supercross series and one of the toughest guys currently racing. It would be impressive if Medaglia could hold on to second against a rider of this calibre.
In the MX2 class, you have to go down to fourth place to find a Canadian, but Kaven Benoit was in second until he had a bad day in Calgary, Alberta. Aside from Austin Politelli, Benoit is also behind Topher Ingalls and Brad Nauditt in the standings, but I’m confident he can beat these guys most days.
The big hurt
It’s an unfortunate reality in motocross that riders, even star riders, often get hurt. It’s unfortunate not only because getting hurt sucks for the riders, but also because it sucks for the fans. After three rounds we have lost Colton Facciotti, who was our only legitimate threat to beat Metcalfe in MX1, and B.C. boy Spencer Knowles, who shoulda’/coulda’ been a top-five contender all series long in MX2. There will still be great racing, but there is also a very real chance both the MX1 and MX2 Championship podiums will be completely occupied by Americans—unless Medaglia and Benoit have something to say about it!