Catastrophic fun in Washington

Our trip to Washougal was both catastrophic and fun


Casey Keast in a race at Washougal.

Casey Keast did his thing and won motos in both 250 B and Schoolboy. He's the real deal. — Jim Muir photo

Racing motocross brings waves of highs and lows. The objective is not to get too high on the highs nor too low on the lows —  to understand that it all evens out in the end — and not to base your experience on results alone. Our trip to Washougal, Washington, was both catastrophic and fun. We intended to race in two races and get in several good, long days of practice at local tracks. I spent most of many nights over a three-week period working in the shop to make sure we had two working bikes for the trip. It was to be an eight-day riding/racing extravaganza.

On the sixth lap of the first day, my son Tanner's Supermini tranny locked up. The bike was done for the trip and so were all hopes and dreams of racing the Supermini class in Washougal or Portland International Raceway.

After a modest amount of crying and screaming, I accepted this. Tanner took it like a champ. As proud of him as I am when he does well in a race, I'm sometimes even prouder when he handles disappointment well. He hasn't always. I make a point of pointing out to Tanner whenever someone has a mechanical issue, crash that costs positions, or other form of DNF, just so he knows that it happens to everybody. This way, when it happened to him on this trip, he knew it was just his turn.

He didn't let it get him too low. After all, we were still with all our friends on a motocross trip, we were going to see the Pros and all our friends race, and we still had the 250 to ride. Later on that first day the water seal popped on the 250, and we could only ride about 15 minutes between water top ups after that.  We adjusted. Donna and I started drinking earlier in the day, and Tanner went swimming more often.

After a couple of hot, dry, dusty days at the Riverdale Raceway track, our Canadian Convoy packed up and headed to Washougal. When we got there, it poured rain for two days straight. Thursday's racing was cancelled, so we stayed dry in our trailers until it was time to pack up and go to Portland for some night racing.

The Portland scene was crazy cool. There must have been 500 sign-ups to race the man-made track under the lights. The track is kind of like a really big Supercross track with no really sketchy double jumps on the amateur route, but then they move a few safety blocks and reroute the Pros down a nasty long whoop section and over a huge double jump. The kids all had a lot of fun riding the track and watching the Pros race. There's always a good turnout of Pros on Washougal weekend because they're in town anyways, and Portland International Raceway pays good money. We got home after midnight.


Portland International Raceway crowd scene.

Portland International Raceway was extremely well attended. This is what motocross can be! — Jim Muir photo

Our group's first day of racing at Washougal was on Friday because Thursday was cancelled. The first race was the Superminis. It was momentarily sad that Tanner would not be going to the line, but the pain was eased considerably because the track was a disaster. After one lap, about half of the little bikes were stuck somewhere on the track. It was so muddy many of them couldn't even make it up the first 40 feet of Horsepower Hill. After a few laps, there were a half dozen or more bikes stuck on this one little hill at any given time. Bikes were smoking and blowing up all over the track. Near the end, there seemed to be more bikes being pushed back through the infield than there were still moving on the track.

The first amateur race on the muddy Washougal track was Supermini. It was a super mess.

The first amateur race on the muddy Washougal track was Supermini. It was a super mess. — Jim Muir photo

Our boy David Bradley managed the mud magnificently and rode home fourth. As it turns out, many of our B.C. boys persevered and did well in the mud. Harrison Bradley and Alex Haley also had top 5 finishes in the muck. As the track dried out though, only Alex Haley seemed to have the speed to run up front in the super competitive 250 C class. Isaiah Haylett may have had something, but he went down hard in the whoops and broke his shoulder and arm. His trip ended with a helicopter ride home.

David Bradley successfully navigated the slime and finished fourth. at Washougal.

David Bradley successfully navigated the slime and finished fourth at Washougal. — Jim Muir photo

Several of the island's 50 cc and 65 cc riders cracked the top 5 in one or more motos. Drake Richmond, Ty Cyr, Sebby Sulyok and Charlie Roberts all had solid motos running near the front of the pack.

The island's top 65 cc rider, Drake Richmond.

The island's top 65 cc rider, Drake Richmond, looked great inside the top 5 in a couple of motos. — Jim Muir photo

Islanders Islanders Sebby Sulyok, wearing number 24, and Ty Cyr, wearing number 75, are racing through the mud.

Islanders Sebby Sulyok (24) and Ty Cyr (75) found each other on the track and battled inside the top 5. — Jim Muir photo

Although he wasn't travelling with us, Casey Keast was also in Washougal representing the Maple Leaf and doing a great job of it as usual. His Supermini bike blew up at the Portland race, but Casey was prepared with his YZ125 which he raced in the 250 B class and Schoolboy. I was on the fence for his first 250 B race and he came around the first lap in about fifth or sixth. Some guy leaning on the fence beside me shouted, "Did you see that little kid on the 125?" The next lap Casey was in about third, and I think he took the lead on the following lap. The guys on the fence were super impressed, and I found I was stoked to tell them he was our Canadian Supermini Champion.  The 250 B class is fast in the United States. It was really impressive to see Casey win it on his 125, even if it probably isn't actually a 125. Kudos to Casey also for winning the Walton Supermini Championship again. This makes Casey a two-time National Supermini Champ.

As I write this, Colton Facciotti and Kaven Benoit have just wrapped up their Canadian National titles, Colton in MX1 and Kavin in MX2. Considering the incredible depth of talent from the United States that contended our titles this year, it's uber-impressive that both classes were won by Canadians. Both of these riders, and perhaps a couple more, could certainly represent our country proudly on the big stage south of the border if finances allowed it or if American teams were more prone to hiring Canadian riders.

Colton beat Brett Metcalfe in two motos back-to-back in Nanaimo, B.C., last year, and he beat Mike Alessi over a long series this year. That's two solid top 5 guys when they race AMA nationals. There is no reason Facciotti shouldn't be on a team in the States, except that he is Canadian. I wonder if he would go if he had the chance?

Well, someone must have read my draft. It's just been announced that Facciotti will ride the Utah AMA MX1 National, and apparently talks are underway for Supercross! It seems all this is being done with the Troy Lee Design team. 

Speaking of the big show, Marvin Musquin and Ryan Dungey led an all-KTM charge and won all four motos in Washougal on Pro Saturday. It was amazing to see the best riders in the world ride the same track our kids had ridden the day before. The racing was not as dramatic as I've seen, but there were highlights. Justin Bogle held off Musquin for a good chunk of the second MX2 moto and looked like he might go all the way, but he eventually settled for third behind Musquin and Baggett.

Jeremy Martin has since wrapped up the AMA Outdoor Nationals MX2 title and Ken Roczen held off Ryan Dungey for the MX1 title. It was a great season. It was a pleasant surprise to see Jeremy Martin and Cooper Webb up front on their Yamahas all season ahead of bigger names like Christophe Pourcel, Marvin Musquin, Cole Seely, Jason Anderson and Dean Wilson. Blake Baggett just barely edged out Webb for the second spot on the podium after a strong end to his season.  Although the MX1 class was mostly about the battle between KTM teammates Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey, James Stewart got in there and won some races, and Eli Tomac and Trey Cannard also showed toward the end of the season that they could run the pace as well. There is no lack of talent in the AMA at the moment.

The last few weeks have been a real high for motocross fans with the climatic conclusion to both the Canadian and American national championships. Now we have a little lull before our fall racing schedule starts and months until Supercross season kicks off. Oh well, you gotta take the lows with the highs.


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