Nanaimo gets nasty

Highlights from Round 1 of the Monster Energy Motocross Nationals in Nanaimo, B.C.

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A guy on a dirt bike covered in mud.

A rider digs his way out of one of the bottomless berms in Nanaimo. — Jim Muir photo

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 was seeing the lineup 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 third place finish, then stood wincing in pain while paramedics tried to clean the mud out of his eyes. I was left 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 going on. Matt Goerke and Colton Facciotti in particular raced head-to-head throughout 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 two 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.

The sun finally came out in the afternoon, but it was too late for the track by then. It was nice for the fans, though. It allowed for a decent podium ceremony and some friendly mingling in the pits. I think everyone felt like they had survived something and lived to tell the story. Everyone 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. You can see close to 200 photos from the day on my motocross blog.

MX-2

You've got to know that B.C. native 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 with 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. Beaton was second and Ryan Abrigo put in a stunning ride to finish on the podium. Abrigo finished 20th in the second moto.

Teddy Maier had a rough first moto, finishing seventh. It's not often that a rider can win an overall after getting seventh place in their first moto, but that’s exactly 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 got to be happy with that—it’s his best first round in recent memory and he survived to see round two.

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 fifth. 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 fourth overall for the day.

Other stand-out performances were put in by Ross Johnson (10-5, sixth overall) and Zach Deiana (13-4, seventh overall). Zach Deiana is an intermediate; I watched him win the class in Saturday’s amateur race. You have to love it when an intermediate goes out and finishes fourth 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, the other B.C. boy, 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 second place finish 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 eighth 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 five national points and a new black and white pro number plate. That’s one position better than last year's 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.

Results:
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)

MX-1

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 fifth overall and Tyler Villopoto mostly lived up to the hype with sixth 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. Like his brother, this kid has guts.

Dusty Klatt had an ominous start to the season. His 12-6 finishes (seventh 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 upcoming rounds.

Gavin Gracyk, Kyle McGlynn and Shawn Maffenbeier rounded out the top 10 overall. Jaromir Romancik, a Czech rider who has been hanging out with Spencer Knowles, finished fifth in the first moto but was a victim of the track in the second moto. He ended up 11th overall, and B.C. boy Brock Hoyer was 12th.

Results:
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)

Series update

As this article goes to print, two more rounds of the Monster Energy Motocross Nationals have been run. Matt Goerke again won the second round in MX-1, but Bobby Kiniry stepped up and won the third round. Goerke still leads the series. Colton Facciotti crashed hard in Kamloops, B.C., but got back on the horse for the third round in Calgary, Alberta. He's currently tied for third in the series with Tyler Medaglia. Tyler Villopoto is fifth, and Dusty Klatt is sixth. One has to wonder what's up with Klatt? The former champ has been a contender for wins for the past several seasons, but this year top fives seem to be the best he can muster.

In the MX-2 class Teddy Maier has won every round. Jeremy Medaglia has been second in the last two rounds and holds down second overall. Kyle Beaton has generally been third fastest, although a bad moto in Calgary left him in 10th place overall there. He's still third in the points.

Spencer Knowles has had a couple great moments and currently sits in ninth place in the standings. On the bad news front, Kyle Keast broke his leg in Kamloops and is out for the summer. That leaves only two Canadians in the top five in MX-1, and three in MX-2.


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