Round 5 of the CMRC Nationals at Gopher Dunes in Courtland on Sunday was blessed with one of the sunniest and hottest days of the summer so far in Southwestern Ontario. At least that would be the prognosis of anyone who spent the day in the comforts of an air-conditioned home or a swimming pool.
Gopher Dunes, which is a little short on shade trackside, felt like a broiler and combined with the deep sand and numerous jumps, taxed even the fittest riders. For all but the top contenders, just finishing two motos was an amazing feat. There was plenty of attrition in both the MX1 and MX2 class, either due to exhaustion or technical problems.
For Team Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Yamaha/Motovan.com’s Bobby Kiniry, Shawn Maffenbeier, and Richard Grey, it was business as usual, albeit a bit tougher than usual. All three riders held up their end by giving it 110%, despite the heat, with Kiniry being the recipient of the best results. The New York native recorded fourth overall on the strength of 7-3 motos in MX1.
Maffenbeier, who missed the first four rounds due to a broken collarbone, made an impressive debut for the team at Gopher, picking up sixth overall on the strength of 4-12 motos in MX2.
Grey, unfortunately, proved to be one of the bad-luck stories of the day. He suffered a first moto DNF and an 11th place finish in the second, which gave him a tepid 16th overall. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Grey did not lose his seventh place position in the current points standings.
Despite a relatively good start, Kiniry found himself at the back of the back early on in moto one, after he stalled his bike and then had trouble restarting it because of the heat. Once he got back into the fray, he put his head down, pinned the throttle and sliced and diced his way into a seventh place finish.
A top-10 start made life a little bit easier for Kiniry in moto two. He systematically made his way into the top-five and was able to claim a third place finish, when the checkered flag was waved.
“The first moto was a bit of a chore, having to come from behind. The second went a lot smoother. But those Rockstars kept me energized till the end of the motos, the RG3 suspension worked great, my Yamaha worked great, and I’m already looking forward to next weekend,” Kiniry said.
In the MX2 title hunt, Shawn Maffenbeier’s first moto of the day saw him running with the top dogs, after grabbing a start that had him enter turn one around 10th place. From there he diligently worked his way into fourth by the time the checkered flag signalled the end of the moto.
The second moto looked to be rerun of the first for Maffenbeier, but after swapping out in the roller section while running in eighth place early on, the Saskatchewan native lost about 10 positions. Once back in the race he soldiered on, but with time running out he ended up having to settle for 12th place at the finish line.
“It was definitely great to be back racing today. I was expecting to do a little bit better in the second moto, but after being off the bike for close to five weeks and not getting in much practice time before the national today, I’m quite happy with the way things went, especially the performance of my two-stroke YZ250,” Maffenbeier said.
The start of the first MX2 moto went well enough for Richard Grey until he tangled with another rider in the third turn, which resulted in a crash for both. A back of the pack remount for Grey saw him battle his way into 10th place by the halfway point of the 3 moto. Unfortunately his bike’s radiator had been damaged and lost its coolant, putting Grey on the sidelines, when the engine seized.
A poor gate-pick for the second moto resulted in Grey being pushed all the way to the outside in the start, which put him dead last going into turn one. He quickly made his way into mid-pack, only to stall his bike in a turn and lose most of the ground he had covered. Regrouping once again, Grey poured on the gas to bulldoze his way through the heavy sand and claim 11th place at the finish line.
“After DNFing the first moto, the second moto was all about salvaging as many points as I could. I felt good all day, my bike ran great, and I should have finished at least with a top-10 overall, taking this into consideration. But luck just wasn’t on my side today. I’m already putting this behind me and focusing on the next round,” Grey said.
|MX1 Points After 5 of 9 Rounds
|Brett Metcalfe (Kaw)
|Tyler Medaglia (KTM)
|Bobby Kiniry (Yam)
|Teddy Maier (Kaw)
|Jeremy Medaglia (Yam)
|Morgan Burger (Yam)
|Gavin Gracyk (KTM)
|Brock Hoyer (Kaw)
|Ross Johnson (Hon)
|Dylan Kaelin (Hon)
|MX2 Points After 5 of 9 Rounds
|Austin Politelli (Kaw)
|Kaven Benoit (KTM)
|Brad Nauditt (Hon)
|Joshua Clark (Kaw)
|Topher Ingalls (Hon)
|Jared Allison (Yam)
|Richard Grey (Yam)
|Kyle Swanson (Hon)
|Blake Savage (Hon)
|Nathan Bles (Hon)
|Shawn Maffenbeier (Yam)