Round 9 of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan in Ulverton, QC on Sunday proved to be a rock ‘em sock ‘em affair that saw Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Matt Goerke engaged in epic battles to maintain his MX1 points lead over defending champ Colton Facciotti and Brett Metcalfe.
In both motos the top three contenders on the points scoreboard poured on the gas, resulting in such a frenzied pace the gap between third place finisher Goerke over fourth place Cole Thompson counted 36 seconds in moto one and 17 in moto two.
The first moto holeshot was claimed by Michael Da Silva with Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry hugging his side going into the first turn. Before the second turn Kiniry had taken the lead. Facciotti, who had started in third, shot his way into the lead on lap two.
Da Silva’s run with the front of the pack evaporated within the next few laps as Goerke made his way into second place, Metcalfe into third, and Thompson into fourth. Kiniry, meanwhile, got pushed into fifth, where he would finish the moto, keeping a relentless Tyler Medaglia at bay.
For more than half the moto Facciotti, Goerke, and Metcalfe were in such close proximity a blanket could have been thrown over them. On lap nine, Metcalfe, eager to make up lost points due to a DNF at Round 8 and with nothing to lose, finally managed to stick a pass on Goerke.
At that point the podium positions were a done deal. Despite Goerke’s attempt to retake Metcalfe over the next few laps, experiencing some scary near get-offs in the process, Goerke finally settled into a secure third rather than take any further risks.
The second moto holeshot was nailed down by Thompson. The up-and-comer was followed into turn one by Metcalfe, Facciotti, Goerke, Medaglia and Kiniry. By the end of the second lap Metcalfe took over the lead, but as in the first moto, the frontrunners stuck together like glue well into the second half of the moto.
Facciotti, looking for his first clean sweep of the season, passed Thompson on lap 12 and Metcalfe one lap later. Goerke, who had occupied fourth from the get-go, pinned the throttle to relegate Thompson into fourth on lap 14 to then set his sights on Metcalfe. With the moto winding down, Goerke tried some daring passing manoeuvres but Metcalfe prevailed again.
Goerke’s 3-3 moto results earned him a respectable third overall on the day. However, his points lead over Facciotti, who clinched the win on the strength of his 1-1 motos, was reduced from 23 to 13. Metcalfe’s 2-2 moto finishes also saw him make up ground on Goerke, but the Australian trails by 48 points, holding down third on the scoreboard.
With the points chase remarkably close all season long, Goerke is no stranger to the pressure that’s part and parcel of being the guy everybody is gunning for. The final round in Walton this Sunday will be a pressure cooker for the top four contenders. Goerke needs to finish at least 3-3 again if Facciotti manages a repeat clean sweep to win the title with three points to spare.
“I wasn’t racing for third today but it seemed to turn out that way. With the points this close at the end of the season you know that nobody’s going to give you an inch and Colt, Brett, and Cole were on top of their game. For me it really came down to either betting the farm on first place or staying in the game to contain the damage and not take major risks. I chose the latter,” Goerke said.
In the second moto, Kiniry, who was riding injured due to his crash in Moncton at Round 8, soldiered on to grab sixth place off the start. Instead of Medaglia hounding him, this time he had to deal with an equally tenacious Cade Clason. Clason managed to execute a pass on lap six and for the rest of the moto Kiniry had his work cut out keeping Seth Rarick behind him to cross the finish line in seventh to take home sixth overall on the day.
Going into the final round Kiniry sits sixth on the scoreboard, 11 points ahead of Cade Clason, his nearest rival for that position
“Given the circumstances of riding injured I was quite happy with my results today. I knew I had to get good starts if I was going to stay in the mix, score some decent points and not waste energy playing catch-up. As far as that went it was mission completed,” Kiniry said.
In MX2 Shawn Maffenbeier was looking in good shape for a fourth overall when a mechanical gremlin sidelined him in the second moto. The Saskatchewan native is still sitting in a solid fourth place on the points scoreboard. He’ll need to stay sharp, however, to keep fifth place Blake Savage behind him. Savage is looking at only a five points deficit.
In the first moto, an electrical hiccup saw Maffenbeier’s bike cut out on him going into turn one. He managed to restart the bike but faced a dead last remount. Maffenbeier put his head down and sliced and diced his way through the pack to take the checkered flag in a noteworthy fifth place. He managed to dislodge points rival Savage from that position in the closing laps of the moto.
In the second moto, Maffenbeier got a rapid fire start to grab second place going into turn one behind eventual winner Jeremy Medaglia. A few laps later defending champion Kaven Benoit stuck a pass on Maffenbeier and around the halfway point Dylan Wright relegated him the fourth. With a 10-second gap on fifth place Jimmy Decotis, Maffenbeier seemed on his way to maintain fourth but on the second last lap another mechanical gremlin put him on the sidelines.
“The mechanical issues were a bit of a bummer for sure. I was feeling good today and confident after my previous rounds podium finishes. I guess all that’s left now is to secure my fourth in the final points ranking this Sunday,” Maffenbeier said.
Overall Results – Round 9
1. Colton Facciotti (Honda) 1-1
2. Brett Metcalfe (Kaw) 2-2
3. Matt Goerke (Yam) 3-3
4. Cole Thompson (KTM) 4-4
5. Tyler Medaglia (Husq) 6-5
6. Bobby Kiniry (Yam) 5-7
7. Cade Clason (KTM) 7-6
8. John Dowd (Kaw) 8-9
9. Kyle Keast (Hon) 10-8
10. Dylan Schmoke (KTM) 12-13
1. Jeremy Medaglia (Hon) 2-1
2. Kaven Benoit (KTM) 1-2
3. Dylan Wright (Hon) 4-3
4. Jimmy Decotis (Yam) 3-4
5. Blake Savage (Yam) 6-5
6. Cole Martinez (Kaw) 8-6
7. Brad Nauditt (Yam) 7-9
8. Morgan Burger (Yam) 10-8
9. Jesse Pettis (Yam) 9-10
10. Liam O’Farrell (KTM) 13-7
16. Shawn Maffenbeier (Yam) 5-DNF
MX1 points after 9 of 10 rounds
1. Matt Goerke 479 pts
2. Colton Facciotti 466
3. Brett Metcalfe 431
4. Cole Thompson 410
5. Tyler Medaglia 392
6. Bobby Kiniry 320
7. Cade Clason 309
8. Kyle Keast 284
9. Dylan Schmoke 228
10. Teddy Maier 209
MX2 points after 9 of 10 rounds
1. Kaven Benoit 514 pts
2. Jimmy Decotis 427
3. Jeremy Medaglia 423
4. Shawn Maffenbeier 353
5. Blake Savage 348
6. Dylan Wright 319
7. Brad Nauditt 302
8. Morgan Burger 299
9. Jesse Pettis 266
10. Dustin Creson 222