As the teams rolled in to Walton Raceway on Thursday evening the level of excitement and anticipation was up after a weekend away from racing since Round 1. The field was cut and ready for the rigs to park and track work was already underway to make changes that the Pro day at Walton has not seen in over 10 years.
On race day the Walton track crew had the track looking perfect. The morning practice went well for the team riders, with only minimal bike changes being made.
At the end of Qualifying practice on Saturday Shawn qualified 4th, Phil 5th, and Sam 8th.
The team was feeling comfortable heading in to the first Moto of the weekend, ready to battle. As the gate dropped on Moto 1, Phil grabbed the holeshot and kept the lead until the 8th lap. Wright managed to find a way around Phil. Phil pushed hard to keep pace with Wright but around the 10th lap he tucked the front end and lost any chance of making a run on Wright. Phil crossed the checkers in 2nd position. Shawn rounded the first turn of this Moto in 3rd and battled with the pack until a crash put him back to the 5th position. This is where he would finish. Sam started in 10th and fought his way up to 8th by the time he got the checkered flag.
As dusk fell on Saturday night the Walton track crew was busy prepping the track for another day of racing Sunday, ripping it deep and putting lots of water on it to ensure a good, rutted racetrack. Early Sunday morning saw unexpected heavy rain. This led to a delayed start to the morning the give the track crew some extra time to work and prep the track. All three riders decided to put in a few optional practice laps to feel out the muddy track conditions.
When the gate dropped for Moto 2, the first mud Moto of the year, all three riders were in the top 10. The race quickly turned into a race of survival. The goal became to stay off the muddy ground and not overheat the bikes in the deep and heavy mud. All riders finished the gruelling Moto; Phil was 3rd, Shawn 6th and Sam 7th.
The track had finally started to come around for the final Moto of the day for the 450’s. The track became very tough and technical with limited line choices. Phil once again grabbed the holeshot for the second time this weekend. Tyler Medaglia was able to quickly get around Phil on the opening lap, putting him in 2nd position. A few laps later, Wright was able to get past Phil. Phil managed to settle into a pace and mount a charge to the front again. He made a pass on Wright and set his sights for Tyler. The tough track and fast pace allowed the bike to slide out and Phil remounted in 4th position. Phil charged again back up to the rear wheel of Matt Goerke. Phil had a massive get off while trying to make the pass on Matt. Thankfully, he was able to get up and still finish the Moto in 4th position. Shawn had a good start inside the top 5, but in the third corner he came together with another rider and fell. Shawn got up, cleaned himself off and made a push back up to 5th position by the end of the Moto. Sam started in 8th and battled the entire Moto with multiple other riders. A small mistake on the last lap would cost him a position. He finished in 11th.
Phil Nicolleti 2-3-4 3rd overall
Shawn Maffenbeier 5-6-5 5th overall
Sam Gaynor 8-7-11 9th overall
1st – DYLAN WRIGHT #9
1st 1st 150
2nd – PHIL NICOLETTI #54
2nd 3rd 124 (-26)
3rd – MATT GOERKE #2
3rd 2nd 118 (-32)
4th – TYLER MEDAGLIA #5
4th 4th 111 (-39)
5th – SHAWN MAFFENBEIER #3
5th 6th 96 (-54)
6th – SAM GAYNOR #28
6th 9th 83 (-67)