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Excitement would be a good word to use to describe the 2017 Rockstar Energy Motocross National series as we head into the halfway point of the series. 16 motos have been raced between the MX1 and the MX2 classes and every one of them has had multiple “WOW” moments. Some things have been a surprise, and others perhaps were predicted. The racing has been unreal this year. Perhaps it’s because of the fleet of big names from America that came here this year like Christophe Pourcel (who technically came from France), Dillan Epstein, Josh Osby, Ryan Surratt and returning guys like Matt Goerke, Mike Alessi. They have been making our top Canadian riders work for it. I got into the pros and cons of the Americans coming here with Colton Facciotti from a riders point of view. But as a fan, I have been enjoying the results of the hard, close racing.
I believe with the field so deep in both classes the goal for each rider should just be to stay consistent throughout the year. So far each rider in the top 5(in both classes) has had a bad moto where they finished outside where they normally would. Only Cole Thompson, who is the defending champion, has been the exception to this who is currently 33 points ahead in the MX2 class. So let’s just jump into the MX2 class and talk about was has been going on. As predicted the top dogs of the class has been Cole Thompson and Shawn Maffenbeier. Maff has only been defeated by one person… and that’s himself. He clearly has the speed but just keeps making mistakes that end up costing him big in the points chase. I believe two surprises in the MX2 class have been with Josh Osby being the guy directly behind Thompson and Maff. I didn’t hear a whole lot of buzz around him but I’m thinking if just one more thing clicks for Osby, he’ll be right there battling for an overall. He is 2nd in points so the championship is a possibility for him. Another shock has been Dylan Wright, he was one of the favorites to be in the fight for the championship this year, but so far he has been struggling, to put it nicely. But maybe after going 3-4 this weekend this is his turning point and will be closer to the front and be fighting for a spot on the podium as the series head to the East coast.
We have seen a similar trend in the MX1 class with Pourcel and Goerke as they were some of the favorites to be up front coming into this season, and Dillan Epstein being the surprise spoiler who has been fantastic. Dillan has two moto wins, but no overalls. It seems like he hasn’t been able to put two motos together on race day. At Prince George, the new track on the circuit that some were skeptical about, to say the least; it gave us some great racing and one of the closest, most exciting finishes you could possibly have when Christophe Pourcel nudged out Matt Goerke for the win by .08 of a second. It was crazy! That is what fans love to see and what we need to draw in more people to watch moto. Some of the other favorites coming into this season were two Canadians, Kaven Benoit, and Colton Facciotti. Benoit has been out since round 1 from a previous ankle injury that wasn’t fully healed. So that has been a bit of a curve ball when it comes to the championship, as he was a title contender for sure. Now when it comes to Facciotti, I’m not really sure what has been up with him and after talking to him I’m not convinced that he knows either. He seems to have the speed each moto, but he has yet to put together a solid day. I’m thinking the whole Honda team needs a classic Rocky style inspirational speech to get things going in the Wright direction. (Did you see what I did there haha)
So as the series heads to the East Coast I’m hoping the racing stays tight and we get to see some great battles. It seems most of the riders are looking forward to the eastern rounds, but how will it change things? I doubt the track differences will change much at the front of the pack in both classes. But who knows, it might make a world of good for just the mental side of things for some guys. Whatever happens, I’m excited to watch some good racing and get a chance to watch in person and not have to yell at the computer screen because the camera guys are filming the wrong person. Hopefully everyone will stay healthy throughout the rest of the series and we can have an exciting championship fight. But for that to happen they, and you, all need to remember to keep your feet on the pegs!