Monday, 29 August 2011

Canadians at Southwick 2011

With the 2011 Canadian motocross series finished with, some of Canada's best riders decided to make the trip down to the USA for round 10 of the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross championships.

These riders included 3 time (2008, 2009 and 2011) MX1 National champ Colton Facciotti, 2 time (2010 and 2011) MX2 National champ Tyler Medaglia, multi-national winner Jeremy Medaglia and top 5 MX2 rider Kaven Benoit.

Facciotti and Tyler Medaglia would be riding their Canadian Blackfoot team race bikes, Benoit would be riding his Royal Distributing KTM Canada bike and Jeremy Medaglia would be riding for the US-based Dragon Fuels KTM team.

In qualifying, Colton was able to take his #361 YZ450F to 11th fastest in the 450 A group practice, and 15th overall. Tyler Medaglia was able to slot his #95 YZ250F into the 13th spot overall in 250 qualifying while Jeremy qualified 34th on his #281 250SXF. Keven Benoit was suffering some ankle problems and was unable to qualify his #626 250SXF for the motos.

450 class

In the U.S, the 450 class runs first at most of the rounds, so Colton was up first. As the pack of 40 roared off the gate, Facciotti was able to be one of the first couple of riders into the first turn. Unfortunately, he got pushed a little wide and came out just outside the top 10.

By the end of the first lap, Facciotti was able to work his way into 9th and moved up another spot just a couple of laps later. From there he engaged in a battle with factory Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Jake Weimer for the 7th spot. After a few laps of cat-and-mouse, Colton came out on top of that battle and began to set his sights on Red Bull KTM rider Mike Alessi.

On lap 11, Honda's Justin Barcia, who was running 3rd at the time, dropped out of the race, bumping Facciotti up to 6th. Just 2 laps later, Two Two Motorsport's rider Chad Reed dropped out of the race as well, allowing Facciotti to sit in the top 5 for the first time in his AMA pro career.

As the laps clicked off, Facciotti was able to close the gap to Alessi in 4th a little, but would come up a few seconds short at the finish. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic ride, one that had a lot of people talking in the pits.

Between the motos, a heavy rain had fallen, making the sandy Southwick track very wet. Despite many hopes that the wet weather would help the Canadian's, it was not to be for Facciotti, as he was forced out of moto 2 with a broken shifter.

Colton's 5-DNF scores would allow him to finish 11th overall.

250 class

As the ultra-competitve 250 class took off for its first moto, Jeremy Medaglia got the better start of the two Canadians, as he finished the first lap in 17th. His older brother Tyler wasn't as fortunate as he was back a few spots in 22nd.

By the time the first couple of laps had been completed, Jeremy was still in 17th, while Tyler had moved up to 18th and was looking for a way around his younger sibling. The two battled hard and after a handful of laps, Tyler was finally able to get around.

With the confidence of moving up from a bad start, Tyler continued to work his way forward, eventually finding his way into 12th. Jeremy wasn't so lucky. With 2 laps to go he was running in 14th when a couple of late mistakes dropped him to 16th at the finish. Still a very solid moto for both brothers.

In moto 2, the track was much more wet than it was the first time around, and this time it was Tyler grabbing the better start, rounding the first lap in 21st with Jeremy hot on his heels in 22nd.

Once again, the brothers stuck close together as they battled their way into the top 20. Around the halfway mark, Tyler was finally able to put a litte distance between himself and Jeremy. Tyler ran strong in 19th with Jeremy 21st. Both riders had improved upon their starting positions, always a good sign.

As the race wore on and track conditions got worse, things started to go a little more in favour of Tyler as he found himself in 15th. Things weren't going as well for Jeremy, who had dropped back a bit after a few mistakes late in the race. Eventually Tyler would hold on to 15th, his 12-15 motos good enough to finish 13th overall. Jeremy would ultimately not finish the moto and end up in 29th place. His 16-29 motos gave him 21st overall.

Overall, it was mostly a positive day for the Canadian riders and their fans at Southwick, as they all showed they have the speed and desire to compete at the highest level. And, in the case of Colton Facciotti, things could get a lot more interesting in a hurry. Stay tuned!

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