The final round of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals in Walton, ON this past Sunday, which was staged on the super-fast Walton Speedway track under a blazing sun and a humid 28°C temperature, turned out to be a thriller that didn?t fade away until the checkered flag signalled the end of the second MX1 moto. That?s how long it took to confirm that Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha?s Matt Goerke could call himself the 2015 premier class champion.
For Goerke, it was the end of a long season that saw him engaged in epic battles for the title with defending champ Colton Facciotti, 2013 champ Brett Metcalfe, and up-and-coming star Cole Thompson. Goerke, who took command of the points chase at Round 3, was never able to break away into a comfort zone from that moment on. In addition to numerous second and third place finishes, he would go on to claim six moto wins and two overalls.
With a points spread that never exceeded 29 at its peak, and only 10 going into the ultimate round, Goerke exhibited true grit and grace under pressure to rise above his rivals and record his second MX1 National Championship title in Walton. The first time the Florida native cleared the task was in 2012, his debut year in Canada. The following two seasons he raced in the U.S., to make his return to the Canadian series this year.
Goerke?s MX1 teammate, Bobby Kiniry, riding injured since a hard crash in the first moto at Round 8, stayed the course to finish sixth in the points, tied with fellow American Cade Clason. Kiniry occupied sixth on the scoreboard since Round 6. The veteran proved to be steady finisher at most rounds despite some crashes and a DNF at Round 8.
In the MX2 title chase, Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF?s Shawn Maffenbeier finished the season with a respectable No.4 ranking. Like Kiniry the Saskatchewan native faced a number of setbacks, including a DNF at Round 9. He came into the series off an injury and despite a number of podium finishes, was unable to have a say in the championship.
While Facciotti pulled out all the stops to win the last battle of the season with 1-3 motos, Goerke stepped up to the plate to win the war. The first moto holeshot went to Tyler Medaglia, with Kiniry, Thompson, Facciotti and Goerke in tow. Unfortunately Kiniry could not capitalize on his excellent start, washing out his front end a few turns into the race. He remounted at the back of the pack and managed to work his way to a 24th place finish.
Medaglia was relegated to fourth within a few laps with Facciotti at the helm, Thompson in second and Goerke in third. Goerke stayed on Thompson?s rear fender until the midway point of the moto, when he made a definitive pass. Facciotti had by this time carved out a substantial lead and Goerke focused on defending his second place to the finish line.
The start of the second moto was about as tense as it could get for Goerke and Facciotti. Goerke still had a 10-point edge, but Facciotti was also within reach of the title, depending on where they would finish. Fast starter Goerke took his YZ450F into what looked like a potential holeshot with Facciotti next to him. Going into the first turn they collided, however, taking each other down in the process.
For race fans it didn?t get any better than that; for Goerke and Facciotti and their respective teams it was a worst case scenario. Although both riders got their bikes restarted, the big question was what shape were their bikes in? What shape were they in? Facciotti got back into the fray second last, Goerke dead last.
Facciotti sliced and diced through the pack with Goerke a few seconds behind. Around the halfway mark of the moto Facciotti had clawed his way into third, 21 seconds behind second place Thompson. Goerke found himself in seventh but lappers were becoming an issue by this time.
With four laps left, Goerke commandeered fifth place. Since Facciotti was unable to make up time on Thompson, it was all Goerke needed to secure the title with still a handful of points to spare. He just had to bring the finish home. To his relief and the entire team Goerke prevailed and cleared the task, recording fourth overall on the day, thanks to his 2-5 results. He was the new MX1 Champion.
?It?s certainly a relief to get this day over with. The second moto was more nerve wracking than the first. It couldn?t have been any crazier or tougher. I knew I had to ride smart and not let my emotions take over. So I let my bike do its job, which it did remarkably well, and I did mine,? Goerke said. ?I knew I had to keep Colt in my sights, pass a lot of people and finish within a few positions of him, which was going to have to be fifth or better. It was a fantastic season and I would like to thank everybody that helped to make it happen. The list of people and sponsors is endless. They know who they are. I also want to thank all Canadian motocross fans for making me feel welcome in their country.?
Meanwhile, Kiniry, got another top start. After Goerke and Facciotti?s crash, he was in second behind Metcalfe, who ended up with the holeshot. Metcalfe would go on to win the moto, ahead of Thompson and Facciotti. Kiniry, despite not being in tip-top condition, hung in to finish the race in sixth place behind Goerke, recording 14th overall.
?Considering everything that went down this season, starting with a broken nose and ending with a broken foot, I?m happy to still salvage a single digit plate ranking. I had some misfortune along the way but the entire team was there to support me all the way and helped keep me stay focused. Thanks to everybody, including my family, for being there for me,? Kiniry said.
In MX2 action, Shawn Maffenbeier did what he had to do to secure his fourth place ranking in the points. He started inside the top 10 and worked his way into second by lap five. A few laps later a bobble relegated him to a fifth place finish. The second moto again saw Maffenbeier with a start just inside the top 10. He put his head down and took his YZ250 into the top five by lap three, running in fourth till the last lap, when he made a pass for third, finishing fourth overall on the day, and fourth in the title hunt.
?It?s never fun when you drop a ranking instead of moving up one, but coming into the season with very little time on the bike, is already something that?s not in your favour. You know you?re not going to be competitive from the get-go. It took a while to find my groove but finishing top five was my hope, although my goal was top three. At this point I want to thank everybody on the team, our sponsors, and especially Andre [Laurin] for their support and believing in me,? Maffenbeier said.
Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha would like to congratulate Matt Goerke for winning the 2015 MX1 Championship. A tip of the hat goes to Bobby Kiniry for maintaining a top-10 MX1 ranking, as well as to Shawn Maffenbeier for maintaining a top-five ranking in MX2. Thanks to all our invaluable sponsors for making this the best season ever!
Overall Results ? Round 10
1. Colton Facciotti (Honda) 1-3
2. Cole Thompson (KTM) 3-2
3. Brett Metcalfe (Kaw) 5-1
4. Matt Goerke (Yam) 2-5
5. Tyler Medaglia (Husq) 4-4
6. Kyle Swanson (Yam) 6-8
7. Franklin Nogueras (Suz) 7-9
8. Seth Rarick (Yam) 8-10
9. Cade Clason (KTM) 12-7
10. Jason Burke (Yam) 11-11
14. Bobby Kiniry (Yam) 24-6
1. Kaven Benoit (KTM) 2-2
2. Joey Crown (Kaw) 8-1
3. Jimmy Decotis (Yam) 1-9
4. Shawn Maffenbeier (Yam) 5-3
5. Darian Sanayei (Kaw) 4-4
6. Dylan Wright (Yam) 3-5
7. Cole Martinez (Kaw) 6-6
8. Blake Savage (Yam) 10-7
9. Jesse Pettis (Yam) 9-8
10. Liam O?Farrell (KTM) 12-11
(See next page for final points standings.)
MX1 points after 10 of 10 rounds
1. Matt Goerke 527 pts
2. Colton Facciotti 521
3. Brett Metcalfe 482
4. Cole Thompson 462
5. Tyler Medaglia 438
6. Cade Clason 342
7. Bobby Kiniry 342
8. Kyle Keast 310
9. Dylan Schmoke 256
10. Teddy Maier 209
MX2 points after 10 of 10 rounds
1. Kaven Benoit 568 pts
2. Jimmy Decotis 470
3. Jeremy Medaglia 451
4. Shawn Maffenbeier 399
5. Blake Savage 383
6. Dylan Wright 365
7. Brad Nauditt 326
8. Morgan Burger 320
9. Jesse Pettis 301
10. Cole Martinez 259