Gopher Dunes 2012 is now history along with the series having its second ever Saturday National. Both, I believe, were a success from every angle possible. Maybe the only lame part or negative was the short entry list of MX1 racers but all in all it was a great weekend put on by the Shuster Family, CMRC and the Monster Energy crew. It was hot, the track was rough and the racing was pretty good for the most part. Thanks Gopher Dunes, you once again gave us all a good show.
So Ryan Lockhart raced this weekend. If you didn’t know that then you’re obviously not a fan of the sport. When he did mention he wanted to race, I came up with the idea of raising money for the Injured Riders Fund. Basically it’s the same thing Brett Lee did for me when I rode the Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki back in 2010. We raised $250 bucks that day. Well, this particular fundraiser killed that day and raised $1065.Ryan’s moto finishes were 18-14, and nobody guess that, so it all goes to charity. Truly amazing to see and thanks to each and every person that placed a bet. For those who didn’t, and you know who you are cause I talked to you all about it, you should be pretty embarrassed that you didn’t support this. Some of you walk through the pits mooching and scavenging off of the teams, the Monster crew, and whatever else you can get your hands on, but at the moment you get a chance to give back, you’re nowhere to be found. I can’t say that I’m surprised but more disappointed is all. This was all for a good cause. Now to finish this off, MXP will donate the remainder of the money to make a full $1500 to go to the Snider family who looks after the Injured riders fund account. Thanks to them for doing it and thanks again to all of you that supported the cause.
The race action was pretty good for the most part. I was a little surprised at how short the track was this year at Gopher Dunes. Matt Goerke’s qualifying tie was a very low 1:38. That is at least 20 seconds off a standard national time. His moto times were more in the high 140s. The track was still tough, the racing was still good but for the racers themselves having to do 20 laps is a little crazy. Hopefully next year the Shuster crew will add some length to it so the boys don’t get so dizzy. LOL
When is the last time you can say you saw a rider win a moto by over a minute? Or saw a rider lap to 6th in moto 1 and 5th in moto 2? Let me introduce you to Monster Energy Leading Edge Kawasaki’s Matt Goerke. What this guy did Saturday was unreal. It was Ricky Carmichael type racing from Matt that led to a 1-1 day, extended his points lead and basically showing the field that there is no way he will be denied of winning this title in Canada. I would have never thought at the start of the year I would be announcing “Matt Goerke is now lapping Colton Facciotti”. He did just that in Moto 2. I got to sit and chat with Matt after the day was over and he was pretty humble about the performance he just laid down. I’m betting the little man inside of Matt was partying and strolling through the pits saying “I lapped you, and you and you and you……” just rubbing it in the faces of the competition. On the outside Matt is all business and super respectful to the rest of the racers. But on days like that when you made 35 riders your biatch then I think it’s okay to be a little cocky. LOL I sure would of but I guess I’m a little different!!
How do you think the KTM brass is feeling right now? The winter saw the Austrian based manufacturer go out and claim the best riders in the country, Colton Facciotti and Dusty Klatt. They did this in hopes of claiming their first ever MX1 title in Canada for KTM. Unfortunately, the story has not gone the way they had hoped. Facciotti got hurt in the third moto of the year and hasn’t been able to fully recover, though he is still giving it everything he has because that’s what champions do. Klatt has yet to hit the box in any moto and seems to be struggling not matter what the situation. He did show some signs of light in Calgary and then this weekend at the Dunes. He had a third locked up but just gave it away to Bobby Kiniry on the last lap. I’m not sure if he fell or didn’t know that Kiniry was that close, but I could only imagine what Team Manager Andy White and the National Marketing Manager in North America, Florian Burguet, were saying in their little meeting just outside the Monster tent at the end of the day. I don’t think it could have been a positive message. Both these riders have 8 motos left to show that KTM did the right thing by spending the money and getting the top guys. They can’t win this title but they can sure save some face for all involved. Maybe being close to the race shop and having extra support this weekend in Ste-Julie will give the boys a little additional boost to get on the box.
The Women’s Eastern Canadian Nationals got underway this past weekend and it was once again a huge step forward for women’s racing in Canada. Freedom Cycles and five-time Women’s Champion Heidi Cooke came out of retirement to claim both moto wins. I would say life is pretty good for Heidi right now: beautiful family, winning races, and so many fans just loving having her back. She took like ten different pics after the podium with fans plus some of her fellow racers. She is truly an icon in this sport and we are all lucky to have her back at the track. The big surprise of the day was Renee Riendeau. She normally rides a Honda but had to borrow a Kawasaki because her parts didn’t come in. She rode to second on the day and nearly made the pass on Heidi in moto 1. Then in moto 2, it was Jocelyn Facciotti that nearly passed Renee. The girls actually hit each other a few times. It was such a sick moto and they were as aggressive as most the guys on the track. Cooke won, Riendeau held on for second and another lady that came out of retirement, Jocelyn Facciotti, soldiered on for third. Then on the podium it only got better for the girls. Clody Lapointe, a racer herself, along with Duroy KTM and a host of other great sponsors donated Snowboards to the top three overall women. It was the best trophy this sport has ever seen for men or women. The support the women have now that they are the main attraction on amateur day is unreal and well deserved.
So we are on to Ste-Julie this weekend; eight motos to go in the 2012 Monster Energy Motocross Nationals. Time is flying by!!
Millville highlight video