The 2016 Canadian National MX series is now underway and there’s plenty to be excited about. Here’s a look at some of the key riders.
A lot of familiar faces are returning along with a cast of new characters, which will make 2016 the most competitive season in the history of the Canadian National Motocross series. And it’s anybody’s guess who will ultimately be crowned champions of MX1 and MX2 when the 10-round
series winds up at RJ Motosport Park in Barrie, Ontario, in late August.
Returning for 2016 to defend his MX1 title is Pro Motocross and Supercross rider, American Matt Goerke aboard his Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha. Goerke is looking to win his third MX1 title in Canada; he finished first in 2012, and comes into the 2016 season better prepared than last year when he broke his collarbone six weeks before the series started.
Honda Canada Racing Fox GDR’s Canadian hero Colton Facciotti is coming into this year’s series healthy unlike last year when a lower body injury slowed him down early in the season. After getting off to a slower start than he would have liked in 2015, “Colt 45” came on strong toward the end of the summer winning the overall in the last three rounds. Colton is vying for his fifth MX1 title; missing out on it by a mere six points last year.
Brett Metcalfe will be competing for the title again but this year with a new team. The Australian will be Goerke’s teammate at Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha. Metcalfe won the MX1 title here in 2013 and finished third last year before returning to Australia to continue racing over the winter. Metcalfe has a long and stellar resume with a US National win and a lot of trips to the podium in the US and Australia.
KTM Canada Thor Racing Team’s announcement that multi-time US Supercross winner Davi Millsaps will be racing MX1 in Canada this summer came as no surprise to those who follow the sport. Rumours had been swirling in the industry and the confirmation that Millsaps would be heading north was greeted with a lot of excitement from race fans. Davi twice finished runner up in the 450 Supercross class and was running in the top five this winter before going down with an injury.
After winning back-to-back titles in the MX2 class, Canadian Kaven Benoit will be moving to the MX1 class this year and remains with the KTM Canada Thor Racing Team. As a rookie in the MX1 class, Benoit won’t be feeling the pressure like some of the guys he lines up with, which should help him in his transition to the elite class.
Monster Energy Alpine Stars Kawasaki is fielding an all-new team; in the MX1 class they will have Mike Alessi and Vince Friese on the starting line. Alessi is a multi-time AMA National and CMRC Canadian National Motocross winner, and a runner up finisher in both the 250 and 450 AMA National Motocross Championship.
Vince Friese is a podium finisher in AMA 250 supercross and finished third overall in the 2014 AMA Supercross 250 East Championship. Vince finished second overall in the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals’ MX2 Championship, and in his only appearance in the MX1 class last season in Calgary, he took the overall win.
Canadian born, two-time MX2 Champion Tyler Medaglia will return in 2016 aboard his Parts Canada Husqvarna and will again be competing for the podium each weekend. Tyler finished third in the 2013 and 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals and fifth in 2015, but will have his hands full this year with all the talent in the class.
South Carolina’s Cade Clason is excited to be coming back to Canada this summer aboard a Redemption Racing Big Steel Box KTM after a great rookie season last year. The 21-year-old finished inside the top five more than once and by year’s end was sixth in the standings.
California native Dylan Schmoke finished in the top 10 five times last year and will be sporting a single digit on his number plate this season.
One of the best surprises in the MX2 class is KTM Canada Thor Racing Team’s Cole Thompson moving down to the smaller bikes. Thompson has tasted victory multiple times in MX1 and his move to MX2 comes with big expectations from both his team and his fans. Outside of the big three (Goerke, Facciotti, and Metcalfe), no one stood on top of the MX1 podium last year except Cole. “Tommy Gun” spent the winter racing the west coast 250 supercross.
Jeremy Medaglia is back and again as part of the Honda Canada-GDR-Fox Racing team. Medaglia has won a race in each of his last three seasons and finished third in the MX2 class last year.
North Carolina’s Jacob Hayes will be a member of the newly named Monster Energy Alpinestars Kawasaki team competing in the MX2 class. Jacob is one of the top arenacross riders in the world and is no stranger to Canada having won the Canadian National Arenacross tour last fall. Hayes also finished second overall in the 2015 AMA Arenacross tour and third in 2016 winning 10 events in the process.
Shawn Maffenbeier has had a lot of podium finishes over the last two years but has not been on the top step since 2013. After switching teams for the 2016 season, look for the rejuvenated Canadian to be in the mix each weekend aboard his Redemption Racing Big Steel Box KTM.
The all Canadian MX101 FXR Yamaha team is coming back and has added Rockstar Energy Drink to their list of sponsors. The team will be anchored by 18-year-old young gun Dylan Wright who finished sixth in the championship last year.
Also under the MX101 FXR Yamaha tent will be Jess Pettis who came on strong at the end of last season and finished in the top 10 by season’s end.
Last season’s MX1 champion wasn’t decided until the last moto of the year, and with the number of talented riders this year competing for the National titles, look for the racing action to be the best ever seen in this country.
(With CMRC files.)