Chris Blose claims Canadian National AX Tour No.1 plate in Calgary

Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Chris Blose convincingly clinched the Canadian National AX Tour Championship in all three classes this past weekend in Calgary, AB, which hosted the final two rounds of the series.

Blose, who substituted on the team for an injured Matt Goerke, wrapped things up with a win in AX Pro and a second place in AX Lites on both nights of the double-header event at the Agrium Western Event Centre. In the Clash for Cash, which features the top six finishers from both classes, the Phoenix, Arizona native had accumulated enough points to claim the crown, despite DNFing in Friday night’s action and finishing second on Saturday night.

Blose started off the weekend by claiming the fastest qualifying time in AX Pro and second in AX Lites on Friday. In his heat races, he started fifth in AX Pro and made his way into third, where he would finish. In AX Lites, a third-place start was quickly parlayed into second. This position was exchanged for the lead, after Blose caught up with Keylan Meston, and then going on to finish first with a comfortable margin.

Despite a mid-pack start in the 10-lap AX Pro main, Blose pulled out all the stops on his YZ250F. He started picking off rider after rider to end up greeting the checkered flag with the win, ahead of fellow American Noah McConahy.

Blose again had his work cut out for himself, after the gate dropped for the 10-lap AX Lites main. It took some time for Blose, who logged another mid-pack start, to slice and dice his way into second. With only a few laps to go, he was unable to stick a pass on Meston, but still managed to finish a close runner-up behind the Calgary native.

In the 20-lap Clash for Cash showdown, Blose started in third place behind McConahy. With Blose laying on the pressure, McConahy soon found himself vacating second place. Brock Leitner was next to succumb to Blose, who took over the lead on lap 5. Although he looked solid for the win, just past the midway point of the race Blose crashed in the whoops, handing the lead to Jess Pettis. He remounted in second place but crashed again in the whoops while reeling in Pettis for a pass. Unfortunately for Blose, his second crash left him unable to get back into the fray, with a DNF as a result.

Cuts and bruises from his Friday night Clash for Cash get-off didn’t stop Blose from qualifying with the second fastest time in AX Pro and third in AX Lites, however. In his AX Pro heat race, he started in second place, exchanged the lead with Pettis a few times before an error saw Blose finish third. In the AX Lites qualifier, Blose banged handlebars with Meston and Pettis for the lead, eventually settling for third at the finish line.

In the AX Pro main, Blose started around sixth in what would be the final race for the championship. It would take him until the closing laps to connect with the frontrunners, grabbing a second-place finish when all was said and done.

Blose produced another tentative start in the AX Lites division’s main, again finding himself mid-pack on the first lap. But with the AX Pro title already written under his name, and the AX Lites all but in the bag, he would take satisfaction with a fourth place at the checkered flag.

The Clash for Cash developed into an intense battle between Blose, who started fourth, and Prince George, BC’s Jess Pettis. Blose,

who had taken over the lead around the midway mark, after a crash by frontrunners McConahy and Chris Howell, eventually had to bow to a hard charging Pettis, following him across the finish line in second place.

“Saturday I was a bit sore from Friday night’s crash, so I focused on staying safe but riding solid laps. When the track started getting nasty, I backed it down and just looked at the bigger picture. I felt good and confident, however, on the immaculately prepped YZ250F,” Blose said. “Considering I wasn’t even scheduled to race in Canada this fall, you could say my season ended on a high note. I’d like to thank Andre and everybody at Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha for thinking of me, when they needed to get a last-minute replacement rider for their team.”

Steve Simms, who is usually found behind the scenes as a dirt bike tech wizard, took his first stab at managing a race team for OTSFF Sports Management Group and the results at the end of the season are testament as to his abilities in this high stress position. Along with the rest of the team, he was elated when Chris Blose was crowned overall champion. But like any team manager worth his salt he was quick to put the victory behind him, to already start looking ahead at the next challenge on his busy schedule.

“The Canadian National AX Tour has been a great learning experience for everyone on the team. Because Chris was a last-minute rider for us, we had a lot of regrouping to do, especially with bike setup. It was a challenge we obviously dealt with in the right way,” Simms said. “With the upcoming Amsoil US Arenacross Series kicking off the beginning of January in Cincinnati, we have had the opportunity to gage our strengths and weaknesses and go in prepared. We’re all looking forward to a bit of downtime with the upcoming festive season, but we can’t wait to get back into action.”

Everybody at Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha would like to congratulate Chris Blose and the entire team for their collaboration and perseverance in making the Canadian National AX Tour a championship winning venture. We would like to thank all of the people involved in the tour for putting on such a great series in Canada. And a big shout to everyone who made our winning the No.1 plate possible, from our hard-working staff Steve Simms, Scott Donkersgoed, Kerry King, Brad Ewen and Keith Hamilton, to team owner Andre Laurin. A special thank you to airline tickets co-ordinator, Steve Anderson, for making our travelling lives easier. Also a tip of the hat to MX-101 Yamaha rider Jess Pettis for his fourth place finish in the points chase.

Results Friday Night, November 4, 2016

AX Pro

1. Chris Blose (Yam)
2. Noah McConahy (Husq)
3. Logan Karnow (Hon)
4. Keylan Meston (Yam)
5. Jess Pettis (Yam)
6. Karl Normand (KTM)
7. Davey Fraser (Hon)
8. Brock Leitner (Kaw)
9. Chris Howell (Husq)
10. Skyler Archer (Kaw)

AX Lites

1. Noah McConahy (Husq)
2. Chris Blose (Yam)
3. Jess Pettis (Yam)
4. Chris Howell (Husq)
5. Brock Leitner (Kaw)
6. Davey Fraser (Hon)
7. Keylan Meston (Yam)
8. Logan Karnow (Hon)
9. Carson McQueen (Kaw)
10. Codie Rouse (KTM)

Clash for Cash

1. Jess Pettis (Yam)
2. Noah McConahy (Husq)
3. Logan Karnow (Hon)
4. Keylan Meston (Yam)
5. Chris Howell (Husq)
6. Karl Normand (KTM)
7. Davey Fraser (Hon)
8. Brock Leitner (Kaw)
9. Codie Rouse (KTM)
10. Chris Blose (YAM) DNF

Results Saturday Night, November 5, 2016 

AX Pro

1. Keylan Meston (Yam)
2. Chris Blose (Yam) 
3. Karl Normand (KTM)
4. Davey Fraser (Hon)
5. Brock Leitner (Kaw)
6. Jess Pettis (Yam)
7. Noah McConahy (Husq)
8. Chris Howell (Husq)
9. Logan Karnow (Hon)
10. Skyler Archer (Kaw)

AX Lites

1. Jess Pettis (Yam)
2. Noah McConahy (Husq)
3. Keylan Meston (Yam)
4. Chris Blose (Yam)
5. Brock Leitner (Kaw)
6. Chris Howell (Husq)
7. Davey Fraser (Hon)
8. Logan Karnow (Hon)
9. Terea Gerber (KTM)
10. Boston Calder (Hon)

Clash for Cash

1. Jess Pettis (Yam)
2. Chris Blose (Yam)
3. Keylan Meston (Yam)
4. Karl Normand (KTM)
5. Brock Leitner (Kaw)
6. Davey Fraser (Hon)
7. Logan Karnow (Hon)
8. Terea Gerber (KTM)
9. Chris Howell (Husq)
10. Noah McConahy (Husq)

Series Final Points (Clash for Cash determines 2017 competition numbers.)

1. Chris Blose (Yam) 100 pts
2. Brock Leitner (Kaw) 75
3. Logan Karnow (Hon) 70
4. Jess Pettis (Yam) 68
5. Karl Normand (KTM) 65