The Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals remained in British Columbia for Round 2 of the title chase, travelling 526 km (327 mi) farther north from Kamloops – the venue of the tour’s first round of the season – to Prince George’s Blackwater MX Track, which hosted its first CMRC national ever.
Under partially cloudy skies and a high that reached 21°C (70°F) Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Matt Goerke battled tooth-and-nail with the Frenchman, Christophe Pourcel, for the MX1 overall win on Sunday.
The rivals proved to be a cut above the rest of the contenders as they basically put on a two-pony show, cranking out a blistering pace that saw them put plenty of real estate between themselves and the rest of the field in both motos. Goerke deftly claimed moto 1 in the closing stages, while Pourcel turned the tables to claim moto two, also in the closing stages.
The start of the first moto saw Pourcel grab the holeshot and lead the freight train around the spectacular Blackwater MX Track – which lies on the side of a large hill – presenting plenty of viewing lines for the huge crowd in attendance. Although trailing Pourcel in second place by up to five seconds for more than half the moto, Goerke proved to be the only rider to more or less stick with the former 250 World Motocross Champion and two-time AMA 250 Supercross East Champion.
By lap 14 of 19, Goerke had reduced the gap between himself and Pourcel to less than a second; he stuck a definitive pass on him the next lap and crossed the finish line with Pourcel in his rear wheel. Dillan Epstein, the third rider to greet the checkered flag, ended the moto 30 seconds behind Pourcel.
The start of the second moto had Goerke trailing Mike Alessi into turn one, with Pourcel in third, Tim Tremblay in fourth and Colton Facciotti in fifth. Three laps later Goerke had control of the lead, soon to be hunted down by Pourcel, who took over second place from Alessi on lap five.
As they had done in moto one, Goerke and Pourcel poured on the gas, with Goerke managing to enforce a lead over Pourcel that ranged between one and two seconds for the next 13 laps. The chase group, meanwhile, found themselves receding more than 10 seconds by the halfway mark – and counting – behind the lead duo.
In a repeat of the first moto, however, the winner wouldn’t be decided until the end and a relentless Pourcel, who hounded Goerke as if there would be no tomorrow the entire moto, stuck a pass on the Florida native in the last corner, getting a really good run around the outside and managing to edge out Goerke by less than a bike length at the finish line.
Although the overall win eluded Goerke in Prince George, the two-time MX1 champ served notice to Pourcel and the rest of the contenders that he has no intentions on resting of his laurels. Look for Goerke to race the wheels off his explosive YZ450F at each and every round in an attempt to garner his third title this season. If nothing else, expect a battle of the titans between now and Round 10 to decide who will be the 2017 MX Champion.
Goerke’s teammate Tim Tremblay, meanwhile, produced a 12th place start in the first moto. The Quebecer briefly dropped back to 13th place, then recovered to 12th to move into 11th place, where he resided for the rest of the moto. Tremblay’s fourth place start in moto two evaporated to 11th, after washing out his front end trying to pass Pourcell on the first lap. He regrouped to then claw his way into eighth place, which he held fast to the checkered flag and salvage a respectable eighth overall on the day.
“It was a fresh breath when we finally got to Prince George to see the new track, as we had heard so many mixed reviews about the Blackwater MX Track. When we laid eyes on it all the track worries were put to rest. Everyone involved in the Prince George race should be proud of their very first national. The track provided amazing racing all day in all classes,” said team manager Steve Simms. “For the team, it was also a great weekend, going two and eight, with both riders, and moving forward from Round 1. We would like to give some extra thanks this week to Motul, Cycra, FMF and Factory connection for their continued support.”
The Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals resume Sunday, June 18th at Wild Rose MX Park in Calgary, AB.
MX1 Overall Results: Round 2
|1||Christophe Pourcel (Husq)||2-1|
|2||Matt Goerke (Yam)||1-2|
|3||Colton Facciotti (Hon)||4-3|
|4||Dillan Epstein (Kaw)||3-5|
|5||Mike Alessi (Kaw)||5-4|
|6||Tyler Medaglia (Hon)||7-6|
|7||Kyle Chisholm (Hon)||6-7|
|8||Tim Tremblay (Yam)||11-8|
|9||Scott Champion (Kaw)||10-9|
|10||Cade Clason (KTM)||8-12|
MX1 points after 2 of 10 Rounds
|1||Christophe Pourcel (FR)||112|
|2||Matt Goerke (USA)||105|
|3||Dillan Epstein (USA)||97|
|4||Colton Facciotti (CAN)||96|
|5||Tyler Medaglia (CAN)||89|
|6||Mike Alessi (USA)||80|
|7||Kyle Chisholm (USA)||75|
|8||Cade Clason (USA)||65|
|9||Keylan Meston (CAN)||60|
|10||Nathan Bles (CAN)||58|
|12||Tim Tremblay (CAN)||56|
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