Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Matt Goerke claimed his third MX1 Championship on Sunday at the final round of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals, which were held on a rough and tough RJ Motosport Park track in Barrie, ON. As it had been all season long, Round 10 of the title hunt was spared from rain and broiling temperatures in Barrie, where it was mostly sunny with a high of 25°C (77°F).
Despite a crash and a bike-stall in the first moto that saw him finish sixth, Goerke did what he had to do in the second moto to snare the championship. He executed a smart race, minimalizing risks, and finished third at the checkered flag, claiming third overall on the day. When all was said and done the Panama City, Florida native pulled off the championship with a slim margin of just three points over runner-up Christophe Pourcel.
“I guess you could say I made it difficult for myself today. The second moto proved to be the opposite of the first moto, with a great start putting me where I needed to be. It seemed like the longest moto of my life, though,” Goerke said. “But it’s been an awesome year. I’m really pumped. My team worked so hard to get us to the championship. I want to thank them all for their support. My Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha was ripping out there every moto. My bike was perfect, putting me on the podium almost every race.”
Goerke’s teammate, Tim Tremblay, finished the season with an eighth overall, which he garnered on the strength of 12-8 motos. The Drummondville, QC native, who came into the season with a No.38 ranking, will grace the tracks in 2018 with the No.8 plate on his bike.
Goerke, who came to the final round of the series with a 15-points lead over the Frenchman, Christophe Pourcel, got off to a top five start in the first MX1 moto, a group that included Mike Alessi, Colton Facciotti and Pourcel, only to crash and drop back to ninth. Although Goerke quickly shot into sixth place, after remounting, he stalled his bike four laps into the race on the very fast and challenging RJ Motosport Park track. By the time he got going again, Goerke found himself rejoining the fray in 25th place. He had his work cut out for himself.
Up front meanwhile, a fierce battle was going on between fellow championship contenders Pourcel and Colton Facciotti and Mike Alessi, who was sitting fourth in the points. The trio traded first place between themselves a few times until Facciotti took control of the moto from Pourcel on lap 12 of the 18-lap race. From that point on the podium positions had been spoken for, with Facciotti crossing the finish line first, followed by Pourcel and Alessi.
For Goerke, it had become a do or die situation if he didn’t want to see the championship slip from his grasp. It took him ten stressful laps to pilot his potent YZ450F past the riders in front of him to make his way into sixth place, where he would cross the finish line behind fifth place Dillan Epstein and fourth place Jeremy Medaglia. It was not an ideal finish for Goerke, but he was still in the driver’s seat with a handful of points to his advantage over Pourcel.
The final moto of the season was a nail-biter for Goerke, Pourcel and Facciotti, and a feast for the record crowd of motocross fans who had come to witness the wrap-up of one of the tightest points clashes for the championship in many years. Goerke nailed down an excellent start this time, taking the freight train in tow for the first three laps, which included Alessi, Tyler Medaglia, Cade Clason and Pourcel in the top five, with Facciotti back in sixth.
By the end of lap three Pourcel was in Goerke’s rear wheel, displacing him from first to take it all the way to the checkered flag. Medaglia, who had DNFd the first moto, rode like a man possessed to contain the damage and keep his points intact to finish the season with a No.5 ranking. He hounded Goerke for a number of laps before sticking a pass on him on lap 10.
With eight laps left, Goerke stayed as cool, calm and collected as possible, defending his critical third place from a hard charging Facciotti, who had come from sixth place to stalk Goerke as the moto started winding down. Goerke stayed on the gas, keeping Facciotti at least two seconds behind him. When the checkered flag signaled the end of the moto Goerke crossed the finish line in third place, for third overall, and his third MX1 Championship crown.
For Tim Tremblay, who rode his first full season of the MX1 Nationals this year, the 2017 title hunt proved to be one of consistency that saw him regularly nail down overalls between tenth and sixth place. In Barrie, he started the first moto at the back of the pack, slicing and dicing his way into a 12th place finish. The second moto saw him nail down a ninth place start, which he converted into eighth place to then drop back to tenth for most of the moto. In the closing laps he charged into ninth, taking one more position on the final lap to finish in eighth place.
Young Marco Cannella, who receives support from Rockstar, OTSFF and Yamaha Canada, rode his first pro national event to an impressive fifth overall. The Intermediate rider from Waterdown, ON, nailed down 6-5 motos to clear the task.
Andre Laurin and everyone at Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha sends a big shout of congratulations to Matt Goerke on his MX1 Championship victory. A tip of the hat goes to Tim Tremblay for anchoring the team and finishing the season in the top ten club with a single digit No.8 ranking. A special thank you goes to our hardworking team staff including Steve Simms, Scott Donkersgood, Chris Lovel, Todd Markham, Brad Ewan, Renee, Mack, Cale, Jermey, Keith Hamilton, Monique Laurin, Jimmy Burton, Manny, Tim Tremblay and Matt Goerke, our invaluable sponsors, CMRC sanctioning, event promotors and the motocross media for making 2017 a year we will all remember as a championship hard fought for and won!
MX1 Overall Results: Round 10
|1||Christophe Pourcel (Husq)||2-1|
|2||Colton Facciotti (Hon)||1-4|
|3||Matt Goerke (Yam)||6-3|
|4||Jeremy Medaglia (Hon)||4-9|
|5||Cade Clason (KTM)||7-6|
|6||Kyle Chisholm (Hon)||9-5|
|7||Mike Brown (Husq)||8-7|
|8||Tim Tremblay (Yam)||12-8|
|9||Kyle Keast (Husq)||11-10|
|10||Tyler Medaglia (Hon)||DNF-2|
MX1 points after 10 of 10 Rounds
|1||Matt Goerke (USA)||520|
|2||Christophe Pourcel (FR)||517|
|3||Colton Facciotti (CAN) ||479|
|4||Mike Alessi (USA) ||432|
|5||Tyler Medaglia (CAN)||405|
|6||Kyle Chisholm (USA)||380|
|7||Dillan Epstein (USA) ||349|
|8||Tim Tremblay (CAN)||334|
|9||Cade Clason (USA)||320|
|10||Keylan Meston (CAN)||208|