Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Matt Goerke and the rest of the top-five 450 Pro Championship contenders raised the competition bar a notch or two at the opening round of the eastern leg of the Triple Crown Series MX Tour on Saturday, July 7th. Goerke and the other usual suspects took no prisoners as they battled for position and precious championship points on the rough and tough Sand Del Lee Motocross Park track near Ottawa. When all was said and done, Goerke, who qualified second, hammered down 3-3 motos to garner third overall on the day. His teammate Dylan Epstein, who qualified third, finished a noteworthy sixth on the strength of 6-5 motos.
Fortunately, the inhuman heatwave that had been parked over south/eastern Ontario for the past week, driving temperatures up to 34°C – feeling more like 44°C thanks to the humidity – had dissipated. Still, the thermometer reached a high of 30°C, the hottest weather yet to greet the MX Tour, which is now just past its midway point. A steady 25 km/h wind provided some relief from the scorching sun.
In the first moto, Goerke nailed a top five start while Epstein squeezed in just inside the top 10. With the likes of Kaven Benoit, who pegged the holeshot, Tyler Medaglia, Colton Facciotti and Cole Thompson just ahead of fifth place running Goerke, the racing was intense.
The frontrunners quickly put some serious real estate between themselves and the rest of the field as they hounded each other, looking to make passes and challenge Benoit for the lead. The Quebecer, however, would prevail in that position until the checkered flag. At the halfway mark a heated battle, which would continue until the chequered flag, saw YZ450F mounted Goerke flash by Thompson. Goerke next set his sights on Facciotti, who displaced Medaglia for second place, with some five laps remaining. Despite giving it all he had, Medaglia would succumb to Goerke’s relentless attacking and lose postion in the closing laps of the moto.
The second moto start again had Goerke slicing into turn one in fifth place, which he quickly converted into third. Ahead of him was holeshooter Tyler Medaglia and second place running Facciotti. It was a battle of the champions, with Facciotti taking over first place from Medaglia around the halfway point. Although he had Goerke all over his rear wheel, Medaglia, racing his home track, managed to hang on to second as they drag raced across the finish line.
For his part, Epstein stayed the course to turn a ninth place first moto start into a sixth place finish. Although he was third off the start in moto two, he stalled his bike a few corners later. By the time Epstein was back in action, he was around 20th place. From there he methodically powered his YZ450F into fifth place by the halfway point and finished in that position
“Sand Del Lee was a successful weekend for us. Matt stayed steady and consistent, keeping himself in the points chase. Dillan had his best weekend to date. So overall, we are moving in the right direction and are looking forward to
Gopher Dunes, where Matt has placed first a few times in the past,” said team manager Steve Simms.
The Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series continues this weekend on Saturday, July 14th, with Round 6 of the MX Tour at Gopher Dunes in Courtland, ON.
Round 5 Results 450 Pro
1. Colton Facciotti (Hon) 2-1
2. Tyler Medaglia (Kaw) 4-2
3. Matt Goerke (Yam) 3-3
4. Kaven Benoit (KTM) 1-8
5. Cole Thompson (KTM) 5-4
6. Dillan Epstein (Yam) 6-5