Round 1 of the CMRC Motocross Nationals in Nanaimo, BC this past Sunday proved to be a bittersweet event for Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha Motovan.com.
For newcomer to the team, Shawn Maffenbeier, the opening round of the MX2 points chase ended before it really began. Maffenbeier, mounted on the YZ250 two-stroke, crashed hard during morning practice, breaking his collarbone in the process. The Saskatchewan native, who recorded fourth fastest qualifying time, is expected to be out of action for at least three weeks.
“Nobody wants to see his season start off with an injury but you just have to suck it up. From what I’ve heard I’m not the only one nursing his pride and injuries today. I’ll be going for some intense bone therapy and hope to be back in the saddle for the eastern rounds,” Maffenbeier said.
Although Bobby Kiniry produced his usual never-say-die ride in both MX1 motos, when all was said and done he had to settle for fourth overall, based on 3-6 moto results. An overall podium finish escaped the New Yorker due to clashes with the Medaglia brothers, Tyler and Jeremy, in the second moto as they rocked and socked for position.
In fact, fast and aggressive racing proved to be the order of the day at The Wastelands track, which saw a number of injuries and DNFs in both classes. Lappers also played a big role in the proceedings, making life even more difficult for the contenders.
For the team’s developmental MX2 rider, Richard Grey Nanaimo turned out to be a much better start to the season than last year, when he made his debut with the team and recorded 16th overall.
This time out, Grey, who is campaigning the YZ250F, took home a well-deserved sixth overall on the strength of 7-6 motos. He was also the only Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha Motovan.com rider to stay on two wheels.
The first MX1 moto saw Kiniry pilot his YZ450F into turn one with the frontrunners Eric Jeffery, taking the holeshot, Colton Facciotti, Dylan Kaelin, Brett Metcalfe and Teddy Maier. Less than 15 seconds into the lap Facciotti and Kiniry shot by Jeffery, who would end up playing no role in the top-10.
Around the halfway mark Metcalfe came knocking on Kiniry’s back door, but the Australian was not a welcomed guest. Kiniry managed to keep an unrelenting Metcalfe at bay for some 10 minutes in a game of cat and mouse. But the former top-five AMA MX2 and Supercross rider finally installed himself in second place towards the end of the moto, leaving Kiniry to take the checkered in third.
The second moto holeshot went to Gavin Gracyk, who was followed into turn one by Facciotti, Metcalfe, Tyler Medaglia, Kiniry and Maier. Like his teammate Jeffery before him, Gracyk succumbed to Facciotti in no time at all, then Metcalfe, T Medaglia and Kiniry.
The fiercest battles of the moto would take place behind Facciotti and Metcalfe for third place. Halfway into the moto, Kiniry, who had been racing neck-in-neck with T Medaglia, banged handlebars with the former MX2 champ as they swapped positions back and forth. Although both managed to stay upright, J Medaglia and Maier sneaked by them while they were recovering.
Undaunted, Kiniry reclaimed fourth to then set his sights on J Medaglia for third. Like his brother, J Medaglia rode very defensively with the inevitable contact as a result. While Kiniry took a soil sample and J Medaglia did everything but crash, T Medaglia was there to reclaim third.
Although J Medaglia remounted only one position down, turning that back into third on the last lap, after passing his brother again, Kiniry rejoined the fray in sixth place. With time running out on the clock, he had to settle for that position at the finish line.
“I guess you could say that I wasn’t really pleased with the second moto. But racing is racing and in the heat of the moment we all push a bit harder than is advisable sometimes. I was pleased, however, with the performance of my bike and the hard work put in by the team to get everything ready for this weekend,” Kiniry said.
In the MX2 title hunt, Grey got off to a mid-pack start in the first moto. The Ontario native got into the groove in no time, however, and soldiered his way into a seventh place finish. The second moto start saw him hit turn one just outside the top 10. Again he put his head down and poured on the gas, taking the checkered flag in sixth place to record sixth overall on the day.
“I felt good out there today and my YZ250F ran awesome. I’m happy with my results, although it would have been nice to cement the top-five overall. Top-five finishes are my goal for this year and I know those are in the cards for me,” Grey said.