It was another stellar weekend for Matt Goerke at Round 5 of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan, which were held on Sunday at Gopher Dunes in Courtland, ON.
Goerke, MX1 points leader since Round 3 of the title hunt, clinched his first overall win of the season on the strength of an impressive clean sweep. The Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha ace, who had recorded the fastest qualifying time earlier in the day, stood head and shoulders above the competition on what is considered the toughest and most demanding track on the nationals circuit.
Gopher Dunes is a sea of sand in Southwestern Ontario that has a tendency to morph into new lines and obstacles lap after lap. Historically the area, close to Lake Erie, is subject to very hot and humid summer weather which was again the case on Sunday, making for brutal racing conditions that separated the men from the boys, especially in the second motos.
Goerke’s MX1 teammate, Bobby Kiniry, also rose to the occasion by nailing down fifth overall on the strength of 5-6 motos. Kiniry had already proved his mettle by nailing down the second fastest qualifying time.
For the team’s MX2 rider, Shawn Maffenbeier, Gopher Dunes proved to be an event to forget as quickly as possible. Despite a respectable sixth place finish in moto one, Maffenbeier’s day ended early when a technical issue put him on the sidelines in moto two while running in third place.
The start of the first MX1 moto saw Tyler Medaglia grab the holeshot followed by a front-running group consisting of Kiniry, Colton Facciotti, Cole Thompson, Brett Metcalfe and Goerke. Goerke, who won at Gopher Dunes with a clean sweep in 2012, was obviously intent on replicating this feat. Within a few laps he occupied second place behind defending champ Facciotti, who had displaced Medaglia from the lead.
On lap five Goerke piloted his potent YZ450F past Facciotti and from that point on the race was his. Staying cool, calm, and collected the Florida native added second upon second to his lead position that saw him lap up to sixth place by the end of the moto. Metcalfe, who had displaced Facciotti from second place a few laps past the midway point of the moto, found himself 10 seconds behind Goerke when the checkered flag signalled the end of the race.
Meanwhile, Kiniry held his own by hanging on to fifth place, a spot he occupied from lap three onwards and successfully defended from any attacks the competition threw at him.
The second moto start again had Medaglia hammer down the holeshot, with Metcalfe, Facciotti and Goerke in his rear wheel. As in moto one Medaglia’s lead position lasted only a brief time, with Metcalfe taking over top dog until lap five. That’s when Goerke came calling, made the pass, and never looked back on his way to a perfect score.
Metcalfe kept Goerke honest, however, by relentlessly hounding him for the next ten laps, during which time the gap between them waffled back and forth only one to two seconds. In the closing laps, Goerke dug extra deep and turned up the throttle a few notches to cross the finish line with plenty of room to spare ahead of the Australian.
“The first moto seemed a breeze compared to the second, which definitely was a tough one trying to put some distance between myself and Brett. We were both pushing very hard and not giving each other an inch. It wasn’t until the end that I managed to shake him off,” Goerke said. “My bike certainly helped accomplish the task. It was simply awesome out there. Everybody on the team worked so hard during the break to dial things in, so I knew if I rode my own race and stayed smooth it would all come together.”
Kiniry, for his part, got off to a disastrous second moto start that saw him involved in a first turn pileup and a back of the pack remount. Never one to throw in the towel, the New York native put down his head and picked off rider after rider to work his way into the top ten by the halfway point of the moto. By the time the checkered was waved he found himself in a noteworthy sixth place.
“I rode fairly conservatively in the first moto and this turned out to be a good thing for me, considering the work I had cut out for me in the second. Quite a few of the guys had put a lot of their effort in that first moto, so I knew I’d be picking them off if I stayed strong and put myself into a moderate pace,” Kiniry said. “All in all it was still a good day and the work the team has been putting into prepping my bike is paying off and we’re heading in the right direction.”
In MX2 action, Maffenbeier got off to a fifth place start in moto one aboard his YZ250F behind defending champ Kaven Benoit, Blake Savage, Jimmy Decotis and Jarek Balkovic. He quickly parlayed that into fourth, where he would remain until washing out his front end around the midway mark of the moto. Jeremy Medaglia and Dylan Wright were able to stick a pass on Maffenbeier before he got back into the fray in sixth place, where he would finish the race.
The second moto start saw Maffenbeier dive into turn one in third place behind Benoit and Decotis. The Saskatchewan native was running strong, staying with the frontrunners and biding his time to make a charge for second place, when a problem with his bike on lap five made it impractical to continue racing.
“Having to deal with a DNF is always a bummer but that’s part of racing and it can happen to anyone at any time. We ran something like twenty-four consecutive motos without a DNF so when you put it into that perspective it’s a little easier to take. With five rounds left a lot can still happen and my focus is on getting on the box at every one of those events,” Maffenbeier said.
MX1 Overall Results – Round 5
1. Matt Goerke (Yam) 1-1
2. Brett Metcalfe (Kaw) 2-2
3. Tyler Medaglia (Husq) 4-4
4. Colton Facciotti (Honda) 6-3
5. Bobby Kiniry (Yam) 5-6
6. Teddy Maier (Kaw) 7-5
7. Cade Clason (KTM) 8-7
8. Hayden Halstead (Yam) 11-8
9. Shawn Robinson (KTM) 15-9
10. Kyle Regal (Husq) 9-17
MX2 Overall Results – Round 5
1. Kaven Benoit (KTM) 1-1
2. Jimmy Decotis (Yam) 2-2
3. Dylan Wright (Yam) 5-3
4. Blake Savage (Yam) 4-4
5. Liam O’Farrell (KTM) 8-6
6. Jeremy Medaglia (Hon) 3-12
7. Brad Nauditt (Yam) 15-5
8. Westen Wrozyna (Hon) 13-8
9. Bobby Piazza (Yam) 14-11
10. Marcus Nilsen (Husq) 11-14
13. Shawn Maffenbeier (Yam) 6-DNF