Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha got off to an auspicious start at Round 1 of the MX1 Nationals with Matt Goerke and Brett Metcalfe this past Sunday at Whispering Pines Raceway in Kamloops, BC.
Goerke nailed down second overall on the strength of 1-3 motos while Metcalfe, making his debut with the team, grabbed fifth place finishes in both motos, providing him with a respectable sixth overall on the day.
The season opener of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals was staged under blue skies on a rough, choppy track, which was compounded by temperatures that climbed to a scorching 34°C. This ensured that an already physically demanding sport was ratcheted up a few more notches, separating the men from the boys as the afternoon wore on.
For Goerke, Kamloops proved to be more or less a déjà vu day, as he recorded second overall there one year ago but with 2-3 moto results. This time out, however, the defending MX1 Champion stepped up to the plate with an impressive first moto victory, leading the freight train wire to wire.
After pegging the holeshot, Goerke laid down a blistering pace aboard his potent Yamaha YZ450F. He kept a hard charging Davi Millsaps, who displaced Colton Facciotti from second place on lap 4, at bay for the entire moto.
Metcalfe, for his part, got off to a less promising start than his teammate, blasting through turn one in eighth place. Although he was able to gain three positions by the end of the first lap, he would find himself hounding Mike Alessi for the rest of the moto. Despite mounting a number of challenges for fourth place, Metcalfe had to settle for fifth when the checkered flag signalled the end of the moto.
The start of the second moto saw Goerke follow Metcalfe into turn one in fourth place. With Goerke dropping to sixth and Metcalfe to fourth by the end of the first lap, it was a case of motocross tag from lap 2 onward for the teammates. On lap 3 Goerke reclaimed fourth while a bobble put Metcalfe into seventh place.
It was Goerke’s turn to taste the Whispering Pines soil on lap 4, which cost him one position. Two laps later Goerke was back in fourth place and by lap 7 he had control of third. It took the Florida native a few more laps to set his sights on second-place-running Facciotti, who was trailing leader of the pack Millsap by some four bike lengths.
Goerke, despite suffering severe blistering of his left hand, kept pouring on the gas to connect with Facciotti. Difficulty hanging onto his handlebar, however, caused Goerke to make a number of errors, negating any chance of sticking a pass on Facciotti. Towards the end of the moto Goerke focused on keeping a pesky Kaven Benoit behind him, settling for third at the finish line.
“My first moto went pretty good, although I felt a little rusty and tight until I got into the groove. My Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha just ripped the start and it was an awesome feeling to ride it all the way to the finish line up front. The second moto proved to be a bit more challenging in spite of a decent enough start,” Goerke said. “I made a couple of mistakes at the beginning, slid out and fell, and had my work cut out for me. I started charging forward, trying everything, but not having raced for some time I destroyed my hand. Taking all that in consideration, I think I was lucky to keep my bike under control and still finish third.”
Metcalfe, meanwhile, after crashing on the second lap while running in fourth and remounting in seventh place, took six laps to recover and make his way into fifth. The Australian spent the rest of the moto there, keeping an on fire Mike Alessi behind him in the closing laps to cement the top five.
“Going into the weekend I was shooting for two top fives and I was able to achieve that. I felt that for the first round with the Rockstar OTSFF Yamaha team it was a good outing for me and I learned a lot,” Metcalfe said. “It was a brand new bike for me, my first race on the Yamaha, and each time out on the track I got more comfortable. I think that the team did a great job all day. We got some more testing to do, and we’ll get busy and try to get up front at Round 2.”
MX1 Overall Results: Round 1 – Kamloops, BC
1. Davi Millsaps (KTM) 2-1
2. Matt Goerke (Yamaha) 1-3
3. Colton Facciotti (Honda) 3-2
4. Kaven Benoit (KTM) 6-4
5. Mike Alessi (Kawasaki) 4-6
6. Brett Metcalfe (Yamaha) 5-5
7. Tyler Medaglia (Husqvarna) 8-7
8. Cade Clason (KTM) 9-8
9. Keylon Meston (Yamaha) 12-10
10. Morgan Burgar (Yamaha) 15-9