Although Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Matt Goerke didn’t quite climb the highest rung of the podium at Round 4 of the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown MX Tour, which was held in Minnedosa, MB this past Saturday, he moved up the 450 Pro scoreboard from second place to first, securing a points tie with archrival Colton Facciotti. Both riders currently hold down 199 points as the series heads east, following four rounds in Canada’s western provinces. Goerke’s teammate, Dillan Epstein, also moved ahead on the points scoreboard, vacating eighth place for seventh.
Perfect weather and track conditions – with a comfortable racing temperature of 20°C – greeted the MX Tour contenders at McNabb Valley MX, which hosted its first national motocross event. Both pro classes delivered top-flight, nail-biting racing action on the newly constructed track, with the frontrunners just about breathing down each other’s necks from start to finish.
In the first 450 Pro moto, defending champ Goerke managed a top-10 start that saw him charging around the track in seventh place, after one lap. With everyone pouring on the gas, it took Goerke five laps to make his way into fourth place, a position he would have to live with for the rest of the moto. Despite herculean efforts
to make it a top-three finish, the Florida native was unable to stick a pass on third-place Cole Thompson. When the checkered flag was waved Goerke and Thompson followed second-place Tyler Medaglia and winner Kaven Benoit across the finish line.
The second moto start again saw Goerke within the top-10, this time in sixth place, after one lap. He quickly parlayed that into fourth, riding the wheels off his YZ450F to start zeroing in on third place. As in Moto 1 lappers played a major role in the up-front action; at times they were advantageous to a passing manoeuvre, at other times disadvantageous.
With the blazing speeds being recorded by the top-five and challenging track conditions to negotiate, it took Goerke till lap 12 to make a definitive move into third. Once again he was looking at Thompson’s rear fender; once again he would follow him across the finish line, albeit in a podium finish this time out. At the head of the pack Benoit made it a clean-sweep afternoon. When all was said and done Goerke left Minnedosa with third overall, and in a good position to build towards his fourth 450 Pro national title as the MX Tour resumes for Round 5 at Sand Del Lee in Ontario.
For his part, Epstein had to contend with another weekend of finishing off the podium. The Californian produced a first and second moto start that saw him around 10th place as the throng blitzed its way into turn one. Despite going for broke, he would finish outside the top- five both times out. In the first moto he made his way into a seventh-pace finish – in moto two he improved on that finish by one position to claim sixth. Although the sixth overall Epstein garnered for his efforts is not what he had hoped for at the beginning of the day, he was able to take solace with the fact that he moved ahead in the points from eighth to seventh. With five rounds left on the schedule, he is in a position to still break into the top-five to top-three before season’s end.
“The team has been working really hard and I believe it shows. We’re heading into the east tied for the points lead with Matt and we’re making improvements each week with Dillan. This break gives us some time to review the west rounds and come out in full force for the east,” team manager Steve Simms said.
The Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series continues with Round 5 of the MX Tour, after a three- week break, on Saturday, July 7th at Sand Del Lee Motocross Park in Ottawa, Ontario.
Round 4 Results 450 Pro
1. Kaven Benoit (KTM) 1-1
2. Cole Thompson (KTM) 3-2
3. Matt Goerke (Yam) 4-3
4. Colton Facciotti (Hon) 5-4
5. Mike Alessi (Kaw) 6-5
6. Dillan Epstein (Yam) 7-6
7. Tyler Medaglia (Kaw) 2-15
8. Cade Clason (Hon) 8-7
9. Mike Brown (Husq) 10-8
10. Keylan Meston (Husq) 9-9
Points Standings after 4 of 9 Rounds
1. Matt Goerke (Yam) – 199 pts
2. Colton Facciotti (Hon) – 199
3. Kaven Benoit (KTM) – 191
4. Cole Thompson (KTM) – 188
5. Tyler Medaglia (Kaw) – 178
6. Mike Alessi (Kaw) – 165
7. Dillan Epstein (Yam) – 144 (-55)
8. Keylan Meston (Husq) – 140
9. Kyle Keast (Husq) – 122
10. Cade Clason (Hon) – 110
Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series points standings after 10 of 18 Rounds 450 Pro