Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Matt Goerke took the podium at Round 1 of the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown SX Tour at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, QC on Saturday with third overall on the night. In a supercross that was dominated almost exclusively by fellow American riders, Goerke recorded steady 4-5-3 moto results. The competition was tough all around and Goerke had his work cut out for him to finish top-three behind second overall Colt Nichols and overall winner Malcolm Stewart.
Goerke’s teammates Dillan Epstein and Phil Nicoletti fared less well at the storied Olympic Stadium. Epstein finished 15th overall, registering 15-15-12 results while Nicoletti – making his debut with Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha – snagged 11th overall. With 6-6 results in the first two motos, however, Nicoletti was in the mix for a top-five overall finish. A DNF in the third moto saw that possibility at once evaporate, leaving him with an overall just outside the top-ten.
Goerke, who qualified in ninth place, looked very confident on the track all night. In Moto 1 he started around seventh place and quickly moved into fifth. He set his sights on fourth-place running Cole Thompson, whom he caught on the last lap. Although he was able to make a pass on Thompson in the whoops, Goerke was unable to make it stick. Thompson passed him back at the line by .020 of a second.
In Moto 2 Goerke nailed the all-important holeshot but lost a few positions early on, with the lead going to Malcolm Stewart. Undaunted, Goerke clawed his way past frontrunners Colt Nichols and Stewart to retake the lead. For about five laps he led the freight train, pulling away from everyone except a tenacious Stewart. With one lap to go, Stewart set up a daring pass, forcing Goerke to run high and get brake-checked, with the result that Goerke went down on the ground. Although he remounted quickly enough, fifth place was the best Goerke could muster at the checkered flag.
A top-five start in Moto 3 saw Goerke quickly work his way into fourth. On the final lap he pinned the throttle of his potent YZ450F to put a pass on Thompson. This time Thompson was unable to respond, with Goerke crossing the finish line in third place and securing a third overall for himself.
For Dillan Epstein it was an exceptionally rough night in Montreal. He was never really able to get comfortable on his bike, which showed in his 15th placequalifying time and moto lap times in general. Unfortunately, he got caught up in a first turn crash in Moto 1, which seemed to throw a shadow over him for the rest of the evening. He brought home a 15th place finish in that moto, a result he would replicate in the Moto 2. In Moto 3 he managed to redeem himself to some degree by greeting the checkered flag in 12th place.
Although the overall results didn’t quite reflect Phil Nicoletti’s colossal efforts, he can look back on a great first showing for Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha. Despite having spent very little time with the team, which deprived him of getting his bike setup properly dialed in, Nicoletti proved to be the consummate professional. He got more comfortable on the Yamaha YZ450F each time out between ride time and bike setup changes. After clocking an 11th place qualifying time, he rode consistently in the first two motos, nailing sixth place finishes both times out. A small slide-out just before the finish line in Moto 3 saw Nicoletti get hit by another rider, leaving him unable to finish because of bike damage. Although it took him awhile to recover from the mishap, he sustained no serious injuries and will be good to go this weekend.
“Overall it was a good weekend for the team. We were the only Canadian team to hit the podium with all the big-name Americans who were in Montreal for the first SX Tour round. Matt rode great and showed amazing speed and skill. Phil rode solid and Dillan made improvements. We’re eagerly anticipating the next round in Delaware. I’d like to take this opportunity to send an extra thank you to the crew, Risi George, Eric Melia, Mike Haist, and Todd Markham for working flawlessly as a new group,” team manager Steve Simms said.
The Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series continues on Saturday, September 22 with Round 2 of the SX Tour at Delaware Speedway in Delaware, ON.
SX Tour Results 450 Pro – Round 1
1. Malcolm Stewart (Hon) – 1-1-1
2. Colt Nichols (Yam) – 2-2-2
3. Matt Goerke (Yam) – 4-5-3
4. Cole Thompson (KTM) – 3-9-4
5. Josh Hill (Yam) – 9-3-6
6. Alex Martin (Suz) – 7-8-5
7. Colton Facciotti (Hon) – 5-10-9
8. Cedric Soubeyras (Suz) – 11-7-7
9. RJ Hampshire (Hon) – 12-4-11
10. Josh Hansen (Hon) – 10-11-10
11. Phil Nicoletti (Yam) – 6-6-DNF
15. Dillan Epstein (Yam) – 15-15-12