Saturday August 11th Gopher Dunes and the Schuster Family pulled out all the stops creating a Moto Cross Country event worthy of National Championship status. The 25+ years of experience in race preparation this Facility has was obvious and racers are still emailing World Enduro Canada raving about the quality of this race.
A much needed downpour of rain came just before the event squashing concerns about dust on this high speed track. There is nothing like the traction of wet sand for big fun on the motocross section. And with berms in near every corner of the woods section, big grins were on the faces of racers as they completed their two, one hour motos.
The morning Pee Wee race was a real test of skill as cutting through the sloppy wet sand on the custom Mini Track looked like it was going to be a challenge. Series regular and Championship series leader Connor Taplay was not phased by the wet conditions as he easily cruised to the win. The little Suzuki JR 50 sailed over the terrain with of Nathan Taplay at the controls taking second and Aiden Billings fought a hard battle to fill out the podium in third.
Our Mini Junior and Mini Senior racers were cut out of one small section of the forest but the full National motocross track was used as well as a lengthy woods section. There was a great battle right down to the last lap in the Junior class between Emerson Lines and Christian Wiesner. In the end, Emerson prevailed saying on the podium that he credited his exceptional ride to not falling and being consistent. Ryan O’Neill took the final spot of the podium.
In Mini Senior it was another epic battle. Wolfgang Wiesner held his two stroke wide open off the start nailing the holeshot and held off the hard charging four strokes of Kyle Bichard and Mike McLennan. That lasted for most of the Motocross track until he fell and received a face full of quality Gopher Dunes sand. That gave Mike the opportunity to get out front and he held first for a lap and a half. Kyle Bichard is hard to hold back in a situation like this and he was determined. He managed to keep on two wheels and pull ahead staying there for the remaining five laps of this six lap race. It was close with one second separating first and second at the finish.
With the Morning Mini racers over the Moto Cross Country program kicked in. With all adult classes racing two, one hour motos, it enabled the riders to really give their all. The sand track sucks energy as many know so by riding for one hour, with a one hour break before their next race, spectators were able to watch racers near their limit the whole time.
Nathan Playford nabbed first in Beginner with two first place finishes and series regular Adam Wynia took second. Domenik Billings had an impressive ride that allowed him to reach the podium in third due to his obvious motocross experience.
In Vet Junior we saw an exchange of wins in the two motos but in the end it was Tyler Scott’s two and one finishes that earned him first overall over the first and second of Charlie Lake. Third was Mark Hosie who was really in control of things on the motocross section. These guys were really entertaining to watch.
Vet Senior had the Yamaha of Gary Soper edge out the mighty 550 Husaberg of Keith Bichard and Jeff Taylor’s KTM with these three finishing in that order.
Bryan Hill is slowly eating away of the championship lead of Jeff Golden. Bryan took first over Jeff this time but with one round remaining it looks unlikely that he will be able to unseat Jeff from a repeat as Provincial Cross Country Champion in this class.
In Junior it was Tyler Butler taking the overall with two first place finishes. His motocross prowess enabled him to also take the Apex Cycle – KTM Canada Amateur Holeshot award. For this, Tyler received $100 for our generous sponsor.
Things were shaken up a bit in Intermediate where we saw Derek Schuster come out of partial retirement to see if he had what it took to race two one hour motos. He did show a wheel to Corey Brooks and gave series class leader David Taplay fits. Derek’s familiarity with his home track and overall skill was evident but Corey ended up taking two first place finishes for the win on the day in Intermediate. David Taplay had to settle for a very respectable third.
Keith Billings continued in his winning ways in Vet Master taking the day’s win over Todd Wicks who is slowly recovering from injury but still hard on the gas. Keith also earned himself $100 from Wiesner Insurance in the process for Fastest Lap as Vet Master was the selected class for this award this time around.
Pro was a hands down Josh Long show. Everyone was duly impressed with both his motocross and off-road skills on his way to the pro win. Kevin Cockayne and Steve Bond took second and third respectively. This is also the order they finished in both pro motos. Josh took the lion’s share of the Pro payback as well as $100 from Wiesner Insurance for the Pro Holeshot.
Steve Bond is in the driver’s seat for the Pro championship heading into the final round. We have Jason Griffith and Kevin Cockayne nipping at his heals but it’s anyone’s guess how it will play out at Motopark for round 8. With this event also being round two of the Canadian Cross Country Championship we will have the fastest off-road racers in the country there. How will our favourite Ontario racers compare to the likes of Guy Giroux, Jason Schrage and Bobby Prochnau? The Grande Finale and the biggest spectacle of the year will be held September 9th just outside of Chatsworth Ontario at historic Motopark. It will be an event not to miss by racers and spectators alike.