Photos and Captions by James Lissimore
The track name that strikes fear into the hearts of riders. The Jetwerx Canadian MX Tour series made it’s annual stop at the deep sand track in Southern Ontario as the riders made their way to Round 5 of the series. One of the deepest and roughest tracks on the planet, it’s always a tough time at The Dunes, but thankfully it wasn’t as hot as in years past, which gave the riders a little bit of a reprieve from some of the ultra-hot days that have graced the race over the years. Still, there’s no easy days at The Dunes and riders were going to have to give everything they had to make it through the day. Let’s take a look at what went down…
Gopher Dunes. The roughest sand track in North America, though it doesn’t look like it in the morning.
It won’t stay this smooth for long.
Since the GDR Honda team is based at Gopher Dunes, they always bust out a custom bike for their home race. This year they went with a 99 Factory Honda motif, complete with matching Fox retro gear. Definitely a home run.
Derek “Digger” Schuster. The man behind the Gopher Dunes track and the GDR Honda team that has dominated Canadian moto for much of the last decade.
After Jacob Piccolo’s struggles the week before at Walton, Mitchell Harrison rolled into Gopher with the red plate.
Piccolo(1) crushed both starts in the 250 class.
Mitchell Harrison gets a welcome to The Dunes.
New Zealand’s Josiah Natzke backed up his impressive debut last weekend at Walton with an even more dominant ride at Gopher. He wasn’t challenged at all during the day, on the way to a 1-1 finish.
Jacob Piccolo nailed both starts and led a couple laps in moto 1, but a crash knocked him back to 5th, and a 3rd in moto two left him with 3rd overall.
Marco Cannella grabbed a podium in moto one with a third, but couldn’t move up from a fifth place start in moto two and finished fifth. Fourth overall for the MX101 Yamaha rider.
Mexico’s Tre Fierro was back for another Canadian round, and had a solid 10th in moto one. A crash in moto two knocked him back to 31st.
Another good race for Manluk Yamaha’s Quinn Amyotte, who passed Cannella for 3rd late in moto one but Cannella passed him back. A 7th in moto two gave him 5th overall.
Though Natzke was cruising out front in the lead, there was a knock down, drag it out battle for second in the second moto between Mitchell Harrison, Jacob Piccolo and Ryder McNabb.
Since joining the GDR Honda team, Ryder McNabb has turned plenty of laps on the Gopher track. He turned bad starts in both motos into charges through the pack to take a pair of seconds, and second overall.
Undefeated in his two Canadian starts, how far up the leaderboard can Natzke climb by the season’s end?
250 Podium – 1st Josiah Natzke, 2nd Ryder McNabb, 3rd Jacob Piccolo
GasGas TLD SSR’s Chris Blackmer nails the start in 450 moto two.
8-5 moto finishes for 5th overall, for the Michigan native.
South Africa’s Liam O’Farrell is always solid at Gopher. 7-6 for 6th.
Mexico’s Felix Lopez had a killer first moto, with a 5th, but his bike died at the end of moto two and he ended up pushing his bike across the line. No easy feat in the deep sand of Gopher. 13th overall.
Four seconds faster than anyone else. Dylan Wright is on another planet right now.
Shawn Maffenbeier’s shoulder continues to heal and he put in a good ride at Gopher, passing Tyler Medaglia for second in moto one, but Medaglia would end up getting him back at the end. Another third in moto two, for third overall.
Consistent rides for Tanner Ward, with a pair of fourths for fourth overall.
Tyler Medaglia continues to push hard in his quest to unseat Dylan Wright. He lead for a few laps in moto two when Wright went down and did everything he could to keep him behind, but lets face it, Wright is an unstoppable force right now. Another pair of seconds for Medaglia, who’s now finished second in every moto.
Can he pull off the perfect season? Nothing we saw at Gopher would indicate anything different. Dominating his way to more 1-1 scores on his beautiful retro bike.
450 Podium – 1st Dylan Wright, 2nd Tyler Medaglia, 3rd Shawn Maffenbeier
Gopher wasn’t its usual super hot self, but it was still plenty hot and rough and the riders were feeling it at the end of the day.