Northern Notes: Canada Wins - Facciotti Goes to Utah
Motocross - Ontario, Canada
“We’re going to Utah!”
Those are the words left playing over and over in my head following the Parts Canada Walton TransCan. Why? Well, on Sunday evening following the Walton Pro National, Team Canada’s Ryan Gauld organized a Motocross of Nations BBQ under the GDR Honda tent and Ryan Lockhart found the microphone. He kept hollering “We’re going to Utah!” (…and between that “We’re going to Latvia!”) in regards to newly crowned MX1 champ Colton Facciotti signing up for this Saturday’s AMA Motocross at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT.
It was difficult to tell if there was any seriousness to Lockhart’s comments as he did have a few Rockstars in him and his shirt had only more button to go before it was off…. Right away I grilled GDR TLD Honda’s Team Manager, Derek Schuster, on the idea and he said there was a good possibility they were going south. Well, as many of you know by now it’s true: Lockhart can read minds because our Champ is “Going to Utah!” this weekend.
“Just Colton and I are flying down,” said Schuster this afternoon. “We’ll be pitting with TLD Honda and they have a bike and parts set aside for us. We’re taking a few of our custom parts that work well for Colt. It was last minute and it’s a lot of work, but we’re going to Utah [laughs]! We need to thank Honda Canada and Troy Lee Designs Canada for really stepping up and making this happen, along with all of our sponsors for supporting Colton as he races this weekend on a different bike and team.”
Great news, for sure, and surprising to me because I did ask all three of Team Canada’s riders – Facciotti, T. Medaglia and Benoit – three weeks ago if they planned on racing an AMA event to prepare for the MXoN in Lativa at the end of September. All three replied “No…too far…too expensive,” but with a crown and #1 plate in hand, funny how fast things change. Obviously Colton must be feeling confident right now after taking down superstar Mike Alessi, and with him back on top of his game, it only makes sense to keep it going. A great ride in Utah would put him over the rev limiter before Latvia.
Is Mike Alessi racing Utah this Saturday as well? Let’s ask his dad and Smartop MotoConcepts Team Manager, Tony Alessi, right now….and he says: “Not a chance (haha)!”
I said, “Oh come on Tony, you guys are racers, you’ve got to be in Utah,” but it’s not going to happen. “We had a good time in Canada,” he says. “We won the most races, got the most holeshots and led the most laps, unfortunately we didn’t win the title. We are happy with that for now. Now we’re planning the next steps. We’ll see about coming back next year…”
Colton and the GDR team deserve the title, and not that Alessi or others on the line don’t. Compared to other teams and staff on the circuit, the GDR unit is much younger and less experienced when it comes to organizing and operating a major racing team. It’s been a few years in the making and Schuster isn’t just riding around on his Honda Rukus all weekend; I’ve taken a tour of his set up and he’s got his hands into everything. I used to spend a lot of time around “Diggs” and he has skills with a wrench and building a bike. He likes being involved in the whole process whether it’s designing the race team posters, creating marketing projects, ordering parts and supplies or hosting a Team Canada BBQ. Don’t think the brass at Honda Canada, Troy Lee Designs and other sponsors aren’t paying attention, especially with him and Colton taking their first #1 plate together.
Honda appears to have some new blood flowing in their corporate chain, and they could be seen at Walton keeping Schuster company all weekend. In fact, they’re on board for supporting the Team Canada effort as well, which is awesome to see. Admit it, we all have a little “Red” in us since most of us enjoyed our first dirt bike ride on a Honda Z50, so definitely good to have the legendary brand enthusiastically involved in Canadian motocross again.
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