Race Report: Rockstar / OTSFF / TLD / Two Wheel Suzuki
Gopher Dunes - Courtland, ON
Gopher Dunes - Only the toughest remained standing!
Broiling temperatures, stifling humidity and the challenging sands of Gopher Dunes - considered Canada's toughest motocross track - made for a challenging day of racing for everyone concerned on Sunday, at Round 5 of the MX1 Nationals in Courtland, ON.
Not surprisingly, the day noted plenty of crashes and DNFs. Lapped riders played a major role in the proceedings as the points contenders battled it out for position and keep it rubber down.
Gopher Dunes never fails to live up to its reputation. The gruelling 1.6 km 'pro track' consists of rock-free, deep loamy sand, with some killer whoops and jumps thrown in for good measure! The track has been designed as a fast-paced, physically demanding, bar banging, take-no-prisoners course that eats up man and machine alike.
Gopher is heaven for some riders: the opposite for most! The contenders do what they have to do just to survive till the end of the moto; and hopefully cross the finish line with some points for all their hard work.
"To walk away at the end of the day with a top 10 overall finish here is a feat. To just survive is an accomplishment. Our riders crossed the finish line and scored valuable points. That was our goal today. Bobby contained the points damage in the championship, despite being docked ten positions. It's a bitter pill to swallow but things are what they are," said Rockstar Energy / OTSFF / Troy Lee Designs / Two Wheel Suzuki team owner Andre Laurin. "Freddy rode like the pro he is. He finished the first moto with a hurt shoulder and got back on to the track for the second moto to give it all he had. That's the kind of attitude it takes to race at Gopher Dunes."
In the first moto, Kiniry got off to a mid-pack start but he charged his way into the top 10 aboard his Bondi Engines RM-Z450 Suzuki, finding himself in sixth place by the end of the moto, which saw plenty of caution flags.
When second-place running Kyle Keast, one of many of the track's victims, sputtered out of gas on the last lap, the rest of the field moved up one position by attrition with Kiniry finishing fifth.
Unfortunately CMRC officials docked Kiniry and Kornel Nemeth 10 positions each for a Red Cross flag infraction. Kiniry and Kornel were battling for top-five positions and were already committed to their moves, when the flag went up.
Although the team launched an appeal, after deliberating the issue CMRC announced early Monday afternoon that the ruling would stand. At once, Kiniry saw his fifth-place16-points get slashed to six.
In the second moto, Kiniry got off to a much better start, just inside the top 10. He kept his head down, consistently picked off the riders in front of him, and soldiered on to record another fifth place finish. This time it stuck.
"I didn't get the starts I needed to finish top three today, and I had to dig deep to finish fifth in both motos. I'm always glad to put Gopher Dunes behind me," noted Kiniry. "All in all, we scored some critical points and that's really what it came down to. The red cross issue is regrettable and disappointing, but racing is racing and rules are rules."
Meanwhile, Karrle could not find his groove in the Gopher Dunes sand no matter what approach he used.
In the first moto, he suffered through a couple of crashes that saw him bruise his shoulder and cross the finish line in 16th place; still banking five points for his efforts.
In the second moto, Karrle again finished within the points, this time grabbing a noteworthy 11th place at the checkered flag.
"It wasn't exactly a great day for me. I knew the track was going to be my biggest challenge. I knew I would have to stay on top of my game and focus on scoring points, not worry too much about where exactly I finished. Crashing didn't help. My bike did everything I wanted it to do. It ran awesome and really helped me get through the day. I'm already looking forward to next Sunday, and hopefully to a better day of racing for me," said Karrle.
Team Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Troy Lee Designs/Two Wheel Suzuki would like to commend Bobby and Freddy on their Gopher Dunes surviving rides and send out a special 'thank you' to all our valuable sponsors.
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