Winning the CMRC Motocross Nationals never gets old for Honda Canada GDR's Colton Facciotti who clinched the 10-race 2014 Rockstar Energy circuit in Walton, Ont. on Aug. 17.
It was the fourth national crown for the 26-year-old British Columbia native, now living in the St. Thomas area, with Gopher Dunes (south of Courtland) as his home track – and team.
Every nationals provides its own set of challenges, and 2014 was no exception for Facciotti, whose main goal at the start of the season (May 31) was staying healthy and consistent.
"It was just be consistent, get every point I can, and keep it on two wheels because I was leading in years past, and got hurt, and wasn't able to finish the series. You have to stay healthy all year round to even have a shot at winning the title. You also have to be smart, not do anything crazy to lose that many points. Just be consistent every weekend."
The 2014 Rockstar Energy Nationals had a strong contingent of 'imports' – Facciotti was the first Canadian to win the title since his last championship in 2011.
"This year there were maybe a couple more US guys who came up," said Facciotti. "A couple faster guys."
The talent pool in the MX1 division included American Mike Alessi, who was running just behind Facciotti most of the series with a similar number of overall wins.
"His consistency was not as good as mine, for sure," noted Facciotti, who had a stranglehold on the title going into the final race at Walton.
"Technically, he (Alessi) could have still won it, but it would have been really hard. Pretty much after the 9th round (Ulverton, Quebec), it was pretty hard for him to win."
Facciotti didn't treat Walton any different from the previous nine races, which had started on the west coast in Nanaimo, BC.
"I just did my usual routine and I had a pretty decent ride there. When you do something different, that's when things usually go wrong."
His Honda Canada GDR CRF450R bike also withstood the national test.
"That part of it was pretty simple, you've just got to fine tune it all year because it was my first year on it. Just subtle changes to suspension, a little bit to the motor here and there, and through the season that got better and better."
Other MX1 contenders included Americans Josh Hill and Bobby Kiniry, and Tyler Medaglia, who seemed to be turning it up the last few rounds.
2014 Motocross des Nations
Facciotti's season does not end with the national championship, however. He will be testing his mettle Sept. 27-28 in Kegums, Latvia, representing Canada racing against the world's best motocrossers.
It will be his fourth trip to the Motocross des Nations, which changes locations every year.
"There was one in the US a couple years, Germany, England, Italy, they're all over the place.
"It's just kind of a fun event – you get to ride for your country, try to do as well as you can. It's an honour."
Gopher Dunes' Frank Schuster compares Motocross des Nations to the Olympics for motocross.
"Each country is represented by their best," said Schuster.
"It's been tough because we haven't been able to send our top three guys every year," said Facciotti, noting some recent injuries. "As long as we have a solid team, we should finish inside the Top 10, no problem for sure. Somewhere around the 6-8 mark would be nice, a good goal I think."
The event is expected to draw around 50,000 spectators in Latvia, said Honda Canada GDR manager Derek Schuster, noting it was also be shown on CBS Sports.
"Not only is Canada being represented, but our little area here is being represented," said Frank Schuster. "Which is really cool because that's never really happened before – local rider, local mechanic, local team manager, local track. It's never happened."
Facciotti will be making the trip to Latvia with his mechanic and Derek Schuster. And one Honda Canada bike, with spare motor and spare parts.
"I think it will be good – I think we're more prepared than we have been in the past," said Facciotti.
"It should be good," he smiled, expecting soft-dirt tracks similar to the central and eastern Canadian portion of the nationals. "It should play in my favour."