On the motocross track, Honda Canada GDR's Colton Facciotti is a blur of colour. If you blink you'll miss the 27-year-old Aylmer resident tearing up the track. Though he isn't easy to spot, anyone can see he is a fierce competitor.
Facciotti is defending his MX1 Pro Champion title at the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals – a 10-race series with events across Canada. The 23rd annual competition enters its mid-point on Sunday, making a stop at Gopher Dunes in Courtland.
Facciotti may have something of a homefield advantage in Sunday's competition – after all, he and Gopher Dunes go way back. He not only trains at the track when he's at home in Aylmer, he met his wife Jocelyn there about a decade ago.
The 27-year-old is happy to be kicking off the second leg of the series close to home where friends and family – including his eight-month-old son – can cheer him on.
“I've done well there the last few years so I'm just kind of looking forward to that,” said Facciotti. “I get to sleep in my own bed too, so that kind of helps.”
Facciotti is in second place, only seven points behind the top rider, as he enters the fifth race of the series. Riders have had a three-week break between the last race in Regina and Sunday's event at Gopher Dunes. For Facciotti and the other competitors, the mid-series, mini-vacation comes to an abrupt end when the engines rev and the dirt flies in Courtland.
The final stretch of the competition can be intense and grueling for even the most experienced riders. With an event scheduled every Sunday for the next six weeks in cities across Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, there is no room for mistakes.
Facciotti recognizes some of the most important things he can do to help his performance happen off the course.
“The biggest part is staying healthy and staying fit for the whole season. It is such a tough and physically demanding sport,” said Facciotti, who lifts weights, rides his bike and practices on motocross courses several times a week.
“It's pretty easy to get hurt and it's tough to ride with an injury all year.”
That is something Facciotti knows first-hand. Three months before the start of this season he cracked his pelvis in a nasty crash. The injury grounded him for awhile but wasn't enough to keep him from respectable performances in the series to date.
As the competition heats up, Facciotti has his sights set on capturing the national title for the second year in a row. Facciotti, who trains throughout the winter months in Georgia and has competed internationally in the past, said Canadian competitions have a decidedly different feel.
“Canadian motocross is pretty mellow and fun... It's a really good atmosphere,” he said. “Everybody is pretty friendly and everybody gets along pretty well.”
If you go...
Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals – Round 5
Where: Gopher Dunes, Hwy 59, Courtland
When: Sunday, July 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Event information and tickets available at www.mxnationals.ca.