Fourth-place Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing's Colton Facciotti was the top Canadian MX1 rider Sunday at Gopher Dunes in the fifth round of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals.
But three California-based riders - Matt Goerke, Australia's Brett Metcalfe and Davi Millsaps - went 1-2-3 at the sandy Dunes track south of Courtland, Ont.
"It would have been nice to get on the podium today," said Facciotti, second in the first MX1 moto, and sixth in the second, racing for the Courtland-based factory-sponsored pro team.
"I kind of got a bad start (in the second moto) and I just wasn't in the leader's pace, so it was tough to get going and by that time it was kind of too late. All in all, not a bad day."
Catching up has its challenges - you can't just match the leader's pace, you have to beat it. And when you push too far, accidents can happen.
"This is the kind of track you can't really win the championship at, but you can definitely lose if you crash out. It's probably one of the roughest tracks there is around.
"It's good to be smart at this track, which kind of helped me out in the first moto. A couple of guys went down and I was able to capitalize on that. It didn't happen in the second moto so much. You've got to get a good start with how many fast guys we have. A few years ago there were maybe one or two guys that could beat me. It's a little tougher this year... everybody's bringing the Americans up."
The top eight MX1 riders in the Rockstar Energy Drink series have been anywhere from 1-8 this year. Millsaps, Florida's Mike Alessi, and Goerke lead the MX1 standings after five rounds ahead of fourth-place Facciotti and Metcalfe.
But when the starting gates come down, none of that matters. The track gets a rider's full attention.
"It's pretty gnarly out there, so you just want to be focused the whole time," said Facciotti.
"Rough as usual," he smiled, describing the Dunes. "I may be a little better this year, we built a big 'mountain' in the middle, and a few extra things. I think it was good this year - it was fun."
Kaven Benoit (5-4) fifth on Sunday, Tyler Medaglia (8-7) seventh, and Cade Clason (7-8) eighth round out the Top 8.
"Davi's got a bit of a points lead right now, so he has the most to lose right now I guess," said Facciotti, who in the past two years has experienced life as point leader, and someone catching the leader.
"Usually I do a little better in the east coast swing," he said, looking forward to Round 6 in Ulverton, Quebec on July 17.