The 2005 CMRC Canadian Motocross Championships, which kick off on June 5th, will be experiencing the largest contingent of American riders in the sanctioning body’s 15-year history. Not only will a slew of CMRC regulars that include the likes of Brad Hagseth, Craig Decker, Damon Huffman, Evan Laughridge and Mike Treadwell be returning to the Great White North, an all American team backed by Yamaha Motor USA will campaign the series. Swanson Racing, based in Hamilton, MO, is fielding a team that will include two-time National Arenacross Champion Josh Demuth, who will contest MX1 (formerly 250 Ntls), Chad Johnson MX1 and MX2 East (formerly 125 East Championship), and Nathan Tierney (MX1 and MX2 West).

    Long-time Suzuki Canada enforcer Morgan Racing is fronting a Yamaha Motor Canada team for 2005 that has Craig Decker (MX1) and Erick Vallejo (MX1-MX2 West) as , its marquee riders. Vallejo, who carded a No.3 ranking in the MX2 West title hunt for Pacific Yamaha last year, has been replaced on that team by yet another American, Shane Bess (MX2). In addition to backing Morgan Racing, Yamaha Motor Canada has also elected to enter its own factory team this year. Washington State’s Hagseth (MX1) will spearhead the effort. Joining the two-time MX2 West Champion will be Canadian heroes Doug DeHaan (MX1-MX2 East) and Simon Homans (MX1-MX2 East).

Ohio’s Gavin Gracyk, runner-up in last year’s MX2 East points chase, has left Richmond Racing Kawasaki to ride for OTSFF Suzuki, which is now the official Suzuki Canada team. In addition to contesting the MX2 East again, Gracyk will be behind the gate in MX1 as well. New Englanders Keith Johnson (MX1) and Mike Treadwell (MX1) are the other heavy hitters for OTSFF Suzuki. Jimmy Lamastus, who rode the Canadian series for KTM in 2000, is returning to the fray north of the border to contest the MX2 West for Lethbridge Suzuki.

The Californians Evan Laughridge (MX1) and Jeff Northrop (MX2 West) return to Richmond Racing Kawasaki for another season. Northrop rode an up and down series last year that saw him finish tenth in MX2 West. Laughridge, who missed the first two rounds, carded tenth in MX1. He finished fifth in that class in 2003. Third American on the team is Teddy Maier (MX2 West). Conspicuous by his absence from Team Richmond will be their top ace, ’03/’04 National Arenacross Champion Darcy Lange, who will not contest the Canadian MX National Tour this year.

After contracting out their national effort for the past five years, KTM Canada is fielding their own factory team this year. Up-and-comer Pierce Chamberlain (MX2 East) is the only Canadian rider on the team. KTM Canada, which is receiving some support from KTM USA, is counting on the following Americans to put them in the mix: Chris Whitcraft (MX2 East), Michael Willard (MX2 East), Matt Barnes (MX2 East), Chris Kieffer (MX2 West) and Jimmy Nelson (MX2 West). Former national champ Marco Dub?heading his own team, will ride selected MX1 events with KTM factory support.

Even though all the major factory and support teams are stronger than ever, the question still remains, as it has since 2001, who will be able to derail Blackfoot Racing/Honda Canada as the dominant force in Canadian motocross? With four-time defending champion Jean Sebastien Roy (MX1) returning to the powerhouse team for his fifth season, the conflict for No.1 in MX1 will be a hotly contested affair. No one doubts that the mighty JSR will again be the man to beat.

California’s Damon Huffman (MX1), runner-up in MX1 for two consecutive years, is also back with Blackfoot to help keep all comers at bay. Last year’s breakthrough sensation Dusty Klatt (MX1-MX2 West) will be defending his 125 West title as well as shake up the MX1 class. New to the Blackfoot line-up is Mitchell Cooke (MX1-MX2 East) and defending MX2 East Champion Donnie McGourty, who defected from Richmond Racing.

In addition to the new class designations and new teams, an extra round, plus the introduction of transponders, promises to further raise the level of Canadian MX to new heights. While the individual MX2 title chases will stick to the four rounds format, the series will culminate with an East-West Shootout at the final MX1 round in Walton, ON. The top ten riders from both series will be seeded, with the remainder of the field composed of riders who qualified for at least one round, either in the east or west.


Comments are closed.