Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha’s Phil Nicoletti and Shawn Maffenbeier nailed down a second and fifth place respectively in the 450 Pro main this past Saturday night at the final round of the Rockstar Triple Crown AX Tour in Barrie, ON. Nicoletti – who took the win at Round 2 and missed only one podium finish in the four-round series – ended third overall in the AX Tour points chase while Maffenbeier claimed fourth overall.
In afternoon qualifying action at Barrie’s Molson Centre, Nicoletti booked the third fastest time, with Maffenbeier logging sixth.
Maffenbeier – who was scheduled to ride the first heat – got a bad jump out of the gate and had to dig deep once the racing action got underway. He made some swift passes to end up installing himself in second place and finishing there behind leader of the pack, Cole Thompson. It was critical for “Maff” to advance to the Clash, as he needed to make points up on Cade Clason. Clason, who was sitting fourth in the points, going into the final round, didn’t make it into the Clash. Nicoletti, who gated for Heat 2, also snared a second place finish and with it a berth in the Clash and main event.
When the gate dropped for the Clash both Nicoletti and Maffenbeier got good starts on their screaming YZ450Fs, with Nicoletti carrying enough momentum to snare the holeshot. Nicoletti stayed up front for the entire race and made up valuable points in the Triple Crown Series. The Clash win got him to within one point of Matt Goerke. Nicoletti trailed second-place Goerke by six points, coming into Barrie and he was on the gas to reduce the deficit. Maffenbeier rode solid in third but got passed by Tyler Medaglia in the final moments of the showdown, finishing fourth. But the two points “Maff” collected were enough to tie him with Clason as the contenders gated for the final main event of the AX Tour.
A mid-pack start for Nicoletti and Maffenbeier in the main quickly got turned around as Nicoletti made some lightning passes that saw him install himself into second place, where he would hunker down and remain till the checkered flag, finishing just behind first place Goerke.
“Although I would have preferred to be in the series points lead as we head into the MX Tour, I’m happy to be holding down third. It’s a good launching platform to get down to the serious business of motocross and I’m here to take care of business, riding my first full season in Canada,” Nicoletti said.
Maffenbeier, meanwhile, rode like a man possessed in the main as he battled hard with Clason for fifth place and enough points to displace his rival from fourth in the AX Tour’s standings. When all was said and done, Maffenbeier greeted the finish line in fifth place just a split second ahead of sixth place Clason. By sealing the top-five Maffenbeier grabbed enough points to take over fourth from Clason in the overall AX standings.
“I’m happy with the progression of my riding so far. After riding the 250 class it was a period of adjustment for me to take on the 450 again. But I’m feeling more and more like myself on the 450 now and really excited and looking forward to getting outdoors and starting the MX Tour,” Maffenbeier said.
“Overall the AX Tour was a good learning experience for our new team. We all learned a lot about each other and we got better, doing our tasks each week. We are all really looking forward to the MX Tour. Phil and Shawn are sitting in excellent positions to be competitive on the outdoor tracks,” team manager Steve Simms said.
Round 4 – 450 Arenacross Results
1. Matt Goerke (Kaw)
2. Phil Nicoletti (Yam)
3. Dakota Alix (KTM)
4. Cole Thompson (KTM)
5. Shawn Maffenbeier (Yam)
Points After 4 of 4 Rounds
1. Cole Thompson 126 pts
2. Matt Goerke 119
3. Phil Nicoletti 115
4. Shawn Maffenbeier 87
5. Cade Clason 86
The Rockstar Triple Crown Series continues with Round 1 of the MX Tour on Saturday, June 1st at Wild Rose MX Park in Calgary, AB.