What do you do after you win the 2012 ATV MX Championship? While some may go on vacation and fall off of their training regimen, Chad Wienen has kept pushing himself and it showed as he went north of the border with many other top ATV pro’s to race in the 35th running of the Montreal Supercross. This unique event held in Olympic Stadium is one of a kind where ATV, motorcycle and SxS racing provide high paced action in front of thousands of spectators. This year I was invited to experience this event first hand and the riders, crowd and racing fulfilled every expectation I had in my head. This was also the chance for me to see many of our American racers in action since I hadn’t had much of a chance to head back east for any of the National MX races. With racers like reigning champs Chad Weinen and Josh Creamer, Thomas Brown, John Natalie, Josh Upperman, Cody Miller and Canadian champ Richard Pelchat I knew that I was in for a night of excitement. On the SxS end of things professional Indy Car racers Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani took their open wheel racing experience to dirt as they were able to secure rides for this annual event.
In the first round of ATV qualifying France’s Adrian Mangieu narrowly edged out Wienen for the holeshot, but it didn't take long for Chad to make the pass for the lead and check out for the win and recording the fastest lap aboard his Yamaha YFZ 450R. Behind Wienen there was a fierce battle going on between Yamaha mounted Thomas Brown and Josh Creamer riding his BCS Performance powered Can-Am DS 450. Lap after lap the two would battle with Creamer looking for the right line to make a solid pass, but by the time the checkered flag was thrown Brown was able to keep 2nd place and Creamer a solid third followed by #477 Keven Vachon from Quebec in 4th and holeshot winner Adrian Mangieu rounding out the top 5.
Although he wasn’t close enough...
Although he wasn’t close enough to challenge for the lead, Thomas Brown had a great battle going on with Josh Creamer for 2nd place which he definitely earned.
The starting gate for round two was equally stacked with John Natalie, Josh Upperman, Cody Miller and Canadian Richard Pelchat ready to battle wheel to wheel for the top qualifying spot in the main. When the gate dropped it was the 2011 Montreal SX champ John Natalie who rocketed off the line for a commanding holeshot. Close in tow was Quebec’s Noe Cardinal, Samuel Paradis and Josh Upperman. Natalie rode strong and showed why he was wearing the #1 jersey from last years event as the battles behind him were the one to watch. The track was a very technical and one sections where riders seemed to have the most trouble was the whoop section that came out of a hairpin left turn in the sandy section of track. Upperman was able to make quick work of the competition before reaching this portion and tackling the whoops in an effort to chase down Natalie and try to put on a challenge for the lead. When checkers went up it was Natalie in the top spot on his Motoworks / Can-Am DS 450 followed by Baldwin Racings Josh Upperman, Canadian champ Richard Pelchat, Bobby Desjardins and Cody Miller rounding out 5th. The fastest lap for both heats would be set by Quebec’s Steve Bizier on his Honda 450.
ATV Main Event
After everyone had their chances to make final adjustments to their ATVs and get some rest, it was time to head out for the main event. When the gate dropped it was holeshot king Josh Upperman who rocketed out of the starting gate first but was narrowly edged out by Chad Wienen who would lead the race from start to finish. As riders would get held up by slower riders through some of the more technical sections, Yamaha mounted Thomas Brown would make his way to 2nd place with Josh Creamer running right on his grab bar. At the halfway point of the race Creamer would make a pass on Brown in a rhythm section, but Brown wouldn't have it and within a lap and a half would reclaim 2nd place where he would finish with Creamer in tow for 3rd. Natalie seemed to be off his normal A-game as he rode to a 4th place finish over 10-seconds behind Creamer and Pelchat rounded out the top 5 for the night.
After making a great pass...
After making a great pass on Brown in the middle of the main event, Josh Creamer just wasn't able to hold off the determined Yamaha rider and finished his night on the final podium spot.
For the second year in a row, promoters have seen the increase in popularity that SxS racing has had and decided to include it in the program for this night of racing. As the first round of qualifying action went underway, fans were treated to some thrilling open wheel action and it was obvious that all of these racers were there to win. Mid-way through the first qualifying round American WORCS racer Josh Frederick was involved in some contact with the #22 of Eric Paquin which got him docked three positions for unnecessary contact. At the end of the first qualifying round it was Charles-Antoine Villeneuve in first followed by, Eric Paquin, Simon Homans, Indy racer Alex Tagliani and rounding out the top-5 would be Jean Sebastien Chapleau.
In round two of the qualifying action, the racers were either much more patient or were just trying to save their machines in hopes of making it to the main event as there was minimal contact and plenty of clean passing. This round of racing featured Patrick Carpentier and our good friend Shawn Hess of Hess Motorsports piloting his Polaris RZR XP 900. Hess was running a great pace and was almost a shoe in for the main event until an unfortunate event with an action cam caused him to lose his concentration and eventually falling back in the pack just out of qualifying position for the main event. The top-5 for round two are as follows: Yani Desjardins, Didier Raby, Guy Jr. De Montigny, Yann Guay-Gosselin and finally Patrick Carpentier.
SxS Main Event
Although he rode a great race,...
Although he rode a great race, it seemed that last years Champion just didn't have what it took to run up front and finished his night in a solid 4th place.
This event would be one of the most anticipated and exciting rounds of racing under the dome this evening. Even with some of the largest off-road tracks in the nation 15 cars can take up real estate very quickly and when you put them all on a tight technical course inside of a stadium, they take it up even faster. As all the machines came into the tight right hand first turn, there was a huge pileup that had most of the racers at a standstill, but it was the #10 of Charles Villeneuve would cleanly avoid the carnage and take the lead as all the other cars would get themselves quickly sorted and right into the action.
As the race went down either man or machine started to give way as 1/3 of the field would fall victim to the DNF Gods.
After 11 grueling laps, Charles Villeneuve was able to secure 1st place followed by Eric Paquin in 2nd, Alex-Andre Gingras in 3rd, Yann Guay-Gosselin in 4th and Yani Desjardins rounding out the top-5. This was a strong showing for Polaris and their dominant RZR XP line of SxS’s. The Indy great Patrick Carpentier suffered a broken axle in his Arctic Cat Wildcat causing him to DNF for the night and Alex Tagliani also suffered a mechanical breakdown ending his night early.
It just wasn't Uppy’s night...
It just wasn't Uppy’s night as he was edged out of a holeshot and eventually DQ’d for reasons we’re not aware of at this time. This is one of our favorite riders and we hope that 2013 could be his year to shine.
All in all this event was a great success and if you’ve ever wanted to venture north of the border, I highly recommend that you make the trip. Aside from great racing action, the Montreal Supercross had an exhibition area that had plenty to see as well as amateur racing that lasted right up until the big show started. If you want to make it an extended stay, there are plenty of sights to see in Montreal and plenty of things to keep you entertained.
Wienen celebrates his victory...
Wienen celebrates his victory by giving hi-fives to his young fans as he makes his way to the podium to claim is trophy.
You can’t call it a Supercross...
You can’t call it a Supercross event without some Monster Energy girls to hold the 30-second board before a start.
Quebec’s own Charles Villeneuve...
Quebec’s own Charles Villeneuve claimed top honors in the SxS main event. It took good skill to navigate the tight technical course and cleanly pass the lapped traffic to claim 1st place.
Even though they both suffered...
Even though they both suffered DNF’s for the night, Patrick Carpentier and Alex Tagliani seemed to have a blast in their SxS over the Indy cars they’re normally strapped in.