Shawn Maffenbeier clinches 250 AX Tour title at Barrie double-header
April 16, 2018
Team Monster Energy Alpinestars Piller’s Kawasaki’s Shawn Maffenbeier clinched the 250 Pro AX Tour Championship at the Molson Centre in Barrie, ON this past weekend. Maffenbeier cleared the task with a third-place finish in the main event on Friday night and a second place finish on night two of the double-header weekend.
For Maffenbeier’s teammate in the 450 Pro class, Tyler Medaglia, the final two rounds of the AX Tour proved to be more or less anticlimactic, scoring less points than at the previous rounds. Sitting fourth on the scoreboard going into Barrie, Medaglia finished tenth in Friday’s 450 main and sixth on Saturday night. Despite these setbacks the Ottawa native still managed to wrap up the arenacross segment of the MRC Triple Crown series with a noteworthy fourth place.
In his Friday night 250 Pro heat race, Maffenbeier got off to a promising start, taking his Kawasaki KX250F to a smooth win without working up a sweat. Although he would carry that momentum into the main – leading it for a number of laps – a relentless Jess Pettis and Marco Cannella were not making things easy for Maffenbeier. Mathematically Cannella still had a slight shot at snaring the title for himself. But he really needed a worst-case scenario to befall his archrival in the series.
Both Cannella and Pettis were able to stick a pass on Maffenbeier, after the Swift Current, SK native succumbed to a small error. Although he had to settle for a third place on the podium, behind winner Pettis and second place Cannella, Maffenbeier considerably added to his points lead. For all intents and purposes, the 2017 MX2 National Champion was well on his way to claiming the 2018 AX Championship on the final night of action in Barrie.
Saturday night’s races proved to be little more than a formality for Maffenbeier. He did what he had to do to snag his first pro arenacross title. In his heat race he recorded another first place; in the final he again battled with Pettis and Cannella for a podium finish. As on the previous night Pettis was on top of his game, again taking the win. Maffenbeier, who had won the majority of mains in the series, would leave Barrie without one. He trailed Pettis across the finish line in second place. Cannella, who recorded runner-up in the points chase, finished third. But the pressure was off … Maffenbeier became the first rider to win an MRC sanctioned championship.
Medaglia, meanwhile, went down hard in his Friday night 450 Pro heat race but still managed to salvage fifth place at the finish line, which saw him advance directly to the main. Although shook up from the crash, which left him with a badly swollen hand, iron man Medaglia decided to soldier on and go for broke in the main event. He had every intention of finishing the AX Tour points chase in the top five … come what may!
When the main got underway Medaglia, eager to redeem himself, blasted out of the starting gate on his KX450F like a man possessed. He steamrolled into turn one in second place, which he quickly exchanged for first. Unfortunately, in the heat of battle, he got together with a hard-charging Colton Facciotti and that was all she wrote. Another crash was in the cards for a hapless Medaglia, which eventually left him crossing the finish line in tenth place.
In his Saturday night’s heat race, Medaglia regrouped to record a second-place finish. A disastrous start in the main, however, meant he had to race the wheels off his bike to work his way into a sixth-place finish. Although it’s not where he wanted to finish the last race of the AX Tour, Medaglia stayed the course to conclude the series in the top five. He also served notice that he’ll be a rider to be reckoned with in the upcoming MX Tour.
“We can definitely look back at a successful start to 2018 season, with the new team program. It’s very gratifying to be part of this. I would like to congratulate Shawn on his 250 AX Championship and Tyler for his top five in the 450 points,” team owner Gerhart Huber said. “A tip of the hat to Stu for all his hard work towards making this happen and to the whole Monster Energy/Alpinestars/Piller’s/Kawasaki team on the successful AX series. I’m looking forward to the MX series.”
“I am pleased with the progress we have made as a team since February. The AX Tour provided a nice testing ground and we had many great nights of racing, with both riders standing on the podium multiple times. Winning the 250 Pro AX Championship is icing on the cake and we are looking forward to the start of the MX Tour next month,” team manager Adam “Stu” Robinson said. “I’d like to take this opportunity to extend a thank you to our sponsors, Monster Energy, Parts Canada, Alpinestars, Piller’s Fine Foods, and Canadian Kawasaki Motors.”
Congratulations to Shawn Maffenbeier and Tyler Medaglia for a job well done in the AX Tour, from everyone at Team Monster Energy Alpinestars Piller’s Kawasaki and our extended group of awesome sponsors.