Local motocross racer Cole Thompson emerged victorious at the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series, but it might have cost him a friendship in the process.
The cross-Canada dirt bike series ended in Hamilton on Nov. 17 when Thompson finished ahead of five-time Canadian champion and friend Colton Facciotti in the overall point standings. Thompson claimed the $100,000 prize purse, the largest in Canadian history.
But some fans cried foul after Thompson and Facciotti got mixed up in the final lap of the previous race in Quebec City, which caused both riders to crash on the home stretch. Thompson crossed the finish line first but Facciotti careened off the track, was taken to hospital and did not compete in Hamilton.
On social media, angry Facciotti fans accused Thompson of poor sportsmanship and alleged members of the Thompson family – who organize the event – of favouritism.
Thompson rejects the accusations and said collisions are an unfortunate part of racing.
“At the end of the day, anybody that’s raced a dirt bike knows that once that gate drops anything can happen,” Thompson, 25, told The Journal.
Things have simmered down slightly but he isn’t sure if his friendship with Facciotti will recover.
“Regardless, I think it’s going to take some time. At this point I don’t see it getting any better. I think we’ll go into racing as rivals, or whatever you want to call it,” Thompson said.
The two finished top five in most of this season’s races. Thompson ended with 83 points and Facciotti 74.
Thompson plans to take a month off before resuming training for the next season. He splits his time between his family’s motocross training facility in Brigden and a training site in Florida.
He started competing at age 4. His family ran a motocross school from 2004 to 2015 and Thompson likes to give back now by helping his brother train young racers when he has time.
He turned pro in 2012 after success on the amateur tour. He competes in the 450 – the largest bike – pro division after two years on the 250 pro circuit.
The Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series is the brainchild of Thompson’s brother Justin.
The 10-month series includes outdoor motocross races and indoor arenacross and supercross races at venues across Canada.