When Brett Metcalfe crashed hard whilst practicing at Glen Helen last year, most presumed that he would hang up his boots. Brett has had a long and successful career after all, and he had a long list of injuries to overcome. In order for Metcalfe to get to one-hundred-percent, he had to spend a lot of time on the couch to allow the injuries time to heal; it seems that a few people forgot about him in this time. The Australian is back now, and he has forced the industry to sit up and take notice of him.
Unfortunately Brett Metcalfe was left without a ride at the end of last year, as his Yoshimura Suzuki contract had expired. It proved to be much harder for Metcalfe to find a ride than you would first think; the fact that he was stuck on the couch put some team managers off of the idea of hiring him, undoubtedly. But that is not to say that Brett did not receive a deal from a few teams. But they were only willing to pay for expenses, rather than a salary – so he turned them down, understandably. After all, it is Brett Metcalfe – a former national winner!
So with no reasonable deals on the table for Brett Metcalfe in the USA, he started to look for opportunities further afield, like in the GPs and Canada. Eventually Brett settled on riding for the most prestigious team in North America, Leading Edge Kawasaki, which is the squad that he currently represents. It was a perfect opportunity for him; the Canadian series starts a bit later than the rest – so it allowed him slightly more time to heal as well as get accustomed to his new surroundings. However, his main goal is to return to the USA, which is evident by his one-off ride at Southwick on Saturday; he hopes to prove himself to the teams again.
Currently, Brett Metcalfe has a forty-four-point lead in the Canadian Nationals, as you would expect; so it is looking likely that the Australian will lock up that title at the end of the season barring any major issues. Interestingly, Metcalfe did appear to have some competition at the beginning of the year from Canadian hero Colton Facciotti. Colton went 1-1 at the first round of the series, but he broke his leg at round two, so we never got to see the battle develop. In regard to Brett, the injury to Facciotti has left him alone at the top; he has won a large majority of the motos since Colton bowed out. The fifth round (of nine) of the CMRC Nationals will be held at Gopher Dunes, which is a deep sand track; so it will only help Metcalfe more!
When Brett Metcalfe announced that he would be contesting three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross rounds (Southwick, Unadilla and Lake Elsinore) I was both excited and intrigued, like most. It would be a good opportunity to prove to everyone in America that his injuries haven’t had a lasting affect on him. Southwick is a track that he has enjoyed a lot of success on in the past, so going into the weekend I had predicted that he would finish towards the lower half of the top ten. After all, he was on his practice bike, without any support. Brett had to fund the trip down to the USA, and he had to arrange his own parts etc. It [the whole trip] was very much his doing.
I am certain that no one expected Brett Metcalfe to come out, mix it up with guys like Justin Barcia, and finish extremely close to the overall podium. Following his fourth overall finish, I am sure that a handful of team managers are regretting their decision to not hire him. Brett ended up with finishes of a fifth and a sixth in the two motos, but realistically he could have finished even higher than that. However you have to wonder how much weight you can put on his performance, after all it was Southwick – the circuit he has excelled at many times. In the next few months, when Metcalfe turns up at Unadilla and Lake Elsinore, that will be the greatest test. I do not think that he will be as close to the podium as he was on Saturday, he should have no problems finishing around seventh to tenth though.
So, what does this mean for Brett Metcalfe? Can he return to the USA next year? I do believe that he won’t have a problem finding a solid ride in the USA, barring any injuries, of course. I can see the Australian filling a spot, similar to the role that he played at Yoshimura Suzuki, as the second guy on a top team; the rider that you can rely on to post solid, consistent results.
Words by Lewis Phillips