Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Notes
The race into Southwick
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Notes
Moto-X 338 National (MEDIA RELEASE)
Photos: Scott Hoffman
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, makes its anticipated return to the East Coast on Saturday, hosting the ninth round of the 2012 season from Moto-X 338 in Southwick, Mass. The Moto-X 338 National signifies the only sand track on the schedule, providing a unique challenge to the fastest riders on the planet.
At the championship’s previous stop from Washington’s Washougal MX Park in July, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey continued his dominant streak atop the 450 Class field to win in the Pacific Northwest for the fifth straight season and extend his 2012 win streak to six consecutive rounds. In the 250 Class, GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia became the third rider in the division to earn multiple victories, while Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Ashley Fiolek continued her climb up the WMX Class standings with her third win in-a-row.
Television coverage from Southwick begins on Saturday, August 11, with live first moto coverage of the 450 and 250 Classes on FUEL TV, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern. Both motos will also be streamed live on AlliSports.com. NBC Sports Network will provide tape-delayed coverage of the second motos of each class on Tuesday, August 14, at 4 p.m. Eastern.
Red Bull KTM
While Dungey was able to keep his overall victory streak intact, his moto winning streak came to a halt at 10, after Mike Alessi withstood Dungey’s challenges in the opening moto at Washougal. Despite coming up short to start the day, the KTM rider left little doubt that it was still his race to lose and easily took the victory by capturing the final moto and securing the tiebreaker over Alessi. Dungey has won at Southwick in the past and after providing one of the most dramatic performances of all time at Moto-X 338 a year ago, he will seek a seventh straight overall win.
Mike Alessi had not taken a checkered flag since the opening round of the 2010 season, so his impressive win in the first moto at Washougal was long overdue. Moreover, he provided MotoConcepts with its first taste of victory as a team and wrapped up the day with a runner-up effort after finishing second to Dungey in Moto 2. Alessi has been Dungey’s stiffest competitor all season long and with an overall podium to his credit at Moto-X 338, he’ll look to keep his impressive season going, currently sitting second in the championship standings.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Jake Weimerwas looking for big things at Washougal, with the scenic facility serving as the Idaho native’s hometown track. After following Alessi and Dungey across the line in third in the opening moto, Weimer battled to finish fifth in the final moto, landing him just off the podium in fourth overall. He now sets his sights on Southwick, looking to close the gap in the points on Alessi in second.
“Washougal was tough,” said Weimer. “I was on the podium in the first moto, but I felt like I should have done better. In the second moto I didn’t get a great start, but was in a position to end the day on the podium and crashed.”
-Tyla Rattray hasn’t had the results he was hoping for since returning to competition from injury. At Washougal, Rattray battled his way through each moto to post 15-18 moto scores and finish 19th overall. With each given weekend, Rattray’s comfort on the 450cc bike grows and he will look to post a season-best effort this weekend at Southwick, where he has claimed the overall victory in the 250 Class for the past two seasons.
“The motos didn’t go how I wanted at all (at Washougal),” said Rattray. “I struggled a bit and just feel I need more time to get used to the bike. I’ve won the last couple years at Southwick in the 250 Class, so I feel pretty confident with the sand and the track. This year I’m racing a different machine. It’s a lot heavier and has way more power, (so) I’ll be looking forward to Southwick.”
Team Chaparral Honda
Andrew Short landed on the overall podium for the second time in 2012 at Washougal, continuing the solid debut season for L&Mc Racing. After starting the afternoon with a fourth-place effort, Short moved himself into podium position thanks to a third-place finish to end the day. As a result, fourth place in the 450 Class standings belongs to Short, where he sits comfortably heading into Moto-X 338.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
As one of the biggest surprises in the 450 Class this summer, Broc Tickle is surely happy with his rookie season in the premier division. Tickle is consistently in the running for a podium result every weekend and at Washougal, he posted another strong top-five effort, securing fifth overall thanks to 6-4 moto results. Tickle also holds possession of fifth in the 450 Class standings and will look to close the gap to Short in fourth this weekend.
“I’m pretty happy with my results at Washougal,” said Tickle. “I qualified seventh and was feeling pretty good. In the first moto I just got caught in the pack and had to work through it. We made a few changes between motos and my Kawasaki was feeling really good even though the track was breaking down.
“In the second moto I got a pretty good start and battled with Weimer for most of the race. I was happy to finish fourth and take fifth overall. I am just going to keep working hard and hope to get back on the podium at Southwick.”
Team Honda Muscle Milk
Justin Brayton’s day at Washougal began with a fifth-place effort, putting him in position for a solid outing. However, in the second moto, the Honda rider suffered from misfortune, ultimately finishing out of the points in 36th place. As a result, Brayton just missed out on a top-10 overall finish in 11th. Brayton will look to bounce back on Saturday at Southwick with a strong effort in the sand.
Tommy Hahn carried the flag for Team Honda at Washougal, putting forth one of his best outings of the season. Hahn posted a pair of seventh-place finishes to finish sixth overall, giving him momentum coming into Moto-X 338.
Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki
Josh Grant was able to take advantage of the misfortune that Brayton experienced. After a slow start to the afternoon in which he experienced his own misfortune en route to a 17th-place finish, Grant rebounded in Moto 2, fighting for a sixth-place result to secure 10th overall. His Washougal effort helped Grant move to seventh in the 450 Class standings and he will look to improve this weekend at Moto-X 338.
Kyle Chisholm led the way for the JWR Racing team at Washougal, posting consistent 8-10 moto scores to grab a seventh-place finish. The effort helped Chisholm maintain control of 10th in the points, where he sits within striking distance of eighth and ninth place, currently occupied by an injured Brett Metcalfe and an inactive James Stewart.
Team Yoshimura Suzuki
Following the team announcement in July stating that James Stewart had his sights set on a return to action at Southwick, the two-time winner this season revealed through his Twitter account that he will not be competing this weekend. Stewart currently sits eighth in the standings and hopes to be back on the bike at Unadilla.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
As the points leader in the 250 Class, Blake Baggett enters each weekend with a target on his back. At Washougal, he hoped to bounce back into the win column, but was forced to fight his way from a sixth-place finish in the opening moto. Like he has all season, Baggett battled back in Moto 2, taking the win and climbing his way to third overall. His championship lead currently sits at 11 points.
“I was feeling really good all day at Washougal,” said Baggett. “I was second fastest in qualifying, but the first moto didn’t go that well. I found myself on the ground twice, almost three times, but I saved it. I just struggled, started second and went backwards after a few crashes and ended up sixth.
“We made some tire changes and a little bit of a suspension change going into the second moto. I got a good start and was able to hunt them down and get to the front. It was a battle with four laps to go, but I was able to get it done and salvage some points. I lost some ground (in the championship), so now I’m going to have to come out swinging at Southwick. My goal is to have my name on Mitch’s (Payton) door by the end of the year.”
Justin Barcia claimed his second win of the 2012 season at Washougal, moving him closer to Baggett in the championship standings. Barcia’s 1-2 moto scores helped him take his first win at the facility and gives him considerable momentum heading to arguably his best track on the schedule at Moto-X 338. Barcia’s inaugural professional victory came at Southwick back during the 2009 season, and he’ll look to join Baggett and teammate Eli Tomac with three overall wins apiece on Saturday.
-Eli Tomac also had a good day at Washougal, following his teammate on the podium with a runner-up effort after 2-3 moto results. With three overall victories this season, Tomac has a share of the most wins with Baggett. He currently sits third in the championship, with a 32-point deficit to the lead, but is looking to inch closer to his fellow title contenders this weekend.
-Wil Hahn posted another top-10 result at Washougal. The veteran rider followed up a fifth-place finish in the first moto with a 10th-place result in Moto 2, ultimately landing him eighth overall. Hahn maintains his firm control of sixth in the championship.
-Justin Bogle finished just ahead of Hahn at the previous round, relying on his 9-5 moto scores to post a season-best effort of seventh overall. Bogle has battled injuries this season, but appears to be acclimating himself back into race shape nicely.
Red Bull KTM
Given his results for the majority of the season, Ken Roczen likely wished for a better performance at Washougal. The German rider finished fifth overall after posting 4-7 moto scores, but still maintains control of fourth in the championship. As a European native, Roczen hopes his experience in the sand will work in his favor this weekend as he continues to search for his first career win on U.S. soil.
-Marvin Musquin’s strong start to the second half of the season continued at Washougal. The Frenchman had one of his best outings of the summer, posting 3-4 moto results to just miss out on his first overall podium of the season in fourth. Like his teammate, Musquin has high hopes for Southwick.
Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki
Blake Wharton battled with the best riders in the division all afternoon long at Washougal. The veteran rider fought valiantly for a top-five finish overall, but ultimately settled for sixth after posting a 7-6 moto effort. Wharton currently sits seventh in the championship standings.
“I had a pretty good run (at Washougal),” said Wharton. “I had some good battles and I felt like my endurance was good. Overall, it was a good day, the team worked well together and everything just fell into place. (Now) we’re going to Southwick and I hope I can continue this upward spiral. I’ve finished the last four races strong, but there’s still a lot of racing left and some good points to be made up.”
-Jason Anderson garnered a top-10 effort in the Pacific Northwest, finishing 10th in Moto 1 and ninth in the final moto to finish 10th overall. Anderson has had some strong runs this season and will look for a strong outing this weekend and build on his eighth-place spot in the point standings.
“(Washougal) was a little bit of a struggle,” said Anderson. “But I felt like I rode well and I ended up 10th overall, so it was a good day. I crashed twice in the second moto, but I kept pushing and pushing, and ended up ninth in that race. Now, I’m looking forward to coming back strong for Southwick.”
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda
The Troy Lee Designs team has battled valiantly all season long and now boasts two riders inside the top 10 in the championship. Jessy Nelson, who sits ninth in the points, finished 12th at Washougal thanks to a pair of 13th-place moto finishes. He looks forward to his first race at Moto-X 338.
-Travis Baker broke into the top-10 in points last weekend. Baker followed Nelson in 13th overall at Washougal, finishing 14th and 15th in the motos. Baker currently sits 10th in the championship standings and will look to maintain the spot this weekend.
The Women’s Motocross Championship will host its seventh of eight rounds this season on Saturday, with a captivating championship unfolding. Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Jessica Patterson maintains her lead in the points, despite competing with a broken hand. Patterson holds a slim two-point lead over Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Tarah Gieger, who is hoping to claim her first career title. The hottest rider in the class is Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Ashley Fiolek, who has won three consecutive races and climbed to within 11 points of the championship lead at the previous round. This trio will lead the WMX Class into action for what is sure to be a captivating weekend heading into the season finale.
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