Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Notes: Rockstar Energy High Point National Presented by Centra Bank MORGANTOWN, W.V. (June 9, 2010) - After two rounds of the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, four different winners have...
Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Notes: Rockstar Energy High Point National Presented by Centra Bank
MORGANTOWN, W.V. (June 9, 2010) - After two rounds of the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, four different winners have stood atop the 450 and 250 Class podiums. At last weekend's Flagstar Bank Freestone National, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey captured his first career 450 Class victory in dominating fashion while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Christophe Pourcel asserted himself as the rider to beat in the 250 Class with his first win of the season. This weekend, the series heads east for the first time this summer for the renowned Rockstar Energy High Point National Presented by Centra Bank from High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Despite a pair of tough starts in both motos in Texas, Chad Reed overcame the intense heat that claimed several riders throughout the day to battle back with a pair of podium efforts and second overall to maintain his early season points lead. With one win already under his belt in 2010, Reed returns to the site of his first career premier class victory last season at High Point, hoping another triumphant performance can translate into more championship success.
"High Point was a good race for me last year," said Reed. "They made some subtle changes to the track and everything worked well. I hope they let it get rough this year. Rough tracks seem to separate the riders a little and I know that is what I prepare for every week."
Reed's teammate Nick Wey is looking to get into the top 10 at High Point. Wey improved from Hangtown to Freestone and he is hoping to continue to move forward.
"The team has really worked well with me to get the bike dialed in," said Wey. "High Point should be a good race for us and you can expect to see me in the top 10."
After a tough season opener, Dungey bounced back in the best way possible at Freestone, going a perfect 1-1 on the day and moving into second place in the early season standings. Despite the heat and tough competition, Dungey drew from his tireless training and the power of his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450. Dungey is now only 11 points out from the lead and has his bike dialed in for High Point. His performance in Texas served notice that he and the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team expect to contend for the 450 Class title and keep the title where it currently resides.
"Freestone was a team win," said Dungey. "We put in a lot of work in the last two weeks and pulled through in some tough conditions in Texas. High Point is up next and it's in the middle of an East Coast swing of tracks that will challenge all of us. Consistency will be a key."
"It was a complete turn around in Texas for Ryan," said Rockstar/Makita Suzuki Team Manager Roger DeCoster. "He did an awesome job, and showed his fitness. We got the bike sorted out from Hangtown, because we didn't have the settings right. I think we hit the settings right on in Texas and the bike performed great and Ryan rode a fantastic race. It was probably his best outdoor race. Now he can go into High Point with a lot more confidence because Hangtown was bad, but we turned it around and he was the strongest guy out there in really tough conditions."
Matt Moss battled the heat and a previous injury in Texas, but hopes to do well at High Point. Austin Stroupe is still out of action in the 250 class, but will be returning to racing soon.
After a strong start to the season in which he secured a runner-up finish and second moto win at Hangtown, Mike Alessi experienced a frustrating effort at Freestone. Misfortune struck the California rider in each moto, falling once during each 30-plus minute outings. In moto one, Alessi found difficulty working his way into the top 10, but bounced back early in moto two by grabbing the early lead only to hit the ground and fall to just outside the top five. He still sits third in the standings and will look to bounce back at High Point.
GEICO Powersports Honda
After turning heads in Hangtown, Brett Metcalfe returned with yet another stellar performance at Freestone. The rookie 450 Class competitor grabbed the holeshot in each moto and led early only to fall back in the late stages of each moto. Despite that, he still garnered a fourth place effort and sits fourth in the standings and will only improve his physical endurance as the season moves forward.
"I'm really enjoying racing the big bike class," said Metcalfe. "Stepping up to the CRF450R has so far been a fairly smooth transition and I'm really happy with the way things are going. The big bike is a lot of fun to ride and the GEICO Powersports Honda team has been really supportive, making the switch relatively straightforward so far."
Josh Grant was quiet in Texas. After an overall strong effort at the season opener, he found himself mired in the field after a pair of tough starts at Freestone. However, characteristic of his relentless riding style, he put his head down and worked his way forward, concluding the day with a fifth place effort and securing fifth place in the standings.
After missing the first two rounds due to injury, Justin Brayton will make his 2010 debut this weekend at High Point.
Honda Red Bull Racing
After kicking off the season with a stellar podium effort, Davi Millsaps experienced a drastically different performance. With temperatures pushing the triple digits, Millsaps was one of several riders who suffered from the intense heat and he did the best he could to salvage as many points as possible.
"Last weekend in Texas was really tough," said Millsaps. "I'm looking forward to High Point this weekend because the weather should be a lot more forgiving. The really hot temperatures that we experienced at Freestone made racing incredibly exhausting work; not only for me but the entire Honda Red Bull Racing team."
Andrew Short was hoping for better results in his home race. From nearby Smithville, Short's team experienced issues prior to the start of the race, forcing him to miss the first moto. He returned for moto two and rode in the manner many expected, challenging at the front of the field throughout the moto. He and the team will look to bounce back and get on track at High Point.
"I like the High Point track," said Short. "I finished both motos in second spot last year and took second overall for the round aboard my Honda Red Bull Racing CRF450R, which was really good. The 2010 season hasn't quite started with me scoring the results that I am capable of, but I think I can turn it around this weekend at Mt. Morris."
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda
After a promising start to the Freestone National in which he finished third, Ben Townley found himself on the ground after getting caught up in a first turn incident to start moto two. Remounting in 37th place, the New Zealand native rode exceptionally through the field, working his way up to an impressive 16th place finish to salvage eighth overall. He hopes his luck will change this weekend in Pennsylvania.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki
Tommy Hahn's return home proved to be the motivation he needed to bring home a solid effort and get his season on the right track. A stellar opening moto saw Hahn finish fourth overall, stalking the front portion of the field throughout the race along with Chad Reed and Ben Townley. In moto two, he suffered from a rough start but refused to settle, fighting his way to 12th and securing a solid sixth overall.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
To say Freestone was a memorable race for the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team would be an understatement. While Pourcel walked away with the winner's trophy, he led the way to a Pro Circuit podium sweep with fellow MX2 World Champion Tyla Rattray and rookie Dean Wilson joining him with their respective career best results.
"I've won both first motos so far this season," said Pourcel. "I want to keep winning, but I need to do a better job in the second moto."
Rattray captured the moto two win, the second of his career, to grab the runner-up spot and hopes it will result in more consistent finishes at the front of the field.
"I need to run a better pace early in the motos," said Rattray. "I know I have the speed and conditioning to win and I just need to do it. Last week was good for me and I want to carry that momentum through the rest of the season."
For Wilson, the elation of his first career podium was mixed in with frustration of allowing his first career win to slip away. The defending Horizon Award Winner had firm control of the second moto and the overall, but made an error in judgment that caused him to slip into third.
"I've learned from my mistake and it's time to move on," said Wilson. "Reliving last week isn't going to help anything so I'm just focused on going out and giving my best at High Point."
The odd-man out at Freestone was Jake Weimer who knows High Point could be the turning point of his season.
"I've ridden well this year," said Weimer. "I just haven't gotten the starts I need. Last year at High Point I got the holeshot so I'm confident heading into this weekend."
GEICO Powersports Honda
Eli Tomac looked as if he was going to continue to take control of the 250 Class early on in Texas, but the rookie rider underestimated the heat and began to tire in the late stages of each moto after leading early. He secured a second place effort in moto one, but fell back dramatically in moto two to 11th. Despite that, he posted sixth overall and still sits second in the standings, ready to attack High Point this weekend.
"The hot weather just took it out of me last week in the second moto," said Tomac. "I rode well in the first race and got on the podium, and I was riding a solid race out front on my GEICO Powersports Honda CRF250R in the second, when the effects of heat exhaustion really set in. I can't remember a time when I've ever raced a moto in such hot temperatures for that long. But I've been back at it training hard this week and I'm ready for High Point."
Trey Canard was strong throughout the majority of the Freestone event and despite suffering from the Texas heat at the end of the day, dug deep to post impressive results and keep his hopes of claiming the 2010 title alive. After resting this week, he will return to High Point rejuvenated and eager to capture his first career victory at the track where he was just one lap away from doing so one year ago.
"Last year I finished the first High Point moto in second place and then injured my arm in moto two-ultimately ending my Motocross season," said Canard. "My goal for outdoors this year is to be consistent and challenge for a podium each week aboard my CRF250R. It's a really long season and you need to stay healthy if you want to be in the series point's race at the end of the year."
DNA Shred Stix/Star Yamaha
Broc Tickle's strong start to the 2010 season continued in Texas. After an eighth place effort to start the day, he came back strong in the final moto of the day, surging late in the moto to capture a career best second place finish to put him fourth overall. He currently holds fifth in the standings and is proving to be a threat each and every moto.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda
It was another solid weekend for Wil Hahn at Freestone. The Texas native was able to compete in front of family and friends and posted a pair of top-10 efforts in each moto to solidify seventh overall.
Tommy Searle was hoping his promising start to the 2010 season would carry over into Texas, however the British rider found difficulty in each moto, finishing outside the top 10 in both and posting 12th place overall.