Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Notes: FMF Steel City National MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (September 2, 2010) - The world's most prestigious motocross championship is closing in on the conclusion of yet another memorable season of American ...
Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Notes: FMF Steel City National
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (September 2, 2010) - The world's most prestigious motocross championship is closing in on the conclusion of yet another memorable season of American motocross. On Saturday, the world's best riders head to Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pa., for the 11th round of the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship for the annual Labor Day tradition just outside downtown Pittsburgh.
Last weekend in Southwick, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey solidified his historic rookie season in the premier class of the sport by capturing the 450 Class title with his ninth consecutive victory. The championship caps off what has been a record-setting year for the 20-year-old rider who becomes the first rookie in history to capture both the AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross titles. Additionally, Dungey has surpassed legend Ricky Carmichael for the most successful rookie season in the premier class outdoors.
In the 250 Class, the continuing battle between Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Christophe Pourcel, who currently leads the division, and GEICO Powersports Honda's Trey Canard is heating up after an up and down day for both riders at Southwick. Currently, only 13 points separates the duo, but Canard has gained on his rival at every round since grabbing his first win back at Round 6.
Additionally, the MotorcycleUSA.com Women's Motocross Championship will compete in its seventh round of the season, led by points leader and DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha rider Jessica Patterson, who raced to her fifth overall victory at the previous stop.
Even though he's wrapped up the premier class title, Ryan Dungey is still going to approach the final two rounds of the season with the same mindset - to win. His nine wins this season tie Ricky Carmichael for the most ever by a rookie and the opportunity to break the record of the greatest motocross rider of all time is something Dungey won't want to pass up.
Honda Red Bull Racing
Southwick was arguably the worst race of the season for Andrew Short. After misfortune forced him to make the field with a provisional, Short never had the chance to get in a groove and found himself coming from behind in each moto, posting a season-worst 18th-place finish. With Brett Metcalfe only three points out of second place, Short will look to fend off his Honda counterpart at Steel City.
Southwick marked one of the strongest outings for Kevin Windham in his return to the outdoor nationals, posting a fifth-place finish thanks to seventh and fifth-place moto scores. Despite missing the majority of the season, Windham continues his gradual climb through the standings, currently sitting in 16th place with only four rounds of racing to his credit.
GEICO Powersports Honda
Heartbreak is the way to describe Brett Metcalfe's day at Moto-X 338. The Australian rider looked to be on his way to his first career 450 Class moto win only to run out of fuel on the final lap. The bad luck continued to Metcalfe in Moto 2 when he found trouble off the gates, but a determined effort through the field helped him garner seventh-place finish and secure some valuable points in his quest to overtake Andrew Short in the standings.
If there was ever a weekend to turn an entire season around, Mike Alessi experienced it at Southwick. The runner-up from the opening round of 2010 hadn't been on the overall podium since Round 1, but a pair of stellar motos helped Alessi grab his second runner-up effort of the season while also vaulting him into fourth place in the standings with two rounds remaining.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda
The fastest practice time of the day suggested Ben Townley would be a threat to take the win in the 450 Class at Moto-X 338 and the New Zealander was in the thick of the battle early on in each moto, only to encounter trouble and lose valuable ground. After a DNF in Moto 1, he overcame an early fall in Moto 2 to fend off his challengers and secure second place, helping him to a seventh-place finish overall.
Josh Grant's day at Southwick came to an end before it really ever had a chance to begin. The sophomore 450 Class rider fell on the first lap of practice and injured his right shoulder. As a result, he was forced to sit out the remainder of the day and could end up on the sidelines for the final two rounds as well.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki
Southwick was more of the same for Tommy Hahn. A promising start to the day was highlighted by a stellar runner-up effort in Moto1. However, he experienced trouble in Moto 2, posting a DNF and dropping him to eighth overall.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
After a short hiatus from the top 10, Nick Wey made a return at Southwick, using solid eighth and ninth place moto scores to finish sixth overall.
"Southwick went well for me," said Wey. "Steel City should be even better. Everything is sort of clicking right now and I'm having fun riding for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team."
Joining Wey under the Monster Energy Kawasaki tent this weekend at Steel City is Scottish rider Billy McKenzie. McKenzie rode for factory Kawasaki in Australia this summer and he is ready to race in America.
"These last two rounds should be a lot of fun," said McKenzie. "I was planning on racing in the States at least once this year and getting the chance to race for Monster Energy Kawasaki is incredible."
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
While he still sits atop the 250 Class standings, Christophe Pourcel's advantage over Trey Canard is dwindling. Currently, his advantage sits at 13 points and Steel City, where he took the overall win last season, could serve as the ideal place to get back atop the podium.
"I feel like there is less pressure when you're leading the points," said Pourcel. "I am just going to go out and ride fast. I won Steel City last year so I am confident going into this weekend."
The series most recent winner and newest father, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Tyla Rattray has mixed emotions heading into Steel City, but he is still running off the high off the happiness he experienced at Southwick. Hopefully, it carries over to his performance on the track.
"I want to get back to racing, but I don't want to leave home right now," said Rattray. "This week has been great and the family is fantastic, but it is time to get back out there and race."
Dean Wilson is looking to improve upon his Southwick finish with a strong ride at Steel City.
"This week at Steel City should be good," said Wilson. "We only have two races left and I want to get more wins."
GEICO Powersports Honda
While his four-race winning streak may have come to an end, Trey Canard still carries considerable momentum coming into Steel City. After a tough second moto hurt his chances at gaining even more ground on Pourcel, Canard will be hungrier than over to bounce back and make it known that the final four motos of the season will have to go through him.
Justin Barcia experienced a much-needed boost at Southwick, thanks to a strong runner-up effort. The New York native, who considers Moto-X 338 to be one of his favorite tracks, took his second moto win of the season and hopes that momentum will carry over to Steel City this weekend.
With a significant 22-point lead over her rival and Honda Red Bull Racing rider Ashley Fiolek, Jessica Patterson appears to be in control of her own destiny over the final two rounds of the season. However, Steel City has proven to be a wild card race in the WMX Championship in the past and could once again change the landscape of the title fight. Both riders are hungry and want to add another coveted championship to their collection and will likely put on a show for the fans on Saturday.