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Unadilla: Kawasaki race notes

Monster Energy Kawasaki Reigns at Unadilla For the eighth-straight event Monster Energy Kawasaki took both the AMA Motocross and AMA Motocross Lites overall victories, setting an AMA record for consecutive victories. With Monster Energy ...

Monster Energy Kawasaki Reigns at Unadilla

For the eighth-straight event Monster Energy Kawasaki took both the AMA Motocross and AMA Motocross Lites overall victories, setting an AMA record for consecutive victories. With Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto finishing 1-1 at Unadilla, the pair moved Kawasaki to an elite class as no other manufacturer has won the first eight consecutive overall events in both classes. Villopoto's teammate Brett Metcalfe finished on the podium for the second straight event, finishing 6-4 for third overall. Timmy Ferry finished 3-6 for fourth overall.

Changing His Luck
The race at Unadilla has been circled on Stewart's calendar since the motocross schedule was released and he was ready to change his luck at the Upstate New York track. Though not without drama, Stewart conquered the track this weekend as he battled rainy and muddy conditions to earn his first AMA Motocross class overall win at Unadilla.

"It feels really good," said Stewart. "I'm just happy to get it done. Unadilla has always been tough for me and to be able to walk out of here with a win, I am stoked. It is awesome."

Moto 1 Win
With rain threatening most of the day, the first moto was run in relatively calm conditions. Villopoto got a good start and after an amazing pass of two riders in a turn complex on the first lap, he rode away from the field to get his 14th moto win of the year.

"My first moto was good," said Villopoto. "I got off the gate in third and was able to get to the lead on the first lap. I pulled a really good lead and from there it was pretty easy."

Try Again
The second motocross lites moto was interrupted after 10 minutes when lightning brought out the red flag. After a short delay, the bad weather moved through the area and the moto was restarted. The restart worked both for and against the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team as Villopoto lost the lead he built in the first 10 minutes, but Metcalfe was able to erase a bad start.

"The second moto was kind of a weird deal," said Villopoto. "It was like nothing I have ever experienced. We had to line back up and do another 30 minutes plus two laps and ride in the mud. Starting the moto over kind off worked against me. I had the lead after 10 minutes and I was building a lead. After all of it, though we were able to get another moto win so it didn't hurt too bad."

"I fell in the first start of the second moto," said Metcalfe. "It was kind of lucky getting the red flag and restarting the moto. On the second go, I got a good start and I was able to capitalize on it. At first the track was slick, so I wasn't comfortable out there. I waited until I got comfortable and then I poured on the speed to get on the podium."

15 Straight Motos
With the red flag also came a heavy, albeit short, downpour that changed the track dramatically. The rain turned the already soft dirt into slippery mud. The difficult conditions hardly slowed Villopoto as he went on to get another moto win and keep his streak alive.

"The track was way tougher after the restart," said Villopoto. "The track was really muddy and greasy until about halfway. After that it was starting to come around and I was able to put in some faster lap times."

Almost There
Metcalfe has nearly fully recovered from a shoulder injury, but met a setback last week when he injured his ankle at Budds Creek. The injury kept him off his bike during most of the week, but the lack of practice didn't seem to slow him down as he earned a 6-4 to finish on the podium again. The Australian was hoping for a little better run in the first moto, but was running in traffic on the one line track.

"My shoulder has finally healed, but my ankle was the trouble this week," said Metcalfe. "I was only able to ride 30 minutes during the week and that's just not enough. In the first moto I was working my way up. There was a big pack of guys in front of me and I picked a couple of guys off, but I couldn't get through them all. It was a solid moto and I was happy with how I rode."

Just Missed
Ferry rode a strong first moto after getting an average start. The veteran rider picked his spots on the difficult track and moved his way to the podium finishing third. In the second moto, Red Dog got a better start and was running third again. Unfortunately the slick track bit him and he fell, losing one spot and then with two laps to go, Ferry went down again dropping to sixth.

"It was a tough day today," said Ferry. "I was riding really good but there was only one line on the track so I had to get creative to make passes. When the rains came, the track got even worse and I was doing my best just to find good lines to run a quick pace. It was tough out there. I'm disappointed I only got fourth, but we earned some valuable points today."

Difficult Conditions
The motocross lites class wasn't the only class hampered by bad weather for the second moto. The 450F's were delayed an hour at the starting gate as another weather cell moved through the area. Most of the moto was run in the rain and the already slippery track was even more treacherous.

"The second moto was really challenging," said Stewart. "I didn't take a parade lap before the moto so I didn't know how the track was. I was really cautious on the first lap and then just tried to stay focused."

The Forgotten Holeshot
Though it will never make the record books and he won't get the $500 check for earning the holeshot, Motosport Xtreme Kawasaki's Tommy Hahn led the field through the first corner to start the second AMA Motocross Lites moto. Because the moto was restarted and run as a new race after the red flag, Hahn's holeshot was erased. On the restart, Hahn wasn't able to get the same jump and he missed out on the bonus check.

Haunted Track?
For the second moto, Metcalfe struggled early on as he got used to the slick track. As he got more comfortable his lap times dropped and he was able to find faster lines. With the dark clouds hanging overhead along with the mud, it was hard for the riders to see as the moto wore on.

"The track changed quite a bit," said Metcalfe. "We couldn't ride the main line because it was so slick. We just had to find the best way around. It was so dark out there you really couldn't see much. It was really kind of scary."

-credit: kwa.usa

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers James Stewart , Ryan Villopoto