Thor/Parts Unlimited Motocross Week in Review: High Point The disappointment of the week before was replaced by euphoria Saturday as Thor/Parts Unlimited teammates Chad Reed and Christophe Pourcel dominated the winner's circle and moved into the...
Thor/Parts Unlimited Motocross Week in Review: High Point
The disappointment of the week before was replaced by euphoria Saturday as Thor/Parts Unlimited teammates Chad Reed and Christophe Pourcel dominated the winner's circle and moved into the points lead in their respective classes at round four of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa. Reed got his first outdoor motocross win in seven years with a 1-1 overall in the 450 class and Pourcel had his first 1-1 effort in the 250 class.
Proud as the NBC Peacock
It was a historic day in southwestern Pennsylvania, with a live telecast of the second 450 moto on NBC Sports. It was the first time a race had been shown live on network television in the history of the sport. The 90-minute telecast included highlights of the opening moto and interviews with Reed and others. The second of three live network broadcasts is scheduled for July 4 from RedBud in Buchanan, Mich.
The Mt. Morris event also was the opening round of the Monster Energy Triple Crown of Motocross, a three-race series that will reward any 450 or 250 rider able to win all three events with a $25,000 bonus. Ricky Carmichael (2005-2006) and James Stewart (2008) have captured the 450 class bonuses, but no 250 rider has been able to do so. The second Triple Crown event is at RedBud.
A Little Anxiety before the Celebration
The first 450 class overall win of Chad Reed's career did not come without some anxious moments for the Australian star. He got the holeshot in the opening 30 minute plus two laps moto and won in fairly routine fashion after disposing of an early challenge from Andrew Short. It was a different story in moto two.
Reed was fourth early in the second moto, behind Ivan Tedesco, Andrew Short and Jeff Alessi, but had worked his way into the lead on the 10th of 15 laps over High Point's 1.3-mile course. But shortly thereafter, as Reed negotiated a hard right-hand turn, he hit an errant stick and went down. As he got to his feet and remounted his Suzuki, Tedesco closed in. Then, as Reed sped away, Tedesco hit the same root with the same result and surrendered second place to Short.
Reed's margins of victory were remarkably similar despite the second moto mishap. He was 4.480 seconds ahead in the first moto and 4.455 ahead in the second.
Dejà vu All over Again
Reed's first overall 450 victory came seven years after his only other overall win, in the old 125cc Lites class, and at the same track.
"It feels good to get my first (450 class) overall motocross win," he said, "but to be truthful I feel like I should have been here a long time ago. And it's fitting that my last win was a 1-1 here in 2002. We made some changes to the Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki RM-Z450 today and I've been feeling pretty comfortable on the bike, though I'm still not 100 percent (physically). I'm just doing the best I can to go out and put my best foot forward for the fans."
Reed's best at High Point made him the high point man in the class after four of the 12 races. He is 19 points ahead of injured teammate Mike Alessi and 24 in front of Andrew Short.
Yamaha's Josh Hill opened the day with one of his strongest rides of the season, taking 10th place in the opening moto. He got a poor start in the second moto, however, and never was able to recover, finishing 22nd to take 17th overall.
Winning the Second for the First Time
Christophe Pourcel had won every opening moto of the season and posted one overall victory before arriving at High Point. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider kept his streak of first moto wins alive by beating Trey Canard and Ryan Dungey, and then won the second moto as well after a race-long duel with Canard.
In that second moto, Canard got the holeshot and Pourcel tucked in right behind his Honda-mounted rival. They stayed that way despite Pourcel's best efforts to change things until lap 14, when Canard crashed and suffered a broken right wrist. Pourcel didn't squander his opportunity, holding off Dungey and Tommy Searle on the final lap.
The 1-1 finish gave Pourcel the maximum 50 points and a 2-point lead over Dungey in the standings.
Talk About Playing Hurt
Pourcel, of France, isn't just adjusting to life in America and getting his first look at the Pro Motocross Championship courses, he's doing it while compensating for the medical problems still lingering from a horrendous crash in practice for the 2007 Northern Ireland MX GP.
Pourcel suffered a fractured sacrum (the last bone of the spinal column) and shoulder in the crash, underwent almost six hours of surgery, and spent eight months bedridden and in a wheelchair. Now, however, he suffers from a severe stomach ailment that makes it nearly impossible for him to eat before racing, and doctors have said there is no cure for the malady.
One Up, One Down
Pourcel's Pro Circuit teammates had extremely different days at High Point. South African star Tyla Rattray continued to make an impressive adjustment to U.S. racing by finishing fifth and fourth for fourth overall. He's also fourth in the points, just 4 behind Trey Canard.
Aside from his holeshot in the first moto, Jake Weimer had a totally forgettable day. He crashed while in second place and fell twice more en route to 26th in that moto, then had to drop out of the second moto while running sixth. He was 32nd overall and out of the points for the day, dropping to 10th in the standings
Gutting it Out
Sara Price had another strong showing in the Women's class, racing with the leaders early in both motos, but ongoing back problems caused her to fade in both races. She took sixth overall, sixth in both motos and is sixth in the standings.