Thor/Parts Unlimited Motocross Week in Review: Steel City The final day of one of the most memorable seasons in Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship history came to a close with equal parts celebration and conjecture for the Thor/Parts Unlimited...
Thor/Parts Unlimited Motocross Week in Review: Steel City
The final day of one of the most memorable seasons in Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship history came to a close with equal parts celebration and conjecture for the Thor/Parts Unlimited team.
The celebration was for Australian superstar Chad Reed, who had 10 moto wins and five overall victories en route to his initial 450 Class championship, and French rookie Christophe Pourcel, who swept the day's motos to grab his fourth overall win of 2009. The curiosity and question of what could have been also came from the duo as Reed was forced to pull out with DNF in the final moto and Pourcel, despite the win, came up just 11 points shy of the 250 Class crown.
In addition to celebrating the summer champions, the American Motocross Festival also served as a Race to Cure Breast Cancer. Fans, teams and riders alike got into the spirit of PINK, raising $20,000 to support the fight for a cure as well as raising awareness for the disease.
The Best-Laid Plan Can Go Awry
The final event of a 12-race season that began in Southern California in late May concluded in Delmont, Pa., with Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki's Chad Reed already in possession of his first outdoor championship but wanting to cap it off with another overall victory. Instead, he had to settle for the final spot in the top 10.
"The last race didn't quite go to plan," said Reed, who rode with the No. 1 plate for the first time. "I was really looking forward to going out on a win, but I had a rough day and made silly mistakes and didn't feel well. I want to thank each and every member of the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team. I've had a great year and it was a blast."
Reed started eighth and finished second in the opening moto of the day to position himself for another overall win. Instead, he apparently was overwhelmed in illness and pulled off the track late in the second moto, finishing 34th.
A Champion and a Gentleman
Chad Reed was the last 450 rider to enter the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship and his decision surprised many of his rivals because the two-time Supercross Series champion hadn't ridden outdoors in two years. The effects of that layoff and a health problem hampered him early in the season, but after he got his first overall win at Mt. Morris, Pa., in round four he dominated the class.
On Saturday, Thor honored Reed and his dedicated return to the outdoor nationals by designing a custom #1 emblazoned helmet that Reed wore during the race.
Sunday night at the series' awards celebration in Pittsburgh, Pa., Reed was named Sportsman of the Year by MX Sports Pro Racing.
A Championship Effort
Christophe Pourcel reluctantly had to settle for second in the 250 Class after a season-long battle with Ryan Dungey. His performance on the final day was championship-caliber, however, and the character and competitiveness he displayed throughout his rookie season will likely translate into a title in the near future.
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider had suffered through a horrendous day at Moto-X 338 just one week prior, scoring only 10 points and going from 13 points ahead to 17 points behind Suzuki's Dungey in the standings. It was a daunting position to be in, but rather than lament his bad luck, Pourcel did everything he could by winning both motos and the overall. It was another instance of the Frenchman's unrelenting determination that he has shown throughout the season and since his devastating accident back in 2007.
The final standings showed Dungey with 503 points to Pourcel's 492, but the Pro Circuit rider could take solace in matching Dungey's overall wins total (4) and leading the class in moto wins (13), laps led (148) and qualifying average (2.0) while seeing all the tracks in the series for the first time.
Three Riders in the Top 10
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team finished with three riders in the top 10 of the final 250 Class standings and might have had more if injuries hadn't sidelined Austin Stroupe and Ryan Morais for lengthy periods.
Jake Weimer, who took fifth overall at Steel City with 4-8 finishes, was fourth in points and had three overall victories and South African Tyla Rattray was ninth despite a disappointing final day. Rattray, who missed three rounds, went 21-40 for 31st overall at Steel City and failed to score a point, but the international transplant was impressive throughout the season and will be a championship favorite heading into 2010.
Stroupe, who sat out half the season, was 7th overall at Steel City with 5-10 finishes and wound up 17th in the standings. Morais, racing for the first time this season outdoors, finished 7th in the opening moto and 22nd in the nightcap for 15th overall.
Rookie of the Year
Sara Price, the Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green rider from Canyon Lake, Calif., closed out her strong first season with 8-5 finishes that left her 7th overall at Steel City and fourth in the Women's Motocross Class point standings.
Price, who turned 17 earlier in the week, was named the WMX Class Rookie of the Year at Sunday's awards banquet.