A week after enjoying the high point of his Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship season and celebrating his first overall win in the 450 Class, Thor/Parts Unlimited team leader Chad Reed gave a solid performance in Colorado Saturday night to...
A week after enjoying the high point of his Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship season and celebrating his first overall win in the 450 Class, Thor/Parts Unlimited team leader Chad Reed gave a solid performance in Colorado Saturday night to maintain his lead in the point standings.
Electricity was literally in the air as the sun set behind the Rocky Mountains and the big news from Thunder Valley Raceway came from the 250 Class with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Jake Weimer getting his first moto and overall wins. Adding to the excitement, points leader Christophe Pourcel extended his advantage in the standings and Tyla Rattray took ninth overall to give the team all three riders in the top 10.
Doing the Best with What's Available
If the mark of a champion is making the most of those days when things don't go perfectly, then Chad Reed took a giant step toward the title with his effort in round five of the 12-race series.
The two-time Supercross champion spent all day unsuccessfully searching for a comfort zone on the 6,100ft elevation facility in Lakewood, Colo. The Australian star qualified only 11th and was finding his rhythm early on but fought his way through traffic to put his Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki in third at the close of the opening moto. He finished seventh in the second moto and tied in points with Thomas Hahn for third overall, although Hahn was credited with the spot based on his third-place finish in the final moto meaning Reed had to settle for fourth.
Displaying His Determination
The fourth-place finish in Colorado enabled Reed to maintain his lead in the 450 Class standings as the series heads for a 4th of July event at RedBud in Buchanan, Mich. That's a tribute to the Florida resident's talent and determination, because in addition to his foes on the track Reed continues to fight health issues.
"I got a good start -- actually a great start -- in the first moto, then I went out and rode like crap out there," Reed said. "It's pretty disappointing. I was struggling all day long. I'm dealing with some personal issues that I have no control over and it's tough. But I've got to say thanks to all the guys on the Rockstar Makita team because they're working their booties off trying to keep me happy."
A Monster of a Turnaround
There are turnarounds, and then there is what Jake Weimer did at Lakewood. The Idaho native had suffered through one of the most difficult days of his career when he failed to score a point during round four of the series. So he made up for it with the best day of his career, finishing second in the opening 250 Class moto and winning the final moto under the lights to take first overall for Pro Circuit Kawasaki.
"It feels great to get my first outdoor overall win," said Weimer. "It's actually my first moto win too, so it is really sweet. My bike was great tonight and I rode almost mistake free. I went down in the second moto, but I only lost a couple of spots and I was able to get them back."
It was the first overall win and the first moto win outdoors for Weimer, but it didn't come without some drama. He chased teammate Christophe Pourcel throughout the first moto for a strong runner-up showing, then got the holeshot in the second moto, only to fall and give up the lead. Weimer remounted in third and quickly regained his rhythm, passing Justin Barcia for the lead just past the halfway point and going on to win by 2.1 seconds.
"Having the break from High Point to Thunder Valley helped me a lot," continued Weimer. "I was really pushing to get results in the first four events and that was hurting me. During the break I was able to get some rest and relax. I always ride better when I'm relaxed and I think that showed in my performance today."
What an Opening Act
Christophe Pourcel continues to give new meaning to the term "off to a fast start." At Thunder Valley the Frenchman performed well in his first outing with the red plate, stretching his streak of opening moto wins to five in five rounds by getting the holeshot and holding off teammate Jake Weimer.
"In the first moto, I got the holeshot and I was really happy with my bike," said Pourcel. "I saw Jake behind me and I told him he should follow me because he would have a good pace and finish pretty high. That's what he did and I'm really happy for him"
The second moto didn't go as well, however. Pourcel clipped the starting gate and even though he somehow managed to avoid going over the handlebars he was at the back of the pack on the opening lap. He put in a masterful ride by picking his way through the field to finish sixth in the moto and second overall. That enabled him to extend his points lead to 9 over Ryan Dungey.
"I'm happy with second place," he added. "It was a difficult track and I had to come all the way from the back in the second moto. My goal is the championship and I earned a lot of points today to keep running the red background number plate as the series leader. I'm feeling better every week and I'm looking forward to racing at RedBud for the first time."
Pourcel is the only rider in either class to finish in the top three overall at every race this season.
A Trio of Top 10s
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team maintained its record of having won every 250 Class national at Thunder Valley and finished with all three of its riders in the top 10 overall after Tyla Rattray took ninth with 8-9 finishes. The South African moved into third in the standings as he continues his adjustment to American competition.
Hoping to Take the Fifth
Sara Price continued her solid season in the Women's Motocross series by using finishes of eighth and fifth to take sixth overall and move within one point of fifth in the standings after 10 of the 16 motos this season.
The Canyon Lake, Calif., resident tuned up for Thunder Valley by winning the Loretta Lynn's Regional Qualifier at Lake Whitney, Texas. Price won all three motos of that competition.
Next weekend, the Thor/Parts Unlimited team will reach the halfway point of the 2009 season with the Independence Day tradition at RedBud. Each member will be looking for their first career victories at the legendary circuit and setting a positive tone for the final six races of the season heading into the second off-week of the year.
The WMX Class takes a break from competition with five of eight rounds completed. Price and her rivals return to the track at Washougal in Washington on July 25.