Unadilla: Round eight preview

NEW BERLIN, N.Y. (July 18, 2008) -- With the second half of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF underway, the series makes its lone stop to New York the weekend of July 19-20 with the Monster Energy National at Unadilla...

NEW BERLIN, N.Y. (July 18, 2008) -- With the second half of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF underway, the series makes its lone stop to New York the weekend of July 19-20 with the Monster Energy National at Unadilla Presented by Renegade Haulers.

Last weekend at Budds Creek, AMA Motocross class points leader, Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart, put together his most dominating performance of the season en route to achieving his 13th and 14th consecutive moto wins and seventh overall victory. Unadilla has not been kind to Stewart since his move up to the premier class, but he's going into this weekend's race with a positive outlook.

"I'm going into Unadilla with a positive attitude," said Stewart. "I've had my problems there in the past, but I'm not going to let the track get to me. I'm working hard and my goal is still to win the championship."

Teammate Tim Ferry made his return to the overall podium at Budds Creek, showing stellar endurance to overcome large deficits and garner back-to-back runner-up finishes for second overall. He has had some success in the past at Unadilla and hopes for good results this weekend.

"I won a moto at Unadilla, beating (Ricky) Carmichael straight up," stated Ferry. ‘I'm riding really well and I just need to get a couple of good starts and I think I can keep James (Stewart) in sight. If I can ride like I did in the second moto last week it will be a good race."

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto covered the field at Budds Creek in the AMA Motocross Lites class, earning his sixth overall victory of the season. While he was forced to overcome some difficult starts, once he worked his way through traffic into the lead, he set sail. In 2006, Villopoto earned his lone Unadilla victory.

"The track is a good layout," said Villopoto. "There isn't much soil left so there's a lot of rock bits. Though it isn't my favorite track on the schedule I've had some success there and I hope I can get another two moto wins."

Teammate Brett Metcalfe had his best performance of the season at Budds Creek, earning third-place overall after fifth and fourth place moto finishes. With the result, he moved into third in the season standings. A much needed boost for the rider who has struggled with nagging injuries all season.

"I'm healing every week," said Metcalfe. "My shoulder is really not an issue anymore and my ankle isn't hurting too much so I think I can be back on the podium again. Though a lot of guys don't like Unadilla, I think it is a good place to race. I don't know why but I have always liked it there."

The third member of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team, Austin Stroupe, will miss his third straight event.

At Rockstar/Makita Suzuki, Michael Byrne continued to ride strong at Budds Creek, posting a fifth-place overall finish. His recent efforts have moved him into sixth in the points. His continued improvement in riding and health go hand in hand and by working on the fine details, he can continue this recent wave of momentum.

"I have a recovery week this week," explained Byrne. "I'm just going to continue to work on speed and sprint work. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 has been getting me great starts but I still need to work on my overall speed during the first several laps of the moto. I'm hoping to work on that to prepare for Unadilla this weekend."

Teammate David Vuillemin continues his climb back from injury in his second race since having knee surgery while Mike Alessi is optimistic about his future, but remains sidelined after his tough crash at RedBud.

In the AMA Motocross Lites class, Ryan Dungey returned to the podium after a two-week absence. His persistence throughout the day's motos translated into third and second place finishes and second overall, allowing him to maintain his hold on second in the standings.

"We had been struggling a bit," stated Dungey. "But we made some changes to the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki RM-Z250 at Budds Creek that really helped a lot. This week, I'm still doing my regular program, just trying to be consistent and be the best that I can be. The Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team has been doing a great job and now I'm just focusing on trying to get the job done."

Teammate Nico Izzi showed flashes of speed in Maryland, blasting into first in the early portions of the first moto to lead his first laps of the season. A series of strong runs since High Point have helped Izzi climb to fifth in the points and give the young rider a lot of confidence and even more momentum.

"It's pretty important to not overstrain during the week because you don't want to make yourself sick," said Izzi. "You need to get some rest so I'm just planning to stick with my same routine -- some riding the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z250 and some training -- and improve on the little things."

At Red Bull Honda, Andrew Short and Davi Millsaps will lead the charge flag for the red bikes in the AMA Motocross class.

Short battled with rival Tim Ferry throughout both motos at Budds Creek. He stayed consistent and refused to ride over his head and avoided mistakes to bring home a pair of third place finishes and third overall. Short is beginning to gain momentum, getting stronger every week.

Millsaps had another rough weekend at Budds Creek. After a solid first moto in which he brought home a sixth place finish, a fall in the second moto forced him to record a DNF.

In AMA Motocross Lites, GEICO Powersports Honda's Trey Canard showed his speed for the second week in a row. After a stellar battle at the front in the early stages of moto one, Canard established himself as the second fastest rider on the track to bring home the runner-up spot. In moto two, the young rider grabbed his first Holeshot Award. While riding in second, he got tangled with a lapped rider and fell. Unable to restart the bike he recorded a DNF. With his recent improvement, Canard has moved into seventh in the points.

Teammate Josh Grant also had a rough weekend at Budds Creek. While apparent technical issues nagged the team throughout the weekend, Grant managed to bring home a ninth place finish in moto one before dropping out of moto two.

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers David Vuillemin , Josh Grant , Mike Alessi , James Stewart , Ryan Dungey , Ryan Villopoto , Trey Canard , Davi Millsaps , Andrew Short