Pourcel Returns to the Podium For Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki at Texas Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Christophe Pourcel podiumed for the third straight race, finishing second overall at Freestone County Raceway in Wortham, Texas.
Pourcel Returns to the Podium For Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki at Texas
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Christophe Pourcel podiumed for the third straight race, finishing second overall at Freestone County Raceway in Wortham, Texas. Pourcel's teammates Tyla Rattray and Jake Weimer finished seventh and 14th overall respectively. In the 450 class, Monster Energy Kawasaki off-road rider Ricky Dietrich finished fifth overall, making a strong transition into motocross racing while filling in for Timmy Ferry. Branden Jesseman dislocated his thumb in the first moto and did not ride the second.
Getting off on the Right Foot
For the third straight event Pourcel climbed to the top step of the podium in the first moto. Unlike the previous two races where the French rider chased down the leader, this time he got on point early and never looked back.
"The first moto was really good," said Pourcel. "I got a good start and I just rode the pace I needed to get the win. The track was rough, but I rode well and I'm happy I got the win."
Dietrich's debut on the Monster Energy Kawasaki motocross team could not have been much better. The off-road racer, who has won titles in both the WORCS and EnduroCross series, showed he also has the speed and skills to compete at the front of the moto field finishing 7-6 for fifth overall.
"I knew I could get a good finish, if I got a good start," said Dietrich. "I went out there, picked my own lines, and didn't worry about anyone else. It was hot and it was tough. This might have been one of the toughest races I've been in. I didn't get the start I wanted in the first moto, but I passed a lot of people and got to seventh. In the second moto, I got the start and I rode up front with those guys. I had to back it off a little bit because I'm not used to doing two 30-minute motos back-to-back like this. It was a learning process for me. I'm happy. This is awesome. I knew I could do it."
Top 10 Again
Rattray continued to show speed as he scored another top-10 finish. The South African rider knows he has what it takes to get back on the podium, he just needs to work on a couple of small things.
"I've still got a lot of work to do," said Rattray. "I need to keep working hard and try to improve my starts. The pace is fast and I need to work on finding a little bit of time, but I know I can do it."
In the first moto, Dietrich didn't get a good start and had to work his way through the field to get his seventh place finishing position. In the second moto it looked like he would have the same battle on his hands until he saw a seam in the first corner allowed him shoot from mid-pack to sixth by the exit of the second turn.
"I got a good jump out of the gate," said Dietrich. "I had to dab the clutch and as soon as I did, everyone blew right by me. I'm still learning what to do on the start. In the second moto it seemed like everyone kind of pushed a little wide and my Kawasaki just hooked it so good on the inside and I just throttled out. It went from a mediocre start to a good start and I was so stoked coming out of that second turn."
Though he is only three races into the series, Pourcel knows every point matters and in the second moto he showed he was ready to get as many points as he could. He worked his way from outside of the top 10 to fourth by the checkered flag, riding methodically by not taking big chances and not making any mistakes.
"It wasn't easy today," said Pourcel. "The track was rough, and I got a bad start in the second moto. I just rode patient and worked my way up to fourth. I lost a little ground in the championship, but I know what I have to do."
A rash of injuries has hit both the Monster Energy Kawasaki and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teams. At Freestone, Branden Jesseman dislocated his thumb in a crash in the first moto and was unable to race the second. His status for next week at High Point Raceway is still unknown. For the Pro Circuit team, Austin Stroupe chipped a bone in his hip last week in a crash at Hangtown. He missed the Texas event and his status for High Point is also unknown.
The track at Freestone County Raceway was a little different than last year as the promoter added sand to the back section. Combining the rutted and rough track with the hot conditions made for difficult racing all day.
"It was pretty tough today," said Rattray. "The end of the second moto was difficult because of the heat. I got a little bit tired at the end, but that's nothing to worry about. I'm just going to keep working hard."
Ryan Villopoto wasn't with the team in Texas, but he was watching the action. After having surgery earlier in the week to repair his knee, Villopoto tuned into the same-day television coverage on SPEED to see how the team was doing.
Though Dietrich is an off-road racer who routinely competes in two-hour events, he still felt the fatigue of racing two 30-minute motos in the Texas heat.
"This may sound funny to the motocross guys," said Dietrich. "But a two-hour race feels easier to do than two 30-minute motos. It's because I have experience with those long races and I know when to pace myself, and when to charge. I'm still learning how to save energy between motos. The more experience I get, the better my results should be."
Weimer had a long day at the Freestone County Raceway, battling the heat as well as his competitors. Weimer got a good jump in the first moto and was running in the top five before a mid-race fall pushed him way back in the field. He rode strong to get back up to 18th in the moto and then rode to an 11th place finish in the second moto.
"The first moto started off all right," said Weimer. "I was running fifth and was feeling good. Everything was going well. Then I fell over in one of the right hand turns and I had a tough time getting restarted. In the second moto, I didn't get out of the gate very good. It was a hot day and I didn't have much left in the tank."
Though he is still recovering from his broken heel, Timmy Ferry made the trip to Texas to meet his fans and also help coach the two riders in the Monster Energy Kawasaki rig. Red Dog signed autographs on Friday at Fan Fest before joining the team in the mechanics area during the motos to help out.
As the defending MX2 World Champion, Rattray has a wide variety of experience to draw from when racing in a new series. After three events in America, he has found many similarities to the GP series, but also some challenges.
"The racing is a little bit different than to Europe," said Rattray. "The other guys are really fast right from the start. So getting up front early is important. It has been going good for me and I'm liking the tracks in America a lot."
Believing in Yourself
At the Las Vegas Supercross, Dietrich joined the SX/MX team at a dealer autograph session and told team manager Mike Fisher that he could get a top-five motocross finish this season. The confidence rang true as the checkered flag flew in Texas and Dietrich showed how strong he could be.
"I believed what I said," said Dietrich. "I know how my speed compares to some top motocross guys because I train with Ryan Hughes. I believed that I could do it and I just had to go out and show everyone that I could. I put in a lot of hard work and today showed that hard work pays off."