Round eight of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships has come and gone here at beautiful Washougal, Washington and we had a dominant winner in the 250MX class and a split decision in the 450MX class.
First though a streak (or slump) is dead. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto won the 450MX class with 2-1 motos to finally capture a win on his home track in front of his home fans. There have been years and years of dominance by Villopoto in outdoor motocross, but strangely enough, never a win at Washougal. Well, scratch that off the list. Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey holeshot the first moto and led wire to wire for a first moto win with Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart close behind.
It took Villopoto some time to get by Stewart, he made a few mistakes early and had to keep remounting an attack on Stewart while Dungey got away. By the time Villopoto finally got around Stewart, Dungey was gone. Villopoto did make a charge on the final two laps to get close to Dungey, but not close enough to show him a wheel. In the second moto, Villopoto stalked Dungey and eventually passed him with a nifty move by going outside in the turn after the famous Washougal whoops. From there, he checked out. Stewart rode mostly alone to solid 3-3 moto scores. Despite the great riding by Dungey, the title chase is still Villopoto’s to lose as they tied in points today and RV maintains a 42-point lead in the series as it dwindles down. Dungey was very, very good today but Villopoto was a bit better.
Jake Weimer scored a much-needed boost of confidence with a strong fourth in moto two.
Only a so-so day from Malcolm Stewart (13th overall) but his Lucas/TLD bike looked spectacular. The neon green plastic was designed to match the new TLD gear. Do not adjust your set!
GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac dominated the 250MX class with 1-1 rides and in the process gained six points on series points leader Red Bull KTM’s Kenny Roczen who went 2-2 on the day. The points lead is just one for Roczen with four rounds remaining. Roczen rode great today to minimize the damage as he was a ways back in the first moto before making some clutch passes.
The second moto finally presented a Tomac vs. Roczen battle, as Tomac knifed past his teammates Justin Bogle, Zach Osborne and Wil Hahn to grab the early lead, and Roczen soon passed them as well to get into second by lap two. But Tomac just kept pulling away from there.
Roczen’s teammate Marvin Musquin went 3-4 on the day for third overall and broke his string of so-so finishes in the last few races.
Some other news and notes:
GEICO Honda’s Zach Osborne continues to have poor first motos followed by stellar second motos. This weekend Osborne went 14-3 for 6th overall. Osborne claims that his arms pump up for the first motos and he’s helpless out there.
Justin Bogle was on point in both motos, with great starts and solid riding leading to fourth overall.
On the next to last lap of the final moto, while going up Horsepower Hill, Tomac hit a kicker and ended up coming really close to going over the bars. He barely saved it and even bounced off the track momentarily--a few folks standing trackside said it could have been a real disaster.
Villopoto’s teammate Jake Weimer scored a season high 4th place in the second 450 moto and also a season high 4th overall via his 10-4 moto scores. It was a nice ride for Weimer in the second moto as he passed and pulled away from Chad Reed and others.
The Honda Muscle Milk team had a weirdly consistent day with one bad moto and one great moto. Justin Barcia scored a 4th in moto one, and he was running second early until he fell down in a turn. Trey Canard was up there before having a small fall, also. In the second moto it was Barcia’s turn to crash twice and Canard got a terrible start. In the end Barcia salvaged a 17th while Canard had a great ride from way back to 11th.
Speaking of Reed, he had his best finish of the season with an 8th overall and we saw more fight from the 22 this weekend. We also saw more speed which is a good indicator going forward.
Privateer Weston Peick was back in action for the first time since Thunder Valley (round two) and was once again impressive, going 8-14 for 11th overall.
Defending 250MX champion Blake Baggett of the Monster Pro Circuit team did not have a good day and his chances of getting that number 1 plate are just about done. He rode well in the first moto and was running second until his bike gave up the ghost, leading to a DNF. In moto two he rode to a just-ok 8th place. The tough season for Baggett continues.
His teammates though had some bright moments. Justin Hill, a rookie on the circuit and on his home track, had by far his best race as a pro as he scored a strong fifth overall. The other rooke, Adam Cianciarulo, had his best pro moto in the first moto and Martin Davalos, the vet, came back from some missed races and got a top ten. The team's 450 rider Tyla Rattray finished way back due to crashes.
Mike Alessi worked his way through a tight pack of 450 riders in the second moto to finish sixth--one of his best rides, speed wise, of the season.
Team Mafia Moto Crew’s Nick Wey crashed in the second moto and was taken to the hospital after complaining of tingling in his arms. All in all everything checked out for the 27 and he was released tonight.
GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle was up front in both motos and had his best race of the season in getting 4th overall. Bogle was very fast and although late in both motos he lost a few spots, this was still something he can build on.
JGR Yamaha’s Josh Grant holeshot the second 450 moto and hoping to back up his first moto fifth when he started going backwards. From there he faded to a tenth but after the race said he had rear brake problems out there that prevented him from charging hard.
MCR’s Mike Alessi had a strong second moto as he charged from around tenth spot or so to get a sixth. Late in the race Mike had the third best lap times for a couple of laps.