WORTHAM, Tex. (June 6, 2008) – After a successful start to the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF, the world’s top motocross riders head to Wortham, Texas on June 7-8 for the Monster Energy Freestone Motocross National Presented by Yamaha, Kicker Audio and Berkey’s Plumbing
Once again, Kawasaki riders were the riders to beat with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s James Stewart and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto sweeping both motos in the AMA Motocross and AMA Motocross Lites classes.
Stewart has consistently proven to be the fastest rider on the track, going a perfect four-for-four in motos this season and leading every single lap. This weekend, however, he is in for a new challenge, having never ridden a lap at the second-year track at Freestone Raceway.
““I’ve never been to Freestone,” said Stewart. “I’m not even sure where I fly into. I’ve seen pictures and it looks fun. I can’t wait for the sand whoops up front. I’ve always been pretty good in those and I have them at my house. So I’m stoked to have those there.”
Veteran Tim Ferry also had a great weekend, bouncing back after missing the podium in the opening round. Ferry battled through the pack and showed stellar endurance, fighting hard for two second-place finishes in the motos and helping Monster Energy Kawasaki to a 1-2 finish overall. Last season, he pieced together moto finishes of fourth and third at Freestone.
“I’m looking forward to Texas,” said Ferry. “I think they’re going to make it better than last year when it was rough. If it is anything like Hangtown, then it is an advantage for me. I like it when the track is rough. I’m curious to see what they do with the track. That place can be pretty awesome and I think they are going to step it up this year.”
With Austin Stroupe earning the overall victory in round one, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki extended its winning streak to two in Sacramento as Villopoto broke through with his first win of the season. Villopoto has now won three of four motos this season and shows no signs of being caught if he gets a good start out of the gates. With his current wave of momentum, in addition to taking both motos at Texas last season, Villopoto’s confidence is high.
“I like Freestone and I here it is going to be really hot and rough,” said Villopoto. “Working with my trainer helps a lot because having two 30 minute plus two lap motos is tough. I’m going to keep working this week and hopefully come out of Texas with a bigger points lead.”
The remaining Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders of Stroupe, Brett Metcalfe, and Branden Jesseman also had good weekends in Sacramento. Stroupe and Metcalfe put on a great battle for fourth throughout the 60-minutes plus of racing while Jesseman walked away with an eighth-place finish.
In the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki stable, AMA Motocross Lites rider Ryan Dungey carried the flag for the yellow bikes, putting together strong second and third-place finishes in the day’s motos to finish second overall. Despite missing the podium in round one, his consistency has helped push him to second place in the standings, just nine points out of first heading into Texas.
“I’m pretty happy with my race at Hangtown last weekend,” said Dungey, who missed the Texas round last year due to injury. “Every week, the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki RM-Z250 is getting a little better and better. This week, I’m just doing my regular program and focusing on getting myself prepared to give 100 percent at Freestone next weekend.
AMA Motocross class rider Mike Alessi experienced an up and down weekend at Hangtown. After falling early in the first moto, he was forced to the mechanics area for bike repairs. Upon re-entering, he kept his head down in true Alessi fashion and battled back for a 16th-place finish. In the final moto, he capitalized on a good start and maintained a consistent pace to bring the bike home in fourth, good for seventh overall.
“This week we are taking it easy,” explained Alessi. “I want to focus on a lot of training and working on getting better starts on my Rockstar/Makita Suzuki RM-Z450. I like the Freestone track a lot, and I am excited to see if they made any changes from last year.”
Michael Byrne continues his return from injury, compiling two consistent weekends to currently hold eighth in the standings. After a seventh place finish in the opening round, Byrne stayed steady on the rough Hangtown circuit while several of his competitors found trouble. His moto finishes of ninth and 10th helped him earn eight place overall.
“I was a little disappointed in my results at Hangtown last week because I didn’t capitalize on some spots that I should have,” said Byrne. “But sometimes I forget that I’ve been out of racing because of injury for six months. I just need to be patient. Now, I’m back home in Georgia so I can get used to the humidity and the heat before we go to Texas, where it’s going to be very hot this weekend.”
The Red Bull Honda camp heads to Freestone with a lot to be happy about. An overall consistent effort from each of its four riders completed a 180-degree turnaround from the opening round. Early on in the second moto, all four Red Bull Honda riders were in the top six, ultimately leading to top 10 overall finishes for each rider. Additionally, fellow Honda rider Kevin Windham, who is not competing in the series this season, took the first-ever victory at Freestone County Raceway last season.
Ivan Tedesco led the way for the red bikes with an outstanding third place effort. He credits his return to the podium in large part to new training partner Ricky Carmichael and continued partnership with the G.O.A.T. will only lead to more success.
Factory Yamaha’s Josh Hill continues to look for a clean weekend of racing in this young 2008 season. After suffering a fall in one of the motos in the opening round, Hill also found the ground in moto one at Hangtown. An outstanding comeback effort helped him to an 11th-place finish while a relatively clean moto resulted in a ninth-place finish for ninth overall. Given the opportunity to ride at his own pace, Hill has the speed to run up front.
The producers of the Racer X Motocross Show on Motocross.com are adding a new feature this weekend that is expected to increase on-site interaction with the fans and some of their favorite riders. The all-new Racer X Pre-Race Show on Motocross.com Presented by Toyota Trucks will tape on Saturday morning from each race site this summer, complete with a broadcast desk set up in an outside studio environment at the Toyota All-Access Zone that will be placed amongst the fans in the spirit of ESPN’s College GameDay, a weekly, fan-friendly pre-game show broadcast live from football stadiums across the country.
This weekend’s Racer X Pre-Race Show on Motocross.com Presented by Toyota Trucks will be hosted by Jason Weigandt and Davey Coombs and is scheduled to go live at 11:00 a.m. Central Time, with scheduled guests including Honda Red Bull Racing's Ben Townley, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, Miss Motocross Erin Normoyle, along with many more. Fans are encouraged to attend the taping of the show on site, as prizes will be handed out from sponsors like Makita Tools, Mechanixwear, Scott USA, Moto-Tees, and of course Racer X and Toyota. You can also log onto www.motocross.com to catch the Racer X Pre-Race Show on Motocross.com Presented by Toyota Trucks, as well as the live audio webcast on Sunday during the race, and Monday's wrap, featuring exclusive race footage, interviews and more.
Geico Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard garnered his second Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award last weekend in Sacramento. After falling in the second turn of the first AMA Motocross Lites moto, Canard found himself in 39th place. A spectacular ride through the pack not only showcased Canard’s unbelievable speed, but also his determination as a motocross rider. The young rider brought home the bike in 11th place, passing 28 riders along the way to earn the coveted award for a second consecutive week.
James Stewart – 62
AMA Motocross Lites
Ryan Villopoto – 43
Jason Lawrence – 14
Austin Stroupe – 4
Ryan Dungey - 1
Interview opportunities are available to the media by contacting AMA Toyota Motocross Championship media coordinator Brandon Short via email at Media@MXNationals.com or by phone at 951-203-2605.
For more information on the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship, presented by FMF, log on to www.amamotocross.com for live timing and scoring at @theWireLIVE!. Racer X Illustrated will host a new and improved webcast on www.motocross.com, with live racing action hosted by Jason Weigandt. The Racer X Motocross Show on Motocross.com has also been added on Saturday night of each race weekend, featuring practice footage and interviews taken earlier in the day.
Credential requests for each round of the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF must be submitted via email to Media@MXNationals.com three weeks prior to the race. Media members interested in interviews with the riders of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF should contact Brandon at 951-203-2605 or email Media@MXNationals.com.
About the National Promoters Group (NPG)
The National Promoters Group (NPG) comprises 12 individual promoters of the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF which sanctions outdoor motocross events throughout the United States, and remains the Nation's premier outdoor motocross championship series. NPG's mission is to raise awareness of motocross racing through the production of professional championship racing events nationwide.
About AMA RacingAMA Racing is the competition arm of the American Motorcyclist Association and is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its professional properties include the Monster Energy® AMA Supercross Series, an FIM World Championship, the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF, the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, the AMA Flat Track Championship, the AMA Supermoto Championship and the AMA Pro ATV Championship. In amateur and pro-am competition, AMA Racing sanctions over 4000 events in 24 different disciplines and supports over 110 thousand active members. For more information about professional racing, visit www.amaproracing.com. Accredited media outlets can also access an on line Press Room at www.amaproracing.com/pressroom. For amateur racing information visit www.amadirectlink.com/amrace