MORGANTOWN, W.V. - The 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship reaches the halfway point of the season on Saturday with the annual Independence Day celebration from RedBud in Buchanan, Mich. Coverage of round six, the Monster Energy Motocross National, can be seen live exclusively on NBC Sports at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Last weekend, the world's best riders competed under the lights at mile-high altitude from Thunder Valley MX. A pair of new faces stood atop the podium in each class as Honda Red Bull Racing's Ivan Tedesco captured his first premier 450 Class victory and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Jake Weimer rebounded from a forgettable fourth round of racing to win in the 250 Class for the first time.
Reed was unable to carry the momentum he gained from his first career victory two races ago, but still put in a solid ride in Colorado finishing fourth overall. He still holds a 14-point lead in the standings and looks to bounce back onto the podium on Saturday. Teammate Michael Byrne was strong once again last weekend. The Australian rider continues to get faster each week, finishing fifth last Saturday. Last season, he stood on the podium at RedBud and hopes to do the same this year.
"I've been struggling with some things that are completely out of my control lately, so it was really great to get that win at High Point," explained Reed. "Going into RedBud, it's one of my favorite tracks on the circuit so I'm hoping to be 100 percent for the race this weekend."
"RedBud is an awesome track and I'm excited about the race," boasted Byrne. "Each week my shoulder is getting a little stronger and I'm getting more comfortable on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450. Hopefully, I'll get a couple of good starts this weekend and get a good result."
Honda Red Bull Racing
It was a big night for Honda at Thunder Valley. The red riders finished 1-2 overall and tightened up the championship battle. Tedesco's win vaulted him to third in the standings and gave him the confidence to win on a regular basis. Injuries sidelined the Florida rider from RedBud last season so he is excited to return. For Andrew Short, the race in his hometown was good for his title hopes. He closed in on Reed and now sits within striking distance. The Colorado native gets stronger as the season goes on, which bodes well for the championship.
"Winning Thunder Valley is really good, especially for the Honda Red Bull Racing team," commented Tedesco. "The team really deserves this win. We've all been working really hard and winning shows that our hard work is paying off. My goal is to continue this momentum and be consistent; finish on the podium every weekend."
"Going on from here, I would be foolish to change anything at this point in time," explained Short. "It's about stepping up now--continue what I've been excelling on in the past and improving my speed at future races."
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Ricky Dietrich continues to be the biggest surprise of the 2009 season. The off-road racer has made a seamless transition into motocross, posting fifth, sixth, and seventh place finishes in three races with Kawasaki. He currently sits ninth in the standings despite missing the second round of the season. His teammate Timmy Ferry made his return to action in Colorado. After taking additional time to heal from injury, he rode to a conservative 17th place finish. Last season at RedBud, Ferry experienced opposite ends of the spectrum with 23rd and second place results for eighth overall. He hopes to improve on that Saturday.
"RedBud is one of the best tracks I've ever ridden," said Dietrich. "The fans are an amazing part of the racing and they do a great job of keeping us motivated. I'm also excited because it is one of the Monster Energy Triple Crown races. Hopefully I can get my first win and also a big check from Monster Energy."
"I learned some things last weekend," explained Ferry. "I worked on them this week and hopefully I can get back to the front of the field. Coming back like this is a long process, and I know I need to be patient with it."
Joe Gibbs Racing was just one spot away from having each of its riders in the top 10 at Thunder Valley. Josh Grant posted a pair of fifth place moto results for sixth overall and still holds down fourth in the points, just nine points out of the top three. He finished fourth overall as a 250 Class competitor at RedBud in 2008. If it wasn't for first moto misfortune, Cody Cooper would have finished well inside the top 10 in Colorado. A 32nd place finish left him without any points, but he bounced back for eighth in moto two to finish 11th overall. He sits eighth in the standings and has a top 10 at RedBud last year to build upon for Saturday.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
Weimer's breakthrough victory was a long time coming for the Idaho rider. As a promising supercross competitor, he continued to develop his motocross skills but could never quite find the consistency he needed. His turnaround from round four is one of the most impressive performances in recent memory and with his newfound confidence, he will likely be a regular at the front of the field. Christophe Pourcel has not let his unfamiliarity with each track on the schedule affect his ability to run up front. The Frenchman has won the first moto at each round this season and thanks to that, has pushed his points lead to nine points heading into RedBud. South African Tyla Rattray continues to be one of the most consistent finishers in the class. Despite earning his worst finish of 2009 with a ninth at Thunder Valley, Rattray still sits third in the points and continues to improve each week.
"I really like racing at RedBud," stated Weimer. "It is a rider's track and hopefully the momentum I built from last week will carry over this week. I'm keeping my program pretty much the same this week so I should be relaxed when its time to go on track."
"I am feeling better every week," explained Pourcel. "The last two races have been a lot better, but I know RedBud will be a test for me. I just plan on riding smart because I want to win this championship."
"I going to rest a little this week," said Rattray. "I think I need to step back a little and take a short break. I'm looking forward to the race, but I know it is going to be a tough one."
If it wasn't for some bad luck, Ryan Dungey could still be atop of the point standings or at least closer than the nine points that he currently site behind leader Pourcel. At the last two rounds, Dungey has had to work his way through traffic to capture hard-earned results. Over the last four motos, Dungey has arguably passed more riders than any of his competitors. His fifth place finish in Colorado was his first off the podium in 2009, but RedBud is a favorite of the Minnesota rider and he looks forward to getting back on top this weekend.
"RedBud is one of my favorite tracks that we race at," stated Dungey. "It's got all you can ask for in a motocross track - elevation changes, good dirt and big jumps. I'm really looking forward to it. It should be a fun race."
GEICO Powersports Honda
Speedy rookie Justin Barcia came just a few laps short of capturing his first career moto victory last week. His fourth overall was the best he's had since the opening round and he continues to learn what it takes to run up front without over-riding. Teammates Blake Wharton and Brett Metcalfe both finished inside the top 10 at Thunder Valley as well, giving the team an impressive overall performance. Both Wharton and Metcalfe are consistent front-runners and each has quietly put together a strong season, sitting fifth and sixth in the points.
After two straight races of overall podium finishes, Tommy Searle is hoping to become a regular on the box. The British rider can always be found in the thick of the battles up front, but goes relatively unnoticed. With his recent performances, he could become a part of the championship fight by season's end. Bad starts hindered Wil Hahns night in Colorado. The Texas rider rode strong, but found difficulty in working his way through the very competitive 250 Class field. KTM welcomed the return of Martin Davalos at Thunder Valley. The Ecuador native showed the speed that makes him such a talented rider early on in the moto, but faded slightly in the end after being removed from race competition since late in the supercross season. His third place finish at RedBud in 2008 is a career best and he hopes to get back up to speed this weekend.
"It's nice to finish on the podium." said Searle. "I hope to continue to improve each weekend to ensure that I stay on the podium and hopefully move closer to the top of the box by the end of the season."
"I have had some bad starts lately which have forced me to have to make a lot more passes then I should have to be making," commented Hahn. "I don't want to have to climb forward through the pack anymore - I want to start up front and stay there."
"It was so much fun to be back and racing," boasted Davalos. "I started well and faded near the end of the moto but still managed to get a top ten. My endurance will continue to improve each race now that I am able to train on the bike again and I hope to get on the podium before the end of the season."
Round 5 Series Statistical Report
- RedBud boasts the largest jump in the series; LaRocco's Leap. A 120-foot uphill triple named after Indiana native Mike LaRocco who was the first rider to complete the feat.
- RedBud has hosted a national over the 4th of July holiday since 1978.
- There have been a total of six first time winners in their respective classes through five races. The most first time winners in a single season since the series changed to a two class format is six back in 1999.
- Ryan Dungey is the only winner this season to have previously captured an overall victory in his class prior to 2009.
- In the 250 Class, Christophe Pourcel has won the first moto at every round this season. He is also the only rider in the series to appear on the overall podium at each of the five rounds.
- With four different winners in five races, the premier 450 Class is seeing the most parity since the 2001 season when four different winners captured wins in the first five races.
- Wil Hahn captured the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award at Thunder Valley, passing 20 riders in the second 250 Class moto.
450 Class Stats:
- First Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship race held at RedBud was July 28th, 1974. Kenny Zahrt won on a Bultaco, marking the last AMA Motocross win for that manufacturer.
- This race marks the 29th time the gate will drop at RedBud for a Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship race.
- For 2009, RedBud will feature a first time winner at the track in the 450 Class.
- Marty Tripes won his last Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship race at RedBud in 1979.
- Jeff Ward won at RedBud on 125cc, 250cc, and 500cc bikes.
- Yamaha is in search of its first win at RedBud since 1997.
Wins by brand at RedBud
First time winners at RedBud
Kenny Zahrt, 1974 - Bultaco
Steve Wise, 1980 - Honda
Mike Kiedrowski, 1992 - Kawasaki
Last win by brand at RedBud
450 Class Point Standings - Thru 5 of 12 Rounds
- Chad Reed, Australia, Suzuki, 195
- Andrew Short, Smithville, Tex., Honda, 181
- Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 160
- Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 151
- Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 142
- Thomas Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Kawasaki, 123
- Michael Byrne, Australia, Suzuki, 117
- Cody Cooper, New Zealand, Yamaha, 104
- Ricky Dietrich, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki, 88
- Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 79
450 Class Wins by Brand
Suzuki - 3
Honda - 1
Kawasaki - 1
450 Class Muscle Milk Recovery Rider of the Day - Thunder Valley
Tyler Bowers (M1: 33, M2: 11) - 22 positions
250 Class Stats:
- The first 250 Class race held at RedBud was May 23, 1976, with Bob Hannah winning on a Yamaha.
- This race marks the 30th time the gate will drop at RedBud for a 250 Class race.
- Ryan Villopoto and Jeff Emig are the only two riders to win three in a row at RedBud.
- Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Steve Lamson, Jeff Emig, Mickey Dymond, Mark Barnett, and Ryan Villopoto all won back to back events at RedBud.
- For 2009, RedBud will feature a first time winner at the track in the 250 Class.
- Suzuki is looking for its first win at RedBud since 1990.
Wins by brand at RedBud
250 Class Point Standings - Thru 5 of 12 Rounds
- Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki, 217
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 208
- Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki, 160
- Tommy Searle, Great Britain, KTM, 153
- Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda, 144
- Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda, 141
- Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 139
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha, 130
- Justin Barcia, Cairo, Ga., Honda, 117
- Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 113
250 Class Wins by Brand
Kawasaki - 3
Suzuki - 2
250 Class Muscle Milk Recovery Rider of the Day - Thunder Valley
Matt Lemoine (M1: 22, M2: 7) - 15 positions
Tickets are available are available online at www.redbudmx.com. Wednesday through Sunday tickets: Adults - $70, Kids (6-11) - $35, Children 5 and under - Free; Saturday only tickets: Adults - $35, Kids (6-11) - $15, Children 5 and under - Free.
Fans can catch live video feed of the first motos in each of the three classes streaming on the internet at www.allisports.com beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
For more information about the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, please contact media coordinator Brandon Short via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (949) 365-5752.
For fan and racing information on the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, log onto www.allisports.com.
MX Sports Pro Racing
MX Sports Pro Racing manages and produces the world's most prestigious motocross series - the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. An industry leader in off road powersport production and management, its mission is to raise awareness of motocross racing through the production of professional championship racing events nationwide. Through its various racing properties, partnerships and affiliates, MX Sports Pro Racing fields more than 60,000 action sports athletes each year and attracts millions of active fans, spectators and enthusiasts. For more information, please visit www.mxsportsproracing.com.
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Lucas Oil is a worldwide leader in the production of oils, greases, and additives. Based in Corona, Calif., Lucas Oil Products is one of the fastest-growing additive lines in the consumer automotive industry, featuring a premium line of oils, greases, and problem-solving additives. Through innovative product research and development, along with aggressive marketing programs, Lucas Oil Products has established itself as the top-selling additive line in the American truck-stop industry.
Forrest Lucas and his wife, Charlotte, founded Lucas Oil Products in 1989 after he spent 20 years as a truck driver and owner of a nationwide long-haul trucking fleet. They experienced firsthand the need for better lubricants and fuel treatments to maintain their equipment.
Lucas Oil is involved in an array of motorsports sponsorships, including the "Official Motor Oil of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship." For more information on Lucas Oil, please visit www.LucasOil.com.
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AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. From its Daytona Beach headquarters, the organization operates and manages AMA Pro Road Racing, which includes AMA Pro American Superbike, AMA Pro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro SuperSport and AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT. AMA Pro Racing also manages and works closely with the day-to-day operational organizations of the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship and the AMA Pro Supermoto Championship Series in addition to other two-wheel and ATV series. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.