When the sun went down on Saturday, so did Chad Reed’s stress level. The Australian star’s third overall victory of the season left him in firm control of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship’s 450 class with four of the 12 races remaining. Christophe Pourcel, on the other hand, felt the pressure increase after his third-place overall finish in the 250 class left him in a tie for the points lead with the four-race Eastern swing remaining.
Reed’s Now at Home Outdoors
There’s no longer any question of how long it will take Chad Reed to reacquaint himself with outdoor motocross after taking two years off. He’s answered that with overall wins in three of the past five events, and each win has been a little more impressive than the one before it.
Saturday, in round eight of the series at Washougal (Wash.) Motocross Park, the two-time Supercross champion dominated the Motosport.com Motocross National on a warm, humid day. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider got the holeshot in the first moto and was 3.54 seconds ahead of Thomas Hahn when the checkered flag waved after 30 minutes plus two laps (16 laps total). In the second moto he overcame a slick, demanding track and a start that left him seventh on the opening lap to take the lead with just over two laps remaining and win by 8.54 seconds over Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha’s Josh Grant.
"It was a good day,” boasted Reed. “It’s always a good day when you win and particularly to go one-one for both motos on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450. It was awesome and I’m very, very happy.”
Still Riding the “Big Mo”
Reed said before practice began that his main objective for the weekend was to “keep some momentum going” and he accomplished that. Since his initial 1-1 overall victory in round four at Mt. Morris, Pa., Reed’s only finish out of the top three has been a seventh in moto two at Thunder Valley and he has won three motos in a row.
More importantly, he continues to feel strong physically and apparently has rid himself of the stomach ailment that made the first half of the season difficult.
“I feel like I’m making progress with my riding, with my health, with my fitness,” Reed explained. “It’s all starting to click at the same time and that’s what’s important. I wanted to win, there was a lot of pressure and my pride was on the line, so it was good.”
A Big Lead and a Nice Break
The dominating performance at Washougal enabled Reed to go into the final break in the season with a 65-point lead over Yamaha’s Josh Grant, who moved past Honda’s Andrew Short with a second overall. Short, who was 12th overall, trails Reed by 70 points.
The Pro Motocross Championship will take a two-week break before beginning the stretch run August 15 at Unadilla, N.Y. That will be followed by races at Budds Creek, Md., Southwick, Mass., and the season finale September 5 at Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pa.
Pourcel No Longer Alone at the Top
Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rookie Christophe Pourcel continues to demonstrate both outstanding riding skills and impressive maturity, and he needed both to avoid a potentially disastrous day at Washougal.
A pileup on the opening lap of the first 250 class moto left both Pourcel and teammate Jake Weimer near the rear of the field. Pourcel mounted a charge, but had to settle for an eighth-place finish that dropped him to second in the point standings, 9 behind first moto winner Ryan Dungey. The French star regrouped quickly, however. He won the second moto, took third overall and ended the day tied with Dungey, who was fifth in the second moto.
The third-place overall incredibly was Pourcel’s worst finish of the season, and he remains the only rider to stand on the overall podium at every race this season.
Weimer Posts Another Strong Finish
Jake Weimer, who had his two-race win streak snapped at Spring Creek, continued his impressive riding of late with a fifth overall that leaves him fifth in the point standings.
The Pro Circuit rider from Idaho had his first moto hopes destroyed by a first-lap incident that left him well back in the field and had to settle for 10th. He rebounded nicely, though, by taking second to teammate Pourcel in the second moto.
Price Keeps Top Five Hopes Alive
Sara Price didn’t have the best of days at round six of the Women’s Championship, but did well enough to hold onto fifth place in the standings with two races remaining in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
Price’s day started on a down note when she lost the motor in her Kawasaki during morning practice, and then she settled for a 10th place finish in the opening moto. In the nightcap, however, she got a good start and ran up front all the way, finishing fourth in the moto and moving her up to seventh overall.
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