On a day that American Motocross saluted its past, the Thor/Parts Unlimited team celebrated the present by dominating the winner’s circle in both classes of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at New Berlin, N.Y.
Team leader Chad Reed moved closer to his first 450 Class outdoor title by conquering a Unadilla Valley Sports Center course that always had given him problems. The Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki star extended his streak of moto wins to five, captured his third straight overall title and took a stranglehold on the top spot in the point standings with three races to go.
Meanwhile, in the 250 Class, French rookie Christophe Pourcel turned in a performance that mirrored Reed’s, winning both motos and the overall to regain a slim lead in the standings, whil his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate, Jake Weimer, had a pair of strong third-place finishes to round out the overall podium.
A 40th Birthday Party
Round nine of the championship had been dubbed the Unadilla Retro Motocross National to commemorate the 40th year of racing at the upstate New York facility. The track has been the site of numerous memorable moments for the sport, among them the first U.S. round of the Motocross des Nations, and several riders and teams paid their respects by donning retro plastics and gear. Reed was one of those, showcasing a Mark Barnett tribute Thor Force helmet throughout his dominating day.
In Control with Three to Go
Reed’s third straight overall victory put him in position to clinch his first AMA Pro Motocross championship at round 10 of the series on Saturday. Reed, a two-time AMA Supercross champion, has an 82-point lead over Honda’s Andrew Short and can wrap up the title by leaving Budds Creek with a 100-point lead. There are a maximum of 50 points available at each round, and if Reed and Short finished in a tie the Australian would be declared the champion by virtue of his race victories.
Reed also can hoist his first championship trophy by finishing seventh or better in each of the six remaining motos.
Déjà vu All Over Again
There was a similar pattern to Reed’s wins in both of the 16-lap motos.
Jeff Alessi got the holeshot in the first moto, then crashed out of the moto and turned the lead over to Davi Millsaps, but Reed overtook Millsaps on lap five and began pulling away to a 3.6-second victory over Kawasaki-mounted Tommy Hahn. In moto two, Short got the holeshot and the early lead, but got passed on lap 5 by Reed, who won by 4.9 seconds.
The overall victory was the Florida resident’s fourth of the season.
The consistency that has been a benchmark for Reed’s success in the AMA Supercross Series is being manifest on the outdoor circuit now. He also appears to be fully healthy again after being plagued by a stomach problem for the first half of the season. It all couldn’t have come together at a more opportune time.
“I’m really excited to get the overall win at Unadilla,” Reed said. “There’s so much history here, and this is a challenging track. It can bite you if you look away for just a second. I’ve always struggled here. It was great to go 1-1. I can’t complain. I had a goal and I stuck to it.
“Thanks so much to the Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki team because we’ve had our ups and downs, like everyone else, but things are going good right now.”
Frenchman Looks Familiar on Foreign Tracks
Christophe Pourcel, the international rookie star of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team, obviously found the rough and rutted Unadilla layout to his liking, and his 1-1 overall gave him another advantage over Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey in one of the most exciting 250 title fights in history.
Pourcel and Dungey went into the weekend tied in the standings. But after beating Dungey by 10 seconds in the first moto and 17.5 seconds in the second, Pourcel holds a 6-point lead with three races remaining. It was the third overall victory and ninth and 10th moto wins of the season for Pourcel.
Pourcel, who has almost constant stomach problems as a result of a life-threatening accident two years ago, had his perfect day on the track on his worst day of the season physically. He vomited on the starting gate before the opening moto, but as usual was able to overcome the health problems during the races.
Weimer, Stroupe Aid Strong Showing for Pro Circuit Team
Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer joined teammate Christophe Pourcel on the podium after a pair of solid third-place finishes and a third overall. Weimer, who has two wins, solidified his fifth place in the standings and could move to third in the final three weeks. Weimer, of Rupert, Idaho, trails KTM rider Tommy Searle by just 13 points.
The Pro Circuit team also got a boost from the return of Austin Stroupe, who had been sidelined since suffering a hip injury in round two of the series at Hangtown. The North Carolinian experienced misfortune in the opening moto, finishing 34th, but rebounded and took sixth in the second moto. That was good for 12th overall.
A Solid Debut for a National Champion
Justin Weeks, who won the 450A title and was fifth in the 250A class at the Loretta Lynn Amateur National Championship, made his professional debut at Unadilla. Weeks, riding as a privateer, finished the day in a four-way tie for 17th after placing 15th in the opening moto and 18th in the second. That second moto finish left the Suzuki rider 19th overall, however.
Next week, the series heads to Budds Creek MX Park in Mechanicsville, Md. for the Monster Energy Motocross National on Saturday, August 22.
About Parts Unlimited
Parts Unlimited is the world's largest distributor of aftermarket accessories in the powersports industry and is owned by LeMans Corporation headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin. Parts Unlimited sells to over 12,000 dealerships world wide and continues to expand its market penetration with its sister companies, Parts Canada, Parts Europe and Drag Specialties.
Parts Unlimited continues to promote racing through its campaign WE SUPPORT THE SPORT®, helping to drive consumers to dealerships, while entertaining its dealers through hospitalities at the events it sponsors.
About Thor Motocross
Thor is one of the originators of motocross apparel. When Torsten Hallman made his first U.S trip to race and promote motocross in 1966, he inadvertently started to develop Thor riding gear. Thor is a hardcore, grass roots company that understands what it takes to reach the top and more importantly, how to stay there. It is one of a few companies with over 40 years experience in the motocross marketplace.
Thor, a house brand company for Parts Unlimited, combines design and marketing with superior distribution to reach it's thousands of dealers and consumers priding ourselves on key selling features like quality, strength and performance. Thor is more than a brand. It is a lifestyle.