Racer X Race Report:  Thunder Valley

Racer X
Race Report Thunder Valley

June 26, 2011 9:15am

At the conclusion of the second 450 moto at the Toyota Trucks Thunder Valley National in Colorado, Ryan Dungey and his mechanic Mike Gosselaar went into their normal debrief. Under a tent near the finish line, Dungey talked about the lines he took, Goose explained what he saw, and the conversation didn’t seem any different than usual. Until finally Dungey just stopped talking. He looked to his mechanic and smiled. Gosselaar smiled back.

“This is a good feeling,” said Dungey. “I missed it.”

Dungey, Gosselaar and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team had finally gotten a race win in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, and better yet, they did it by fending off the challenges of title rivals Ryan Villopoto and Chad Reed. After a tough year of title defenses for Dungey—one that included only one victory in 17 rounds of Monster Energy Supercross, and a heartbreaking motocross loss at Freestone in Texas earlier this month, Dungey was finally a winner again.


Ryan Dungey (1) got the better of Chad Reed in both motos, and held off relentless pressure from Ryan Villopoto in the second moto to secure the overall win.
Garth Milan photo
Villopoto won the first moto for the third-straight week, but couldn't break Dungey in moto two.
Christian Craig (144) snagged the first-moto 450 holeshot a led early, just like he did a few weeks ago in Freestone. Josh Grant (33) tweaked his knee in the first moto, knocking him out of action for the day.
Garth Milan photos

In the 250 class, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett got that winning feeling back, too, but he had only missed it for two weeks. The Californian collected his third win of the season with his Colorado triumph, but behind him, teammate Dean Wilson logged a sold day to take second overall and retake the points lead from another teammate, Tyla Rattray, who struggled with bad starts and finished fifth in both motos.

Blake Baggett was back on his game and delivered his third overall win this season in just five races.
Garth Milan photo

Dungey and Villopoto were clearly the top two 450 riders on this day. Villopoto once again sped off with the first moto win on his Monster Energy Kawasaki, just like he did at the previous two rounds. He started about fifth and zapped Dungey on the first lap. Up front, Lucas Oil Troy Lee Designs Honda Rider Christian Craig had the holeshot and battled Reed for the lead, and when they bumped, Reed fell off of the main race line, allowing Villopoto to steal second. Soon Villopoto was around Craig and into the lead. Dungey would eventually pass Craig, but fell over while chasing Reed. Dungey dug deep and caught back up to Reed, and after several laps of battling, he passed Reed for second as well. But he had no chance of catching Villopoto.

In the second moto, Reed grabbed the holeshot in hopes of extending his unbeaten streak in every second moto this year. But Dungey proved stubborn, pressing the TwoTwo Motorsports Bel-Ray rider all around the track until Reed finally made a mistake and Dungey shot into the lead spot. Reed put up a better early fight in the second moto than the first, but soon yielded to Villopoto. This put the Ryans up front, 1-2, in reverse order of moto one.

The Dungey versus Villopoto battle was intense. Dungey knew a moto win would give him the overall via 2-1 scores. Villopoto was trying to finally notch a second-moto win to match his string of success in the first motos. Villopoto seemed faster on one half of the track, and Dungey faster in another, but past the halfway mark, Dungey found a few better lines and was able to inch away. His lead grew to about five seconds at one point, and he held on to win the moto against Villopoto by 3.8 seconds. Reed backed it down and finished over a minute back, admitting Lakewood was not one of his favorite tracks.

Last week's fourth-place finish at Budds Creek was supposed to be Kevin Windham's last run of the summer. But he decided to come back for Colorado. He grabbed fourth again!
Garth Milan photo

American Honda Racing/GEICO rider Kevin Windham was supposed to have raced his last race of the series last week, but he decided to come back and have some more fun. It was a good move, as he took fourth overall again via 4-4 scores. The rest of the 450 field has a tough time with consistency, and Andrew Short ended up fifth overall on his Red Bull Racing KTM via 7-8 finishes.

Windham’s Honda teammate Josh Grant was running fifth in moto one when he hooked his leg in a rut and popped his knee out. He pulled out of the race and sat out of moto two. Red Bull KTM's Mike Alessi battled Windham for fourth in moto one, and finished fifth. He crashed out of moto two.

In the 250 class, “El Chupacabra” Baggett was back to the form that carried him to wins at the first and third rounds of the season, locking up both moto wins for the overall victory. The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider was able to edge away from his teammate Dean Wilson in both races. And in both races, they had to fight their way past GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, who nailed two great starts.

In the first moto, Barcia and Wilson battled for the lead until Wilson finally secured it. Baggett made a move on Barcia, too, and then he and Wilson spent about half a lap slicing inside and outside of each other in every turning a thrilling battle for the top spot. Baggett found one more inside line in the first turn to cut in front of Wilson and secure the lead. From there, he took off.

Baggett (57) Barcia (17) and Wilson (15) got the starts at Lakewood and battled early in both motos.
Garth Milan photo

Meanwhile, series leader Rattray suffered a bad start and then went off the track. He battled back to fifth.

In moto two, Barcia was up front again along with his teammate Lance Vincent, Wilson, Baggett, and DNA Shred Stix Star Racing Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes. They all swapped positions around before Baggett found himself in the lead again and took off, again. Wilson took second. Barcia went down while running third and then later crashed again, but  his teammate Eli Tomac came through traffic and took over third, ahead of Eleven10 Mods privateer Darryn Durham and Rattray, who suffered from another bad start.

In the WMX class, DNA Shred Stix Star Racing Yamaha' s Jessica Patterson retruned to her winning ways, winning both motos by solid margins. American Honda Racing's Ashley Fiolek--the series points leader--took second overall, and both were clearing most of the bigger jumps on the track, which allowed them to pull away from the field. Tarah Gieger took third overall on her Lucas Oil Troy Lee Honda.

Jessica Patterson (1) was able to overcome Ashley Fiolek (67) to go 1-1 in the WMX class.
Garth Milan photo


Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship
Toyota Trucks Thunder Valley National
Thunder Valley MX Park - Lakewood, Colo.
June 25, 2011
Round 5 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
1.    Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki (2-1)
2.    Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki (1-2)
3.    Chad Reed, Kurri Kurri, Australia, Honda (3-3)
4.    Kevin Windham, Baton Rouge, La., Honda (4-4)
5.    Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM (7-8)
6.    Tommy Hahn, Great Bend, Kan., Yamaha (11-5)
7.    Brett Metcalfe, Mannum, Australia, Suzuki (9-7)
8.    Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (6-15)
9.    Jake Canada, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki (10-13)
10.    Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Yamaha (14-10)

450 Class Championship Standings
1.    Chad Reed, Kurri Kurri, Australia, Honda - 223
2.    Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki - 215
3.    Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki - 202
4.    Kevin Windham, Baton Rouge, La., Honda - 148
5.    Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha - 145
6.    Brett Metcalfe, Mannum, Australia, Suzuki - 144
7.    Ricky Dietrich, Snohomish, Wash., Yamaha - 109
8.    Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM - 102
9.    Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki - 100
10.    Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda - 97
250 Class (Moto Finish)
1.    Blake Baggett, Redlands, Calif., Kawasaki (1-1)
2.    Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Kawasaki (2-2)
3.    Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (3-3)
4.    Darryn Durham, Butler, Pa., Honda (4-6)
5.    Tyla Rattray, Durban, South Africa, Kawasaki (5-5)
6.    Ryan Sipes, Louisville, Ky., Yamaha (15-4)
7.    Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki (13-7)
8.    Travis Baker, Temecula, Calif., Honda (10-10)
9.    Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda (9-12)
10.    Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (11-13)

250 Class Championship Standings
1.    Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Kawasaki - 214
2.    Tyla Rattray, Durban, South Africa, Kawasaki - 206
3.    Blake Baggett, Redlands, Calif., Kawasaki - 194
4.    Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda - 176
5.    Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda - 137
6.    Kyle Cunningham, Irving, Texas, Yamaha - 127
7.    Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki - 113
8.    Gareth Swanepoel, Johannesburg, South Africa, Yamaha - 106
9.    Darryn Durham, Butler, Pa., Honda - 94
10.    Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda - 89

WMX Class (Moto Finish)
1.    Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (1-1)
2.    Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda (2-2)
3.    Tarah Gieger, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico., Honda (5-3)
4.    Sara Price, Canyon Lake, Calif., Kawasaki (4-4)
5.    Jacqueline Strong, Cottonwood, Ariz., KTM (6-6)
6.    Lindsey Palmer, Albuquerque, N.M., Honda (8-7)
7.    Alexah Pearson, Rocklin, Calif., KTM (7-10)
8.    Kasie Creson, Vallejo, Calif., Honda (9-9)
9.    Marissa Markelon, Bridgeport, Conn., Yamaha (12-8)
10.    Vicki Golden, El Cajon, Calif., Kawasaki (3-19)

WMX Class Standings
1.    Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda - 135
2.    Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha - 133
3.    Tarah Gieger, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico., Honda - 108
4.    Sara Price, Canyon Lake, Calif., Kawasaki - 79
5.    Jacqueline Strong, Cottonwood, Ariz., KTM - 78
6.    Kasie Creson, Vallejo, Calif., Honda - 72
7.    Marissa Markelon, Bridgeport, Conn., Yamaha - 69
8.    Alexah Pearson, Rocklin, Calif., KTM - 67
9.    Mariana Balbi, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Yamaha - 66
10.    Tatum Sik, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha - 59
11.    Vicki Golden, El Cajon, Calif., Kawasaki - 59