- Even heavy rain on Friday couldn’t dampen RedBud’s sparkling reputation. The pits were pretty much covered in standing water by Friday night, and the track was soaked. In fact, the rain came in harder than predicted, so instead of sealing the track in, much of it had been ripped up, allowing the rain to do even more damage. Friday’s amateur racing on the national track was cancelled. But a good old dose of sunshine on Saturday took care of that, and most riders said the track was even fun by the first practice. By the motos, any thoughts of this race being a mudder were gone. As Brett Metcalfe explained, “It’s RedBud, you knew it was going to turn out okay.”
- Rain was expected on Saturday by around 3 p.m., but it never came. Clouds finally did roll in by the end of the final moto of the day—the second WMX moto—but they never opened.
- For the first time this year, the 450 class raced before the 250 class. Why? To fit their moto into NBC’s 5 p.m. Eastern live slot.
Hahn finished sixth overall in his first action of 2011.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson
- Tough day for the GEICO Honda team. Wil Hahn finally returned to action after missing the entire 2011 season thus far with a broken back and broken shoulder, and he rode well, going 8-6 for sixth overall. But Eli Tomac missed the motos after crashing hard on LaRocco’s leap in practice, then getting clipped by another rider as he attempted to get up. Tomac took an ambulance ride to the hospital to be checked out, but he later returned saying he was bruised up, but nothing was broken. "I'm sore, but I'm all good," Tomac said. "I'm actually feeling a lot better. If it would have happened in the first practice I probably would have been able to race (in the second moto). I just feel lucky I didn't get injured." Justin Barcia led the first moto before crashing and then crashing again due to a front wheel problem. He finished 30th. For moto two, his kill switch wire malfunctioned as he was headed to the gate after the sighting lap. He was unable to start the moto. Lance Vincent once again showed great speed, but he got stuck in a muddy spot in moto one, pushing him back to tenth, then had a big crash in moto two, knocking him out for the day.
- Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer holeshot the first 450 moto, but bike problems dropped him out of the race. He returned for a ninth in moto two, giving him 13th overall.
- Weimer got the start in that first moto, but Davi Millsaps made a quick pass and held the early lead. The Muscle Milk/Toyota Yamaha JGR rider hung on to finish third after Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey got by him. Unfortunately, Millsaps twisted his knee early in the second moto, and could only soldier on to a 13th place finish. His teammate Justin Brayton, in his second race this summer after returning from an ankle injury last week, logged 5-7 scores for sixth overall.
- The muddier soil conditions did make the 130-foot LaRocco’s Leap unjumpable for the 250 riders, especially since the third jump had been built up a little bit higher this year than last. For those wondering, Andrew Short was getting the Leap done like the rest of the 450s on his KTM 350 SX-F.
Weimer got the holeshot in moto one but could not make it last.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson
- The MotoConcepts Yamaha team had two new members under the tent, with Jake Canada getting a boost after his strong performance for ninth overall last week in Colorado. He went 11-30 for 18th. Ben Lemay also joined the team and went 16-16 for 18th. Canada and Lemay are replacements for Christophe Pourcel, who was terminated from the team earlier in the season, for Kyle Chisholm, who is back on the mend as he is still struggling with injuries from supercross. Tommy Hahn got collected in the first-moto Villopoto crash and hit his head, so he was unable to continue. He came back in moto two but crashed early on an off-camber, putting him way back. He rallied to 12th.
- Young Australian Tye Simmonds was back in action for the J-Star JDR KTM Team after missing a few races with bronchitis, he turned in 17-15 scores for 16th overall on a 350SX-F. Australian veteran Michael Byrne broke a chain in moto one, but he put his BTOSports.Com/BBMX Suzuki into 11th in moto two, edging Simmonds with 15th overall.
- Who were the consistent guys at RedBud? Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda’s Christian Craig went 10-10 for 10th overall in the 450 class, and DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham went 4-4 for 4th overall in the 250 class.
- Lots of folks were wondering why Brett Metcalfe was running a vest in the second 450 moto. Well, he wanted to wear it on the sighting lap, as the vest is chilled and keeps body temperature down. But he meant to take it off before the moto—he simply forgot to do it. Metty says he got really, really hot en route to fifth in that moto.
- Metcalfe is much happier with his bike setup now. He came into the year a little bit off of his usual pace due to a wrist injury, and now that he is getting faster, he’s had to revise the bike to match. “Things should be much better from now on,” explained the Aussie. “I had some ideas on what direction I wanted to go, but I finally just told these guys to use what they know, and they have the bike working awesome.”
Durham's hot streak continued with a sixth in moto one.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson
- Metcalfe has a two-year deal with Rockstar Makita Suzuki so he is set for 2012. But rumors persist that Ryan Dungey is not coming back to Suzuki next year. Chad Reed continues to make hints about his team going after Dungey, but KTM is making a big push on the Dungey front, even bringing in global racing boss Pit Bierer to RedBud despite the brand’s European team racing a GP in Sweden.
- Privateer Honda rider Scott Champion went an unlucky-sounding 13-13 in his motos—but scored 10th overall. Nice job, Scott! Darryn Durham continued his run of strong riding with a sixth in the first moto, but bike problems knocked him out of moto two. And Sean Hackley scored his first points of the year with a 20th in moto one, and was running 14th in moto two until he ran into problems and fell back.