Racer X  Notebook: Unadilla

Racer X Notebook: Unadilla

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  • Back in its early days, Unadilla once enjoyed a great reputation due to its dark, deep loamy soil. But years of racing and harsh weather transformed the track from a loamy one to a hard, slippery, rocky surface. Lately, the track owners have begun to truck some of the old soil back onto the track, mainly by digging it out of the valleys around the facility. In practice, the track was deep, with a good six inches of fresh top soil clearly visible on top. While some of that dirt was eventually pushed and roosted away throughout the day, and the track did get harder, it was still a marked improvement over previous years. The facility also boasted two brand-new towers for the team managers/scoring and for the announcers. Clearly, this old track is making great strides to keep up with the times.

 

  • Monster Energy Kawasaki didn’t start testing the 2012 KX450F until Monday after Washougal, but even after just throwing the existing 2011 race suspension and engine into the new chassis, the riders immediately felt things were better. A week of testing only added further improvements, so by the time Unadilla rolled around, the team was confident the new bike was the way to go. The biggest change is the new frame, which is narrower across the top. You can’t argue with the results, as Ryan Villopoto went 1-1 and Jake Weimer turned in his best rides of the season with 5-6 scores for sixth overall.

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Weimer had one of his best rides of the season at Unadilla.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

  • Weimer was part of a wild second-moto battle for fifth. Chad Reed was dueling with Weimer and fell. Then Justin Brayton made a move and fell in the same spot as Reed. Weimer, as usual, was battling with Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe, until they crashed into each other! Weimer was able to get up and only lose a spot to Reed, but Metcalfe’s handguard locked into his front brake lever, and he eventually had to stop and kick the guard off. He ended up a lap down and in 25th for the moto.

 

  • Unfortunately, with great racing in front of him and behind him, Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi went almost unnoticed while running fourth most of the way in the second 450 moto. He also snagged the holeshot, a mark that has been all-too-rare for Mike this summer. His 7-4 scores were good enough for fifth overall.

 

  • Kyle Regal showed up to race motocross for the first time this year, racing for the BBMX.com/BTO Sports Suzuki team. Team Manager Forest Butler was quick to point out that this was a quick, simple fit for both the rider and team—Regal wanted to get some outdoor racing in to get his name back out there, and the BBMX squad is down a man since Jason Thomas is out with knee surgery. Regal only really had a day on the bike, but he rode well to 10-9 scores and eighth overall.

 

  • In the first moto, Regal was chased early by Muscle Milk Toyota JGR’s Les Smith, until Smith crashed hard. It led to a disappointing day of 23-26 scores for the South Carolina rider. Yes, Smith is back on the JGR team for a second time this year. He filled in for Brayton earlier, and is now back since Davi Millsaps is out after knee surgery. Millsaps may return for the final two races of the year, so for now, Smith is on a two-race deal for Unadilla and Southwick.

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Regal finished 8th overall in his first race of the season.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

  • Not a good weekend for the brothers Hahn. Tommy crashed on his Motoconcepts Yamaha and separated his shoulder, knocking him out for the weekend. He’s getting an MRI this week to determine if he will need surgery. Will Hahn was knocked out, literally, with a crash early in the first 250 moto on his GEICO Honda. Will’s concussion is bad enough to where it may keep him off the bike for the rest of the season.

 

  • Justin Bogle had an impressive debut on his GEICO Honda. Fresh off the AMA Horizon Award at the Red Bull AMA Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn Ranch, Bogle ran up front in both motos and went 6-6 for fifth overall. Bogle admitted he got tight running  up front, but his speed and aggression were impressive. Maybe too impressive to one rider. When Blake Baggett passed Bogle in the first moto, Bogle’s attempt to hold him off didn’t look that aggressive, but Baggett didn’t see it that way. “Yeah he like tried to kill us in the first moto,” said Baggett. “I tried to jump the big tabletop and I clearly had him passed, and he rode straight and put me up near the haybales. I raised my hand up at him and I was like, “Dude what are you doing?” You can’t become a hero in one day.”

 

  • Baggett was named to the Motocross of Nations team along with Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villopoto. Easy selections, sure. And obviously Baggett will be on the 250 in the MX2 class. But who will race MX1? Dungey? Villopoto? Rumor had it that Team Manager Roger DeCoster didn’t want to make such a tough call and wanted to leave the decision up to a coin flip between the two riders. But that didn’t happen, and a decision is yet to be made. To be continued!

 

  • Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Champion Josh Strang raced Unadilla to have some fun. The factory FMF Suzuki rider in off-road raced on fellow Australian Brett Metcalfe’s practice bike, and was running 14th early in the first moto until he crashed and lost some ground. He ended up 22nd, then scored a national point with a 20th in moto two—a match for his 20th in the first moto at RedBud last year. That should be it for Strang and motocross this summer, as the GNCC Series resumes on September 11th—at Unadilla!

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Current GNCC points leader Josh Strang finished 24th overall at Unadilla.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

  • Two riders were out for DNA Shred Stix Star Racing Yamaha. Ryan Sipes didn’t race the second moto at Washougal saying he felt like he had an illness. Turns out he’s hypoglycemic, and had low blood sugar. He’s changing his diet to get his strength back, and should be back for Southwick. Kyle Peters was supposed to make his pro debut here, but it turns out he suffered a fracture on the wings on one of vertebre with a crash at Loretta’s. He may make it back for the last two rounds.

 

  • Andrew Short had a rough day, derailing a chain in the first moto, leading to a DNF. Then he had a terrible gate pick for the second moto, but overcame that to get an 8th.

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Alex Martin continues to impress.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

  • Well done by privateer rider Lowell Spangler, who went 13-18 for 16th. On the AMA results sheet, the Pennsylvanian’s sponsors read as “None Listed.”

 

  • Signs of life for the Rockstar Suzuki team, which has had a rough year. Martin Davalos took fifth in the first moto, Nick Paluzzi was 7th, and rookie Jason Anderson was also fighting inside the top ten until he crashed.

 

  • Alex Martin keeps turning in the solid rides, going 10-10 for 9th overall in the 250 class on his Eleven10 Mods Honda.

 

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