Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Notes:
Steel City Motocross National
Steel City Motocross National
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pa., will be the site of the second to last round of the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday. As one of the most popular tracks on the entire American Motocross schedule, riders and fans will celebrate Labor Day Weekend by watching the world's best motocross athletes in action for the final time this summer on the East Coast.
After an incredible day of racing at Southwick last weekend, just eight points separate Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey atop the 450 Class standings. In the 250 Class, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki trio of Dean Wilson, Tyla Rattray and Blake Baggett, are still engaged in battle. However, Wilson's advantage now sits at 38 points over Rattray and 40 points over Baggett, with two rounds remaining.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Ryan Villopoto began his day at Southwick with a strong runner-up effort behind Dungey in the opening moto. After misfortune befell his rival before the start of Moto 2, Villopoto looked to extend his lead in the standings. However, he was only able to leave Massachusetts with one additional point to his credit, despite another second place finish overall. He returns to Steel City Raceway for the first time since 2008.
Jake Weimer posted a solid outing at Southwick, despite rainy conditions. The first-year 450 Class rider recorded 6-5 moto scores to finish just outside the top five overall, in sixth. He also moved into sixth in the 450 Class standings, and is looking forward to Steel City.
Ryan Dungey's day started off about as perfect as it could at Southwick. After grabbing the holeshot, he pulled away from the field to lead all 17 laps of the opening moto. However, after his bike was unable to start prior to the start of Moto 2, Dungey was forced to watch the field take off without him. Once he was finally able to get onto the track, Dungey made good work of the 38 riders ahead of him, climbing all the way to seventh in the moto, and salvaging third place overall. He ultimately lost just one point in the championship, and enters Steel City with a chance at the top spot.
"There are four races left and winning the championship isn't impossible," said Dungey. "Now, I'm just focusing on being prepared for Steel City this weekend and getting as many points as possible. I really like the track at Steel City - I've had good rides and success there in the past few years, and it will be good to get back there and keep pushing for this title."
While it took nearly nine years, Brett Metcalfe was finally able to win on U.S. soil. The veteran Australian rider did not win either of the day's motos at Southwick, but his consistency in the tricky conditions was the difference maker, relying on 3-2 moto scores to take the overall. He now heads to Steel City looking to keep the momentum going.
"Getting the win was definitely the highlight of my motocross career," said Metcalfe. "It's been eight years of racing in the U.S. and trying to get a win, so it was incredible. Now, there are two more rounds left and I want to take the momentum from this win into Steel City this weekend. I did really well there last year, and I feel like that track really suits me."
TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing
Southwick was a day that Chad Reed would most likely want to forget. The four-time winner this season was struck by bad luck in both motos last weekend, recording a DNF in each and posting no points on the day. As a result, he now sits 65 points out of the 450 Class lead, and with four motos remaining, will lay it all out in search of more success.
Red Bull KTM
Mike Alessi was consistent at Southwick. The California native kicked off his day with a fourth-place effort in the opening moto, and despite a fall in Moto 2, was still able to record a sixth-place finish, ultimately placing him fifth overall. Thanks to his efforts, Alessi moved into fifth in the 450 Class standings.
Following a heartbreaking DNF in the opening moto at Southwick, Justin Barcia rebounded in dominant fashion in Moto 2, leading all 15 laps en route to his inaugural 450 Class moto victory. In just two rounds of competition in the premier class, Barcia has proven to be a contender at the front of the field, and will look to break through for his first overall this weekend at Steel City.
"To get my first 450 class win last weekend felt awesome," said Barcia. "I'm hoping I can do the same again this week at Steel City. It would be great to get another win under my belt before the season ends. I like the Steel City track. It has big jumps and deep ruts, and makes for good racing. The uphill start is fun and the track is challenging and rough come the second moto."
Justin Brayton experienced his best effort of the season at Southwick, and was even a challenger for the overall podium throughout the second moto. Brayton's solid seventh-place finish in Moto 1 was backed up by a stellar third-place effort in Moto 2, landing him fourth overall. He also moved into 10th in the 450 Class standings, despite missing the first five rounds of the season.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
While their quest for an undefeated season came to an end, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki still left Southwick as the team to beat. Following his sixth runner-up finish of the season, 250 Class points leader Dean Wilson saw his advantage jump from 25 points to 38, and now the sophomore rider enters Steel City in control of his own destiny.
Tyla Rattray's win at Southwick in 2010 was on the day his daughter was born. With her first birthday on his mind last weekend. Rattray went out and accomplished the same feat, giving him four victories this season. Rattray's effort helped him move past his teammate Blake Baggett in the standings, and now he will look to chip away at the deficit he faces over the final two rounds.
Blake Baggett was unable to become a factor for the win at Southwick. Following a pair of tough starts, Baggett was forced to battle tough competition and the tricky conditions, hindering his ability to move forward. The winningest rider in the series posted 9-6 moto scores to finish fifth overall, but he lost valuable points in the championship.
DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha
Kyle Cunningham experienced a tough day at Southwick. Following misfortune in the first moto, Cunningham was forced to record a DNF, and ultimately was unable to start Moto 2. As a result, he recorded no points on the day, but still maintained control of fourth in the standings. He'll look to bounce back this weekend.
Gareth Swanepoel will be known as the rider who broke the Pro Circuit dominance during the 2011 season. After a strong start in the first moto, Swanepoel battled with his fellow South African Rattray for the win. After a slight mistake by his rival, Swanepoel capitalized on the opportunity, and carried to the checkered flag. In Moto 2, Swanepoel overcame an early fall to finish fifth, landing him third overall for his first career American Motocross podium. The strong outing vaulted him to sixth in the 250 Class standings.
After a podium effort at the previous round, Eli Tomac was looking for similar success at Southwick. However, the challenging conditions resulted in 14-32 moto scores for Tomac and 19th overall. He still occupies fifth in the 250 Class standings.
Just one round after his solid professional debut, Justin Bogle faced the challenge of the rain well at Southwick. After a slow start to the day with an 18th-place finish in Moto 1, Bogle capitalized on a good start in Moto 2, challenging for his first career moto podium. In the end, he settled for fourth, and recorded ninth overall.
The return to action of the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Women's Motocross Championship resulted in American Honda rider Ashley Fiolek's third win of the season. Early trouble for defending champion, and DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha rider, Jessica Patterson left the door open for Fiolek to take control of the championship. Following an opening-moto win, Fiolek settled into second in Moto 2, behind Patterson, and now holds a 30-point lead heading into the final four motos of the season.
Television coverage for Saturday's Steel City Motocross National begins with a live broadcast of the opening motos for both the 450 and 250 classes on FUEL TV, beginning at 1 p.m. EST. SPEED will provide same-day, final-moto coverage of both the 450 Class and 250 Class, back-to-back at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST.
Tickets for the upcoming Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship are on sale now at www.allisports.com. Special discounts and incentives are available for advance ticket purchasers.
For more information on the 2011 tour, please log on to www.allisports.com/motocross.
For media information about the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, please contact Media Manager Brandon Short, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 949-365-5750.
MX Sports Pro Racing
MX Sports Pro Racing manages and produces the world's most prestigious motocross series - the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. The industry leader in off road powersport event production and management, its mission is to showcase the sport of professional motocross competition at events throughout the United States. Through its various racing properties, partnerships and affiliates, MX Sports Pro Racing organizes events for thousands of action sports athletes each year and attracts millions of motorsports spectators. Visit www.mxsportsproracing.com.
Alli, the Alliance of Action Sports
Alli, the Alliance of Action Sports, is a global business that encompasses national and international action sports tours and events, multimedia production, and a consumer facing lifestyle brand. The Alliance includes: the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, the Dew Tour, Winter Dew Tour, China Invitational, King of Wake series, and the Gatorade Free Flow Tour. Alli TV Productions creates original content, produces and presents content with partners, and distributes Alli content through a variety of channels. Alli is owned by NBC Sports and MTV Networks and represents a network of athletes, fans, brands and properties. Its mission is to facilitate the momentous growth of action sports, through competition and lifestyle, for a new generation of fans and athletes. The Alli properties are home to more than 550,000 spectators each year and broadcasts more than 150 hours of original content in 100 countries and 280 million homes worldwide. Visit www.allisports.com.
Lucas Oil Products
Lucas Oil is a worldwide leader in the production of oils, lubricants and additives. Based in Corona, Calif., Lucas Oil Products is one of the fastest-growing additive lines in the consumer automotive industry, featuring a premium line of oils, lubricants and problem-solving performance additives. Through innovative product research and development, along with aggressive marketing programs, Lucas Oil Products has established itself as the top-selling additive line in the American truck-stop industry. Lucas Oil is involved in an array of motorsports sponsorships, including the "Official Motor Oil of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship." Visit www.LucasOil.com.
AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing sanctioning body in the United States, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. From its Daytona Beach headquarters, the organization sanctions professional motorcycle racing competition, which includes, AMA Pro Motocross, AMA Pro Road Racing, and AMA Pro Flat Track. Visit www.amaproracing.com.