Racer X  Notebook: Pala

Racer X Notebook: Pala

September 13, 2011 4:30pm
  • Several riders commented on how the Pala track was the fastest of the year, with long straights linking some big jumps. The facility is open year round and a lot of the teams use it for testing and training purposes. However, the dirt and the layout is quite a bit different for the national as opposed to a regular ride day, with elements of a few different tracks tied together. Last year, parking and traffic issues were big, well, issues with the Pala event, but major changes in the parking structure helped alleviate that problem.
  • Ben Townley was on hand to check out the American racing scene again and test the waters on finding another ride in the U.S. for 2012. BT101 finished fourth in the 2010 450 class standings but returned to Europe for an ill-fated season on Kawasakis. He’d like an outdoor-only deal on 450s for 2012 if the right offer comes along.
Will Townley be racing in the states next year?
Photo: Simon Cudby
  • Townley just adds to the pile of riders who are looking for work in 2012, with very few silly season slots locked in. Last week, we reported that Josh Grant could be a likely pick for the new Metal Mulisha/Valli Motorsports team, but Metal Mulisha General Brian Deegan explained that while they have JG’s back if he needs it, he has plenty of other offers, and the new team is looking mostly for 250 riders, anyway. Grant has also been linked to the new Honda team run by Larry Brooks and Jeremy McGrath.
  • Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki is officially the only team to ever sweep all 12 rounds of the AMA Motocross Championship in the 250 (formerly Lites and 125) class. Blake Baggett won the most overalls with five, but Dean Wilson won the most motos with 11, and also led 150 laps, more than double anyone else’s total.
  • While Wilson had the 250 crown locked up coming into the race, other positions were up for grabs. Tyla Rattray edged Baggett for second in the final standings by three points, and Eli Tomac fought back from a pair of bad starts to hold onto fourth in the standings over Kyle Cunningham--also by just three points. Tomac later said at the season awards ceremony on Sunday, “It was good to at least be the first non green guy.”
Anderson had his best finish of the season at Pala.
Photo: Simon Cudby
  • Rookie Jason Anderson logged his best day of the season at Pala, going 8-9 for eighth overall in the 250 class.
  • After a late-season surge, and helped by Chad Reed’s pair of DNFs at Southwick, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe came up just eight points short of displacing Reed for third in the final series’ standings.
  • Justin Barcia led an impressive 37 laps in his four races in the 450 class--the fourth-most in the class. He also finished 12th in the 250 class standings and 14th in the 450s.
  • Honda’s Trey Canard was back at the races for the first time since breaking his femur at Washougal. Canard is back up and walking, and even spent a few hours this week rebuilding his supercross track. Time to get back on the bike!
  • FIM Women’s Cup Champion Steffi Laier returned to the U.S. for the first time since taking third overall at Hangtown. She was expected to challenge the WMX leaders, but it never materialized. She went 6-5 for fifth overall.
Dungey and the rest of Team USA rocked the MXoN gear and graphics at Pala.
Photo: Simon Cudby
  • Lucas Oil Troy Lee Honda’s Colton Facciotti rode strong to an eighth in moto one, but the three-time Canadian MX1 Champ had a tougher time in moto two, banging his head and back in a first-turn crash that ended his day.
  • On Sunday night, MX Sports Pro Racing hosted a Season Awards Ceremony at nearby Pechanga Casino. The top ten riders in each class were honored, and all had one last chance to thank their sponsors and teams. Several other specialty awards were presented, including Rookie of the Year Awards for Malcolm Stewart (11th in the 250 class) and Marissa Markelon (WMX). Kawasaki won Manufacturer of the Year for dominating the 250 class and claiming the 450 Championship. Chad Reed’s big Millville crash won top Moto Moment, and Reed also won the Sportsman of the Year Award. Rock River Yamaha’s Christina Denny won Team Manager of the Year. Mitch Payton and Pro Circuit won Team of the Year, and in a special ceremony, TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed and Dave Osterman presented Payton with a restored version of his first ever dirt bike, an old Hodaka.