Racer X Notebook: Hangtown

Racer X Notebook: Hangtown

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By Jason Weigandt and Chase Stallo

  • Many consider Hangtown the hardest track to find the proper bike setup due to a strange combination of different styles of bumps. “Along with Unadilla, this is the hardest track to set up for,” says JGRMX suspension man Jonny Oler. “It has square edged choppy stuff, but also some roller type bumps, and this year it seemed like they built up some of the bumps to create jumps through some of the rougher sections.”


  • Questions regarding his fitness have been a dark cloud that has surrounded Star/Valli’s Nico Izzi in the past. But after roaring back from a 30th place start to finish moto 1 in 11th Izzi may have finally put to rest the doubts of, “Is he fit enough for 30+2?” In moto 2 he went down early but fought back to 10th, which propelled Izzi to his first career 450 top-ten overall finish, in what is his first full season on the big bike.


  • Also making his full-season 450 debut was HRT Racing’s Matt Lemoine. Unlike Izzi, who competed on the 450 in supercross and also in a few Nationals late last year, Hangtown marked Lemoine’s first race in the premier class. Lemoine got off to a rocky start in moto 1 finishing 19th, but rebounded in moto 2 with an 11th giving him 15th overall for the day.

Matt Lemoine finished 15th overall in his 450 debut at Hangtown.
Simon Cudby photo

  • Monster Energy Kawasaki was dealt another devastating blow early in moto 1 at the season opener. Having already had to replace defending champion Ryan Villopoto after a torn ACL in supercross, factory Kawasaki now finds themselves in a similar scenario after replacement rider Tyla Rattray suffered a broken hand at Hangtown. Kawasaki has yet to release a statement on the extent of Rattray’s injury.


  • For 39-year-old Ryan Hughes Hangtown marked a rebirth. Coming out of retirement for a one-off race (Hughes has stated he may race a few other select races) Hughes was looking to prove the old dawg still had some bite. A series of crashes in moto 1 would ironically relegate Hughes to a 39th in moto 1. Hughes would call it a day from there, but it was still a remarkable feat to see Hughes back on the line at a National.


  • Privateer Sean Collier had quite the opening round. Collier would charge back from 24th in moto 1 to get inside the top-ten for a brief moment before fading back to finish the moto 14th. But his remarkable day was just beginning. As the field rounded the turn for moto 2 Collier found himself inside the top-ten once again. A couple of mistakes would cost Collier down the stretch as he eventually finished 24th.

Ryan Hughes came out of retirment to race Hangtown, finishing 39th in moto 1.
Simon Cudby photo

  • After a standout amateur career Troy Lee Designs Jessy Nelson made his pro debut at Hangtown. Nelson had been riding for TLD as an amateur, but when Cole Seely went down with an injury, he got the call to the big leagues early. Although Nelson didn’t set the pro landscape on fire like Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac did when they marked the National opener as their first pro race, he showed poise and resiliency in coming back from a first turn crash in moto 2 to finish 17th. Nelson would end the day 16th overall via 13-17 moto scores. And our man DC wants to point out that, before his dad, Big Dave Coombs ran his customary 174, he ran 136 like Nelson did at Hangtown. Just thought you would like to know!


  • Who the heck is WMX second-moto winner Meghan Rutledge? We know she’s Australian, and our buds from Oz’s Transmoto Magazine gave us a brief, explaining that she crushed the Australian Women’s series last year, and had some training with Matt and Jake Moss’s dad Greg. Here’s a story they published on her last year.


  • Although she was unable to win either moto, Rockstar Energy Drink Suzuki's Jessica Patterson left Hangtown with the points lead and will be sporting the number one plate this weekend in Freestone. But it almost didn't work out that way, Patterson crashed in the second moto while leading and popped her shoulder out of socket. Tough as nails, Patterson remounted with her shoulder still out of socket and soldiered on. Moments later, she was clipped by Tarah Gieger in the air, nearly causing her to go down again. Amazingly, Patterson was somehow able to regroup, get her shoulder squared away and charge back up to second place to claim the overall.

Anderson would stall his bike late in moto 2, costing him a top-five.
Simon Cudby photo

  • Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Jason Anderson continued his 2012 resurgence at Hangtown. After a tumultuous rookie season, Anderson rebounded with a strong sophomore campaign in Supercross and was en route to a career best finish in moto 2 as he sat fourth late in the moto. But Anderson would stall his bike with a few laps remaining, costing him a spot inside the top-five. Anderson would finish the moto 9th.


  • Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin broke his hand last year at Freestone in a crash with Justin Barcia, and had surgery to place and plate and screws in it. The Marv Attack then crashed at the Salt Lake City supercross a few weeks ago and broke the plate! The injury didn’t show up on X-rays at first, but they finally figured out the problem at the Las Vegas Supercross. He had surgery to install a new plate and screws the Monday after Vegas, and, just 12 days later, raced Hangtown and hung on to 9th overall with 5-14 scores.


  • Rockstar Star/Valli Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes also broke his hand at Salt Lake City, in that wild parade-lap crash with Jason Anderson. Sipes has the same injury Musquin does, but elected not to get surgery. He toughed it out on a 450 at Hangtown to go 25-15 for 18th overall.

Millsaps gutted out an impressive 14th in moto 2 after his elbow popped out in a second lap crash.
Simon Cudby photo

  • Not the day Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton was hoping for. The factory Honda rider, ranked fourth in this year’s Monster Energy Supercross standings, took 19th overall with 24-16 scores after a rough day at Hangtown. We’ll follow up with Brayton later in the week to figure out what went wrong.


  • In case you missed it in yesterday’s Open Mic, Davi Millsaps explained that he popped his elbow out when he crash on the second lap of the second moto. The JGR Toyota Yamaha rider charged back through the pack, anyway, to come from about last to 14th. Combined with second in moto 1, Millsaps finished seventh overall.


  • The rider with our favorite name in the series, Dusty Pipes, was back in action at Hangtown and went 29-37 for 35th in the 450 class.


  • Justin Barcia was solid in both of his motos with 3-2 scores, but his GEICO Honda 250 teammates had up and down days. Justin Bogle crashed hard in practice and had to ride through pain all day, digging deep for 21-7 scores. Eli Tomac and Wil Hahn had strong first motos (4th and 7th respectively) but were both down in a first turn crash in moto 2. They rallied back, with Tomac in 10th and Hahn in 13th.

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