10 Things to Watch: RedBudFriday, July 6, 2012 | 1:40 PM
After taking seventeenth in points and garnering a season high of seventh place in the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites series, Tommy Weeck didn’t make the cut when the MotoConcepts team changed gears for the Nationals. Fortunately for Weeck, he was recently picked up by the Star-Valli Yamaha Rockstar team as a fill-in rider for the injured Kyle Cunningham. How will Weeck do this weekend at RedBud when he lines up for the first time since supercross?
Let’s Try This Again
Tyla Rattray’s fans have been waiting a long time to see him race a 450 in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, and for good reason; the former MX2 World Champ has won multiple 250 Nationals, and he proved he can hold his own on a 450 by going 5-3 at the 2011 MXoN. Well, the fans finally got their wish when it was announced that Rattray would be filling in for the injured Ryan Villopoto this year. Unfortunately, his debut was postponed when a roosted rock struck and broke his hand in the first turn of the first moto at Hangtown. The injury kept has Rattray away from the series, until RedBud. How will Rattray do in his first, full-length 450 National?
After crashing and sustaining an injury in Colorado, James Stewart attempted to come back just a week later at High Point Raceway. It was a brave attempt, but Stewart’s hand and wrist just weren’t up to the task, and numbness and near inability to hang onto the handlebars relegated Stewart to fifth place in the first moto. Stewart wisely made the decision to sit out the second moto, and opted not to race the following weekend at Budds Creek. Now that Stewart has had several weeks to heal and rest, will he bring the same speed to RedBud that saw him sweep the first four motos of the season?
Small Bikes, Huge Battles
The war that is currently being waged in the 250 Class between Blake Baggett, Justin Barcia, Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen is nothing short of amazing. Baggett, Barcia and Tomac have all taken turns dominating motos, while Roczen has been agonizingly close to winning his first moto here in America several times. The action has been nonstop, and the unpredictable nature of the 250 races has made these battles one of, if not the most, exciting aspects of Lucas Oil Motocross this year.
Named after GEICO Powersports Honda’s team manager, Mike LaRocco, the famous jump was built in 1991 by RedBud co-owner Tim Ritchie, who wanted to replicate a huge jump at LaRocco’s home named, Kong. The 130-foot uphill triple was born, and to this day retains its status as one of the most iconic and anticipated jumps in all of Lucas Oil Motocross. Keep your eyes on the infamous jump this weekend, and know that, incredibly, LaRoccco cleared it for the first time on a 125!
The RedBud stage is set for one of the most exciting WMX races in recent history. Jessica Patterson has been the dominant racer in the class this year, but at the last WMX race, which took place at High Point, we saw Tara Gieger steal a win from Patterson in the first moto. Further fanning the fire is the return of Ashley Fiolek, who has been out of action since she sustained a concussion in Colorado. RedBud is Fiolek’s home race, and the support of her hometown crowd will no doubt serve as additional motivation for her to get the job done with a win. When the roost settles, who will be on top?
Nick Wey isn’t racing all of the Nationals this season, but he will be racing at RedBud, his home race. Racing a partial schedule has proven difficult so far for the veteran, but the legions of enthusiastic Michigan Mafia fans that are sure to line the fence will certainly serve as inspiration for the hometown hero. With the extra support and excitement of racing on his home turf, Wey just might record his best results of the year tomorrow afternoon.
The Second Wave
As superb as the racing has been out front in the 250 Class, there always seems to be yet another great battle taking place just outside the top five. Riders like Wil Hahn, Blake Wharton, Jason Anderson, Ivan Tedesco, Jake Canada and more, have all put in great rides this season and have taken turns being the fastest guy in this second group. Now that the series is coming off of a lengthy break in which the riders have had time to rest and further improve bike setup, how will this second group shake out tomorrow?
Ashley Fiolek and the rest of the WMX Class is back in action tomorrow.
Simon Cudby photo
Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Honda rider Christian Craig hasn’t seen much action this year, thanks mostly to issues stemming from a broken wrist he sustained last year at Southwick. The problem was great enough to force him to withdraw early during the supercross season in order to have surgery, and he hasn't raced since. That will all change tomorrow, however, when Craig lines up for his first National of the year. Expect Craig to use RedBud as a measuring stick to see where he stacks up against the rest of the field.
Mr. Black Cloud
After being banned from Australia for several years due to a visa paperwork snafu, “Filthy” Phil Nicoletti picked up a ride with the Eleven 10 Mods team for 2012. Although Nicoletti has been able to put in some good rides here and there, he’s also been the unfortunate and frequent recipient of hefty doses of bad luck. Mechanical problems, weird crashes and running out of fuel have all kept the New Yorker from obtaining the kind of results he’s capable of. At High Point, he couldn’t even compete when it was discovered that the team had forgotten to sign him up for the race! Can Nicoletti avoid the bad luck he’s been having and put in a pair of solid, unadulterated motos at RedBud?
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