By Chase Stallo and Jason Weigandt
- The pros may make the 120-foot uphill triple that is LaRocco's Leap look easy, but one false step is all it takes to send a rider tumbling head over heels through the dirt, something that Star-Valli Rockstar Yamaha's Ryan Sipes was reminded of at the Red Bull RedBud National. When Sipes came up short on The Leap during practice, he hit with such force that he broke both foot pegs! To see a video of the crash, go here. The big crash knocked Sipes out of action for the day with a bad ankle. - Aaron Hansel
- Tyla Rattray made his return from a broken hand at the Red Bull RedBud National and firmly placed himself right back into the thick of it with fourth overall via 4-5 moto scores. But he did admit to us, after the race, that his long layoff (Rattray, due to injury, hadn't raced since the season opener at Hangtown) definitely left him fatigued at the end of the day. "Africa hot got me today," said Rattray. "I'm sleepy!"
"Africa hot got me today." - Tyla Rattray
Simon Cudby photo
- A crash in the first turn of the first 450 moto of the day left MotoConcepts’ Mike Alessi buried in 34th position, leaving his chances for a top fifteen finish fizzling in the smoldering heat at RedBud. Yet, Alessi was able to slice and dice his way through the pack, despite a jacked-up clutch lever and a mangled side panel that kept rubbing on his rear tire. He salvaged valuable championship points with an eleventh place finish. The second moto would work out much better for Alessi, as he finished second behind Ryan Dungey.
- Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer had a great first moto, finishing second, but was also hurt by a first turn crash—his coming in the second 450 moto. Weimer got locked up with Andrew Short off the start, leaving him stranded in 34th. But unlike Alessi, Weimer, who shortly after his first turn crash got together with Vince Friese, was only able to work his way back to twentieth. Weimer would finish tenth overall on the day.
- In his first real action in almost a year, Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs’ Christian Craig made his long-awaited return at RedBud. Although the physical demands of his first race back would get the best of him at the end of the day, Craig showed true promise in his return running inside the top three early in both motos. The Honda pilot would finish thirteenth overall in his first race of 2012.
- Another rough weekend for team JGR/Toyota Yamaha. Davi Millsaps hurt his foot a few days before the race while training, and had to skip the event. Kyle Regal was hoping for big things in front of his home-state Michigan fans, but he struggled mightily with 24-15 scores. In other news, it's pretty much common knowledge now that Millsaps will be moving to a new team next year, signing a two-year contract with Rockstar Suzuki Racing to become their first full-time 450 Class rider.
Christian Craig finished 13th overall in his first race of the season.
Simon Cudby photo
- With Millsaps now off the market, Trey Canard re-signed with Honda, Jake Weimer re-upped with Kawasaki, Justin Barcia moving to factory Honda, and Ryan Dungey and James Stewart locked into multi-year deals, silly season is falling into place. Ryan Villopoto is still not signed, but we're hearing stronger rumors that he'll end up back with Kawasaki now (a few weeks ago, Villopoto-to-Honda rumors were going strong). One other big piece is Dean Wilson, who has another year of Lites SX eligibility but wants to race a 450. We've heard RedBull KTM (as Dungey's 450 teammate) and JGR/Toyota Yamaha as potential Wilson suitors.
- Nico Izzi, also a Michigan native, rode his parade lap in a Josh Lichtle jersey, a tribute to the fellow Michigander who passed racing last year's RedBud National. Izzi had a good ride going in moto one on his Rockstar Star-Valli Yamaha, but a big crash ended his day.
- Although he is only racing a few select races in the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship there was no way Nick Wey would miss his home race at RedBud. The DeWitt native and long-time member of the Michigan Mafia had a solid day in his return finishing fifteenth overall. “I mean not what I wanted, for sure. But it’s pretty hard to come off the couch,” stated Wey to Racer X’s Steve Matthes after the race.
- Congratulations to privateers Heath Harrison and Drew Yenerich for scoring their first points of the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships in the 450 Class. Harrison grabbed three points with an 18th in the first moto, while Yenerich scored two points with a 19th in the second moto. Also, congratulations to reining Arenacross Lites East Champion Mike McDade who scored his first points of the season in the 250 Class with an 18th in the second moto.
Derek Anderson is starting to regain his early season form. Anderson finished 13th in the first moto at RedBud.
Andrew Fredrickson photo
- Continuing down the privateer path, Rock River Powersports’ Ben LaMay had a season's best finish with a 14th in the first 450 moto. Meanwhile Derek Anderson, who is starting to regain his early season form after suffering an ankle injury, finished 13th in the first moto, his best finish since a 10th in the second moto at Freestone. Anderson would finish the day 16th overall with LaMay trailing him by two spots with an eighteenth place finish.
- The most impressive feat of the day had to belong to Mike Brown and John Dowd. The duo, both of whom are over 40 years of age, Brown (40), Dowd (46), qualified for RedBud. It was close call for Dowd who squeaked out a second place finish in the consolation race to stay in the mix. Stay tuned to Racer X Online today to hear much more about these two icons.
- A problem with his patellar tendon in his right knee has put a damper on Rockstar Star-Valli Yamaha Gareth Swanepoel’s 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross campaign thus far. Riding at less than 100 percent, the winner of the first moto of the 2011 Southwick National, Swanepoel hasn’t been able to find the magic touch this season. But the two-week break did the body good for Swanepoel as he put together his best performance of the season at RedBud finishing seventh overall via 9-7 moto scores.
- Former Team Green product, and current AG Motorsports/Dragon Racing Fuel KTM rider, Jacob Hayes secured his first career top 15 finish at RedBud. In only his second race of the season Hayes finished an impressive 14th in the first moto. Hayes would finish the day 18th overall after a twenty-first place finish in the second moto.
- Tommy Weeck, the former MotoConcepts rider and newest member of Rockstar Star-Valli Yamaha as a fill-in for the injured Kyle Cunningham, was remarkable in his season debut. A first turn crash left Weeck almost half a lap down, but he was able to charge back to secure a nineteenth place finish, and his first points of the year. Weeck would continue his rock-solid day in the second moto, finishing eighth.
- It was another bizarre weekend for the Eleven 10 Mods team, who seem to have a black cloud engulfing them at every turn. In practice Alex Martin broke his crank after something was plugging it, which didn’t allow it to receive oil—ending Martin’s day prematurely. Meanwhile, the troubles for Phil Nicoletti continued. In the first moto a rock dented his caliper and stuck the piston in his front brake, forcing Nicoletti to pull out of the first moto. The rain cloud continued to pour down on Nicoletti in the second moto as the bracket that holds the clutch cable on broke. Even with all that surrounding him, Nicoletti was able to muster a 14th place finish in the second moto.
- With the Canadian Nationals on break Rockstar Star-Valli Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry was back in action for the first time since round two at Freestone. Kiniry would finish the day fourteenth overall in the 450 Class with 8-23 moto scores. Two crashes early in moto two ruined his chances of a top-ten overall.
- Crowd pleaser award of the week goes to Blake Baggett and Ricky Renner. Baggett was the only 250 rider to consistently conquer LaRocco's Leap, while Renner was zipping around on his YZ 125 throwing down huge whips sending the euphoric RedBud crowd into frenzy.
- The turbulent season for J-Star JDR KTM’s Malcolm Stewart continued at RedBud. Stewart crashed in the first moto and his problems were compounded when he suffered a mechanical and had to retire. Malcolm would bounce back with an eleventh in the second moto, which helped him salvage 14th overall on the day.