The Notebook: Lake Elsinore

The Notebook: Lake Elsinore

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JGR/Toyota Yamaha’s Josh Grant missed last week’s Utah National due to a family emergency involving his son Wyatt, but Wyatt is now okay and was even back at the races hanging out on Saturday. And dad scored the Oakley Bomb Award with the fastest 450 qualifying times and then nailed the first moto Motorcycle-Superstore.com holeshot and led a few laps. Josh held on for third in moto one, but expended himself completely in the heat doing so. He had to get an IV after the moto, which, according to AMA rules, forced him to sit out moto 2. We do hear Grant is very close to re-signing with JGR for 2014.

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray is heading back to Europe for 2014 with a new Husqvarna deal (actually run by KTM, which now owns the brand). But the friendly South African went out strong, with 7-6 scores and fifth overall in his last ride on green.

Last week’s privateer hero, Weston Peick, had some engine problems in the first moto and didn’t finish. He came back for a solid seventh in moto 2. Elsinore is right next door to Weston’s hometown of Wildomar.

RAM/RCH Suzuki’s Broc Tickle went 11-11 for tenth overall at Elsinore. Tickle finished either tenth or eleventh in 11 of his 24 motos this summer.

Mafia Moto Crew’s Nick Wey continued his recent run of improvement. He went 17-17 at Elsinore, making his final four motos of the season his best four-moto run of the season. Nick will be back for Monster Energy Supercross next season.

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Engine problems led to a DNF in moto 1, but Peick bounced back to finish seventh in moto 2.
Simon Cudby photo

Rock River Yamaha’s Ben LaMay missed some time early in the season with a knee injury, and struggled a bit when he came back. Things finally started to click at the last two races, where he scored 32 total points. He scored 51 points in all of the other races combined.

Jake Weimer, Andrew Short and Broc Tickle finished 3-4-5 in last year’s 450 standings. This year they finished in the same order, 6-7-8.

In the first 250 moto, Eli Tomac put an incredible move on Jeremy Martin to take over second place. Tomac used the final bump in a roller section to step up on top of the following tabletop and proceeded to roost by while Martin was powerlessly floating in the air, likely leaving Martin wondering what had just happened. The crowd in the immediate area went nuts; some yelled, some laughed, but all wondered how Tomac had managed to get so much air off of what appeared to be a curb-sized bump.

Kyle Cunningham had a great first moto ride on the MyPlash/Star Yamaha with seventh, but he broke his foot in moto 2. We usually say all injuries are untimely, but at least busting yourself in the last moto of the year means KC won’t miss any races. He fended off Cole Seely by five points to finish tenth in the series for the summer.

While Adam Cianciarulo showed some promise this season, especially in Utah where he took third in a moto, his season didn't end the way he would have liked. A crash in the first moto left him feeling banged up and experiencing numbness in his arm, and then he also started having some internal pain, prompting the Asterisk crew to request he call it a day before the second 250 moto got under way. Luckily, he would later check out okay.

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Kyle Cunningham broke his foot at the season finale.
Simon Cudby photo

Since we're talking about Cianciarulo, it's only natural that the next entry be about his amateur rival, Cooper Webb, who ended the season on a high note by taking third overall at the Red Bull Lake Elsinore National. Webb was all smiles in the press conference as his mom crouched in the front row taking video with her mobile phone, and was already looking forward to next season, when he'll be aboard Yamaha's new YZF250 (which he's already ridden and says is ridiculously good) and racing against a field absent of powerhouses Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen.

Marvin Musquin was able to hang onto third overall on the season, but it wasn't because of a strong showing at Lake Elsinore, where he went 9-10 for seventh overall. Had Baggett, who was charging hard in moto one, not crashed and DNF'd there's a strong chance he would displace Musquin from the top three. MM did not finish the season nearly as strong as he started it.

And speaking of rough endings, Rockstar’s Jason Anderson’s solid season derailed in the final three races. After crashing out of Unadilla, he pulled out of a moto in Utah with altitude sickness related to a previous illness (Anderson had a pulmonary problem when he was 12 and he says that has an impact on his performance at altitude. He has medicine for it, but didn’t think he needed it with Utah sitting at just 4000 feet. He’ll take it in Utah next year!). At Elsinore, he was up to third in the final moto until he crashed and took a handlebar to the gut. Three DNFs in the final six motos for Anderson!

Consistency watch with Shane McElrath: The newcomer with Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda went 17-17-17-16-18-17 in his first six pro motos.

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Jason Anderson's day was ended early with a crash in the second moto.
Simon Cudby photo

The other rookie, Matt Bisceglia, went 16-15 for 16th overall, his best pro performance yet.

Alex Martin had a shot at glory when he grabbed a great start in the first 250 moto, but the Rock River Yamaha rider went down soon after, and that’s what collected the likes of Cianciarulo and Davalos. Davalos put in a strong charge from the back for ninth.

Martin’s Rock River team has the look of a full factory effort, but it’s more of a Yamaha pro support group and amateur team extension than a pro-focused effort like JGR or Star Racing. So, depending on how you look at it, Martin’s 19th in the series could be considered the best individual effort, or perhaps you could give that credit to Kyle Peters, who doesn’t have any factory involvement at all and took 20th. We’ve pretty much given up on trying to define privateers these days. Technically, both Davi Millsaps and Weston Peick were Suzuki privateers this year, but they definitely didn’t have the same setup.

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