Sign of the (Lap) Times: High Point

Sign of the (Lap) Times: High Point

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By Chase Stallo and Jason Weigandt

The weather was absolutely perfect on Saturday at High Point, but rain is almost always a factor at this race, and this year wasn’t an exception. Rain leading up to the race—including Friday evening—left the track super wet in practice, and prevented the track crew from ripping it up as deep as they normally would (if it’s going to rain, track crews “seal” the track by packing in the top layer so the moisture doesn’t seep down). It’s the same theory many mentioned last week at Thunder Valley, which also had a threat of rain and wasn’t ripped as deep as usual.

In the 250 Class, two fast riders who have been plagued by bad starts finally got good ones in the second moto, in Jason Anderson and Justin Hill. Anderson made the most of it with second in the moto and third overall. He did gate toward the front last week in Colorado’s second moto, but dropped back to a disappointing fifth. “I know I’m from New Mexico and I rode at Thunder Valley a lot growing up, but I always sucked at that track,” explained Anderson. “Ridden it so many times, and I’ve never been good there. Eli Tomac used to just work me at that track.” Clearly, High Point suited him better. Anderson, who lost a lot of training time due to a rib injury, a broken tailbone, an illness and having his wisdom teeth taken out, admits his fitness has taken a little bit of a hit lately.

Anderson’s Rockstar Energy teammate Joey Savatgy had a breakthrough performance a season ago at High Point. A year later, Savatgy is still trying to get up to speed. “Thankfully we have a weekend off. I'll have next week and the following to get things figured out, get back up to speed and build up confidence,” Savatgy said in a team release. “I want to come into Muddy Creek a different guy.”

Justin Hill finally got a start at High Point.  Photo: Simon Cudby
Justin Hill finally got a start at High Point.  Photo: Simon Cudby

Hill also started well in 250 moto two but wasn’t as lucky. “Crashing sucks,” said Hill in a Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team statement. “I really felt good running the pace of those guys and of course the start was crucial. I started to push it a bit and made a bunch of mistakes and eventually one got the better of me. It was a good moto to build on and I will carry this momentum through the weekend off and into Tennessee.”

Still, Hill held onto fifth in the second moto, just edging series leader Jeremy Martin. They even scrapped back and forth quite a bit down the stretch—everyone is racing Martin hard these days!

This quote also comes from the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki press release: “Two years ago Baggett won the overall at High Point, rebounding from a crash that left his bike twisted and his helmet visor broken. That day earned him the nickname “El Chupacabra” and on Saturday, “El Chupacabra” returned to dominate once again.” Well, yeah, El Chupacabra was born in 2011, but, the real invention came from our own Racer X podcast, when Ping challenged Weege to get the word “chupacabra” onto the TV broadcast. That’s how a nickname is born—a bet with friends!

Let's take a look at the lap charts!

 450 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:05.071 7 2:07.881 James Stewart
2 2 2:05.649 5 2:07.734 Ken Roczen
3 4 2:05.834 5 2:09.430 Trey Canard
4 3 2:06.481 6 2:07.912 Ryan Dungey
5 7 2:07.828 2 2:09.932 Andrew Short
6 5 2:07.869 4 2:10.055 Chad Reed
7 6 2:08.351 13 2:09.384 Josh Grant
8 8 2:08.557 14 2:10.533 Phil Nicoletti
9 9 2:08.682 3 2:12.399 Brett Metcalfe
10 10 2:10.354 9 2:12.566 Weston Peick

450 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 3 2:03.072 12 2:04.990 Ken Roczen
2 1 2:03.237 3 2:05.011 James Stewart
3 4 2:03.615 3 2:05.778 Ryan Dungey
4 2 2:04.045 3 2:05.053 Trey Canard
5 12 2:06.962 3 2:13.009 Phil Nicoletti
6 5 2:07.200 4 2:08.865 Weston Peick
7 6 2:07.684 6 2:10.105 Josh Grant
8 7 2:07.958 5 2:10.974 Brett Metcalfe
9 10 2:07.964 4 2:12.416 Chad Reed
10 8 2:08.694 4 2:11.222 Andrew Short

250 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:04.560 5 2:06.034 Blake Baggett
2 3 2:05.383 7 2:06.927 Cooper Webb
3 2 2:05.480 5 2:06.781 Jeremy Martin
4 7 2:06.058 6 2:07.829 Jason Anderson
5 4 2:06.253 4 2:07.545 Justin Bogle
6 5 2:06.355 5 2:07.790 Marvin Musquin
7 8 2:06.630 4 2:10.133 Cole Seely
8 6 2:06.772 10 2:08.106 Christophe Pourcel
9 9 2:08.423 7 2:10.250 Justin Hill
10 12 2:09.640 8 2:11.741 Kyle Cunningham

250 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:03.888 6 2:06.214 Blake Baggett
2 4 2:05.044 7 2:07.539 Justin Bogle
3 2 2:05.180 7 2:07.280 Jason Anderson
4 3 2:05.235 4 2:07.604 Christophe Pourcel
5 6 2:05.287 6 2:08.129 Jeremy Martin
6 5 2:06.193 5 2:08.335 Justin Hill
7 8 2:07.179 6 2:09.301 Marvin Musquin
8 9 2:07.381 10 2:10.119 Cole Seely
9 7 2:07.481 9 2:08.498 Cooper Webb
10 12 2:07.905 2 2:11.660 Zach Bell

More news and notes:

How about Ryan Sipes’ return to motocross with a solid 11-15 and 13th overall in the 450s? "I didn't know what to expect this weekend but I had a lot of fun,” said Sipes in a team statement. “I came here hoping I still had some motocross speed, but I'm also racing my GNCC bike. I have my off-road suspension and motor on it. Rockstar Energy Racing helped me out and got me a smaller tank and I put on a 19" rear wheel. I'm happy to come away with an 11-15. I've still got a little bit of speed and I'm still able to go out there and mix it up. It will be nice to have an actual set of motocross suspension at Muddy Creek and come out and do better."

Josh Grant continues to ride well on his JGR Toyota Yamaha. He had horrible starts at High Point but charged through the pack each time to get near the top five.

We hope to have more on Ryan Sipes later in the week.  Photo: Simon Cudby
We hope to have more on Ryan Sipes later in the week.  Photo: Simon Cudby

Just as James Stewart is shedding his win-or-crash rep with consistent finishes this year—Malcolm Stewart has also been a model of consistency so far. In fact he finished between seventh and tenth at each 450 moto this year until he landed on Jake Weimer in a bruising early crash in moto one, which led to zero points scored. But he came back in moto two to finish, of course, between seventh and tenth (ninth).

Not a good day for Ivan Tedesco, who crashed during the week and hit his head, then fell again in the first 450 moto and decided to call it a day. We hope to see the Soaring Eagle Casino RCH Suzuki rider back at Muddy Creek.

Lots of attention on Blake Baggett right now for his recent run in the 250s, but don’t forget about Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb, who is still second in points and collected a third in moto one. Webb told us he made a bike change for moto two, partially based on what they were changing between motos at the races on the West Coast, and it didn’t work. He finished seventh—and right behind his teammate Jeremy Martin in both motos. Wethinks Cooper isn’t happy about that.

The aftermath.  Photo: Jake Weimer Instagram
The aftermath.  Photo: Jake Weimer Instagram

A three-way Dakota battle broke out in the first 250 moto and Dakota Kessler won it with a 17th, ahead of Dakota Alix and Dakota Tedder, who were 18th and 19th, respectively. Also, shout out to Dakota Yohe who qualified in the 450 Class… and we thought “Ryan” was the new name of the motocrosser.

ClubMX rookie pro Jace Owen made his return to racing for the first time since the Detroit supercross. He just missed the points with 24-22 scores in the 250 Class.

Justin Barcia is officially out for the season with an ankle injury, and surgery, for Honda Muscle Milk. We’re now hearing rumors that the team will pick up a replacement rider shortly… stay tuned.

Tough weekend all the way around for Matt Bisceglia. Photo: Simon Cudby
Tough weekend all the way around for Matt Bisceglia. Photo: Simon Cudby

It was a difficult weekend for GEICO Honda rookie Matt Bisceglia off the tack. “"The weekend started with one delayed flight, one missed flight, and one cancelled flight," Bisceglia said in a team release. "I got in really late last night and had difficulty getting to the track today. I missed half of my first practice, so I had to rely on only one practice basically.”

On the track things didn’t go much better. "Two laps into the first moto I crashed and ended up with a concussion. I was in a decent position around eighth when it happened. I honestly do not remember any of it and still am a little shaken up now. From what people tell me it was pretty bad. Rules do not let you continue to race with a head injury, so I was done for the day. I'm happy to be physically OK, and I really can't wait to get outta here and move on to the next race."

Prior to moto one at High Point, GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle hadn’t led since Pala during his abbreviated rookie debut (he raced last four rounds)… in 2011! It’s hard to fathom, but Bogle is still getting acquainted with leading races and battling for wins outdoors (he’s experienced success in supercross). “You learn a lot when you lead laps and I think we made some great progress with that,” Bogle said in a team release.

Bike problems would cost the third member of the team, Zach Bell. "The first moto started out great and I was coming through the pack when I encountered a problem with my bike setup in the ruts," Bell said in a team release. "I fell three times, so I'm happy to be safe. 

"Second moto I almost had the holeshot and maintained a good position for the beginning, but I was so exhausted from my first moto that I just kept falling back,” he continued. “The track was definitely gnarly today and it got extremely hot towards the end. I'm just happy I finished strong and we fixed our issues from the first race.”

Another round, another solid performance for Weston Peick. Under his new team, RCH Soaring Eagle Suzuki, Peick captured his second top five moto performance at High Point. Companied with a tenth in moto one, Peick has seven top tens through eight motos.

Weston Peick continues to make the best of his new opportunity.  Photo: Simon Cudby
Weston Peick continues to make the best of his new opportunity.  Photo: Simon Cudby

Privateer Jackson Richardson made a last minute call to race the High Point National. Richardson said they decided after Thunder Valley to make the trip east. Following a tough 37-38 performance—his worst result of the season—Richardson is heading back home to Australia to work on his visa. He is uncertain when he will return.

The move to the East Coast typically brings with it a new batch of privateers. One privateer in particular we were watching was Mitchell Oldenburg. The second year pro has had great success in supercross, but not many chances outdoors. The Minnesota native went 36-19 in his debut. He is expected to contest the East Coast rounds outdoors.

Justin Starling had his best ride of the season Saturday. The Floridian, sponsored by headphone company EXEO, went 16-21 for eighteenth overall.

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