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Pourcel Shares Hard Charger Award at Indiana

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - In some of the most challenging conditions the series has seen in recent memory, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its inaugural visit to the new Ironman Raceway on Saturday with the Thor Indiana National from Crawfordsville. The 11th stop of the 12-round season proved to be a fight against Mother Nature as much as a battle between riders, and following a pair of grueling motos in both the 450 Class and 250 Class, it was the Red Bull KTM duo of Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin who enjoyed the spoils of victory, while Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Jeremy Martin savored the clinching of his first career professional championship. All in all, the inclement weather produced a wild afternoon of competition in which a variety of riders held the spotlight at some point in time.

Through partnerships with series sponsors, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will recognize the riders who achieve the series' specialty awards all summer long. Each week, MX Sports Pro Racing will recognize the riders who are able to lay claim to the Oakley Bomb Fastest Lap Program, the MotoSport.com Holeshot Award in each moto, and the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award throughout the 2014 season.

The Oakley Bomb Fastest Lap Program is designed to present a unique challenge for the 2014 season, providing a different twist by recognizing the rider who sets the fastest lap of practice in both the 250 and 450 Classes. Each rider will receive special Oakley Bomb trophy, specially designed by the brand.As the season wears on, the total number of Oakley Bomb awards a rider receives will be tallied into a final season total. The competitor with the most awards at season's end will be presented with an Elite Oakley Time Bomb II Swiss Automatic Watch.  

In the 450 Class, GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac captured his second Oakley Bomb Award of the 2014 season with an absolutely blistering lap. Tomac's lap of 3:02.241 in his lone session of practice was a full nine seconds faster than anyone else at the event, ahead of a surprise second-place time from privateer rider Austin Wagner. Tomac's success in Indiana proved to work in Roczen's favor from a big picture standpoint, as the KTM rider and current championship points leader is now guaranteed to win the Elite Oakley Time Bomb II Swiss Automatic Watch with the most fastest laps of the season in the 450 Class, which currently sits at four.

In the 250 Class, Martin got his championship-clinching day off to a fast start by earning his second Oakley Bomb Award over stalwart Christophe Pourcel and his Valli Motorsports Yamaha. Martin's time of 3:14.028 was nearly two seconds quicker than Pourcel's fastest lap, and proved to pay big dividends in his hopes of wrapping up the title.

Jeremy Martin earned his second Oakley Bomb Award of the season. Photo: Matt Rice/Alli Sports
Jeremy Martin earned his second Oakley Bomb Award of the season. 
Photo: Matt Rice/Alli Sports

The Motosport.com Holeshot Award is brand new to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross this season and it awards $500 to the rider who gets the holeshot of each moto - in both the 450 Class and 250 Class - at every round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. A total of $2,000 will be up for grabs at each event between the two classes, thanks to Motosport.com.

Coming into Indiana, the Motosport.com Holeshot Award had been a showcase of dominance by Yamaha in recent weeks, namely Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX's Justin Brayton and Pourcel, who each carried multi-event streaks into Ironman Raceway. Unfortunately, neither rider, nor Yamaha, would be a factor in being first to the line last Saturday.

The opening 450 Class moto saw Roczen emerge with the Motosport.com Holeshot Award, and the German rookie was able to parlay that into a dominant wire-to-wire effort by winning his first moto since RedBud over 4th of July weekend. That performance ultimately put Roczen in a position to claim his fifth overall victory of the season and take one step closer to his first career national title.

In Moto 2, the momentum swung into Team Honda Muscle Milk rider Trey Canard's favor, with the Oklahoma native edging out Roczen at the line and proceeding to put forth a near-flawless performance out front to earn his second moto win in his last three attempts. The moto triumph landed Canard second overall for the second straight week.

The 250 Class was the sight of yet another sweep of the Motosport.com Holeshot Awards, but this time it was Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda's Jessy Nelson assumed the reigns from Pourcel. The California native was on point all afternoon at Indiana and was able to carry the momentum of his first moto holeshot into the inaugural moto win of his career. While he ultimately was unable to back up that effort with his second moto holeshot, Nelson still landed on the overall podium for the first time, finishing third overall and pocketing $1,000 in bonus money for his efforts.

The RC Hard Charger Award is entering its sixth season in 2014. Named after Ricky Carmichael, the most winning motocross rider of all time, the award recognizes the one competitor at each of the 12 rounds of the championship who overtakes the highest number of his fellow racers in any of the four championship motos between the 250 and 450 Classes.The award is a testament to "The Greatest of All Time" or "The GOAT" and his never-give-up attitude over the span of a career that warranted 10 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross titles and 102 wins - two feats that will likely never be duplicated. All recipients of the RC Hard Charger Award are given a custom-designed trophy.

Despite missing out on the other awards that he's become familiar with this season, Pourcel still walked away from Indiana with some recognition for his achievements. While his fourth-place overall finish wasn't quite what the former World Champion was looking for, Pourcel showed why he's simply known as the "Crafty Frenchman" with an incredible come-from-behind effort in the opening 250 Class moto in what might have been the worst conditions of the day. When adversity struck Pourcel on the opening lap of the afternoon, he crossed the line all the way back in 31st position. Despite the hard luck, Pourcel made an impressive march through the field to pass 22 riders and break into the top 10 for a ninth-place finish. That effort was enough to earn him the RC Hard Charger Award and also gave him the distinction of being the only rider in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship to have earned each of the specialty awards available during the 2014 season.

However, Pourcel wasn't the only rider to put forth a valiant effort in breaking through the pack, as two additional riders join the Frenchman this week as a co-recipient of the RC Hard Charger Award. Rusk Racing/M&R Trucking's Kellian Rusk earned his first RC Hard Charger Award of the season en route to a 14th place finish overall. The Colorado native began his day with a 37th-place start in moto one of the 450 Class but through heart, determination and a great deal of persistence, Rusk was able to claw his way up to 15th, where he ultimately finished in moto one. Perhaps the driving force behind Rusk's incredible come-from-behind performance was the pit board message from his mechanic, who wrote "Hard Charger" to remind Rusk to never give up. And he did just that, passing 22 riders in the first moto.

Toyota/Yamaha/N-FAB/JGRMX's Josh Grant, who raced for the first time since suffering an injury during practice at Washougal, also earned the RC Hard Charger Award this week with another impressive come-from-behind performance. Grant began his afternoon with a 34th-place start in the first 450 Class moto, but was able to fight his way forward in the muddy conditions to ultimately finish just outside the top 10 in 12th, also passing 22 riders. For Grant it was the third time in 2014 that he's earned the RC Hard Charger, the most of any rider in the series. While not a distinction Grant's necessarily would have hoped for, it's proven to be an indication of the veteran's incredible resiliency and ability to overcome virtually any obstacle, the true nature of what the award represents.

Jessy Nelson used the Motorsport.com Holeshot Award to springboard himself into a favorable position in both 250 Class motos Photo: Simon Cudby/Racer X
Jessy Nelson used the Motorsport.com Holeshot Award to springboard himself into a favorable position in both 250 Class motos Photo: Simon Cudby/Racer X

2014 Specialty Award Winners

Oakley Fastest Lap Program

450 Class

  • Glen Helen        - Ryan Dungey
  • Hangtown          - Ken Roczen
  • Thunder Valley    - Trey Canard
  • High Point         -  Ken Roczen
  • Muddy Creek     -  Eli Tomac
  • Red Bud            -  Ken Roczen
  • Budds Creek      -  James Stewart
  • Spring Creek      -  Ken Roczen
  • Washougal        -  Ryan Dungey
  • Unadilla            -  Trey Canard
  • Indiana              -  Eli Tomac

250 Class

  • Glen Helen        - Christophe Pourcel
  • Hangtown          - Christophe Pourcel
  • Thunder Valley   - Christophe Pourcel
  • High Point         -  Jeremy Martin
  • Muddy Creek     -  Christophe Pourcel           
  • Red Bud            -  Christophe Pourcel
  • Budds Creek      -  Christophe Pourcel
  • Spring Creek      -  Christophe Pourcel
  • Washougal        -  Marvin Musquin
  • Unadilla            -  Christophe Pourcel
  • Indiana              -  Jeremy Martin

Motosport.com Holeshot Award

450 Class

Glen Helen

Moto 1 - Josh Grant

Moto 2 - Ken Roczen

Hangtown

Moto 1 - Ryan Dungey

Moto 2 - Jake Weimer 

Thunder Valley

Moto 1 - Josh Grant

Moto 2 - Trey Canard 

High Point

Moto 1 - Chad Reed

Moto 2 - Chad Reed 

Muddy Creek

Moto 1 - Eli Tomac

Moto 2 - Ryan Dungey 

Red Bud

Moto 1 - Ryan Dungey

Moto 2 - Ken Roczen 

Budds Creek

Moto 1 - Justin Brayton

Moto 2 - Ryan Dungey

Spring Creek

Moto 1 - Ryan Dungey

Moto 2 - Eli Tomac 

Washougal

Moto 1 - Justin Brayton

Moto 2 - Justin Brayton 

Unadilla

Moto 1 - Justin Brayton

Moto 2 - Justin Brayton

Indiana

Moto 1 - Ken Roczen

Moto 2 - Trey Canard

250 Class

Glen Helen

Moto 1 - Jeremy Martin

Moto 2 - Jeremy Martin

Hangtown

Moto 1 - Zach Bell

Moto 2 - Jeremy Martin 

Thunder Valley

Moto 1 - Jessy Nelson

Moto 2 - Zach Bell

High Point

Moto 1 - Christophe Pourcel

Moto 2 - Christophe Pourcel

Muddy Creek

Moto 1 - Christophe Pourcel

Moto 2 - Justin Bogle

Red Bud

Moto 1 - Matt Biscegila

Moto 2 - Joey Savatgy

Budds Creek

Moto 1 - Justin Bogle

Moto 2 - Jeremy Martin

Spring Creek

Moto 1 - Christophe Pourcel

Moto 2 - Christophe Pourcel

Washougal

Moto 1 - Christophe Pourcel

Moto 2 - Christophe Pourcel

Unadilla

Moto 1 - Christophe Pourcel

Moto 2 - Christophe Pourcel

Indiana

Moto 1 - Jessy Nelson

Moto 2 - Jessy Nelson
 

RC Hard Charger Award

  • Glen Helen        - Josh Grant (+22)
  • Hangtown          - Andrew Short (+24)
  • Thunder Valley      -    Fredrik Noren (+21)
  • High Point         - Shane Sewell & Zack Williams (+14)
  • Muddy Creek     -  Josh Grant (+29)
  • Red Bud            -  Fredrick Noren & Joey Savatgy (+21)
  • Budds Creek      -  Dean Wilson (+21)
  • Spring Creek      -  Jason Anderson (+25)
  • Washougal        -  Tevin Tapia (+18)
  • Unadilla            -  Cade Clason & Luke Renzland (+17)
  • Indiana              -  Christophe Pourcel, Kellian Rusk & Josh Grant (+22)

The twelfth and final round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to Tooele, Utah, for the second annual Zions Bank Utah National on Saturday, August 23.

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