Sign of the (Lap) Times: Budds Creek

Sign of the (Lap) Times Budds Creek

June 30, 2015 3:00pm

By Chase Stallo and Jason Weigandt

Ryan Dungey dodged a huge bullet in the second moto on Saturday. The series’ leader won the first moto, and after a two-hour delay for moto two, Dungey was second off the start, hugging the left side of Justin Barcia as the two hit the first jump following the start. The Red Bull KTM rider hit a soft spot, which prevented him from clearing the jump, and ejected him over the bars. “It’s really hard. You’re debating whether they are going to call the race or keep going, and you know, I just hit a soft spot,” he told NBC Sports’ Georgia Lindsay. “I landed on it and it ejected me. I’m glad I’m okay.”

Dungey rarely, if ever, has a highlight reel crash, but when he does, he seems to escape serious injury. Dungey had a similar crash to the one Saturday back in 2010 at San Francisco Supercross. Dungey walked away from that crash as well and went on to his first career 450SX championship. 

On Saturday, Dungey remounted and bulldogged his way back into the top ten, despite not having a front fender (and goggles for that matter) before getting stuck with a few laps to go and finishing twelfth. “A couple laps to go, I just tucked the front and got it stuck,” he told Lindsay. “Overall, these conditions are just nasty, so I’m just happy to get through the day.” Budds Creek was only the second time this season Dungey finished off a moto podium (Glen Helen, moto two, when his bike stalled twice) and the first time this season he’s been off the overall podium.  

Due to weather, the practice schedule was cut to just one session for each group, and the traditional last chance qualifier to seed the final spots in the motos was scrapped. Honda HRC’s Cole Seely completed just one lap in qualifying Saturday after straining his left leg in a practice crash Thursday. Seely’s 2:31.640 turned in Group A placed him forty-seventh overall with only the top forty advancing. MX Sports Pro Racing did offer a provisional gate choice to riders in the top ten in points, but Seely entered Budds Creek 2 points shy of Phil Nicoletti for tenth in the point standings, so he wasn’t granted that provisional. 

“I’m really disappointed that I wasn’t able to race today,” Seely said in a team statement. “It [his leg] was pretty sore when we went out for practice, then on the second lap I put it out in a turn and jammed it again. Since I only got a lap and a half in, I wasn’t able to qualify. I went to Asterisk to get checked out and it seems like a pulled muscle, so I’ll get checked out again this week and hopefully be back at RedBud.” 

The HRC team didn’t get any relief when Fredrik Noren had to pull in the pits early in moto one with a bike problem. Noren was running inside the top ten before the mechanical. “Today was our worst race of the year, but it’s bad days like this that really make you appreciate the good days even more,” team manager Dan Betley said in a statement. “Between Cole’s injury, Freddie’s bike issue in the first moto, and the weather, it just seemed like it was one thing after another going wrong.” 

Noren would rebound with an eleventh in the second moto, giving him fifteenth overall on the day. “I felt like my riding was really solid all day, but I didn’t get the results that I wanted,” he said in a statement. “The second moto was delayed a while because of a crazy storm, but when we finally lined up, I had a bad gate, way to the outside. I got a horrible start and just spent the rest of the race trying to pass as many people as possible.” 

Hahn bested his previous high, going 12-6 for ninth.
Hahn bested his previous high, going 12-6 for ninth. Cudby

Christophe Pourcel was the star for the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna team with second overall, but his teammate Jason Anderson proved solid again by salvaging sixth with 7-7 scores. Anderson even had a flat rear tire in the second moto but hung tough. "My weekend was not the greatest but not the worst,” Anderson said in a Rockstar team statement. “My first moto I ended up seventh. In the second moto I had a good start and was up there, but I ended up getting flat rear tire and salvaged another seventh, which gave me sixth overall… All in all it wasn't a horrible weekend, but I'm going to try and get back up there for the next few rounds." Honda’s Tommy Hahn returned after missing the last two rounds due to a concussion sustained at Thunder Valley. Hahn had his best results of the season, going 12-6 for ninth overall, one spot ahead of his brother, Wil. Hahn’s previous best was a thirteenth in the opening moto at Hangtown. “My riding was the best it’s been all year,” Hahn said on Instagram. “I still have a ways to go it feels like. But I’m meeting and exceeding goals so I can’t be mad.” 

For the second straight race, a two-stroke made a splash at a national. Gared Steinke blew minds by running in the top thirty on a YZ125 at High Point. This time the action came in the 450 Class, as North Carolina privateer Cody Gragg finished thirteenth in rain-soaked second moto to capture sixteenth overall on a YZ250. Check out Racer X Online later this week for more on Gragg (Steinke, by the way, went top thirty again in the 250 Class with 28-20 scores for thirtieth overall on his 125).

450 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 2:05.786 4 2:10.696 Ryan Dungey
2 5 2:06.416 3 2:12.726  Ken Roczen 
3 4 2:06.936 5 2:11.960 Blake Baggett
4 2 2:06.972 3 2:11.276 Christophe Pourcel
5 3 2:07.378 5 2:11.329 Justin Barcia
6 6 2:08.714 5 2:12.963 Broc Tickle
7 7 2:09.748 3 2:14.361 Jason Anderson
8 38 2:09.886 3 2:13.737 Fredrik Noren
9 10 2:10.651 3 2:15.580 Weston Peick
10 9 2:11.643 6 2:15.011 Justin Brayton

No shockers here except poor Freddie Noren, who had mechanical problems. This ended up being an exciting, crazy day with the rain, but the opening laps of the first moto still showed Dungey and Roczen as the fastest of the bunch. We'll see if the rest of the boys can contend with them when it's not wet and when Kenny's no longer fighting an illness.

450 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:21.648 2 2:23.952 Justin Barcia
2 4 2:21.716 7 2:27.003 Ken Roczen
3 2 2:22.297 14 2:24.967 Blake Baggett
4 12 2:22.398 12 2:31.612 Ryan Dungey
5 3 2:22.904 2 2:25.906 Christophe Pourcel
6 11 2:23.682 12 2:29.631 Fredrik Noren
7 7 2:25.173 4 2:32.233 Jason Anderson
8 5 2:25.691 4 2:30.796 Phil Nicoletti
9 9 2:27.254 8 2:32.177 Broc Tickle
10 8 2:28.578 13 2:32.064 Tony Archer

Again, Roczen was fast but couldn't last due to illness. What's most notable here is the good laps are all over the map. Baggett floored it late to pass Pourcel for second. Dungey finally got some clear track (and fresh goggles) late. And Tony Archer! Good for him. In the end, the crazy "In Lap" column tells you all you need to know about a mud race.

250 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 2 2:12.005 13 2:15.810 Jeremy Martin
2 1 2:12.345 6 2:15.752 Alex Martin
3 3 2:12.386 5 2:16.503 Zach Osborne
4 8 2:12.481 14 2:18.433 Adam Cianciarulo
5 6 2:13.212 16 2:17.663 Cooper Webb
6 7 2:14.866 13 2:18.138 Marvin Musquin
7 5 2:14.386 15 2:17.692 Christian Craig
8 15 2:14.917 1 2:21.043 RJ Hampshire
9 12 2:14.991 5 2:19.810 Jessy Nelson
10 4 2:15.014 14 2:17.375 Joey Savatgy

Jeremy Martin stalled the lap after his took the lead with this fast lap—and logged a 2:22, enough to hand the win over to his bro. Also note RJ Hampshire, who took the lead early and tried to check out in the mud. It was worth the risk, but it didn't work out due to a crash.

250 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:09.592 6 2:14.837 Marvin Musquin
2 2 2:09.433 1 2:15.610 Adam Cianciarulo
3 3 2:12.456 2 2:17.976 Joey Savatgy
4 6 2:12.465 2 2:16.327 Jeremy Martin
5 4 2:13.020 2 2:18.056 Matt Bisceglia
6 7 2:13.077 5 2:18.542 Alex Martin
7 5 2:13.351 3 2:18.278 Zach Osborne
8 10 2:13.422 4 2:20.244 Christian Craig
9 14 2:13.847 6 2:19.016 Cooper Webb
10 8 2:15.894 6 2:20.253 Jordon Smith

Nothing surprising here, as the laps reflect the results for the most part. But fast laps only tell part of the story in a mudder. Pretty much everyone except Musquin had a moment they wish they could get back. Jeremy Martin had a 2:51 lap (yes, 2:51, no typo) on lap twelve, and Cianciarulo had a 2:22 on lap six due to crashes.

More News and Notes

The Martin brothers are notoriously hard trainers, and a bad weekend for Jeremy at High Point, followed by an off weekend, turned up the heat. The boys went to work, hard, under trainer Johnny O’Mara, with Jeremy supposedly turning in eight forty-five-minute motos and a good twenty-five hours of training the week after the race. “It was hell,” O’Mara told us. “Almost killed Alex.”

Jeremy wanted to go hard again the week before Budds Creek, but O’Mara had to back him down to get ready for the race. Jeremy had some bad luck again at Budds Creek. He stalled while leading the first moto. In position for the overall win in moto two, he had goggle problems and then came up on a lapper that wouldn’t move out of the main line. J-Mart crashed trying to get around the lapped rider, dropping him from third to sixth. He lost 2 points to Marvin Musquin in the standings at Budds Creek. Think he’ll be putting in some work today? 

After seeing the forecast, Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb was probably wishing he had made the decision to return at RedBud instead of Budds Creek. In his first race back since re-aggravating a foot/ankle injury at Hangtown, Webb finished a respectable eighth overall, but it could have been much better. After a ninth-place start in the second moto, Webb had worked up to Joey Savatgy to challenge for the top five before crashing in the roller section before the finish line. He finished the moto fourteenth.

Webb’s Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha teammate Anthony Rodriguez was back in action for the first time since Hangtown. Rodriguez told us on Saturday morning that he’d been back on a bike for three weeks following an ugly practice crash before Glen Helen when another rider crossed the track in front of him, resulting in a collision. A-Rod fought back from thirty-sixth in the first moto to nineteenth. He also put a charge in the second moto, coming from thirty-seventh to eighteenth. The Venezuelan finished twenty-second overall on the day.

There might not have been a rider happier with the weather than Aaron Plessinger, the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider who grew up racing the muddy Grand National Cross Country Series. We saw him in the team hauler pumping up teammate Cooper Webb, sporting an ear-to-ear grin. But disaster struck early via a big first-turn crash in moto one, with Plessinger going down hard, ending his moto. He salvaged eleventh in the second moto. 

Despite not scoring any points in the first moto, GEICO Honda’s Matt Bisceglia finished ninth overall Saturday, thanks in part to a season-high fourth in the second moto. "To not score any points was demoralizing, so I rode with anger that second moto,” he said in a statement. "I showed up to the line and was way to the outside, but I ripped a second- or third-place start from the outside. I just rode aggressive and stayed right behind Adam [Cianciarulo] and Marvin [Musquin], but they got away from me a little bit.” Bisceglia’s previous best was a sixth (Glen Helen and Tennessee).

GEICO Honda rookie Jordon Smith continued his bad first moto, good second moto trend at Budds Creek. Through twelve motos Smith has averaged a 14.6 finish in the first moto, compared to an 8.6 in the second. He finished seventeenth in the first moto and eighth in the second on Saturday. "That was my first mudder as a professional, and it was tough," said Smith in a team statement. "It was kind of the same story this week as every week: had a good second moto and not such a good first moto. I'm riding well in both, but I just need to calm down a little bit in the first moto the first few laps and get through there so I can put together two good motos instead of just one." 

Osborne finished fifth overall on the day and currently sits fifth in points.
Osborne finished fifth overall on the day and currently sits fifth in points. Cudby

Fellow GEICO Honda rookie RJ Hampshire had a tough day in the mud, but what could have been. Hampshire led Alex Martin early in moto one before sliding down Henry Hill. Hamsphire struggled to get his bike started and dropped down the field. He fell again later in the moto and finished fifteenth. "Just made a mistake and went down," Hampshire said of the crash in a statement. "I was way back and went down a couple more times, so that wasn't good. The second moto, I got a decent start and was running tenth, but I went down again, and the bike was overheating from all the mud, so we just had to cruise in and score some points. I feel like we had more than we showed today." 

Veteran Christian Craig was the top scoring GEICO Honda rider Saturday, finishing seventh overall, which surprised the California native. "I'm not really a mud guy. I'm from California, so I didn't know where I was going to fit in there in the mud," he said. "I stayed up on two wheels and was one of the only guys to do that, and it seemed to work out for me."

Zach Osborne’s prior off-road experience in GNCC and ISDE helped him to a third in the first moto, his second podium in the last three motos. Osborne had a chance at the overall but couldn’t make enough passes late in the race and had to settle for fifth. He finished fifth overall. “I’m happy with the way I rode, but I’m a little bummed because I had a chance to win the overall if I got the two guys in front of me in the second moto,” he said in a statement. “At the same time I’m stoked that my results have been pretty solid in recent weeks. I’m just going to keep working to try and win. It’s going to happen soon.” 

What a day for Traders Racing Kawasaki. Local product Tony Archer, from nearby Waldorf, bounced back from a mechanical in the first 450 moto to score a career-high eighth in the second moto, giving him thirteenth overall. Meanwhile, 250 Class holdover from a season ago, Nick Gaines, had his best finish of the season—twelfth overall. The rookie from Georgia excels in less than ideal conditions, as he finished eleventh in his first career moto at Indiana a season ago. 

Starling has found his place on the KX250.
Starling has found his place on the KX250.

And welcome to the team Justin Starling. The Florida native, who spent the early part of the season with Honda, rocketed out of the gate in his first moto with the team to grab the first 250 holeshot. Starling slipped back after his great start but held down a top-ten until late in the moto. He eventually finished eleventh, a career high, and sixteenth overall on the day following a twentieth in the second moto. Also, it was a home race for the title sponsor of the team—Traders Seafood Steak and Ale, which is based in nearby Chesapeake Beach, Maryland.

After scoring a surprising podium at the opening race at Hangtown, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rookie Chris Alldredge hasn’t cracked the top five in a moto since. He was okay in the first moto with a ninth, but a rough go in the mud of moto two left him twenty-first, giving him fourteenth overall. “It was a battle all day,” Alldredge said in a team statement. “I made a lot of mistakes during both motos, but especially in the second. I know I need to learn during the year, and I am, but I want to get the results I know I am capable of.”