10 Things to Watch: Washougal

10 Things To Watch Washougal

July 24, 2015 10:25am

By Aaron Hansel and Chase Stallo

Counterattack

With two forgettable races (for him) in the immediate rearview, Marvin Musquin is due for a win, and with Lucas Oil Pro Motocross heading to Washougal this weekend, there’s a very good chance he’ll get it. Musquin is always ultra-fast in the Pacific Northwest—he went 1-1 there last year, and he was even faster than everyone except Ryan Dungey in qualifying. Musquin needs to get some points back on Saturday, and this is his best place to do it. –Aaron Hansel 

Lock of the Week

Speaking of riders who kill it at Washougal, we’ve got to mention Ryan Dungey, who’s absolutely incredible there. In fact, his worst overall finish at Washougal was third when he was a rookie back in 2007! Since then he’s only lost once—to Ryan Villopoto in 2013—and even then the two swapped moto wins. Nothing is certain in racing, but if you’re looking to throw down some money on Washougal, Dungey’s your lock of the week. –Hansel 

Damage Control

Let’s face it—unless something beyond disastrous happens to Dungey, Ken Roczen, who came into the season injured, isn’t going to defend his title. Dungey has 56 points on Roczen, which means he could literally stay home next week and still hold onto the lead. The point battle that Roczen now faces is with Justin Barcia, who’s just 13 points back of Roczen. To put things in perspective, that gap that was at 37 points before Barcia’s surge started at Budds Creek. Roczen’s title hopes are now in Dungey’s hands, as he needs a mistake from the leader to get back in this. He can control his own destiny for second, though. Unless he wants to drop another position, Roczen needs to keep Barcia in his rearview, starting at Washougal. –Hansel 

Marvin Musquin has struggled the last couple of rounds, but he's headed to a place where he's typically exelled.
Marvin Musquin has struggled the last couple of rounds, but he's headed to a place where he's typically exelled. photo: Cudby

Hometown Boost

Justin Hill just wasn’t himself at the last two rounds. Since coming back at RedBud after getting injured at Thunder Valley, eleventh place is the best he’s been able to muster in a moto, which is a far cry from the second overall he took at Glen Helen. The good news is Lucas Oil Pro Motocross is headed to Hill’s home region—Washougal is only a few hours away from Yoncalla, Oregon, Hill’s hometown. The familiar setting and local support could be just what Hill needs to get back up front. –Hansel

Slippery Situation

If you’re sitting on your couch watching the race on TV, the dirt at Washougal looks great. If you’re sitting on your dirt bike trying to rail one of the track’s dark turns, it’s a different story. The soil at Washougal is quite slick, and is actually less trustworthy than a frozen lake in the spring. Compounding the problem are the afternoon shadows cast by the tall fir trees that pepper the landscape—they make it hard to see ruts and slick spots. Expect traction to be in short supply this weekend. –Hansel 

Trey Canard Is Back

Remember Trey Canard? Last seen: Detroit Supercross.

The affable Oklahoman returns for his first race since late March when he fractured his left arm in a devastating crash with Jake Weimer. “I don’t have any set expectations for my return except to do my best, give 100 percent effort, ride within my limits and enjoy doing what I love,” Canard said in a statement earlier this week. Washougal and Canard have a long history—Canard has twice (2008 and 2011) broken his femur at the track—but more recently he finished seventh overall with a fourth in moto one a year ago. Never lacking in the speed department, Canard could make an immediate impact. –Chase Stallo  

Hot Tub Time Machine

Remember Mike Alessi? Last seen: Calgary, Canada, for round three of the Rockstar Energy Drink Canadian Nationals.

Alessi and the MotoConcepts crew have been trekking the globe in 2015. But whether in Europe or Canada, Alessi’s results have been sub-par. Alessi raced twice in the FIM World Motocross Championship (Great Britain and France), finishing nineteenth and eighteenth overall, respectively. He also raced round three in Canada, but crashed and was a DNS for the second moto. In Alessi’s last appearance in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross—2013—he finished seventh overall at Lake Elsinore. (He raced the Canadian Nationals in 2014.) The only highlights for Alessi this year are some decent Monster Energy Supercross rides back in the winter, but that run ended with a big crash at Daytona. Alessi has had past success at Washougal (second overall with a moto win in 2012)—where will he stack up this year? –Stallo 

Arnaud Tonus will make his long-awaited Lucas Oil Pro Motocruss debut at Washougal.
Arnaud Tonus will make his long-awaited Lucas Oil Pro Motocruss debut at Washougal. photo: Cudby

Swiss Invasion

Remember Arnaud Tonus? Last seen: Practice, Daytona Supercross.

We will finally get to see what Tonus will bring to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Out since March with what the team is calling a serious illness, Tonus will finally make his outdoor debut in America this weekend. Mitch Payton plucked Tonus out of the FIM World Motocross Championship with 2015 expected to be a learning year in supercross. Tonus looked fast through three rounds of the East Region before being sidelined with an illness, and then he missed his expected return last week with a shoulder problem. Racing outdoors is the forte of the Swiss native—how will he do in his debut? –Stallo

Davalos is Back

Remember Martin Davalos? Last seen: Detroit Supercross.

Davalos clawed his way back from a badly broken leg/ankle in 2014 to line up for the 2015 250SX East Region. He never looked like he did in 2014, though, when he won multiple races and was leading the championship before his injury. He struggled to gain momentum—and eventually his strength. Davalos was finally diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus and has been out since Detroit in late March. Washougal will be Davalos’ first motocross race since a tenth overall at Lake Elsinore in 2013. How will he do in his return? –Stallo

Webb Attack

Remember Cooper Webb? Last seen: winning the Spring Creek National.

Okay, okay, Webb isn’t returning from an injury—that was a few weeks back at Budds Creek—but we can’t leave out the most recent 250MX race winner. Last week was Webb’s first win since the Tennessee National in 2014, and only his second career overall. Webb is out of the championship hunt, but he could help—or hurt, like he did last week—his teammate, Jeremy Martin, in the fight to gain points on Musquin this weekend. Or he could just go out and win the whole thing. Anyone want to guess what Cooper would prefer to do? –Stallo