Sign of the (Lap) Times: Washougal

Sign of the (Lap) Times Washougal

July 29, 2015 10:00am

Ryan Dungey picked up 13 points on Ken Roczen Saturday, pushing his championship lead to 69 over Roczen and the red-hot Justin Barcia, who left Washougal tied at 331 each. Barring something unforeseen, Dungey will clinch a third 450MX title at some point over the next three rounds. How early? Technically, he can clinch at round ten at Unadilla, but that’s highly unlikely, as he would need to pick up 31 points that day. The best-case scenario for Dungey would be after the first moto at Utah. He only needs to pick up 6 points between now and then (Unadilla and the first moto at Utah) for that to happen. To clinch after the second moto at Utah, Dungey would just need to stand pat.

Honda HRC’s Fredrik Noren had to come from outside the top ten both motos (thirteenth and sixteenth after lap one) to capture a third-consecutive seventh-overall. Team manager Dan Betley acknowledged in a team statement that Noren needs to improve his starts if he wants his results to progress. “Freddie rode solid in both motos and finished seventh overall for the third week in a row,” he said. “He has the potential to improve but he needs to work on his starts.”

Added mechanic Rich Simmons: “I’m pretty impressed with how Freddie rode today. I think he could be a top-five guy every moto if he could get his starts down. He does well in the mud, so today could’ve potentially been an opportunity to get a career-best finish, but seventh is still really good.” 

With Trey Canard returning at Washougal, Noren was expected to return to his original team— Honda. But with Cole Seely out with a shoulder injury, Noren stayed under the Team HRC tent. He did run his graphics on his factory bike, though. Speaking of Canard, he struggled with crashes in his return en route to an eighth-place overall finish. “It wasn’t necessarily a bad day because I’ve had much worse here, but I’m also not totally happy with how things went,” he said in a team release. “My results weren’t great, so I’m disappointed in that. I didn’t get great starts in either moto, went down a few times, and overall feel like I didn’t ride as well as I should have. The track was extremely slick and very tough, so I’m happy to be leaving healthy and have the first race back under my belt.”

Grant collected another top-ten on the Monster Energy Kawasaki.
Grant collected another top-ten on the Monster Energy Kawasaki. photo: Cudby

Another rider that struggled in the sloppy conditions was Broc Tickle. Entering Washougal, Tickle was averaging a 7.3 finish per moto, ranking as one of the most consistent riders in 450MX. For just the second time this season (Glen Helen was the first) Tickle finished outside the top ten in both motos at Washgoual. After crashing and losing his goggles, Tickle got hit in the eye with a rock that affected him in the second moto. “After the first moto, I went to the Asterisk Medical Unit, got my eyes flushed, and did my best to be prepared for the second moto,” he said in a team statement. “I still felt a little bit off, even before I started the second moto. I think the rock to the eye made it tough. My vision was a little blurry. It was the same deal. I didn’t get a good start and crashed. Went all the way back to thirty-fifth and salvaged twentieth.” 

In just his second race with the team, Josh Grant collected another top-ten overall finish, clipping SmarTop/Motoconcepts' Vince Friese by 1 point. Grant told us before practice that he did a little testing and made small refinements to the bike after his team debut at Millville, but overall the bike was pretty close since he'd already been racing one for Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports. “I’m happy with how I feel on the bike, and I was able to ride well today,” Grant said in a statement. “With the weather the way it was, the track was one-lined, so you had to get a good start to get a good finish. We are all working hard, and having a week off will give us time to get some testing in to find the best settings for my KX450F.” 

Tough day for KTM teammates Justin Brayton and Andrew Short. Brayton was still feeling the effects of a crash last week at Millville and struggled to fifteenth with 14-15 scores, and Short is still struggling to find his form in his return from a broken knee cap. He went 19-13 for sixteenth. When it started raining before practice, Shorty showed us his heart rate monitor before he rolled onto the track, and it was at 105 bpm. "Especially with the mud, and coming back with a knee, you get a lot more anxious before you go out there," he said.

450 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 6 2:25.909 15 2:31.157 Jason Anderson
2 1 2:28.282 5 2:31.194 Justin Barcia
3 5 2:29.087 15 2:34.488 Blake Baggett
4 3 2:30.539 6 2:34.508 Christophe Pourcel
5 2 2:30.560 10 2:32.893 Ryan Dungey
6 7 2:31.082 10 2:35.902 Ken Roczen
7 4 2:32.405 3 2:35.105 Phil Nicoletti
8 12 2:32.533 14 2:37.649 Weston Peick
9 11 2:32.591 6 2:36.783 Josh Grant
10 8 2:32.671 11 2:34.425 Trey Canard

Jason Anderson's charge was just incredible in  this moto, as he logged this crazy fast time on the last lap. Unfortunately, he had to do his work from the back after goggle problems in the mud sent him into the mechanics' area on the first lap. 

450 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:15.477 7 2:18.097 Ryan Dungey
2 2 2:15.920 7 2:18.606 Justin Barcia
3 3 2:16.186 9 2:19.192 Ken Roczen
4 37 2:16.610 7 2:18.943 Jason Anderson
5 4 2:19.127 5 2:21.369 Weston Peick
6 8 2:19.449 16 2:22.465 Josh Grant
7 5 2:19.634 7 2:21.002 Christophe Pourcel
8 12 2:19.724 16 2:22.577 Blake Baggett
9 7 2:19.964 7 2:22.136 Fredrik Noren
10 9 2:20.274 8 2:22.780 Trey Canard

Nothing too crazy to report here. Baggett went down early and started a huge pileup, and was only able to come through for twelfth place.

250 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 2 2:31.009 13 2:37.749 Cooper Webb
2 1 2:31.458 13 2:40.448 Marvin Musquin
3 4 2:32.038 2 2:40.617 Christian Craig
4 5 2:35.120 11 2:39.923 Aaron Plessinger
5 8 2:35.405 5 2:40.831 Mitchell Oldenburg
6 7 2:35.485 4 2:40.239 Zach Osborne
7 6 2:35.579 14 2:40.407 Jessy Nelson
8 10 2:36.704 5 2:41.497 RJ Hampshire
9 3 2:36.882 4 2:39.821 Arnaud Tonus
10 11 2:36.981 14 2:40.902 Shane McElrath

Arnaud Tonus demonstrates what his smooth style can do here. He wasn't the flat-out fastest, but he rode steady to collect a moto podium.

250 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 2 2:20.989 7 2:23.386 Marvin Musquin
2 3 2:21.244 9 2:22.962 Jeremy Martin 
3 1 2:21.427 8 2:23.220 Cooper Webb
4 4 2:22.772 6 2:25.254 Aaron Plessinger
5 8 2:22.967 15 2:25.783 Jessy Nelson
6 6 2:23.049 14 2:25.618 Shane McElrath
7 10 2:23.434 14 2:26.796 Matt Bisceglia
8 9 2:23.497 14 2:26.659 Mitchell Oldenburg
9 7 2:23.650 15 2:25.891 Alex Martin
10 5 2:23.855 10 2:25.871 Christian Craig

Note that Musquin and Webb didn't win the moto they actually had the fastest time in. The speed level between these two and Jeremy Martin means mistakes and consistency determine the motos more than just one fast lap.

More News and Notes

Out since February with a virus, Arnaud Tonus made quite the splash in his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross debut, finishing on the podium in his first-ever moto. “I was really happy to get on the podium in the first moto because I know I can race with everyone here,” he said in a statement after the race. In the second moto, Justin Hil accidentally knocked Tonus down, and the Swiss rider got his hand caught in his front wheel when he went down. He seems to be okay though, but struggled with arm pump, finishing twentieth for tenth overall. “The second moto was harder, as I started to get arm pump and was fading back,” he said. “I guess that is to be expected after a long time not racing, but I’m going to keep working and trying to improve every week.”

Jeremy Martin had 15 points trimmed off his lead this weekend, leaving him up just 4 heading into Unadilla. Martin had a chance to gain 5 points back in the second moto, as he sat first with Musquin in third, but a late crash pushed him back to third in the moto. “A piece of dirt fell down from the rut and I just jammed my front wheel in it, and it just pushed me off the bike,” Martin said on NBCSN following the race. “In moto one, unfortunately I got a bad start and was just smoked, my goggles were done… Everything was done. I was just surviving out there.” 

Early last week, GEICO Honda’s Christian Craig wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to race the Washougal National. Days prior, Craig dislocated his shoulder at the Spring Creek National in Millville, Minnesota. "After what happened last week I was worried I wasn't going to make it, but luckily the shoulder ended up feeling good and back to normal,” he said after Washougal. Craig did make it to Washougal and, in the first moto, led for the second time in the last three rounds. Craig built his lead to more than five seconds before making a small mistake on the treacherous Washougal track. "I ended up tipping over by myself, and I'm really frustrated with myself and that stupid mistake, but it was really muddy out there," said Craig in a team statement. Craig regrouped to finish the moto fourth. He tied Aaron Plessinger in points on the day, but missed out on the overall podium after finishing the second moto fifth behind the rookie.

Nelson scored a top-ten in the mud at Washougal.
Nelson scored a top-ten in the mud at Washougal. photo: Cudby

Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs KTM’s Jessy Nelson had his best race in more than a month at Washougal. Nelson scored top-tens in both motos for the first time since a 10-8 performance at round five at High Point. “Today was a tough day with the rain,” Nelson said in a statement. “Vision was definitely a key factor to running a good race in moto one. Thankfully, I got a good enough start to stay up near the front group.” Nelson finished sixth overall via 6-8 moto scores. 

Despite finishing ninth overall behind 7-11 scores, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's Zach Osborne picked up 15 points on Joey Savatgy for third in the 250MX championship. “I was trying to make the pass for fourth [in the first moto] on the last lap, went down, and ended up seventh,” he said in a team statement. “I got stuck in the gate in the second moto and came back to finish eleventh. It was a tough day, but I still gained some championship points.”

As for Savatgy, he struggled in the muddy conditions to his worst overall finish of the season (seventeenth) a week after an overall podium at Millville. “Coming off of a podium last week, I thought we could have another strong weekend,” Savatgy said in a team release. “The weather and the track threw us a curveball, though, as that added another challenge to go along with all of the great riders in our class.” 

Shane McElrath’s season-long trend of bad first moto, good second moto continued at Washougal. Through nine rounds, McElrath has averaged a fourteenth-place finish in the first moto, compared to an 8.2 finish in the second. “I’m not sure why I’ve been struggling in the opening motos, but my second motos have been a lot more dialed,” said McElrath in a statement. For the second consecutive week, McElrath went 11-6 on the day. He finished seventh overall, sandwiched between teammates Jessy Nelson (sixth) and Mitchell Oldenburg (eighth). “I’ll be working on my intensity off the start as we head into a little downtime before the final stretch of racing,” he added. 

Oldenburg, as we mentioned, finished eighth overall behind 8-9 motos scores—the first time this season he’s scored top-tens in both motos. “I feel like I’ve been getting closer and closer to breaking into the top ten, and I was finally able to make it happen,” Oldenburg said in a statement following his first top-ten overall this year. “I’m definitely thankful for the team, as they’ve stuck behind me and helped me find ways to improve each week. I want to finish out the season strong.”  

In his first AMA national, Toshiki Tomita finished fourteenth overall via 17-12 motos scores.
In his first AMA national, Toshiki Tomita finished fourteenth overall via 17-12 motos scores. photo: Cudby

The Pacific Northwest was well represented in the 250 Class Saturday. A total of nine riders from Oregon and Washington qualified in the class, including Oregon’s Justin Hill (Red Bull KTM), Matt Bisceglia (GEICO Honda), and Chris Alldredge (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki)."It was a decent day, and I definitely had fun coming home to Washougal," Bisceglia said in a statement following a fifteenth-place overall finish. "It was great to see so many people I know up here and at a track I grew up riding as a kid.”

Bisceglia had an engine failure in the first moto, which led to a thirty-fifth-place finish. He rebounded to finish tenth in the second moto for his third top-ten in the last five motos. Hill finished thirteenth overall, with Alldredge a disappointing thirtieth. 

Toshiki Tomita, the 2013 IA2 (250 Class) All-Japan Motocross Champion and current IA2 points leader (with four rounds remaining), finished an impressive fourteenth overall at Washougal. Tomita, a member of Team HRC is Japan, is taking advantage of a break in the series to race three rounds of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross under the factory Honda HRC tent. “Even though this was his first AMA national, Toshiki Tomita rode smart and steady to finish fourteenth overall,” said HRC representative director Keisuke Inomoto. “In Japan, Tomita usually gets much better starts, but he qualified twenty-fifth today, so his gate pick was not so great.” Tomita will race the Unadilla and Utah Nationals before returning to Japan.

Washougal marked the first national for Martin Davalos since August 24, 2013. He missed all of the 2014 motocross season with broken ankles, and the first eight rounds this year with Epstein-Barr virus. He had an up and down day in his first race back, finishing twenty-first overall. He did score points in both motos, though, with 20-17 finishes. "Today was decent for me considering I haven't raced an outdoor race in over a year and a half after my injury and recovery from Epstein-Barr,” he said in a team statement. “I was looking forward to it, but it's tough coming back to such a muddy race. Washougal is one of my favorite tracks, but it was tough and really slick. Crashing didn't help, but I'm glad I got the first one out of the way. It's rough jumping back in with guys who have been racing all summer. I'm looking forward to the weekend off because I know what I need to work on going into Unadilla. Hoping to turn things around and get better and better."