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Unadilla, bro! It’s got Gravity Cavity, Screw-U, burning couches, and detonating bombs—and Bob Effing Hannah was a god there. Round ten of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship took place at the famed New York circuit. The weather was perfect, and the track was, at times, like riding on top of a giant soft brownie that by the end got rough and rutty. This series is winding down, and things are getting intense in both classes. Let’s get going, yes?
Let’s talk about the 250 Class. Marvin Musquin made up 2 points on Jeremy Martin, and the gap with four motos remaining is just 2 points for the Yamaha rider. How exciting! But I really think that Musquin has a bit of a problem since he’s kind of enraged Martin’s teammate Cooper Webb with what Webb thinks are cross-jumping and cutting-off moves by Musquin. Webb was caught behind Musquin in the second moto and no doubt grew frustrated by Marvin’s moves, so he just resorted to ramming Musquin at the bottom of Screw-U. He was pissed after Washougal and more so after this weekend, which you can hear more about HERE. I don’t think Webb would do anything to Marvin based on trying to help his teammate Jeremy, but I do think Cooper is going to do something to Marvin for what he feels are BS moves.
But are they BS moves? That’s the million-dollar question. Jason Thomas feels like they are and that he would be just as upset as Cooper if he were in his shoes. Other racers I speak to say, “Hey, man, he’s in front; he can ride where he wants to. And if Cooper is truly faster, he’ll find a way around him.” The real truth depends on where you’re sitting. I thought Marvin rode a very wide bike at Washougal but not at Unadilla. The track flows, and you need to set up the next turn in the turn before, which I saw Marv doing, although there may be things the camera didn’t pick up. No matter how much you explain this theory though, it’s not going to hold water to Webb. He’s pissed and I think he’s going to do something to Marvin if he gets a chance, which could blow the title fight wide open and setting the Internet on fire.
I thought it was telling that, once Webb got behind Marvin late in the second moto, both racers caught fire. They were hauling ass out there and set their fastest lap of the motos after the thirty-minute mark. That’s hard to do, folks, and it speaks of Marvin’s desire to get the hell away from this southern madman named Cooper and Webb’s desire to kill the Frenchman. It was intense.
Of course we know Webb crashed with one lap to go and his day ended up being not cool as crap. Still, this is getting very interesting, and I think Marvin is going to need to ride very well and cautiously, or we’re going to see some tempers getting heated.
Ryan Dungey did what Ryan Dungey does. He started near the front in both motos, grabbed the lead early, and had a perfect day. He got serious heat from Ken Roczen in the second moto but held it strong through the lappers and ruts to take a 79-point lead in the 450MX championship. With only a hundred points up for grabs, look for Ryan to clinch the title after his first moto next week.
Let’s take a look at the results, shall we?
1. 37 Joseph Savatgy; Thomasville, GA; Kawasaki KX 250F; 2-2 – I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I went over and gave Joe-Dawg a pep talk about how I thought that “we” had found something at Millville and that “we” would be better from here on out. Then Washougal happened and it looked like “we” were back to square one. Savatgy explained that was a mudder and doesn’t count. Looks like he was right, as he won his first career national with two great rides. And can you believe this was Pro Circuit’s first win of 2015 as well? Also, Joey’s got to be the fastest dude to ever have a weird beard like he’s got.
2. 25 Marvin Musquin; France KTM 250 SX-F; 4-1 – Marvin’s first moto was hurt by a crash on the first lap. He also said his goggle lens popped out and he got dirt in there, which explains him suddenly slowing down and shaking his goggles back and forth during the race. This stuff happens on rocky tracks like this.
3. 1 Jeremy Martin; Millville, MN; Yamaha YZ250F; 1-5 – Two points, man. That’s some serious pressure with just four motos left—this thing should be very exciting. In the first moto, Martin’s fitness allowed him to wear everyone down and he pulled away with five minutes left. He essentially broke the field. In the second moto, he didn’t get a good start at all, and I was surprised that all he could do was get to fifth.
4. 28 Jessy Nelson; Paso Robles, CA; KTM 250 SX-F; 6-4 _ Good job by Nelson at ‘Dilla. Don’t look now, but there are just 23 points between Savatgy, Nelson, Zach Osborne and Alex Martin for third overall in the series.
5. 31 Alex Martin; Millville, MN; Yamaha YZ250F; 8-6 – Poor Al—he crashed while in third in the second moto and threw away another podium performance. At least, that’s what I told him after the race.
6. 40 Shane McElrath; Canton, NC; KTM 250 SX-F; 7-8 – Four out of the last five motos have been really great for Shane. He told me after RedBud he’d be better at the tracks that he’s raced on before, and it looks like he’s right.
7. 68 Christian Craig; Plymouth, MN; Honda CRF250R; 5-10 – I went by the GEICO truck to check on Craig and the other guys to see how they were doing, but Craig just told me to beat it. Oh, well, I was going to offer him some solid advice on lines and stuff. Judging by his results, he could’ve used it. I kid, I kid.
8. 157 Aaron Plessinger; Hamilton, OH; Yamaha YZ250F; 16-3 – Bad first moto for Washougal’s fastest racer—which made everyone forget how fast he was there—but nice job in the second moto to get back on the podium for him. Yeah, he got a break when Webb went down, but hey, whatever.
9. 38 Matthew Bisceglia; Tualatin, OR; Honda CRF250R; 12–9 – I hear rumors that Matt might be on this new mystery Suzuki 250 team next year. I can’t say for sure—just passing this on, bro….
10. 80 RJ Hampshire; Hudson, FL; Honda CRF250R; 15-7 – Hampshire, like his teammate Jordon Smith, showed a lot of speed in both motos (crashed early in moto one and came from way back), but some self-inflicted mistakes held him back from a better day. If you think I copied and pasted this from any of the other nine rounds of the Nationals, you’re right. Sigh…. You can’t teach speed though.
11. 66 Christopher Alldredge; Powell Butte, OR; Kawasaki KX 250F; 3-37 – I had heard Alldredge got a talking to by Mitch Payton about his results before the weekend, and in the first moto he was awesome. He legitimately ran third and was in the race for the win for a long time. He was in the top ten in the second moto before crashing out early. You don’t just luck into third in a national moto, folks. Clearly this kid can go fast. This has got to be frustrating to Payton yet there’s still a glimmer of hope I guess.
12. 52 Mitchell Oldenburg; Alvord, TX; KTM 250 SX-F; 10-13 – Nice ride for Mitch here. In fact, nice day by the Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs KTM guys as a whole. Manager Tyler Keefe must be over the moon with excitement, so much so he hasn’t returned a call from me for information for two weeks.
13. 16 Zachary Osborne; Abingdon, VA; Husqvarna TC250; 9-15 – Man, Wacko Zacho and I talked after RedBud about how he finally found some consistency, but he’s been pooping the bed ever since with bad starts and crashes. He’s also now no longer third in the series and has got to turn this ship around ASAP. C’mon, Zach!
14. 343 Luke Renzland; Hewitt, NJ; Yamaha YZ250F; 13-12 – This race marked the one-year anniversary of Luke turning pro. The Jersey kid marked the occasion by having his best national of the year. When I asked Luke if having raced this track once already was a bit of help, he said it did. Then Darth said he was his father and I had to get out of there ASAP.
15. 32 Justin Hill; Yoncalla, OR; KTM 250 SX-F; 14-14 – I don’t know what’s going on here. Hill is fast and has some real talent, but since he’s come back from an injury, he’s struggled. He’s better than this.
16. 126 Jordon Smith; Belmont, NC; Honda CRF250R; 11-18 – Oh, what could have been for Jordon. He was seventh with three laps to go in the first moto when disaster struck. In the second moto, he was hella-fast, but then crashed pretty good while in second. And that, folks, is how a 7-2 day goes to 11-18.
17. 47 Martin Davalos; Ecuador; Husqvarna TC250; 19-11 – Davalos is back now. He showed real speed to qualify fourth fastest and then completely underwhelmed in the motos. Welcome back, Marty!
18. 95 Nick Gaines; Ringgold, GA; Kawasaki KX 250F; 22-16 – Gaines holds it together for a nice second-moto finish.
19. 88 Dakota Alix; Jay, VT; KTM 250 SX-F; 20-17 – You knew Alix would be pretty good this weekend because I did not pick him in fantasy moto. That’s how these things work.
20. 55 Kyle Peters; Greensboro, NC; Honda CRF250R; 17-33- – In talking to his manager Guy Cooper after the race, he wasn’t sure if Kyle crashed or his bike broke. Turns out his bike broke. You’re welcome.
1. 5 Ryan Dungey; Waconia, MN; KTM 450 SX-F FE; 1-1 –Dungey was not named for this year’s Motocross des Nations Team USA for the first time in six years. And I’m actually surprised he did this; he doesn’t strike me as a guy who wants to catch heat for anything and would rather just do the chore rather than get called out. And he will catch heat for this move by fans. Don’t worry, Ryan, give them my number and I’ll defend you. Six years in a row heading over to a race with tons of pressure and no pay; the desire to have a bit more of an off-season is fine with me. What’s that you say? Past American heroes would’ve never done this? Uh, yeah, bro, Jeff Stanton, Damon Bradshaw, and Mike Kiedrowski all begged off in 1992, and we don’t crucify them, do we?
2. 51 Justin Barcia; Madison, FL; Yamaha YZ450F; 2-4 – Barcia may not have been pumped on his day (he said he made some bike changes that didn’t work in the second moto), but hey, he still got second, and his whole sixtieth anniversary Yamaha graphics and Alpinetars gear were really sweet.
3. 41 Trey Canard; Edmond, OK; Honda CRF450R; 3-6 – Trey had a good first moto ride in which he came up and grabbed third pretty easily. I’m not sure what happened in the second moto, but he wasn’t as good as one would think he would be, and got nipped by Weston Peick late in the race. It was a bit of an uncharacteristic ride from the #41, but still, third overall is third overall.
4. 274 Shaun Simpson; United Kingdom; KTM 450 SX-F; 4-8 – Shaun won his second GP last Sunday via dominant 1-1 scores. Then he flies to Unadilla to, in his own words “have some fun and hoping for a top ten,” qualifies fifth, and finishes fourth with a couple of nice rides. Great work by Shaun on a bit of an unfamiliar bike. He was stoked after the race.
5. 1 Ken Roczen; Germany; Suzuki RMZ-450; 16-2 – Now there’s the Roczen whom we know and love. In the second moto, he hounded Dungey the whole way, set a faster lap time than Ryan, and finished a couple of seconds behind him. The fact he lost was of no consequence—Dungey’s awesome after all—but this is the Kenny we’ve been waiting for. And also, where did this fitness come from after a few weeks of falling of the pace? I give up when it comes to riders, man.
6. 20 Broc Tickle; Holly, MI; Suzuki RMZ-450; 6-9 – Someone who knows Broc told me that if he can just get some confidence and remember that he’s Broc “Effing” Tickle and a great rider, he could really be great. As it is, he’s always thinking that he’s just not that good. But he is! He’s got the bike, the stamina, and the speed to constantly be better, but according to this person, he doesn’t believe in himself just yet.
7. 23 Weston Peick; Wildomar, CA; Yamaha YZ450F; 12-5 – Peick was great in the second moto, coming from eleventh to fifth, which included nipping Trey Canard near the end. Great, great ride from Peick.
8. 4 Blake Baggett; Grand Terrace, CA; Suzuki RMZ-450; 13-7 – Unadilla just seems like a Baggett track, right? Rough, rutted, gnarly, and I’m sure there are Chupacabras in the back woods at the bottom of Screw-U, right? Although he’s a West Coast guy, you would think he’d be made for this track. Guess not.
9. 33 Joshua Grant; Riverside, CA; Kawasaki KX 450F; 9-11 – Kind of a quiet day for Grant, who’s gone 10-9-11-8-9-11 since his comeback from the couch to the factory Kawasaki team.
10. 15 Dean Wilson; United Kingdom; KTM 450 SX-F FE; 11-10 – Hey, look who else is back! When Wilson was originally hurt, I was told there was no chance that he would be back before the end of the year. Well, kudos to Dean for working hard to get back on the bike. He was really tired in the first moto—like dead tired, bro—so I didn’t think the second moto was going to be very good for Dean with the short amount of time in between motos, but he rode better. If not for a last-lap pass, he would’ve had eighth overall. I know some people are irritated by Dean’s social media presence, but I like the kid. He’s a good dude, and I hope the best for him in terms of staying healthy.
11. 21 Jason Anderson; Rio Rancho, NM; Husqvarna FC450; 7-14 – Man, Anderson has had some bad luck the last few weeks. He’s been really fast in just about every moto, but with the crashes and bad starts, you’d never know it. Seriously, this dude has been amazeballs lately. In talking to some people involved with the MXdN team, Anderson’s name has definitely come up, but his inconsistencies like what we saw this weekend held him out of the team.
12. 377 Christophe Pourcel; Dade City, FL; Husqvarna FC450; 23-3 – Pourcel was the fastest qualifier (seriously, does this dude love Unadilla or not?), but his entire day was ruined by a first-turn crash with Roczen. Here’s the thing that some people point to when it comes to Pourcel: He got up right with Roczen and a few spots behind Baggett, and both of those dudes made it up quite higher than CP. Granted, his bike could’ve been jacked or whatever, but it’s sort of like he gives up when he’s not in position to do some damage. His second moto was great—a third is awesome—but you’d like to see more fight in him.
13. 29 Andrew Short; Colorado Springs, CO; KTM 450 SX-F FE; 8-15 – Shorty had his best moto—an eighth in moto one—since coming back. The second time out was perhaps Shorty’s worst moto since coming back. In other Short news, Forrest Butler indicated on the Pulpmx Show that he’s signed back on the team for 2016.
14. 39 Fredrik Noren; Sweden; Honda CRF450R; 5-18 – Poor Freddie. His career best is seventh OA, and he’s gotten that a few times now. Every time, something crappy happens to the Swedish warrior and he’s unable to set a new best. This weekend, his fifth was awesome, and it 100 percent looked like he was going to be able to set a new best. But then he fell first moto, and it all went downhill from there.
15. 11 Kyle Chisholm; Valrico, FL; Kawasaki KX 450F; 15-12 – I had to pinch myself and make sure I wasn’t high or drunk when Chiz came roaring out of the first turn in the second moto in second place. Sweet Jesus, he got a good start! From there you’d like for him to do a little better than a twelfth, but three guys that I would consider better than Kyle came back this weekend. So, can we just call it a ninth under “normal” conditions? No? Ok.
16. 42 Ben LaMay; Wasilla, AK; Husqvarna FC450; 17-13 – Nice second moto for LaMay on the Husky.
17. 35 Kyle Cunningham; Willow Park, TX; Suzuki RMZ-450; 14-16 – Cunningham got some new motor parts that he said make a difference for him out there. A couple of nice motos seem to make me agree with his thoughts.
18. 19 Justin Bogle; Cushing, OK; Honda CRF450R; 10-36 – Bogle is back! And on a 450! Justin was supposed to come back earlier but had some other issues from his crash earlier this season. Since he’s racing 450s next year, he and team just decided to put him on the injured Eli Tomac’s bike. And he was impressive for a while before getting really tired and crashing in the first moto. Then he crashed again in the second moto. I don’t know, more people than I thought were blown away by his ride. To me, it’s a 10-36—call me crazy. Speaking of crazy, I’ve spoken to two team managers talking to Bogle’s agency about him riding there, and they’re using that word to describe Justin’s contract demands.
19. 58 Kellian Rusk; Durango, CO; Yamaha YZ450F; 18-17 – Four straight motos in the points for Killy after a mostly terrible summer for him. If he can keep this up, it’s a nice way to end the season.
20. 84 Jesse Wentland; Elk River, MN; Honda CRF450R; 39-19 – Wentland had bike issues in the first moto that stopped him from scoring any points.
Also, Anderson was docked three positions for cutting the track after the second moto, which, in talking to some other riders, is totally fair. Anderson was at times just cutting an entire roller section off.
Thanks for reading. Sorry about the shortness of the column, but I was busy. See you next week, and email me at email@example.com if you want to chat.