Sign of the (Lap) Times: Ironman

Sign of the (Lap) Times Ironman

August 25, 2015 3:50pm

Jason Weigandt contributed to this article

As we reported earlier today, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna has locked up Jason Anderson and Christophe Pourcel through the 2018 and 2017 seasons, respectively. The move, along with AutoTrader.com/Toyota/JGR Yamaha extending Justin Barcia through 2018, has deeper meaning, which we’ll delve into later this week. For now, Bobby Hewitt has his two stars locked in for the long haul. 

Anderson ended his rookie season in the same manner he began it eight months ago at Anaheim 1—with a podium. The 450 rookie, who has been with the team since turning pro in 2011, admitted after the race in the post-race press conference that the long season (twenty-nine races) did get to him at certain points outdoors. “We’ve had four weekends off since January,” he said. “This 450 deal between supercross and outdoors is no joke. I feel like it got me a little bit at some points, and I kind of threw away some podiums. But for the most part I feel like I tried to stay in it every race. I think next year I kind of know what’s to come and got to just try and do better.” Anderson finished his first season outdoors in sixth overall, three points behind his teammate, Pourcel.  

Pourcel has been nothing but a solid addition to the team. Unlike his last foray in the 450 Class, Pourcel has been a standout, on and off the track, in 2015. He wrapped up his first season with the team with a fifth overall Saturday, despite having his challenges with the track. "The track was pretty challenging,” he said in a team statement. “A lot of ruts for the last race. I would say they could have fixed a few things. It was a reminder from the first few races of the season and maybe a little too much. Overall they have good dirt and a good track, but if they fix a few things it could be a very good race because once it gets too rough we have to focus on staying on two wheels instead of making passes.” 

Pourcel also admitted that he’s been experiencing pain in his ribs following his crash at Unadilla. “The first moto, I was second the whole moto and I fell back. I had a lot of pain in my ribs; it's no excuse, but I have been having a lot of pain from my crash at Unadilla and I could barely breathe. The second moto, my goal was top five overall, and I got that. Fifth overall in the championship was pretty good for my first year on the 450." To his credit, when we spoke to Pourcel in staging before the first practice of the year at Hangtown, he told us top five was the goal.

Bogle has had his ups and downs during his time on the GEICO Honda 450.
Bogle has had his ups and downs during his time on the GEICO Honda 450. photo: Cudby

As we reported earlier this week, both Anderson and Pourcel are expected to compete at the United States Grand Prix, the final round of the FIM World Motocross Championship, on September 20, aboard the all-new 2016 Husqvarna models.

Justin Bogle’s foray into the 450 Class came to a close at Ironman. It was a day of two halves for the soon-to-be free agent, as he crashed in the second moto following an impressive fifth in the first moto. "The day was halfway good," Bogle said in a team release. "I had a really good first moto and ran fourth most of the moto. The last lap and a half, I ended up dropping a spot to Roczen and finished fifth. Top-five and got through a moto without crashing, so that was a bonus. 

"The second moto, I had some bike issues," he continued. "I tried to nurse it in, and that proved to be a bad decision on my part. I ended up going down pretty hard because of it."

Dean Wilson, who returned alongside Bogle at Unadilla, finished ninth in the first moto, before crashing and hitting his head in the second moto. After the race Wilson confirmed on social media that he was okay following the crash and also said that he is slated to race the upcoming USGP. 

Blake Baggett has talked all season about how important it was for him to stay healthy and make every round in his rookie season. Baggett accomplished his goals, and finished as the top 450MX rookie, finishing fourth overall in the championship. “I just finished up moto twenty-four; it’s over, it’s done,” Baggett explained in a team statement. 

Sipes returned to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross again at Ironman.
Sipes returned to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross again at Ironman. photo: Cudby

He was darned fast in the first moto, even catching Ken Roczen as they battled through traffic. The second moto was marred by a crash. “It was not the greatest day; I worked my way through the pack to get sixth in the first moto. In the second moto I got too far into a deep rut and got too much dirt jammed up in between the brake pedal and the frame. It locked up the brake and I went over the bars. Then after I got the bike started, I had to get my fingers in there and clean it all out. So I lost a bunch of spots right there and some time, but I finished it up strong. I went as hard as I could go after that, and I’m happy we ended the season fourth in points.” Baggett took ninth in the moto and finished seventh overall at the season finale. 

Now a full-time GNCC racer, Ryan Sipes returned for his third Lucas Oil Pro Motocross race this season, and finished seventeenth overall. Sipes said after the race that not racing all summer hurt on such a tough track. (The Grand National Cross Country Series is currently in its summer break.) “Ironman was pretty tough and the track was gnarly,” he said. “I didn't realize how much I had lost by not racing most of the summer and that first moto I definitely felt out of place out there and kind of went backwards. The second moto, I rode a lot better, but I had two crashes and I also stalled my bike." Sipes will race the upcoming ISDE in Slovakia before returning to GNCC on September 20.  

Ben LaMay made the switch to BTOSports.com KTM, replacing the injured Justin Brayton, for the final race of the season. LaMay had been racing with Munn Husqvarna since returning to the series at RedBud. Without much time on the bike, LaMay finished an impressive eighteenth overall. “The day started rough, but came around at the end,” LaMay said in a statement. “We got better every time we hit the track, and I want to thank Team BTO Sports-KTM-WPS for giving me this opportunity.” 

The #42 rode for the BTOSports.com KTM for the last round.
The #42 rode for the BTOSports.com KTM for the last round. phtoo: Cudby

There were a ton of riders from Canada on hand in Indiana, since the Rockstar Energy Nationals up there have concluded. No surprise, our (Canadian) man Matthes promises to put together a piece on those boys for later in the week. Stay tuned, eh. 

Trey Canard admitted he struggled at Ironman, but said he need to be “patient” in his return. “Things weren’t great today; I definitely struggled again,” he said in a statement. “The track was gnarly. If I’m being honest, I think they dig it a little too much [too deep], but there are no excuses. Everyone had the same track, and I just wasn’t on par. Practice wasn’t good, first moto wasn’t good after a bad start, but luckily we made some good changes before the second race and I felt better. I’m disappointed and wanted to do better, but I have to realize that these guys have been racing all season. I need to be a little more patient with myself, but it’s no fun going out there and riding around in eighth. Despite that, I’m grateful to be back racing and have four rounds under my belt. I feel like this will help me heading into next year.” Canard finished sixth overall Saturday. 

Broc Tickle wrapped up an impressive season with a very under-the radar eighth-place overall finish. Tickle came from nearly dead last (thirty-ninth) in the first moto to finished fifteenth and backed it up with a fourth in moto two. “I was pumped for the second moto so I could finish the season on a good note,” he said in a statement. “We made some changes to the bike because these were the biggest bumps we’d seen all year. We had to adjust for that and it paid off. I felt really good for the second moto. I didn’t get a great jump on the first start, but we got another shot at it because they red-flagged it after [Kyle] Chisholm crashed. Second start, I came out sixth or seventh and made some good passes. I had some really good lines. I’m glad we ended on a good note. I’m bummed I didn’t get fifth in the points but it was a solid year to come back from my injury.” Tickle ends the year seventh in points, just 12 behind fifth-place Pourcel.

450 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:21.729 3 2:25.675 Ryan Dungey
2 4 2:23.277 3 2:27.056 Christophe Pourcel
3 2 2:23.914 4 2:26.744 Jason Anderson
4 6 2:24.207 8 2:26.675 Blake Baggett
5 5 2:24.409 3 2:27.037 Justin Bogle
6 3 2:24.441 3 2:26.350 Ken Roczen
7 7 2:24.539 3 2:27.340 Justin Barcia
8 9 2:24.777 3 2:28.886 Dean Wilson
9 8 2:25.651 3 2:28.173 Trey Canard
10 10 2:26.091 4 2:29.241 Josh Grant

This track was ultra rough and you can see that Ryan Dungey had it dialed in best. As the track got worse, the lap times dropped off, except for good old El Chupacabra there putting in his best time on lap eight.

450 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 2 2:22.649 4 2:25.690 Ryan Dungey
2 3 2:22.656 2 2:27.692 Justin Barcia
3 1 2:22.804 2 2:25.213 Ken Roczen
4 4 2:24.405 2 2:27.742 Broc Tickle
5 5 2:24.617 4 2:27.806 Trey Canard
6 9 2:24.766 5 2:27.649 Blake Baggett
7 30 2:25.232 2 2:30.191 Justin Bogle
8 7 2:25.362 3 2:30.278 Christophe Pourcel
9 8 2:26.530 7 2:29.735 Josh Grant
10 10 2:27.606 4 2:32.184 Phil Nicoletti

Jeez, do times get any closer than this? Two-tenths between Dungey, Barcia and Roczen. Barcia faded back though, feeling the effects of a big crash in the second practice. Also Justin Bogle had a bike problem which led to a crash and that thirtieth.

250 Class Moto 1

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:23.592 2 2:27.771 Cooper Webb
2 2 2:26.212 4 2:27.509 Aaron Plessinger
3 6 2:26.322 3 2:29.637 Matt Bisceglia
4 9 2:26.629 2 2:30.552 Christian Craig
5 3 2:26.795 5 2:28.071 Jessy Nelson
6 4 2:27.177 8 2:28.341 Jeremy Martin
7 5 2:27.485 8 2:28.948 Joey Savatgy
8 8 2:27.546 3 2:30.834 RJ Hampshire
9 7 2:27.656 2 2:29.634 Chris Alldredge
10 11 2:28.299 2 2:32.846 Shane McElrath

Wow, Webb was nearly three seconds faster than anyone, although Marvin Musquin never got to put in a real lap, and Jeremy Martin was riding in defense mode. A-Pless did his damage later in the moto.

250 Class Moto 2

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap In Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1 2:23.232 4 2:27.122 Aaron Plessinger
2 6 2:23.821 3 2:30.135 Jessy Nelson
3 2 2:24.775 3 2:28.269 Joey Savatgy
4 3 2:25.322 3 2:28.441 Marvin Musquin
5 7 2:26.152 4 2:29.808 Zach Osborne
6 5 2:26.274 3 2:29.356 Matt Bisceglia
7 4 2:27.195 8 2:28.695 RJ Hampshire
8 31 2:27.221 2 2:32.636 Chris Alldredge
9 9 2:27.574 2 2:30.272 Jeremy Martin
10 8 2:27.818 5 2:30.369 Christian Craig

Webb crashed out early so he never got a good lap in, and Plessinger was again strong down the stretch. Look at J-Mart back there with the ninth fastest time. He had a terrible start and once again rode in defense mode.

More News and Notes

Cooper Webb had nothing to lose in the 250 standings after missing four early races with an ankle injury, and he rode like it. He won two overalls (and coulda shoulda had a third at RedBud), but also went 18-23 after crashes at Unadilla and crashed out of the second moto at Indiana. He did win the first moto at Ironman.

“Up and down day yesterday in Indiana,” he wrote on Instagram. “Felt good in Moto 1 and was able to grab the win. Moto 2 I got a good start was feeling good and scrubbed a jump just to much. There was some water on the face and landing so she went and I couldn't bring her back. Bummed on Moto 2 but now looking forward to Des Nations and being 100% ready for that. Wanna congratulate my good buddy @aaronplessinger157 on his very first overall win yesterday so awesome to see all his hard work paying off. Also congrats to my teammate @jeremymartin6 on his 2nd championship. Awesome year for @starracingyamaha 2 championships, 3 different riders winning outdoor overalls, having rookie of the year in SX and MX, 7 SX Main Event wins, 8 outta 12 motocross overall wins, and 2 outta 3 of the riders on team USA."

Despite an up and down campaign, which included eleven moto finishes outside the top ten, Matt Bisceglia found consistency over the last three rounds, averaging a 7.3 finish, to secure the top GEICO Honda spot in 250MX, finishing eighth overall. Bisceglia entered the day 3 points back of Shane McElrath for eighth, but used a fifth overall finish to end the championship eight points ahead of Shane. “It was definitely a good way to end the season,” Bisceglia said in a team statement. “I finished out strong and finished eighth in points. Ideally, I would've liked to have finished like this all year, but it took me to the last couple races to get there. But I'm happy to be up in fifth these last two rounds and finish out strong. It was good."

Bisceglia finished fifth overall, via 6-5 moto scores.
Bisceglia finished fifth overall, via 6-5 moto scores. photo: Cudby

It’s funny how things work out, as Bisceglia and McElrath also dueled as amateurs in their B and A class seasons at Loretta’s. They’re still a good match two years into their pro life. Although he was pushed back to ninth in points, McElrath was happy to be top-ten outdoors, coming on the heels of a second overall finish in the 250SX West Region. “I got off the line well in moto one and was up front during those key first few laps,” said McElrath in a statement. “Unfortunately I just wasn’t able to maintain my pace throughout the day. I would have liked to end the season with a better result, but I’m still pleased with my top-ten in the overall championship and will use that as a building block for the offseason.” 

McElrath tied in points (248) with GEICO Honda rookie RJ Hampshire, but was awarded ninth due to his third-place moto finish at Glen Helen. According to the AMA Rulebook, “In the event of a tie for the championship, the winner will be determined based on the number of race wins during the series. If the tie remains, the number of place finishes of second, third, etc., will be tallied until the tie is broken.” Hampshire, who finished a career-best fourth overall at Ironman, was the only other GEICO member to finish top ten in points. "All in all, a good weekend and a good way to end the season," he said in a statement. "We finished tenth [in points], so that's a good thing, too." 

In his first year with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, Zach Osborne enjoyed career-high finishes in both Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Following a third overall in the 250SX West Region, Osborne entered the final round at Ironman with a chance to match the effort, trailing Joey Savatgy by just 5 points. Osborne couldn’t match Savatgy’s second-overall finish at the finale, and lost out on third by 18 points. "Tough end to the season. Obviously I really wanted that third place in the championship," he said in a team statement. “It would have been really good for me in the grand scheme of things to be third in supercross and third in the outdoors, but fourth is still my best ever. I feel like with the team and the equipment we have I should be much better than that. It's a bummer, but we just need to take some time off, work on some things, and look forward to MEC." 

Savatgy, though unhappy with the final standings, finished the year strong.
Savatgy, though unhappy with the final standings, finished the year strong. photo: Cudby

As for Savatgy, he admitted in the post-race press conference that third wasn’t that important, and that his goal is to vie for a championship. "Man, I’m going to be completely honest with you, third in the championship doesn’t pay me any bonus checks," he said (Osborne told us he would have gotten a bonus for third). "It’s cool—don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to be third—but in the same breath we were a ways off the leaders, and to me that’s not okay. Too many up-and-down motos this year. I think I know what I need to work on for next year."

GEICO Honda rookie Jordon Smith was taken to the local hospital on Saturday after bruising a lung in a first moto crash, according to the team. He was kept overnight for observation then released. He is back home recovering but is very sore. Smith finished fifteenth overall in his rookie season with the team. 

A back injury limited Christian Craig over the last few rounds of the series. Craig said the injury flared up in the second moto. "Pain started to kick in on my back," Craig said in a team statement. "I just kind of rode around, and it was hard to hang on. There was a lot of pain from the rough track, so I rode it out and finished eighth. I definitely wanted more, but we're safe and moving on." 

Since coming out of retirement at Thunder Valley, Craig has enjoyed a tremendous season with the team, racking up fifteen top-ten moto finishes over twenty motos, including six top-five moto finishes. Despite missing the first four rounds of the series, and not scoring points in five motos, Craig finished twelfth overall in 250MX.    

Darian Sanayei made his pro debut at Ironman and finished sixteenth overall.
Darian Sanayei made his pro debut at Ironman and finished sixteenth overall. photo: Cudby

In his fourth race back after missing the first eight rounds of the series due to Epstein-Barr, Martin Davalos had his best overall finish behind 12-10 finishes. Davalos says his body is starting to come around. “We changed some things in my program and I wanted to approach things a little differently,” he said in a team release. “I'm really happy that I'm healthy and I can really feel my body coming around. I'm looking forward to a good off-season and getting in better shape. I can work on some things now, and I'm pumped to be a part of the team and excited for the new bike.” Davalos finished eleventh overall at Ironman.  

Following a fifth-place overall finish at the final round of the Canadian Nationals at Walton the weekend prior, former Team Green rider Darian Sanayei made his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross debut at Ironman, finishing sixteenth overall. Check back later this week, as we’ll have more regarding Sanayei and his future.