Christophe Pourcel's overall victory in the 250 Class at the Hangtown Motocross Classic kept round two of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship series from being a totally lost weekend for the Thor/Parts Unlimited team, but that victory and a third place for Chad Reed in the 450 Class couldn't offset the somber news of Ryan Villopoto's loss for the balance of the 12-race outdoor season.
No Luck but Bad Luck
Ryan Villopoto seemingly had put all his aches, pains and illnesses behind him and settled into top form for a run at the outdoor championship after his impressive 1-1 sweep of the opening round at Glen Helen Raceway. Now it's another case of "wait 'til next year."
At midweek, as he was practicing for the May 30 race at Sacramento, the Washingtonian suffered an unspecified knee injury, and after getting caught up in a second-turn pileup and struggling to a 16th place finish in the first 450 Class moto, Villopoto and his Monster Energy Kawasaki team announced that he would sit out the second moto and remaining 10 races to have the knee surgically repaired.
The heartbreaking outcome and short-lived possession of the red number plate brings a frustrating season to a close for the talented rookie. Flashes of brilliance highlighted 2009 and with a full onslaught prepared for 2010, Villopoto will be a rider to keep an eye on.
Another Podium Finish
Chad Reed put together another podium finish while continuing to reacquaint himself with the longer races and natural terrain of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship tracks after sitting out the past two outdoor seasons.
The two-time Supercross champion finished sixth in the first moto and third in the second, and that gave the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki star a third overall after Josh Grant was penalized for a rules infraction. The finish left Reed third in the standings, 1 point behind Grant.
An Up-Hill Battle
Yamaha rider Josh Hill had another uneven day at the races. The Oregon native started well in the opening moto and hung on in the final laps for a 10th place finish. In the second moto of 30 minutes plus 2 laps, Hill raced in mid-pack and finished 20th. That gave him 15th overall.
Pourcel Gets First U.S. Win
Christophe Pourcel, the native of France now living in Corona, Calif., continued to establish himself as a rising star in American Motocross by claiming his first Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship 250 Class win for the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team in Sacramento.
Pourcel, who won the Supercross Lites East title and season-ending Shootout at Las Vegas, took the first moto win after stalking and overtaking upstart Honda rider Justin Barcia, then displayed his maturity by avoiding unnecessary risks and settling for a solid second place finish to Ryan Dungey in the second moto, knowing that would give him the overall victory.
Unfortunately, Pourcel was penalized one position in the second moto for not obeying a hazard flag. Pourcel was one of seven riders disciplined for the same infraction during the day. The drop from second to third did not impact his overall win, but it did leave him 2 points behind Dungey instead of being tied with the Glen Helen winner.
Two More Top 10's for Pro Circuit
Tyla Rattray and Jake Weimer, two of Pourcel's teammates at Pro Circuit, earned places in the top 10 with consistent performances. Rattray, who's also new to the U.S. outdoor series, was fourth in the opening moto and seventh in the second for a fifth overall. Weimer had a pair of eighth-place finishes and, not surprisingly, was eighth overall.
Austin Stroupe, the fourth member of the team, was 10th in the opening moto, but had his hopes for a good overall ruined by an accident that forced him out of the second moto with a 30th-place finish, good for 15th overall.
Ironically, it was during the period following Stroupe's mishap that Pourcel committed his infraction.
Price's Fall Doesn't Spoil it All
Sara Price had another good outing in the WMX competition. She finished eighth in the opening moto, but had been running close to the front until a last-lap crash. She recovered nicely, however, finishing fifth in the second moto to take fifth overall, her second straight top five showing.
About Parts Unlimited
Parts Unlimited is the world's largest distributor of aftermarket accessories in the powersports industry and is owned by LeMans Corporation headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin. Parts Unlimited sells to over 12,000 dealerships world wide and continues to expand its market penetration with its sister companies, Parts Canada, Parts Europe and Drag Specialties.
Parts Unlimited continues to promote racing through its campaign WE SUPPORT THE SPORT®, helping to drive consumers to dealerships, while entertaining its dealers through hospitalities at the events it sponsors.
About Thor Motocross
Thor is one of the originators of motocross apparel. When Torsten Hallman made his first U.S trip to race and promote motocross in 1966, he inadvertently started to develop Thor riding gear. Thor is a hardcore, grass roots company that understands what it takes to reach the top and more importantly, how to stay there. It is one of a few companies with over 40 years experience in the motocross marketplace.
Thor, a house brand company for Parts Unlimited, combines design and marketing with superior distribution to reach it's thousands of dealers and consumers priding ourselves on key selling features like quality, strength and performance. Thor is more than a brand. It is a lifestyle.