Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Notes:
MotoTees Budds Creek National
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (June 17, 2011) - High Point Raceway presented a challenging track for the world's best riders during the East Coast debut of the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. After four grueling motos across the 450 and 250 classes, the Kawasaki brand walked away triumphant thanks to impressive wins by Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett.
This weekend, the championship remains east, hosting the fourth round of the series at Budds Creek MX Park in Mechanicsville, Md. On Saturday, the MotoTees Budds Creek National will present fans with a memorable day of action while challenging riders on one of the most popular tracks in the country.
TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing
After a slow start to the day in Moto 1, when he was hit by a rock while working his way through the field, Chad Reed reversed his fortunes in the final moto and capped off the day with his third moto win of the year. As a result, Reed's 5-1 moto scores helped him post his third straight podium finish in third. While he watched his two-race winning streak come to an end, Reed still left High Point with the points lead.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
It took a couple rounds, but Ryan Villopoto looks to be hitting his stride this summer. He dominated the first moto of the day at High Point, leading every lap and putting himself in position for the overall win. In Moto 2, he rode smart in muddy conditions, bringing home a runner-up finish and earning his spot atop the podium for the first time since his 450 Class debut in 2009. Now, Villopoto carries the momentum into Budds Creek.
"It was definitely good to get the monkey off my back and get the win,' said Villopoto. "Now I want to keep that going and hopefully put some more wins together. I've always liked Budds Creek, and I'm really looking forward to going there for the first time on a 450cc bike."
Jake Weimer showed impressive resiliency at High Point. After a solid start to the day in the first moto, Weimer overcame a rough start in the final moto, ultimately passing 25 riders to land ninth overall and receive the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award for his efforts.
"I feel like I've been riding well, and hopefully I can get closer to the podium at Budds Creek," said Weimer. "My Kawasaki KXTM450F has been great, and I think it's been a good season so far considering the short amount of time I've been on the bike, compared to a lot of the other guys in the class."
After the misfortune he experienced at Freestone Raceway, Ryan Dungey was eager to turn things around at High Point. The reigning champion started off the day strong, running behind Villopoto in the first moto and putting himself in position to possibly claim his first overall of the season. In Moto 2, Dungey overcame an early fall to fight his way into the top three. Although he missed out on the win, Dungey still posted his second runner-up effort of 2011 and moved into third in the standings. He enters Budds Creek as the defending race winner.
"It was a good weekend," said Dungey. "I had a couple of good practices and we were good going into both motos. I got the holeshot in the first, but had a little bobble and got passed. I was still able to get back to second. All in all, I felt good. My Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team made some changes on my RM-Z for the second moto, but it rained really hard just before the start, so the track was really muddy, slick, and very technical. I got off to another good start but fell twice in the beginning, but was able to catch up to third and secure second place overall. It's a good step in the right direction. Next stop is Budds Creek and I really like that track."
Brett Metcalfe found himself in the thick of a highly-competitive battle inside the top 10 throughout each of the day's motos at High Point. The Australian rider started the day off by finishing eighth in the opening moto, and endured the conditions in Moto 2 to finish 10th and secure eighth overall. Sitting fifth in the 450 Class standings, Metcalfe is looking forward to Budds Creek.
"It was a pretty tough day for me at Mt. Morris," said Metcalfe. "I didn't get the results I wanted and I had two bad starts at a track where it's really important to start up front in order to be in contention for a decent overall finish. It was just one of those days where things just didn't happen. I feel like I rode strong, and my Rockstar/Makita Suzuki worked great. My team did a great job getting my bike dialed in. It was a rough day, but we still came away with some points. We know what we have to do moving into Budds Creek."
With a third-place finish to start the day, Davi Millsaps was looking for more of the early-season success he's experienced so far this summer at High Point. However, the muddy track in Moto 2 was a challenge for Millsaps and the majority of the 450 Class field. In the end, Millsaps recorded a ninth-place effort in the final moto to finish fifth overall.
Following a tough outing at Freestone, Kevin Windham bounced back with a pair of solid efforts at High Point. The veteran rider endured the challenges of his younger rivals throughout each moto, and outlasted them to post 6-5 moto scores and finish sixth overall.
For the first time in 2011, the American Honda team will feature a pair of 450 Class competitors. As Windham prepares for his final race of the 2011 season, Josh Grant will make his summer debut at Budds Creek, racing for the first time since January, when he suffered a knee injury. Last season, Grant finished fourth in Southern Maryland, and will look to duplicate that effort on Saturday.
Valli Motorsports/Rockstar Yamaha
After a season-best effort at Freestone, Ricky Dietrich was looking for similar success at High Point. While he wasn't able to replicate his efforts from the previous round, Dietrich put forth a respectable effort in Pennsylvania, finishing 11th overall. He also still sits in good position in the standings, currently occupying sixth place.
Fellow Valli Yamaha rider Nick Wey posted one of his best outings at High Point. The longtime competitor battled his teammate throughout each moto, ultimately coming out on top, finishing just one spot ahead in 10th overall.
High Point represented one of the best rounds of the season for Tommy Hahn. After a respectable 10th-place finish in the opening moto, Hahn improved three spots in Moto 2, finishing seventh and landing in the same spot in the overall results for the day.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda
After a breakout performance in Freestone, Christian Craig entered Pennsylvania with high aspirations. A ninth-place finish in the first moto got the ball rolling in the right direction, however, an issue with his goggles in the muddy final moto forced Craig into the pits, dropping him to 21st in the moto, and 15th overall.
Red Bull KTM
Andrew Short continues to give it everything he's got at each round this season. He continues to dial in his KTM 350, and has shown consistent improvement in his performance out on the track. At High Point, he finished just outside the top 10 in 12th, and continues to work his way up the 450 Class standings, where he also occupies the 12th spot.
Mike Alessi's return to action for the first time since crashing in practice at Hangtown was highlighted by a pair of strong motos, in addition to running at the front of the field. Alessi's 4-4 moto scores and fourth-place finish overall set the tone for what KTM hopes is a strong season. He heads to Budds Creek with a lot of confidence, and will look to challenge for the podium.
"It felt good to get out on the track and race after a few weeks off," said Alessi. "I am still a little off my game since my crash at Hangtown, but I am feeling better every week, and hope to be on the podium soon."
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
After three rounds and six motos, Mitch Payton's 250 Class team still remains undefeated. At High Point, opening-round winner Blake Baggett, returned to the head of the class, dominating the day's motos to go 1-1, and secure his second win of the season. The sophomore rider now heads to the site of his season-ending crash one year ago, looking to move forward.
"I did have a big crash last year at Budds Creek that ended my season, but I won't be focusing on that," said Baggett. "I have felt more comfortable than ever before, and I know that I can do well. I have a lot of points to make up and I'll be doing what I can to get a good finish."
With his third podium effort of the season, Tyla Rattray's runner-up finish at High Point leaves him as the only rider in the class to land on the overall podium at each round this season. Additionally, he took over the points lead from his teammate Dean Wilson, but it is business as usual for Rattray this weekend.
"I'm not thinking too much about the points right now since so much can change in nine races, but I do want to stay consistent," said Rattray. "Consistency has been a big part of championships, and I know that if I'm up on the podium, it will help me stay on track for the goal of going after the title."
Wilson just missed out on the overall podium at High Point, suffering misfortune in the final moto after running to a strong second-place finish in Moto 1. Despite that, he still sits just two points behind Rattray and brings the momentum of his first-career win at Budds Creek last season.
"I definitely have good memories from Budds Creek," said Wilson. "I like the track, and maybe I can finally put the bad luck behind me and get a win."
While his start to the season has been slower than expected, Broc Tickle recorded his best finish of the summer in Pennsylvania. Tickle's fifth-place finish was a huge boost to his confidence and he's eager to start challenging for the podium this weekend.
"I seemed to start slow, but I've been putting in a lot of time to get comfortable, and I think it's finally showing," said Tickle. "I know I can run up front, but when I get a bad start, I have to work the whole moto to get up to where I should be. I'll be looking to get a good start this weekend, so I can make my charge from the front instead of at the back."
Eli Tomac has been a consistent contender for the podium through all six motos this season. At High Point, he capitalized on a good start in the final moto to run at the front of the field, and secure his first overall podium of 2011. Tomac holds arguably the best opportunity to end the Pro Circuit dominance, and will look to do so on Saturday.
Justin Barcia rode to a quiet sixth-place effort at High Point, and continues to search for the consistency that will keep him at the front of the field. With 8-7 moto scores, Barcia finished sixth overall and will aim to move forward at Budds Creek.
DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha
Coming off his best-career finish at Freestone, Kyle Cunningham had high hopes last weekend. While he wasn't able to return to the podium, the Texas native still rode strong, finishing fifth in the opening moto and 11th in Moto 2 to secure eighth overall.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda
High Point represented one of the best runs of the season for Cole Seely. After starting the day with an 11th-place finish in the first moto, Seely rode strong in Moto 2, finishing fifth and landing seventh overall. As a result, Seely moved up the 250 Class standings into seventh.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki
It was a tough day all around for the Rockstar Energy Suzuki team at High Point. First-year rider Nick Paluzzi posted the team's best result, finishing 14th overall, while Jason Anderson and Martin Davalos followed in 16th and 17th, respectively.
Television coverage for Saturday's MotoTees Budds Creek National begins with live coverage of the opening motos for both the 450 and 250 classes on FUEL TV, beginning at 1 p.m. EST. Same-day, final moto coverage of both classes will air back-to-back on SPEED, beginning at 10 p.m. EST with the 450 Class, immediately followed by 250 Class coverage at 11 p.m. EST.
Tickets for the upcoming Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship are on sale now at www.allisports.com. Special discounts and incentives are available for advance ticket purchasers.
For more information on the 2011 tour, please log on to www.allisports.com/motocross.
For media information about the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, please contact Media Manager Brandon Short, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 949-365-5750.
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