Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Notes:
Rockstar Energy RedBud National
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - An impressive performance in the high altitude at Thunder Valley MX Park in Lakewood, Colo., gave Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey his first overall victory of the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship season last weekend. With three different winners through five rounds of competition in the 450 Class, the title fight is heating up as the series hits the halfway point at this Saturday's Rockstar Energy RedBud National, in Buchanan, Mich.
The competition in the 250 Class also remains competitive, with battles between Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates Dean Wilson, Tyla Rattray, and Blake Baggett - who have won every moto and overall so far this season. At Thunder Valley, Baggett captured his third victory in five rounds, and the trio of riders lead the field into RedBud this weekend.
TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing
With such a strong start to the season, highlighted by three wins, Chad Reed's third-place finish at Thunder Valley was his worst effort of the year. Despite losing seven points to both Dungey and Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto, Reed still maintains control of the standings and will look to get back on top of the box at RedBud.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Thanks to yet another strong performance at Thunder Valley, Ryan Villopoto sits just eight points out of the 450 Class lead heading into RedBud. Villopoto tied Dungey in points for the day at Thunder Valley, but by virtue of the second-moto tiebreaker, just missed out on his second win of the year. Despite that, he has a lot of confidence coming into this weekend.
"I feel like I'm finally getting into a rhythm and taking steps forward to winning overalls," said Villopoto. "I have had some trouble with my second motos, but at Thunder Valley, I felt the best I have all season after that race. I didn't win, but it is definitely something to build from and I'm excited for RedBud."
Villopoto's Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Jake Weimer had a tough day in Colorado. Despite some past success at the track, Weimer encountered misfortune in each moto and posted 19-16 moto scores to finish 18th overall. He'll look to rebound at RedBud.
Through the first four rounds of the season, Ryan Dungey had just missed out on the overall win on several occasions. At Freestone, Dungey looked to be well on his way to victory, only to run out of fuel in the late stages of the race. However, at Thunder Valley, it all came together for the defending champion. His aggressive move for the lead in the final moto made the difference in the outcome of the overall results, and now Dungey is carrying considerable momentum into the weekend.
"It means a lot to get a win," said Dungey. "We're five rounds in and I wish it could have come earlier, but that's racing. I have to give it up for Team Rockstar/Makita Suzuki; we've all been working our butts off. The win feels really good and I'd like for it to continue. I'm looking forward to RedBud. It's a great track and one of my favorites. I was able to pull off wins in both motos there last year. Hopefully we have a little momentum from this one and I can pull off a couple more."
Brett Metcalfe engaged in an intense battle for the top five amongst a handful of riders at Thunder Valley. The Australian rider's 9-7 moto scores helped maintain his consistency, helping him finish seventh overall. Metcalfe fell to sixth in the 450 Class standings, but is just a single point out of fifth coming into RedBud.
"It was a pretty good weekend in Colorado," said Metcalfe. "Riding-wise, I was happy. I had trouble in both motos, and was pretty frustrated, but I rode good and my Rockstar/Makita Suzuki was working great. I'm looking forward to RedBud. Everyone likes RedBud. It's an awesome track, and I feel really comfortable on the bike now and feel strong. I need to get good starts and give myself a chance to run up front."
After deciding to not bring his 2011 season to a close following Budds Creek, American Honda's Kevin Windham returned to action at Thunder Valley, boasting a strong ride. For the second consecutive week, Windham posted 4-4 moto scores to finish fourth overall, and now plans on competing at RedBud this weekend.
Davi Millsaps' day at Thunder Valley got off to a rough start, following a 24th-place finish in the opening moto. However, Millsaps recovered in moto two by posting a strong sixth-place effort. As a result, he was able to grab 15th overall and maintain his fifth-place position in the points.
Justin Brayton got back into the swing of things at Thunder Valley, making his 2011 motocross debut. The Idaho-born rider was competitive for a top-10 finish in both motos, and ultimately relied on 14-10 moto scores to land 10th overall and get the season off to a solid start.
Valli Motorsports/Rockstar Yamaha
Ricky Dietrich kicked off his day at Thunder Valley with a solid eighth-place finish in the opening moto. However, misfortune struck the off-road veteran in Moto 2, and following a 17th-place finish, he secured a 13th-place effort in the overall results. Dietrich still maintains a strong position in the 450 Class standings, currently occupying seventh place.
Nick Wey boasted a solid performance in Colorado, posting 13-11 moto scores to finish just outside the top-10 overall in 11th.
Red Bull KTM
With the chance to compete at one of his favorite tracks and in front of family and friends, Andrew Short posted his best performance of the 2011 season at Thunder Valley. Short's home track traditionally serves as one of his best races of the season and after a fifth-place finish overall, Short was able to move up the point standings into eighth.
"Although I had my best overall finish last weekend, I suffered a pretty big crash in practice that has been giving me problems this week," said Short. "I've been resting this week to try and recoup before the weekend. I really like the RedBud track and I hope I'm feeling 100% before Saturday's race."
Thunder Valley started off promising for Mike Alessi, kicking off the day with a fifth-place finish. However, after some misfortune in the final moto, Alessi fell to 14th overall and will be looking to rebound at RedBud.
Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda
For the second time this season, Christian Craig pulled a strong start in the first moto to grab the early lead in front of the talented field of riders. While he wasn't able to keep pace at the front of the field, his sixth-place moto result, combined with 15th-place in Moto 2, landed him eighth overall.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
Through five rounds of the 2011 season, Mitch Payton's Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team has been as close to perfect as they could be, winning every moto and overall. Last weekend, Dean Wilson's strong runner-up effort vaulted him into the 250 Class points lead for the second time this summer, and he'll be looking to maintain the advantage at RedBud, and possibly claim his first overall victory of the year.
"I have been so close to winning this season, but haven't been able to break through," said Wilson. "I have been trying to go for the win, but now I am focused on staying smart and collecting points. The wins will come if I keep riding well. Everyone is riding great, and I just need to focus on the races ahead."
Tyla Rattray experienced his worst outing of the season at Thunder Valley, finishing off the overall podium for the first time this summer. While he also fell out of the points lead, Rattray will likely come back strong this weekend.
"Everyone has a bad race, and I wasn't able to ride to my potential in Colorado," said Rattray. "I've liked racing at RedBud in the past. I got second there in the first moto last year, and I'm really looking forward to going back there. I am hoping to make up the points I lost last weekend and get closer to Dean."
Blake Baggett dominated en route to his third overall win of the season at Thunder Valley. With the most victories in the class, Baggett is making a push towards the top of the 250 Class standings, and he'll be hoping to go back-to-back on Saturday.
"I feel like I've had to overcome bad starts a lot this season and I was able to put it together last weekend," said Baggett. "Hopefully, I can get two good starts again and get another win. I haven't been to RedBud before, but everyone talks about the track being awesome. I'm really excited to race this weekend."
Eli Tomac boasted a strong performance at his hometown race at Thunder Valley. The sophomore rider posted back-to-back podium moto scores in Colorado, securing the final spot on the podium and maintaining fourth in the 250 Class standings.
Justin Barcia rode well at Thunder Valley, but was marred by a pair of crashes in both motos. He still was able to post 9-12 moto scores for ninth overall, and currently sits fourth in the championship standings.
DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha
After a tough start to the day with a 40th-place finish in Moto 1, Kyle Cunningham rebounded in the final moto at Thunder Valley, finishing eighth. The Texas native's resiliency proved beneficial, helping him secure 16th overall.
Similar to his teammate, Gareth Swanepoel experienced highs and lows in Colorado. After a strong sixth-place finish to start the day, the South African experienced misfortune in Moto 2, finishing 21st, ultimately resulting in 14th overall.
Veteran Ryan Sipes was the strongest Star Yamaha rider at Thunder Valley, boasting his best performance of the season. After opening the day with a 15th-place finish in Moto 1, Sipes battled at the front of the field in Moto 2, finishing fourth and landing sixth overall.
Eleven-10 Mods Honda
Thunder Valley resulted in the strongest outing of the season for Darryn Durham. The Pennsylvania native battled at the front of the field throughout both of the day's motos, posting 4-6 results and landing him fourth overall.
Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda
With 8-17 moto scores, Cole Seely posted a 12th-place overall finish at Thunder Valley. However, his efforts proved beneficial in the 250 Class standings, helping Seely move into 10th after five rounds.
Travis Baker boasted his best effort of the season in Colorado. The sophomore riders landed back-to-back 10th-place finishes to secure eighth overall.
In the third round of the 2011 Motorcycle-Superstore.com Women's Motocross Championship, DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha's Jessica Patterson took home a pair of convincing moto victories to capture her second overall win of the season. American Honda's Ashley Fiolek took second overall, and still holds a two-point lead over Patterson in the WMX standings. The two rivals look to be headed for another showdown this weekend at RedBud.
Television coverage for Saturday's Rockstar Energy RedBud 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. Live final coverage of the 450 Class will also be featured on NBC Sports, beginning at 5 p.m. EST. Same-day, final moto coverage of the 250 Class will air on SPEED, at 10 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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