MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - The depth of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, was on full display at the Toyota Thunder Valley National as four different riders claimed the Motosport.com Holeshot Awards. As a result, the competition at the third round of the championship was the best of the 2014 season thus far, serving as a fitting way to celebrate the 10th annual race at Thunder Valley MX Park.
Through partnerships with series sponsors, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will recognize the riders who are able to lay claim to the Oakley Bomb Fastest Lap Program, the MotoSport.com Holeshot Award in each moto, and the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award throughout the 2014 season.
The Oakley Bomb Fastest Lap Program is designed to present a unique challenge for the 2014 season, providing a different twist by recognizing the rider who sets the fastest lap of practice in both the 250 and 450 Classes. Each rider will receive special Oakley Bomb trophy, specially designed by the brand.As the season wears on, the total number of Oakley Bomb awards a rider receives will be tallied into a final season total. The competitor with the most awards at season's end will be presented with an Elite Oakley Time Bomb II Swiss Automatic Watch.
At Thunder Valley, Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard became the third different rider in as many races to take the Oakley Bomb Award. The Oklahoma native surged late in the final practice session of the day to overthrow Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen atop the charts with a lap of 2:02.007, edging out Roczen by two tenths of a second. Canard was in the mix at the forefront of each moto and ultimately raced his way to a fourth-place finish overall following 3-4 moto results.
In the 250 Class it was more of the same as Valli Motosports Yamaha's Christophe Pourcel was the fastest rider in practice to claim the Oakley Bomb Award for the third straight week. Pourcel's prowess in laying down a fast lap has become evident and thanks to his years of experience he is always a threat for victory with a lap of 2:04.303. Once the motos began Pourcel made his presence felt and posted 11-3 moto finishes to finish seventh overall.
The Motosport.com Holeshot Award is brand new to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross this season and it awards $500 to the rider who gets the holeshot of each moto - in both the 450 Class and 250 Class - at every round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. A total of $2,000 will be up for grabs at each event between the two classes, thanks to Motosport.com.
For the second straight week four different riders claimed the $500 prize in each of the afternoon's four motos at Hangtown. In the 450 Class, Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX's Josh Grant earned his second Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season in the opening moto and used his strong start to stay in the lead group throughout the moto, ultimately finishing fifth. In Moto 2 it was Canard to emerged first out of the first turn. The Honda rider paced the field in the early stages and it helped move him into a shot at finishing on the overall podium, ultimately finishing fourth in the moto.
In the 250 Class, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda's Jessy Nelson raced to his first Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season. The young rider took full advantage of his impressive start and checked out on the field in the early going. Nelson led the majority of the moto and looked to earn the first win of his career. Despite a late incident that forced him to lose control of the top spot, Nelson rebounded to secure a career-best runner-up result. In the final moto GEICO Honda's Zach Bell earned his second holeshot of the season but a late crash in the moto relegated him to a 34th place finish.
The RC Hard Charger Award is entering its sixth season in 2014. Named after Ricky Carmichael, the most winning motocross rider of all time, the award recognizes the one competitor at each of the 12 rounds of the championship who overtakes the highest number of his fellow racers in any of the four championship motos between the 250 and 450 Classes.The award is a testament to "The Greatest of All Time" or "The GOAT" and his never-give-up attitude over the span of a career that warranted 10 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross titles and 102 wins - two feats that will likely never be duplicated. All recipients of the RC Hard Charger Award are given a custom-designed trophy.
In the first two rounds of the 2014 season, Sweden's Fredrik Noren emerged as arguably the top privateer in the 450 Class and after an impressive come-from-behind effort in the second moto at Thunder Valley he can now add a RC Hard Charger Award to his collection. The NorenMX KTM rider entered Thunder Valley 14th in the championship standings, ahead of the likes of Andrew Short and Jimmy Albertson. Following a solid first moto in which he finished 16th, Noren encountered misfortune on the opening lap of Moto 2 and ultimately crossed the line in 35th position. From there the Swedish rider's resiliency was on display as he fought his way through the field on a rough Thunder Valley track, passing 21 riders en route to a 14th place effort that helped land him 13th overall.
Round 4 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, for the UPMC Sports Medicine High Point National on Saturday, June 14.
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