Our Jason Weigandt and Jason “Wheels” Todd are at the 2019 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn's this week to provide updates and coverage from every moto.
Here’s what they learned yesterday (Tuesday), during the first day of racing at the Ranch.
Buddies and Battles
It’s always fun to watch Haiden Deegan and Daxton Bennick battle, the two KTM riders are good friends but have been tussling for titles here at the Ranch for years. They’re so tight that when the Deegans wanted set up an eastern base (partially to help with Haiden’s sister, Hallie, making inroads into NASCAR) they did it right near the Bennick family in North Carolina. On Tuesday, the buds squared off again in THE 85 (10-12) class. They both drew terrible gate pics but raged to the front together—Deegan had the lead and looked set for the win until he fell and Bennick then took it. Team Green’s Drew Adams rode well for third, he’s one of the younger riders in the class, so he and his team were happy with the podium.
Back in Stilez
Kawasaki Team Green’s Stilez Robertson has not had the results he’s wanted at Loretta Lynn’s the past few years. His mini bike career ended with two below-standard years, and he missed all of last year with a torn ACL. So when he took the 250 B moto one win on Tuesday morning, he did so with a big fist pump, and was beaming on the podium. Watching Robertson in the first moto of the 250 B class, he finally looked like he was back to being the kid that Ryan Holliday and Team Green crew invested in years ago. He was out front, putting together strong laps, charging on the bike, and just dominant. This will be a big week if Robertson can hold on for the title. It won’t be easy though, as Suzuki’s Dylan Schwartz and Yamaha’s Jarrett Frye showed speed also. Frye crashed while running behind Robertson, then he and Schwartz came together battling later. They recovered for second (Schwartz) and third (Frye). Look for some more battles between this crew later in the week.
New (big) Name
Amsoil Honda’s Jett Lawrence had never raced a moto at the Loretta Lynn’s Ranch until Tuesday afternoon, and in his very first moto here, he’s a race-winner. Even more impressive, the Australian rider, younger brother to GEICO Honda’s Hunter Lawrence in the 250 Class of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, took his victory in a stacked 250 Pro Sport field. This was a great race, with California’s Tyson Johnson grabbing the holeshot and making a name for himself by battling Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll for the lead. Swoll finally got around but then fell, holding up Johnson, and Lawrence slipped past. It honestly looked like Lawrence was just waiting patiently in third, and his patience paid off.
In that stacked 250 Pro Sport class, Carson Mumford, also on the Amsoil Honda, came through for second. Other big names in Pro Sport failed to make the podium. Swoll struggled for the rest of the race after his crash and finished 13th. Bad start for Jo Shimoda, he took eighth. Pierce Brown came through to finish fourth, got into battle with Hardy Munoz for third on the last lap. Brown passed him briefly, but Munoz got him back in the last turn to hold on for third-place position.
Everybody Loves Nicholas
Bayside, New York’s Nicholas Romano started his week at Loretta Lynn’s with two dominant wins in the Mini Sr 1 and 2 divisions. Ryder Difrancesco, one of the favorites, logged a second place finish in Mini Sr 2 but then a DNF in moto one of the Mini Sr 1 class. Romano has been very, very strong so far. Can anyone challenge him as the week goes on?