HURRICANE MILLS, Tenneessee—With the first wave of racing complete for all 36 classes, the attention shifted on Thursday to second moto action at the 40th running of the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship. A total of 23 different classes saw the second gate drop of the week, in what is arguably the most critical juncture for racers in their quest to capture an AMA National Championship.
Open Pro Sport
Given how the opening moto of Open Pro Sport played out, Thursday’s second moto was destined to bring the excitement and set the stage for a dramatic, winner-take-all final moto.
The stacked field of talent converged into the first turn to begin Moto 2 and as they navigated through the corner it was JMS Performance Yamaha’s Jace Kessler who captured the STACYC Holeshot over Bar X/Chaparral/ECSTAR/Suzuki Racing’s Preston Kilroy, whose exceptional starts this week continued. Kilroy wasted little time in jumping into the early lead and built a gap on the opening lap, only to tip over in a rut and lose multiple spots. That moved Kessler back out front as Kilroy remounted in fifth. Further behind them, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Levi Kitchen was forced to overcome a mid-pack start and showed some grit in his ability to break into the top 10 by the end of the opening lap.
The next rider to take his turn up front was LSR Racing KTM’s Branden Walther, who made the pass on Kessler. Walther’s time in the lead wasn’t long, however, as Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Chance Hymas was on a determined path to the lead. Once out front, Hymas asserted his control of the moto and led the way until the late stages of the race when Kitchen’s hard charge brought him to the rear fender of the Kawasaki.
Once he got within striking distance Kitchen went on the attack and made quick work of Hymas to seize control of the moto in the waning minutes. From there he quickly distanced himself from the field and charged home to earn the moto win ahead of Hymas, followed by Kilroy in third, which duplicated the same three podium riders from Moto 1, albeit in a slightly different order.
Open Pro Sport Moto 2 Results
- Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha
- Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Kawasaki
- Preston Kilroy, Afton, Wyo., Suzuki
- Jace Kessler, Eagle Mich., Yamaha
- Cullen Park, Clermont, Fla., Honda
After two motos the battle atop the Open Pro Sport standings couldn’t be any closer as Kitchen, Hymas, and Kilroy sit in a three-way tie for the lead. As a result, the highest finishing rider in Saturday’s Moto 3 finale will capture the coveted AMA National Championship.
Open Pro Sport Overall Standings (Moto Scores)
After a dominant performance in the opening moto, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Nick Romano had all eyes on him entering Moto 2 as the favorite to repeat his efforts from opening day. When the gate dropped on the second moto Romano shot out like a rocket and carried bike lengths over the field as he took the STACYC Holeshot. The clear track meant trouble for the likes of NSA/bLU cRU Yamaha’s Gage Linville and Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Gavin Towers, who needed to keep touch with Romano. Fortunately for Linville he followed Romano to the front, which allowed the Yamaha duo to check out as Towers was forced to fight forward from a start deep in the top 10.
After just a couple laps Romano and Linville were more than five seconds clear of the rest of the field, as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Talon Hawkins eventually took control of third and gave chase. Back up front, Linville kept pace with Romano and stayed within a second until the halfway point when Romano’s consistency allowed him to inch away.
Hawkins was riding by himself in third and appeared to have a podium result in hand until misfortune struck at the halfway point and put the Husqvarna rider on the ground. That allowed Towers, who was impressive in his forward progression, to assume third while Hawkins remounted in fifth.
Back out front, Romano was never challenged over the second half of the moto and put together a near-perfect wire-to-wire win that put him in control of the overall classification. Linville finished second, followed by Towers in third in an exact duplication of Tuesday’s podium.
250 B Moto 2 Results
- Nick Romano, Bayside, N.Y., Yamaha
- Gage Linville, Lake Park, Ga., Yamaha
- Gavin Towers, Venetia, Pa., Kawasaki
- Preston Boespflug, Battle Ground, Wash., Honda
- Marcello Leodorico, Perris, Calif., Suzuki
Romano’s 1-1 start has put him two points ahead of Linville after two motos, while Towers sits an additional two points back in third.
250 B Overall Standings (Moto Scores)
125cc (12-17) B/C & Schoolboy 1 (12-17) B/C
Through two days of racing across two different classes, it was clear that Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Evan Ferry had both the speed and confidence to carry the bullseye on his back as the rider to beat in 125cc B/C. However, he entered the second moto on Thursday chasing KTM Orange Brigade’s Mark Fineis, who won the opening moto.
As the field exited the first turn to being Moto 2 it was Triangle Cycles/bLU cRU Yamaha’s Logan Best who came away with the STACYC Holeshot ahead of VPE KTM’s Bryce Shelly. Both Fineis and Ferry had a little work to do, with Fineis starting fourth and Ferry sixth.
Best led the way through the first couple laps as Shelly gave pursuit, but Ferry was eager to get into the mix. The Husqvarna rider needed just two laps to find his way to the head of the pack and effectively took control of the moto from there. With his main rival out front, Fineis answered the call and clawed his way into second.
Ferry was in a class of his own in this moto and opened up a double-digit lead in the closing laps. He earned his second moto win of the week and rebounded from his Moto 1 heartbreak, with Fineis in second and Shelly in third.
125cc (12-17) B/C Moto 2 Results
The win put Ferry into a tie with Fineis in the overall classification, which means a head-to-head showdown for the title awaits on Friday.
125cc (12-17) B/C Overall Standings (Moto Scores)
- Evan Ferry, Largo, Fla., Husqvarna (2-1)
- Mark Fineis, Westfield, Ind., KTM (1-2)
- Logan Best, North Port, Fla., Yamaha (3-5)
- Collin Allen, Clayton, N.C., Yamaha (5-4)
- Noah Smerdon, Cairo, Ga., KTM (4-6)
These two budding rivals met again in the second moto of Schoolboy 1, where Ferry entered as the first moto winner. As the gate dropped on the second moto the field emerged out of the first turn it was Fineis who came away with the STACYC Holeshot and the early lead. Ferry slotted into fourth and went to work to try and track down Fineis.
Thanks to a clear track and the motivation to bounce back from a 19th-place finish on Wednesday, Fineis successfully managed a multi-second over Ferry, who fought his way into second just a few laps in. Despite his best efforts, Ferry couldn’t close the deficit as Fineis enjoyed a wire-to-wire win, followed by Ferry in second and EBR Performance Yamaha’s Collin Allen in third.
Schoolboy 1 (12-17) B/C Moto 2 Results
- Mark Fineis, Westfield, Ind., KTM
- Evan Ferry, Largo, Fla., Husqvarna
- Collin Allen, Clayton, N.C., Yamaha
- Ivan Aldama Jr., Marathon, Fla., KTM
- Crockett Myers, Anderson, Texas, Yamaha
With finishes of first and second through the first two motos, Ferry enjoys a comfortable advantage in the Schoolboy 1 overall standings over KTM rider Ivan Aldama Jr.
Schoolboy 1 (12-17) B/C Overall Standings (Moto Scores)
Supermini 1 (12-15)
Following a DNF in the first moto of Supermini 2, Haiden Deegan’s hopes for a pair of titles in both Supermini divisions all but ended. However, there was still work to be done for the KTM Orange Brigade rider in Supermini 1, which contested its second moto on Thursday
Off the start it was Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Krystian Janik who earned the STACYC Holeshot. Janik and Deegan came together in a scary incident for both riders on Wednesday during the Supermini 2 race, and they found themselves alongside one another again in a battle for the Supermini 1 lead on Thursday. Deegan took advantage of a slight bobble by Janik to move into the lead with ease and never looked back.
Both Deegan and Janik controlled the moto from the front and distanced themselves from NorthPoint Trailers/Schaeffer’s Motorsports KTM’s Jude Smerlick in third. Janik was no match for Deegan’s relentless pace, as the second-generation racer cruised to his second moto win of the week. Janik finished second, while Calaman Plumbing KTM’s Carter Malcolm captured third after some late-race misfortune for Smerlick.
Supermini 1 (12-15) Moto 2 Results
- Haiden Deegan, Temecula, Calif., KTM
- Krystian Janik, Oak Lawn, Ill., Kawasaki
- Carter Malcolm, Elizabeth, Colo., KTM
- Dilon Blecha, Fruita, Colo., KTM
- Noah Viney, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
With a pair of moto wins, Deegan sits in control of his own destiny in the overall classification with a comfortable advantage over Janik.
Supermini 1 (12-15) Overall Standings (Moto Scores)
Following a tense battle for the opening moto win on Monday, Shift MX Husqvarna’s Jeff Emig and The Wick 338/Pilgrim Powersports Kawasaki’s Keith Johnson renewed their fight on Thursday for the second moto. Out of the gate Johnson grabbed the upper hand with the STACYC Holeshot while Emig made some quick passes on the opening lap to move into second.
Once this duo ran 1-2 on the track their battle for the lead began almost immediately, at a torrid pace. While Emig had more pace in the early stages of the moto, Johnson showed tremendous poise to fend off the constant pressure. As the moto reached the halfway point Emig finally got the upper hand and put his Husqvarna at the head of the pack. At this point the leaders enjoyed an advantage of more than 30 seconds over the rest of the field.
Despite losing the lead, Johnson kept his head down and kept the pressure on the multi-time national champion. On the final lap Johnson was all over Emig’s rear fender and sought an opportunity to make a pass. Suddenly, Emig went down, which caused Johnson to get stuck in Emig’s bike. Both riders patiently tried to separate themselves and Johnson was able to get going first, which allowed him to carry on to the moto win as Emig recovered for second. RM Army Suzuki’s Barry Carsten followed in a distant third.
Masters (50+) Moto 2 Results
- Keith Johnson, Carver, Mass., Kawasaki
- Jeff Emig, Riverside, Calif., Husqvarna
- Barry Carsten, Bayville, N.J., Suzuki
- Adrian Robert, Costa Rica, Kawasaki
- Billy Fosnock, Collinsville, Ill.,Kawasaki
The wild end to the second moto left Johnson and Emig tied atop the overall classification with one moto remaining and given how the first two motos have unfolded it’s sure to be exciting.
Masters (50+) Overall Standings (Moto Scores)
Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship Thursday Winners
250 B Limited: Gage Linville, Lake Park, Ga., Yamaha
250 C Limited: Nico Long, Scottsdale, Ariz., KTM
250 C Jr. (12-17) Limited: Gabe Holland, Winterville, Ga., KTM
450 B Limited: Jayden Clough, Elko New Market, Minn.,
450 C: Brandon Bollino, Essex, Ill., Yamaha
College (18-24): Luke Kalaitzian, Sun Valley, Calif., Honda
Junior (25+): Robbie Marshall, Phillipston, Mass., KTM
Women: Sophia Phelps, St. George, Utah, Kawasaki
Mini-E (4-6) Jr.: Beckham Smith, Canyon, Texas., KTM
51cc (4-6) Shaft Dr. LTD: Carter Schutte, Chesterfield, S.C., Yamaha
51cc (4-6) Limited: Kannon Zabojnik, Rowlett, Texas, Cobra
51cc (7-8) Limited: Sawyer Gieck, Alpine, Wyo., Cobra
65cc (7-9): Elliott Bowsher, Cornelius, Ore., GASGAS
65cc (10-11): Carson Wood, Zephyrhills, Fla., KTM
65cc (10-11) Limited: Carson Wood, Zephyrhills, Fla., GASGAS
85cc (10-12): Drew Adams, Chattanooga, Tenn., Kawasaki
Mini Sr. 1 (12-14): Drew Adams, Chattanooga, Tenn., Kawasaki
Girls (11-16): Kyleigh Stallings, Austin, Texas, Husqvarna
The fourth day of motos for the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship continues Friday, August 6. Broadcast coverage of every moto can be seen exclusively on Racer TV.
For more information on the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, visit the series official website at www.MXSports.com or call (304) 284-0101. Join the conversation on the event’s social media channels, along with receiving the most up-to-date news and exclusive content.