The foggy hills of upstate New York have come calling and the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship has answered. Unadilla is one of the most iconic locations in all of motocross. Its history goes back decades and has hosted events all of the biggest events. Ask any motocross fan on the globe and they likely know of Unadilla. The legacy expands far beyond America’s border and is arguably the facility most steeped in tradition. It is also a track that most resembles the flowing, natural terrain layout of yesteryear. Modern obstacles have worked their way into today’s Unadilla but it’s impossible to circulate this racetrack without feeling the flow of the 1970s.
Dirty Little Secrets
The surprising thing about this track is that many racers don’t love it. The soil is very difficult to agree with and traction comes at a premium as the day grows long. The Unadilla rocks are a nuisance, only exacerbated by the powerful four-strokes that have taken over the sport. While those facts are hard to dispute, the organizers deserve credit for trying to reverse the difficulties. Ten or so years ago, truckloads of topsoil were brought in to replace the decades of erosion. Rocks have been filtered to remove the largest and most damaging. It’s a constant battle to recreate the loam of the past and decrease the rocks that continue to protrude from the New York landscape.
As far as storylines go, there are plenty to follow. The 250 championship has started to separate in the favor of defending champ Jett Lawrence, but anything can still happen. Justin Cooper got back to his winning ways in Washougal’s second moto and also catapulted himself back into the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations Team USA conversation. His “home race” of Unadilla might open the door to turning that conversation into a real possibility. I do believe he should be considered as there is no guarantee that we won’t see an injury to a potential pick before we head to Michigan.
In the 450 Class, the title chase is red hot. Chase Sexton struck back at Washougal and enters a track that hasn’t been kind to Eli Tomac. In fact, this is his worst venue (outside of Loretta Lynn’s). He has never won the overall at Unadilla in the 450 class and has only one win to his credit for his entire career (2013). That’s not to say he can’t figure it out this year but if Sexton was looking for a reason to be optimistic, he won’t need to look far. He reeled back some momentum at the last round and is surely riding high going into the final few. With five points separating the two and eight motos left, we could be headed for an all time run to the finale.
Justin Cooper’s second moto win was much needed and surely sent him into the break with a mountain of confidence. Unadilla is in his home state and also the site of his first ever Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship race. I wouldn’t be shocked to see follow through at ‘Dilla.
Jett Lawrence just keeps on winning overalls, defying all mathematical likelihoods. He’s fast when he needs to be, manages the race when he needs to be conservative, and avoids mistakes.
Chase Sexton was lights out awesome in the second moto at Washougal. That ride was a long time coming for the #23 and gives him a nice base to work from going into the last four rounds.
Eli Tomac may have lost the second moto but remember, he still has a 5-point lead and is on arguably his best form ever.
Jason Anderson was frustrated with his inability to latch onto the Tomac/Sexton train, but this is still his best summer ever by a large margin.
Michael Mosiman’s summer has taken a tough turn as crashes and various issues have derailed what started as a breakout series.
Ken Roczen seems to be in defensive mode with his riding after getting sick on Friday night before Washougal. Cooler temperatures at Unadilla may offer a chance to turn things around.
YouTube’s platform completely shuts down on news that Haiden Deegan isn’t racing Unadilla’s pro national.
Suzuki puts up 72 Sidekicks and 14 outboard engines of varying displacements as collateral to claim the entire Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing stable of motorcycles.
The ghost of Steve McQueen has agreed to race WSX and will be on the starting line in Cardiff.
I notice myself giving every foreign rider the side-eye as MXoN inches ever closer.
Main image by Mitch Kendra