Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing News
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel claimed his second overall victory of the season at Thunder Valley Raceway in Denver, Colo. The French rider went 1-1 to claim the win while his teammate Dean Wilson finished 2-3 ending up third overall. Just missing the 250 class podium was Tyla Rattray who finished fourth overall after going 4-4. Jake Weimer was 17th overall with moto finishes of 10th and 24th. In the 450 class, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Chad Reed finished ninth overall, going 10-7, with Nick Wey 14th overall. In the WMX class, Sara Price finished 2-6 and earned her first podium of the year grabbing third overall.
Pourcel has now won at least one moto at each of the first five events this season and after two strong motos in Colorado he earned his second overall win, extending his lead in the season standings to 34 over his teammates Wilson and Rattray.
“I got a good start in both motos,” said Pourcel. “I always want to feel good on the track and when I do, I can make it happen and get the win. It was rough for the races, I think I liked the night race here better because the track was very smooth and easy.”
After getting his first career win last weekend, Wilson showed up ready to repeat at Thunder Valley. The rookie rode two strong motos on Saturday and showed that he is at home on the podium.
“Being on the podium is awesome,” said Wilson. “That is where I want to be every week. Getting second in the first moto was what I needed to run a relaxed second moto. As always, I’m going to work hard this week.”
Though Thunder Valley isn’t one of his favorite tracks, Rattray rode strong in both motos and came home with another solid finish.
Wey started back in the pack in both motos, but the Michigan native worked his way in each to get his best possible finish.
“I’ve always had a hard time adjusting to the altitude in Colorado,” said Wey. “I went off the track a few times in the first moto. In the second moto I felt I rode better, but I got a bad start and just couldn’t make up the time I lost on the first lap. I’m excited to be heading home next weekend and racing at Red Bud.”
The WMX class faced the biggest challenge of the weekend with a thunderstorm delaying its second moto and then starting the moto in a downpour. Despite all the challenges, Price was able to get her first podium of the season.
“The first moto was good,” said Price. “I was riding well and getting stronger every lap. I set my fastest lap on the last lap of the race. In the second moto I was battling for position when I tipped over in a corner. Though I lost a couple of spots I was able to stay on the podium.”
Through the Pack
Weimer had another tough weekend, finishing 17th overall, but his results don’t reflect his ride. In the first moto, Weimer worked his way from 36th on the first lap to 10th by the checkered flag. In the second moto, he went down a couple of times and could only work his way up to 24th.
In the first moto, Reed got a bad start and was running 22nd at the end of the first lap. He steadily worked his way up on the rough track to finish 10th. In the second moto, the Australian got a good start, but then went down on the first lap. He quickly recovered and fought his way into the top 10 to finish seventh in the moto and ninth overall.
With Thunder Valley Raceway about one-mile above sea level, the riders had to prepare for less oxygen in the air.
“I think the altitude hit me pretty hard,” said Wilson. “I was breathing really heavy during the both motos. Luckily it wasn’t very hot today, so I think that evened everything out.”
Night and Day
For the last two years, the Thunder Valley National was run under the lights and with the night racing came a groomed track. Because of shadows, the track had to be smoothed between each session, but this year with the switch back to a day race the track was able to deteriorate and get rough.
“At night the track is really smooth,” said Wey. “Today it was rough. Every time we went out the track got rougher and rougher which made for a big challenge. Usually in the afternoon here you have to battle the track and the heat, but we were lucky today and it was just the rough track that we had to face.”