Having wrapped up the 450 title just one week before, Ryan Dungey came into the Steel City round of the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Series poised to break Ricky Carmichael’s record of most wins by a rookie. However, the Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider suffered a rare DNF in the opening moto, ending his nine-race win streak and opening the door for Kevin Windham to get his first outdoor win in three years. At the end of the day, the 32-year-old Red Bull Honda rider came out on top of a furious battle with Brett Metcalfe, going 1-2 to earn the overall victory.
Kevin Windham’s last outdoor national victory was at Washougal in 2007, and it was only due to the injury of Davi Millsaps that the Mississippi native is even riding this year’s outdoor series. However, K-Dub proved he still has the goods and moved to the front of the opening moto, passing teammate Andrew Short and GEICO Powerports Honda’s Brett Metcalfe, after Dungey dropped out with mechanical problems. Windham held off Metty to get the win, and then backed it up in the second moto, beating Metcalfe again as the two riders finished second and third behind Dungey.
After nearly winning a moto at Southwick the previous weekend, Brett Metcalfe came to Steel City hoping to score a repeat performance, and when Windham went by him early in the opening moto, Metcalfe latched on and soon retaliated with a pass of his own. The two Honda riders traded the lead several times over the course of the race, putting on one of the best races of the year, but in the end it was Windham with the upper hand, leaving Metcalfe to settle for second overall with a 2-3 tally.
Justin Brayton has spent most of the season riding himself back into shape after suffering a shoulder injury earlier in the year. After winning the final moto of last year’s Steel City race, the JGR/Toyota Yamaha rider was expecting to do well again this year and ended up claiming his first podium finish of the season with a 5-4 performance. Brayton is in the first year of a two-year deal with JGR and so is guaranteed to be back with the team in 2011.
As expected, Ryan Dungey was fast at Steel City and was moving to the front of the opening moto when he suffered a problem with his front end and had to pull into the pits. “I hit my front rotor on a rock when I was leaned over in a deep rut,” said Dungey. “I guess the bent rotor broke the hub and all of a sudden I couldn’t steer the thing.” Dungey got a double dose of bad news when Suzuki team manager Roger DeCoster announced over the weekend that he wouldn’t be back with the team in 2011.
Ben Townley has been the hard luck rider of this year’s series. He has shown on several occasions that he can run fast enough to lead a moto and finish on the podium, but he just can’t seem to put two motos together. At Steel City, the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda rider finished a strong third in the first moto, but a first-turn crash in moto two bent his bike beyond repair and he had to call it a day.
Andrew Short left Steel City sitting third overall in the series points standings after going 4-5 for fourth overall. Keeping with his 2010 trend, the Red Bull Honda rider grabbed both holeshots and led both races early, but ultimately couldn’t keep pace with Windham, Metcalfe, Brayton and Dungey.
GEICO Powerspots Honda’s Trey Canard continues to put pressure on 250-class points leader Christophe Pourcel, and moved to within seven points of the Frenchman with one round to go after taking a hard-fought 1-1 sweep. Pourcel kept his Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki right on Canard’s rear fender in both motos, but just couldn’t find a way to make a pass.