By Scott Hoffman, Photos Shan Moore
After the break the series headed to one of the most challenging circuits—Southwick, Motocross 388. The sand is deep and turns into one of the roughest whoop-filled and deepest sand-rutted tracks you could imagine. Red Bull KTM did emerge the victor of the day with regard to the overall but he had to work harder for this win than he has the entire season.
In the first moto he had to work his way into the lead following a six-lap battle with Moto Concepts’ Mike Alessi. Tommy Hahn turned some heads aboard his Factory Honda with a solid third in the first moto.
Notable rides from the veterans of the sport, Mike Brown and John Down, continue to defy the notion that this sport is owned by youngsters. The over 40 riders finished a respectable sixth overall for Brown and 14th for the 47-year-old Dowd.
Moto two in the 450 was an epic battle with Dungey getting beat straight up. Dungey led the field early on but was in a battle with Alessi, who actually took the lead two laps before the halfway point. The big surprise was Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray. The Rat rode from last place in the first moto to finish 20th but his glory came in the second moto. Rounding the first lap in 9th place, Rattray put his head down in the rough sand and started to pick riders away at will. He ran down the leaders and with four laps to go in the race put himself into the lead and never looked back. His win did little to the overall outcome of the race but showed just how fast Rattray rides when he is in his element and healthy.
Like always, the 250 division continues to be one of the most exciting classes week in and week out. And Monster Energy Pro Circuit’s Blake Baggett continues to amaze us. Baggett went 3-1, but it was a hard fought battle with the usual suspects, Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Justin Barcia, and Marvin Musquin. Tomac bested the field in the first moto following a short battle with rookie pro Zach Bell. Bell led for 5 laps before going down. Musquin pretty much rounded the field in second for most of the race, while Baggett finished third.
In moto two it looked like the race almost belonged to Roczen. The Rock held the helm for much of the race but with only a few to go Baggett again pulled one of his patented late-moto charges to snatch the lead from Roczen and take the overall for the day.
SOUTHWICK, Mass. (August 11, 2012) – The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its annual stop in New England on Saturday, hosting the ninth round of the season from Moto-X 338. Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., continued his dominance in the 450 Class, capturing his seventh consecutive win, but needed a pit stop in order to do so. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett, of Grand Terrace, Calif., raced to his fourth victory of the summer, extending his lead in the championship.
MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi, of Victorville, Calif., grabbed the holeshot in the opening 450 Class moto, while Dungey quickly worked his way forward from a third-place start. The points leader paced his main championship rival for five laps before making a pass for the lead and pulling away for the moto win.
In Moto 2, Dungey once again found himself slotted behind Alessi, who captured the holeshot. This time, Dungey wasted no time taking over the top spot, crossing the line at the front of the field at the conclusion of the opening lap. After opening up a multi-second lead, Dungey tipped over on Lap 6, losing the lead to Alessi.
Just two laps later, Dungey passed Alessi again and eventually extended his advantage to over 10 seconds. Over the course of those laps, Dungey’s KTM team became aware that fuel had spilled from his gas tank in the earlier fall and for fear of running empty, determined Dungey would need to pull into the mechanic’s area to replenish the tank.
On Lap 13, Dungey pulled off the track to receive fuel, holding a 13-second advantage. After a quick exchange, he was back running, but had fallen to second behind Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray, of South Africa, who passed Alessi just one lap prior. Dungey stayed close to Rattray for the final four laps, but was unable to pass him for the moto win. Nevertheless, by virtue of his 1-2 finish, Dungey claimed the overall win.
“I got a little bit of a lead and felt like I was in a groove,” explained Dungey. “Coming to the finish, my rear stepped to the right, hooked the jump, and made me cross rut. I tried to save it, but it took me right down. When I fell, I think I kicked the gas cap off. I got back into the lead, but I kept worrying if I had enough left.
“The TV footage allowed our guys to see what happened, which helped them decide to bring me in, which worked out because I wouldn’t have made another lap. I tried to catch (Tyla Rattray), but he’s a great sand rider. I’m bummed I made a mistake, but given the situation, things couldn’t have worked out better.”
Alessi’s 2-3 finishes landed him second overall, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle finished third (6-4) for his second career podium result.
Dungey’s lead in the 450 Class standings now sits at 85 points over Alessi, giving him the potential to capture the title at the next round.
In the 250 Class, GEICO Honda’s Zach Bell, of Cairo, Ga., turned heads in his professional debut by grabbing the opening moto holeshot and pulling away for an early lead. The 17-year-old rider paced the field for five laps before yielding to his teammate Eli Tomac, of Cortez, Colo., on Lap 6. Bell crashed moments later, while Tomac never looked back, winning by over 12 seconds.
In Moto 2, Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen, of Germany, made quick work of early leader, and Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda rider, Jessy Nelson, of Paso Robles, Calif., and asserted himself out front. Behind him, Baggett positioned himself into second and began his pursuit of the lead, setting the stage for a moto-long battle between the familiar foes.
After leading for nearly the entire moto, Roczen came under fire from Baggett on Lap 15, with the Kawasaki rider making a tough pass, only to be passed again by Roczen just a few turns later. Then Tomac, who had fallen earlier in the race, caught the lead duo and made a quick pass on Baggett, only to crash in the next turn and fall back to third. On the following lap, Baggett made another move on Roczen, making the pass stick and carrying it through to the finish, tying Tomac in points for the day, but securing the second-moto tiebreaker (3-1).
“I got a good start in the second moto and rode the best I could,” said Baggett. “I made a mistake early, but I dug as deep as I could and made it happen. Ken and I went after each other, but we kept it clean. I really enjoyed racing with him.”
Tomac finished second (1-3), while Roczen rounded out the podium in third (4-2).
Baggett’s lead in the championship now sits at 24 points over GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, of Monroe, N.Y.
The Women’s Motocross Championship hosted its penultimate round on Saturday. Reigning champion Ashley Fiolek, of St. Augustine, Fla., captured her third consecutive victory (1-1) aboard her Team Honda Muscle Milk machine, setting the stage for a dramatic final round battle for the championship. Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Jessica Patterson, of Tallahassee, Fla., finished second (2-2), while Munn Racing KTM’s Sara Pettersson, of Sweden, finished third (4-4).
Currently, only 10 points separate the top three riders in the standings, with Patterson holding a five-point lead over Fiolek. Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Tarah Gieger, of Puerto Rico, sits an additional five points behind in third.
The 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship travels to New Berlin, N.Y., next weekend for the 10th round of the season. The Red Bull Unadilla National commences next Saturday, August 18, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern.
450 Class Championship Standings
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 430
Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 345
Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 290
Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 273
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki, 253
Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki, 195
Justin Brayton, Ft. Dodge, Iowa, Honda, 185
Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Kawasaki, 159
James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 151
Brett Metcalfe, Mannum, Australia, Suzuki, 142
250 Class Championship Standings
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki, 400
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda, 376
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 368
Ken Roczen, Apolda, Germany, KTM, 345
Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM, 294
Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda, 230
Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki, 197
Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M, Suzuki, 181
Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda, 170
Travis Baker, Temecula, Calif., Honda, 156
WMX Class (Moto Finish)
Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda (1-1)
Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki (2-2)
Sara Pettersson, Sweden, KTM (4-4)
Tarah Gieger, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico., Honda (3-5)
Mariana Balbi, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Honda (7-3)
Sade Allender, Sanford, Maine, Honda (6-6)
Jacqueline Strong, Sedona, Ariz., KTM (5-7)
Sarah Whitmore, Cheboygan, Mich., KTM (8-8)
Christina Older, Harner, S.C., KTM (10-9)
Alexah Pearson, Sacramento, Calif., KTM (9-11)
WMX Class Standings
Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki, 280
Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda, 275
Tarah Gieger, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico., Honda, 270
Mariana Balbi, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Honda, 227
Sara Pettersson, Sweden, KTM, 209
Jacqueline Strong, Sedona, Ariz., KTM, 206
Kasie Creson, Vallejo, Calif., Honda, 174
Alexah Pearson, Sacramento, Calif., KTM, 149
Sade Allender, Sanford, Maine, Honda, 148
Sayaka Kaneshiro, Osaka, Japan, Honda, 137