Thunder Valley Motocross Race Report 2016

What really happened at Thunder Valley Motocross in Lakewood, Colorado.

Ken Roczen, Lakewood Motocross, 2016
Ken Roczen claimed his second overall win in three races and has a 12-point lead over Ryan Dungey in the standings.Photo By Jeff Kardas

Ken Roczen is on a roll!

For the second time in three weeks, the RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John's/Suzuki Factory rider went 1-1 to dominate the 450 class, claiming his second overall win of the season at round three of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross series at Lakewood, Colorado’s Thunder Valley Raceway. Had it not been for a mechanical failure last week in moto one at Glen Helen, Roczen might very well be undefeated through six motos right now.

At this point, the former MX2 World Champion seems to be doing everything right, including getting good starts, as he bolted to the front of the first moto after grabbing the holeshot, though he’s been able to get to the front quite easily when he doesn’t get the start.

“Overall, I can’t complain,” said Roczen. “Going 1-1 is a great thing and we’re going into an off weekend so I’m super happy about that. I think it comes at a perfect time because I 100% believe that I have another level in me. We have some tricks up our sleeve to get even better so I’m really excited about that.

“I just rode a smooth race with minimal mistakes. I didn't get a good start in moto two and actually almost crashed. I tried to make some quick moves but didn't want to rush it.”

Roczen has the momentum Eli Tomac had at this time last year, but there’s still a long way to go and how many times have we written Dungey off only to have him come back and win the title?

Ryan Dungey, Lakewood Motocross, 2016
Ryan Dungey crashed at the start of the second moto and had to come from behind. Still, his 2-4 was good enough for second overall.Photo By Jeff Kardas

Speaking of Dungey, the Red Bull KTM rider took an uncharacteristic fall at the start of moto two, perhaps a sign he’s pushing a little too hard to try to get in front of Roczen before the Suzuki rider can get away. His fall put him all the way back to 19th and he was only able to get back to fourth by the end of the moto.

“I just got my front wheel up over the rut and my rear wheel was still in it,” said Dungey. “I went to scrub a jump and it kind of pitched me forward. I thought I had it saved but the front just tucked and over I went. I got up to fourth and wasn't able to catch Seely for third, but all things considered it was pretty good.”

Dungey was third at the start of moto one, and by the time he got past Jason Anderson and into second, Roczen already had a good lead and there was no catching him. The KTM rider’s 2-4 was good enough for second overall. Dungey said after the race that he’s looking forward to the break in the schedule next weekend so he and the team can do some testing, no doubt in an effort to gain some speed on Roczen.

Eli Tomac, Lakewood Motocross, 2016
Starts, Starts, Starts... Eli Tomac needs to get a start!Photos By Jeff Kardas

Eli Tomac, the fastest qualifier in practice, is still struggling with his starts, but managed to get third overall with a 5-2 performance despite a 21st place start in moto one. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider was able to work his way into fifth by the end of the moto, though there’s no doubt he would have been near the front had he gotten a better start.

In the second moto, Tomac was 13th at the end of the first lap, but he charged all the way to second by lap nine.

“I was able to throw down the laps and lines I wanted to but I just got beat on the start,” Tomac said after moto two. “Those guys are getting ahead of me way too quick.”

Trey Canard and Cole Seely, Lakewood Motocross, 2016
Trey Canard (41) and Cole Seely battle for the lead in the second moto.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Cole Seely went 6-3 for fourth. The HRC Honda rider, who is known for his Supercross skills, is definitely improving when it comes to the outdoor series, and actually held the lead early in moto two before giving way to Roczen and Tomac. In the first moto, Seely led Tomac through the pack after starting around 15th and it wasn’t until the next to last lap before Tomac was able to pass the Honda rider.

“We’ve been figuring out the bike a little more each race and I’m stoked to see that my fitness is getting better,” said Seely.

Seely’s teammate, Trey Canard, is still ripping off good starts, and battled with Seely at the start of moto two. The Oklahoman turned in a 3-6 performance to round out the top five.

Jason Anderson, Lakewood Motocross, 2016
Jason Anderson had a problem dealing with the altitude and dropped out of the first moto, ending his day.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Jason Anderson battled with Roczen for the holeshot in the first moto and ran second for a while before dropping back and ultimately pulling off the track. The word in the pits was that Anderson was suffering from altitude sickness and left the track ASAP.

With three rounds in the books, Roczen will carry a 12-point lead over Dungey into Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Tomac sits third another 17 points back.

The series takes a weekend off next week, giving some of the riders some needed rest, while others, like Dungey, will use that time to prepare for High Point.

Joey Savatgy, Lakewood Motocross, 2016
Had it not been for a crash near the end of moto one, Joey Savatgy might well have gone 1-1 in the 250 class.Photos By Jeff Kardas

250 Class

Joey Savatgy managed to break the stranglehold the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha riders (Jeremy Martin, Alex Martin and Cooper Webb) had on last week’s 250 class at Glen Helen, going 2-1 for the overall win. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider was timing the landings of the jumps perfectly, which is important at the high altitude track where the bikes were underpowered, giving him a smooth drive off the landings and allowing him to turn the fastest laps of the first moto.

The victory moved Savatgy into the series points lead by three points over Jeremy Martin.

“The weekend was great,” said Savatgy. “In the first moto my start wasn’t exactly what I wanted but I was able to get my speed where I think it should be, made some passes and got out front. Once I started to pull away a little I made a mistake and went down, remounted and brought it home for second. As for Moto 2, it went exactly how I wanted. I rode smart, and I’m really happy with the results for the day and the championship.”

Jeremy Martin, Lakewood Motocross, 2016
Jeremy Martin took advantage of the crash by Savatgy to win the first moto. His 1-3 garnered him second overall.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Alex Martin, who held the points lead coming into Thunder Valley, fell on lap two of the first moto while running fifth and had to work his way through the pack. A-Mart could do no better than eighth by the end of the race, putting the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider in a hole heading into moto two.

Meanwhile, Savatgy and Jeremy Martin both passed early leader Cooper Webb to battle over the top position, with Savatgy taking the lead on lap nine only to crash five laps later and hand the lead and eventually the win to Jeremy.

Savatgy finished the first moto in second behind J-Mart, while Webb was third ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne and GEICO Honda’s Jordon Smith.

In the second moto, Savatgy passed Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Adam Cianciarulo on lap one to take the early lead. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Martin Davalos soon passed Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM's Shane McElrath to take over third.

Jeremy and Alex Martin, Lakewood Motocross, 2016
The Martin brothers, Jeremy left and Alex right, celebrate on the podium.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Cianciarulo crashed on lap three, moving Davalos into second with Alex Martin in third and Jeremy in fourth. On lap eight, Alex passed Davalos and started to catch Savatgy. J-Mart also passed Davalos, as his brother started to put pressure on Savatgy.

Savatgy managed to hold off Alex to take the win, with Jeremy crossing the line in third. At the finish, the order was Savatgy, Alex Martin, Jeremy Martin, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner in fourth and Davalos in fifth.

Heading into the break, Savatgy holds a three-point lead over Jeremy Martin in the series points with brother Alex another six point back.

RESULTS

450 Class

  1. Ken Roczen, Germany, Suzuki (1-1)

  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (2-4)

  3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (5-2)

  4. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (6-3)

  5. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (3-6)

  6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki (4-7)

  7. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (11-8)

  8. Matt Bisceglia, Tualatin, Ore., Suzuki (10-10)

  9. Christophe Pourcel, France, Husqvarna (8-12)

  10. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (7-13)

250 Class

  1. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (2-1)

  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (1-3)

  3. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (8-2)

  4. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-6)

  5. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha (3-8)

  6. Martin Davalos, Ecuador, Husqvarna (7-5)

  7. Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., Honda (5-12)

  8. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM (12-7)

  9. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (17-4)

  10. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha (11-11)