MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (May 19, 2011) – The highly-anticipated 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship is here. This Saturday, the world’s best riders will converge at the legendary Hangtown Motocross Classic to kick off the 40th season of American Motocross with the Rockstar Energy Hangtown National.
Two champions will be crowned over the next 12 weeks of racing in the premier 450 Class and the highly-competitive 250 Class, which features the sport’s rising stars. The fastest females in the country will also crown a champion in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Women’s Motocross Championship, which will compete at eight rounds throughout the summer.
Defending 450 Class Champion and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey leads one of the most talented fields of riders in the history of the sport into 12 rounds of competition this season. Alongside him will be former champions Chad Reed, riding for TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing, and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, who is coming off his first AMA Supercross title. Additionally, several other challengers will fill the gates to kick off what is sure to be a memorable year.
The reigning champion Factory Suzuki effort will feature the two fastest 450 Class riders from the 2010 season. Dungey returns to defend his crown after the most successful rookie season of all time. After a strong AMA Supercross effort earlier this year, he will look to give his team its third consecutive Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship title. Joining Dungey under the Suzuki tent for 2011 is Australian Brett Metcalfe. Much like his teammate, Metcalfe experienced a tremendous rookie 450 Class season in 2010, finishing runner-up in the standings. The opportunity is Metcalfe’s best chance to win to this point in his career and he’ll look to break through for that elusive inaugural victory.
“We’ve had a couple good weeks of testing,” said Dungey. “With 24 motos and 12 rounds, there’s a lot of racing, and it’ll be real exciting with a lot of good competition. I’m really looking forward to the outdoors. Hangtown is a great track. It’s always fun and real challenging. We’re going to try to get off to a good start and carry that momentum throughout the season.”
“We’re geared up and ready for Hangtown this weekend,” said Metcalfe. “I’m really looking forward to the outdoor motocross season. I’m feeling really fit and healthy. I can’t wait to get out there Saturday on the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki. I had a great season last year and I think I can definitely do it. There’s a lot of great competition – I think the field is going to be stacked and there’s going to be incredible battles all season long and I think the man who’s strongest and most consistent will pull off the championship.”
Red Bull KTM
The Austrian-based KTM team is putting its best foot forward for 2011. After bringing in legendary team manager Roger DeCoster to oversee the race team, KTM proceeded to sign perennial front-runner Andrew Short to join current rider Mike Alessi. Short has seen some success as he continues to acclimate himself to the new surroundings and he hopes to replicate his third-place championship finish from last season. As for Alessi, he hopes to kick off 2011 in a similar manner to the way he started 2010, by landing on the overall podium in Hangtown.
“I have enjoyed the two-week break but am looking forward to starting the motocross season on the 350 SX-F,” said Short. “It’s always exciting to show up at the first race. I can’t wait for the first gate to drop.”
“I am switching to the 450 SX-F for the outdoor series and I am looking forward to hopefully continuing my holeshots and leading some motos,” said Alessi. “I have high expectations for this season and hope that I meet my goals at the first round.”
The American Honda team will start the 2011 season without either of its riders – Trey Canard and Josh Grant. Both riders are recovering from injuries suffered during the AMA Supercross season and will return to action in just a couple of rounds. In their place, veteran rider and fan favorite Kevin Windham will reprise his role as a fill-in rider. Last season, Windham made his long-awaited return to the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship for the second half of the season and experienced tremendous success, highlighted by a win at Steel City. While the length of his motocross season is still to be determined, Windham will surely enjoy himself while he’s around.
“I’m excited to race Hangtown,” said Windham. “I had a great time racing those few races with the American Honda Racing team last season, so I’m happy I have the opportunity to race a couple more races with the team again this year. It’s a bummer that Trey and Josh are not racing the first few of rounds, however, I will do my best to fill in for them. I took the win last year at Steel City so let’s see what I can do this weekend.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Last year was hard for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team, who ultimately suffered the loss of both of their riders by the completion of the 2010 season. Now, the team is back in full force, ready to reclaim the title they held in 2008. Newly-crowned AMA Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto leads the way, looking to complete his first full season in the 450 Class. The former three-time 250 Class champion has never lost a title in motocross when racing for an entire year and strangely enough, Saturday will mark just his third career start in the premier class. Joining Villopoto as the new face at Kawasaki is Jake Weimer. The former 250 Class winner hasn’t had the opportunity to compete much during his rookie 450 Class season, but he will surely be up to speed with his counterparts quickly.
TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing
So far in 2011, Chad Reed’s foray into team ownership has been extremely successful. After entering the year as an underdog, Reed is now a top contender and will receive the support of American Honda throughout the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. As the defending race winner at Hangtown, Reed will look to start the year off right and keep his team’s impressive debut season going strong.
The Joe Gibbs Racing effort boasts a strong rider lineup for 2011. Both Davi Millsaps and Justin Brayton have shown they can win at the elite level and have both experienced moderate success in motocross. After respectable AMA Supercross seasons for each rider, they are looking forward to finding their way to the front this summer.
The up-and-coming MotoConcepts team made arguably the biggest move in the industry heading into the summer after signing French rider Christophe Pourcel. The two-time 250 Class runner-up chose to sit out the AMA Supercross season, placing an emphasis of achieving success in motocross. Many have awaited his move into the 450 Class since he came to the U.S. full time in 2009, and it would be no surprise to anyone if he’s challenging for wins almost immediately. Additionally, MotoConcepts boasts another pair of strong riders in Tommy Hahn and Kyle Chisholm, both of whom will look to build on their past success.
The reigning 250 Class championship team will boast a potent two-rider lineup to start the 2011 season. Justin Barcia is coming off a championship-winning supercross campaign and with a win to his credit in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, he will look to use the momentum to continue honing his skills in motocross. Barcia’s teammate Eli Tomac made history at Hangtown one year ago, becoming the first rider in history to win his professional debut. With more experience under his belt coming into 2011, Tomac should be a contender for the vacant 250 Class title.
“Supercross was just unreal for me this year,” said Barcia. “I had an awesome season. I earned a podium finish at every race and I plan to do that at every outdoor race this season too. I’m not going to let up a bit.”
“I want to start off like I did last year and just keep it rolling from there,” said Tomac. “I just plan to keep it consistent all season and hopefully we’ll end up on top.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
Mitch Payton’s team will be a talented four-rider lineup for 2011. Both Dean Wilson and Tyla Rattray make their respective returns to the team and with two overall wins apiece last season, they are two of the favorites to battle for the 250 Class crown. The newest faces under the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki tent are Blake Baggett and Broc Tickle. Both riders found success during the supercross season and have acclimated well to their new team. With the best chance to win in their young careers, many will keep an eye on how these two riders perform.
DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha
The Star Yamaha team will be led by a pair of veteran 250 Class riders in 2011. After achieving solid results in their first seasons in the premier class last year, both Ryan Sipes and Kyle Cunningham return to the 250 Class. Each rider has looked very fast so far in 2011 and could be surprise performers this summer. Rounding out the lineup for the team is Gareth Swanepoel and Gannon Audette.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki
Suzuki’s factory 250 Class team will be headlined by veteran riders Martin Davalos and Hunter Hewitt. Both riders have shown good speed this season and if they can find consistency, both should be in the mix each and every week. Rookies Jason Anderson and Nick Paluzzi round out the lineup of riders and both will look for success in motocross after showing signs of speed during the supercross season.
“We’ve been doing a lot of motos and trying to adjust to the high speed and ruts of the outdoor tracks,” said Davalos. “I’m definitely looking forward to Hangtown. I want to try to walk away from there with a top five. That would be a good start to the season. My Suzuki RM-Z is working great and my Rockstar Energy Suzuki team has been putting in a lot of hard work. We’re (starting) a new chapter at Hangtown and we’re feeling really positive.”
“Last year was a learning year for me,” said Hewitt. “I changed up my program a little bit this season. Coming into Hangtown this year, I’m a bit more experienced and I’m feeling really good. We’ve been doing a lot of motos out at the practice track and that’s been going really good. My Rockstar Energy Suzuki team has done a great job getting my Suzuki set up so I’m comfortable out there. I feel like I’m ready to go for Hangtown.”
“I’m really excited I got this deal with the Rockstar Energy Suzuki team,” said Paluzzi. “We got a good solid two weeks of testing for the outdoors in and I’m excited going into Hangtown. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and getting some top-10 finishes to start and having a strong rookie season in the outdoors. I really don’t know what to expect out there, but we’ll get our feet wet in the first few rounds and hopefully I can score some top fives later in the season.”
“I’ve been working hard and putting in a lot of long motos,” said Anderson. “I’ve also been putting in a lot of time in the gym and on the road bike. My Rockstar Energy Suzuki team has my Suzuki working great, so I feel like I’m ready. I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully it goes as well as I want and I can score a top 10 at Hangtown and progress from there.”
Red Bull KTM
One rider will carry the 250 Class flag for KTM in 2011. After claiming back-to-back World Championships in the MX2 class for the past two seasons, Frenchman Marvin Musquin is bringing his talents to the U.S. Many expect Musquin to be in the thick of the title fight this season and his acclimation to the tracks and competition in the states will be a major storyline throughout the year.
“It is very exciting to race in the U.S.,” said Musquin. “I was able to use the Glen Helen USGP as a warm-up race last weekend and know that I still have some work to do before I am 100 percent. But I am getting closer each day. I can’t wait to race the motocross series. It has been a dream of mine since I was a young kid to race in the U.S.”
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda
After a breakthrough AMA Supercross season, Cole Seely will look to carry over the momentum into the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. He will be joined by Travis Baker under the Troy Lee tent and this duo will likely be in the mix throughout the summer.
The Motorcycle-Superstore.com Women’s Motocross Championship will be headlined by the two most dominant riders of the past three seasons – American Honda’s Ashley Fiolek and reigning champion Jessica Patterson, who rides for DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha. The two riders have developed a formidable rivalry over the past few years and it is expected to continue.
“I trained really hard during the off season and I’m confident 2011 is going to be a good year for me,” said Fiolek. “My goal is to win this weekend and I won’t be happy with anything less. I believe I’ve put in the work I need to win back the WMX title, so that’s my mission for this season.”
Also looking to get into the mix is veteran rider Tarah Gieger, who rides for Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda, as well as up-and-comers Vicki Golden, riding for Moto-USA.com/Langston Motorsports Kawasaki, and MotoConcepts Yamaha’s Mariana Balbi.
Television coverage for Saturday’s Rockstar Energy Hangtown National begins with the debut of live coverage of the opening motos for both the 450 and 250 classes on FUEL TV, beginning at 4 p.m. EST. Final moto coverage of the 450 Class will air at 11 a.m. EST on SPEED on Sunday, May 22, immediately followed by Moto 2 of the 250 Class at 12 noon EST.
Series Statistical Report
Rockstar Energy Hangtown National
Prairie City SVRA – Rancho Cordova, Calif., May 21
- Hangtown enters its 43rd year as a motocross national.
450 Class Stats
- The first Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship race was held at Hangtown on April 8, 1974, with Bill Grossi winning on a Honda.
- This will be the 38th time the gate will drop for the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Hangtown
Hangtown wins by brand:
Last win at Hangtown by brand:
- First time winners at Hangtown: Mike Alessi – 2009 (Suzuki); James Stewart Jr. – 2006 (Kawasaki); David Vuillemin – 2000 (Yamaha); Kevin Windham – 1999 (Honda); Rick Johnson – 1992 (Yamaha); John Dowd – 1991 (Honda); Jeff Stanton – 1989 (Honda); Alan King – 1984 (Honda); Kent Howerton – 1980 (Suzuki); Marty Smith – 1977 (Honda); Bill Grossi – 1974 (Honda).
- Ricky Carmichael is the winningest rider at Hangtown with five victories.
- James Stewart earned his first 450 Class victory in 2006.
- Yamaha has not won at Hangtown since 2000 when David Vuillemin earned his inaugural 450 Class victory.
- Ricky Carmichael provided the last Hangtown win for Honda in 2004.
- From 2002 to 2008, only two riders won at Hangtown: Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart. Carmichael captured four straight victories from 2002-2005.
- Mike Alessi’s first-career victory in both the 250 Class and 450 Class came at Hangtown.
- Alessi also gave the KTM 350 its first victory in American Motocross at Hangtown by capturing the win in the second 450 Class moto.
|HANGTOWN MOTOCROSS CLASSIC|
|Rancho Cordova, Calif.|
|May 22, 2010||Chad Reed, Australia||Kawasaki|
|May 30, 2009||Mike Alessi, Victorville, CA||Suzuki|
|June 1, 2008||James Stewart, Haines City, FL||Kawasaki|
|May 20, 2007||Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL||Suzuki|
|May 21, 2006||James Stewart, Haines City, FL||Kawasaki|
|May 22, 2005||Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL||Suzuki|
|May 16, 2004||Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL||Honda|
|May 18, 2003||Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL||Honda|
|May 19, 2002||Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL||Honda|
|May 20, 2001||Sebastien Tortelli, France||Honda|
|May 21, 2000||David Vuillemin, France||Yamaha|
|May 16, 1999||Kevin Windham, Ethel, LA||Honda|
|May 17, 1998||Jeremy McGrath, Menifee, CA||Yamaha|
|May 4, 1997||Greg Albertyn, South Africa||Suzuki|
|May 5, 1996||Jeremy McGrath, Menifee, CA||Honda|
|May 7, 1995||Mike Kiedrowski, Canyon Country, CA||Kawasaki|
|May 1, 1994||Mike Kiedrowski, Canyon Country, CA||Kawasaki|
|June 20, 1993||Mike Kiedrowski, Canyon Country, CA||Kawasaki|
|June 14, 1992||Damon Bradshaw, Mooresville, NC||Yamaha|
|March 24, 1991||John Dowd, Chicopee, MA||Honda|
|April 1, 1990||Jeff Ward, San Juan Capistrano, CA||Kawasaki|
|April 23, 1989||Jeff Stanton, Sherwood, MI||Honda|
|March 27, 1988||Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA||Honda|
|March 22, 1987||Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA||Honda|
|April 6, 1986||Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA||Honda|
|March 31, 1985||Jeff Ward, Mission Viejo, CA||Kawasaki|
|April 8, 1984||Alan King, Troy, MI||Honda|
|March 27, 1983||Bob Hannah, Carson City, NV||Honda|
|March 28, 1982||Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA||Yamaha|
|March 29, 1981||Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX||Suzuki|
|March 23, 1980||Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX||Suzuki|
|March 25, 1979||Bob Hannah, Carson City, NV||Yamaha|
|April 9, 1978||Bob Hannah, Carson City, NV||Yamaha|
|April 10, 1977||Marty Smith, San Diego, CA||Honda|
|April 4, 1976||Jim Ellis, East Hampton, CT||Can-Am|
|April 6, 1975||Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX||Husqvarna|
|April 8, 1974||Bill Grossi, Santa Cruz, CA||Honda|
|May 22, 2010||Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo.||Honda|
|May 30, 2009||Christophe Pourcel, France||Kawasaki|
|June 1, 2008||Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, WA||Kawasaki|
|May 20, 2007||Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, WA||Kawasaki|
|May 21, 2006||Mike Alessi, Victorville, CA||KTM|
|May 22, 2005||Grant Langston, South Africa||Kawasaki|
|May 16, 2004||James Stewart, Haines City, FL||Kawasaki|
|May 18, 2003||Ryan Hughes, Temecula, CA||KTM|
|May 19, 2002||James Stewart, Haines City, FL||Kawasaki|
|May 20, 2001||Grant Langston, South Africa||KTM|
|May 21, 2000||Steve Lamson, Murrieta, CA||Honda|
|May 16, 1999||Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL||Kawasaki|
|May 17, 1998||Steve Lamson, Riverside, CA||Honda|
|May 4, 1997||Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL||Kawasaki|
|May 5, 1996||Steve Lamson, Pollock Pines, CA||Honda|
|May 7, 1995||Ryan Hughes, Escondido, CA||Kawasaki|
|May 1, 1994||Damon Huffman, Saugus, CA||Suzuki|
|June 20, 1993||Jeremy McGrath, Murrieta, CA||Honda|
|June 14, 1992||Steve Lamson, Pollock Pines, CA||Honda|
|March 24, 1991||Doug Henry, Fairfield, CT||Yamaha|
|April 1, 1990||Guy Cooper, Stillwater, OK||Suzuki|
|April 23, 1989||Damon Bradshaw, Charlotte, NC||Yamaha|
|March 28, 1988||Guy Cooper, Stillwater, OK||Suzuki|
|March 22, 1987||George Holland, Kerman, CA||Suzuki|
|April 6, 1986||Erik Kehoe, Granada Hills, CA||Suzuki|
|March 31, 1985||Ron Lechien, El Cajon, CA||Honda|
|April 8, 1984||Jeff Ward, Mission Viejo, CA||Kawasaki|
|March 27, 1983||Mark Barnett, Bridgeview, IL||Suzuki|
|March 28, 1982||Mark Barnett, Bridgeview, IL||Suzuki|
|March 29, 1981||Mark Barnett, Bridgeview, IL||Suzuki|
|March 23, 1980||Mark Barnett, Bridgeview, IL||Suzuki|
|March 25, 1979||Brian Myerscough, Calimesa, CA||Suzuki|
|April 9, 1978||Broc Glover, El Cajon, CA||Yamaha|
|April 10, 1977||Danny LaPorte, Yucca Valley, CA||Suzuki|
|April 4, 1976||Bob Hannah, Whittier, CA||Yamaha|
|April 6, 1975||Tim Hart, Torrance, CA||Yamaha|
|April 8, 1974||Marty Smith, San Diego, CA||Honda|
|March 31, 1985||Broc Glover, El Cajon, CA||Yamaha|
|April 8, 1984||David Bailey, Axton, VA||Honda|
|March 27, 1983||Danny Chandler, Foresthill, CA||Honda|
For more information on the 2011 tour, please log on to www.allisports.com/motocross.