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Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Notes: Rockstar Energy High Point National

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (June 10, 2011) – Another great weekend of action from Freestone Raceway, Wortham, Texas, kept the excitement of the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship on a high note. Following a day full of challenging conditions and terrain, TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed once again asserted himself as the rider to beat in the 450 Class, securing his second straight overall victory. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray helped his team go 2-0 to start the season, outlasting his competitors to take an impressive win in Texas.

With a weekend off, American Motocross returns to action for its first East Coast stop of the season at High Point Raceway. The popular facility located in Mt. Morris, Pa., will host the Rockstar Energy High Point National presented by Centra Bank, and will challenge riders with multiple elevation changes, big air, and technical obstacles.

450 Class

TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing
Chad Reed couldn’t ask for a much better start to his 2011 season. The Australian rider now boasts three moto wins and two overall victories. After defending champion Ryan Dungey experienced heartbreak in the final moto at Freestone, Reed took the advantage and now holds a 21-point lead heading into High Point. The Pennsylvania facility was the site of Reed’s first win in the premier class in 2009.

Monster Energy Kawasaki
After a strong return to the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Hangtown, Ryan Villopoto grabbed his second consecutive overall podium finish at Freestone. While he is still in search of his first moto win of 2011, Villopoto is proving to be consistent and has put himself in good position to start the season, currently sitting second in the standings. As he moves past an illness that plagued him during the first two rounds, Villopoto enters High Point ready to challenge for the win.

“Now that I’m back to 100 percent, it’s helped me to train harder during the week,” said Villopoto. “We have been doing some testing and I am feeling good about this weekend. Hopefully I’ll have something for those guys.”

Jake Weimer had a pair of strong starts in Texas, giving him the opportunity to run at the front of the field and mix it up with his competitors. With two weekends of 450 Class competition under his belt, Weimer continues to dial in his bike and will look to challenge for the podium this weekend.

“It’s been great to finally get some consistent riding in,” said Weimer. “I was definitely behind after getting hurt, but now I’m feeling better. I know I can push hard and make it up to the front pack.”

Muscle Milk/Toyota/JGR
Davi Millsaps has boasted a strong start to the season for the Joe Gibbs Racing team, securing a runner-up effort at Freestone. As a result of his fast start, Millsaps now sits third in the 450 Class standings, just four points behind Villopoto in second. He’ll look to keep the consistency going at High Point while fellow JGR rider Justin Brayton looks to make his 2011 debut at Mt. Morris.

Rockstar/Makita Suzuki
After putting himself in position to claim the overall at Freestone by virtue of a second-place finish in the first moto, Ryan Dungey took control of the final moto, pulling away from Reed and the rest of the field. However, with just two laps to go, Dungey’s bike ran out of fuel, putting him in eighth overall on the day. The misfortune also dropped Dungey to fourth in the standings, but the defending 450 Class champion, and his team, are eager to bounce back this weekend.

“Overall, I felt awesome all day,” said Dungey. “My Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team worked really hard and it’s just too bad we had the issue in the second moto. It’s a bummer for the team and myself – for all of us together, as we’re all in it together. I feel bad because we all work too hard for something like this to happen. We just need to keep looking forward; keep moving in the right direction and keep our heads down. High Point is a great track; it’s got some hills and elevation and the dirt’s awesome there. It’s a fun track and I was able to get a win there last year, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Brett Metcalfe backed up his fifth-place finish at the opening round of the championship with an improved fourth-place effort at Freestone Raceway. After a tough opening moto, Metcalfe rebounded to land on the podium in Moto 2. Now the Australian rider sits just five points behind his teammate in the standings and will look to keep the forward momentum coming into High Point.

“I was feeling pretty good coming into Texas after my fifth at Hangtown,” said Metcalfe. “I knew the heat and humidity in Texas are always tough, so my main goal was to get two good starts and put my Rockstar/Makita Suzuki up front. Then, if the heat was a factor, I could back it down from there. I struggled in the first moto and went down twice. I was able to rebound strong and have a really strong second moto. I got a third there and a fourth overall. That was a good little boost for me and now I’m sitting fifth in the points. I like High Point, and last year I was able to get a podium there, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Valli Motorsports/Rockstar Yamaha
Off road veteran Ricky Dietrich boasted an impressive ride at Freestone for the Valli Motorsports team and is off to a strong start in his first full season of American Motocross competition. In Texas, Dietrich relied on 8-4 moto scores to finish fifth overall, which subsequently moved him into sixth in the championship standings. Dietrich’s Valli teammate Nick Wey, also had a solid ride at Freestone, finishing 10th overall.

Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda
Christian Craig was one of the surprise riders at Freestone. The up-and-comer grabbed a strong start in the opening moto to take the early lead, which he held for a significant portion of the race. Eventually, he settled into a rhythm, posting a fifth-place finish, and then carried the momentum over to the second moto. An eighth-place finish in Moto 2 gave Craig seventh overall, giving him a strong start to the season, currently seventh in the 450 Class standings.

American Honda
The American Honda team hoped Kevin Windham’s strong opening round effort would result in similar success at Freestone. Despite running strong throughout the day, Windham experienced some misfortune in the opening moto, forcing him to come from behind early. After recording a 28th-place finish in Moto 1, he recovered to finish ninth in Moto 2, placing him 17th overall for the day.

MotoConcepts Yamaha
Tommy Hahn’s day at Freestone Raceway started well, finishing seventh in the first moto. However, Hahn experienced misfortune in the final moto, posting a DNF and finishing 15th overall. Despite that, he still secures 10th place in the standings heading into High Point.

Red Bull KTM
Andrew Short was hoping to bounce back from a tough opening round of the championship at Freestone. The Texas resident is familiar with the conditions, and hoped to use it to his advantage. Unfortunately, Short was forced to come from the back of the field in the first moto, and despite the rough start, was still able to finish 15th. He backed up that effort with a strong sixth-place finish in Moto 2, landing him ninth overall. He’ll look to continue to turn things around this weekend.

“I had a rough couple of motos, with a crash in the first moto and a bad start in the second,” said Short. “With everything, there were positives to my race. I felt my speed was pretty good and my bike worked well all day. It was a definite improvement over my Hangtown results, and I am happy to head to High Point healthy.”

250 Class

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team continues to dominate the early part of the season. After two rounds, only Mitch Payton’s riders have secured moto wins and overall victories, with the most recent triumph coming from Tyla Rattray at Freestone. Now, thanks to a pair of moto wins and runner-up efforts overall, sophomore rider Dean Wilson, leads the standings coming into High Point and will look to take the next step on the overall podium.

“I took some time off to have fun, which I think will help me on the track,” said Wilson. “I am happy with how I’ve been riding, I just end up making mistakes that push me outside where I need to be to win. Hopefully I will be able to put it together this weekend.”

Tyla Rattray won the overall at High Point last season, and after taking his first victory of the season at the previous round, he will look to go back-to-back in Pennsylvania and close in on the five-point deficit in the standings.

“I finally have been feeling like myself again and I think that is showing on the track,” said Rattray. “Hopefully we can put in another solid race and get another win. I like High Point and we’ll have to see what the weather brings for the race.”

After an impressive start to the season, opening-round winner Blake Baggett experienced misfortune at Freestone. After finishing seventh and 16th in the day’s motos, Baggett landed ninth overall and now sits fourth in the standings.

“My mentality is to put bad races behind me, but they do motivate me to work hard during the week. I want to be as prepared as possible and learning from mistakes is hopefully how I can avoid them in the future.”

The team’s fourth rider, Broc Tickle, continues to find his rhythm this summer. He finished 12th overall at Freestone after posting 39-5 moto scores and will look to challenge for the podium this weekend.

“I know I’ve been riding well, but haven’t been able to show it,” said Tickle. “Hopefully High Point will be a turning point for me and I can get on the podium.”

GEICO Honda
Both GEICO Honda riders Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac experienced solid days at Freestone Raceway. Barcia was at the front of the field early in Moto 1, but crashed in the early stages of the race. Despite that, he rebounded to finish ninth and then proceeded to grab the lead again in Moto 2, eventually finishing second. Barcia finished just off the overall podium in fourth, giving him momentum heading into High Point.

Eli Tomac posted a pair of solid moto efforts at Freestone. Settling into a groove and looking to not over-exert himself in the tough conditions, Tomac posted a fifth-place finish in the first moto and followed it up with a sixth-place effort in Moto 2. His 5-6 moto scores were good enough for fifth overall and helped him move into third in the 250 Class standings.

DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha
Kyle Cunningham had a career day at Freestone, helping give his 2011 campaign considerable momentum after two rounds. In front of his hometown crowd, Cunningham finished third and fourth in the day’s motos, ultimately rounding out the overall podium in third. Now, he sits fifth in the 250 Class standings heading into High Point.

Rockstar Energy Suzuki
Despite a tough start to his day, Martin Davalos was determined to finish well at Freestone. The veteran rider overcame a bad start in Moto 1 to finish 10th, and then backed up that effort with a seventh-place result in Moto 2. His resilient rides landed him sixth overall and he now occupies eighth in the standings.

“My weekend in Texas was pretty good,” said Davalos. “The first moto I had some bad luck and got caught up in a first-turn pile-up. I got up in about 38th and was able to push really hard on my Suzuki and get a 10th. The second moto was really hot and I got off around seventh or eighth and was able to finish seventh, which gave me a sixth overall. I’m definitely happy with that, especially with the problem in the first moto. I just need to get better starts to put myself in a better position.”

Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda
After starting off the day with a 14th-place finish in the first moto, Cole Seely improved his performance in Moto 2, finishing eighth. The strong second moto effort helped Seely secure eighth overall and he now sits ninth in the 250 Class standings.

Television coverage for Saturday’s Rockstar Energy High Point National begins with live coverage of the opening motos for both the 450 and 250 classes on FUEL TV, beginning at 1 p.m. EST. Same-day, final moto coverage of the 250 Class will air on SPEED at 10 p.m. EST, while the final moto of the 450 Class will be broadcast on NBC Sports on Sunday, June 12, at 4 p.m. EST.

For more information on the 2011 tour, please log on to www.allisports.com/motocross.