MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (July 14, 2011) – After a week break, the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship returns to action this weekend from Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minn. The seventh round of the season will serve as the next chapter of the ongoing battle for the coveted national title at stake in all three classes of competition – the 450 Class, 250 Class and WMX Class.
Coming off his fourth victory of the season at the previous stop from RedBud, TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed leads the way in the 450 Class. Behind him, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey look to close the gap, and add to their respective win totals.
In the 250 Class, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki trio of Dean Wilson, the current class points leader, Blake Baggett and Tyla Rattray, will aim to keep the team’s undefeated streak intact. Meanwhile, the WMX Class showdown between American Honda’s Ashley Fiolek and DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jessica Patterson will continue to unfold.
TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing
Reed’s four wins through six rounds has come on the heels of impressive consistency throughout the first half of the season. He enters Millville with a 16-point advantage over his championship rivals, and will seek add to that lead by securing a fifth overall victory.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Villopoto’s day at RedBud had the potential to hurt him in the 450 Class standings. However, after an early crash in the first moto, Villopoto was able to fight his way into ninth. He then proceeded to finish the event off with a dominating win in the final moto. His determined effort gave him his sixth overall podium in as many rounds this season, and he still sits within striking distance of Reed coming into Spring Creek.
“I felt really good at RedBud, but obviously anything can happen in this series,” said Villopoto. “I’m now back to where I was in the points at the beginning of the season, but I know there is still a lot of racing left. I’ll just keep working hard. Hopefully I can get a win at Millville and keep making up points (on Reed).”
Fellow Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Jake Weimer also had an up-and-down day at RedBud, but in the end, he was able to walk away with a respectable effort. Like his teammate, Weimer experienced misfortune in the opening moto, finishing 36th in the field. However, he bounced back in Moto 2, finishing ninth, and vaulting him to 13th overall. He currently occupies 10th in the championship standings.
Another strong 2-2 effort by Dungey at RedBud left him just one point shy of the overall win. Despite that, the reigning series champion was able to gain valuable ground on Villopoto for second in the standings, and now heads to his home track this weekend. Since 2008, Dungey has not lost at Spring Creek, and will look for his fourth victory at the track on Saturday.
“It was a good day at RedBud,” said Dungey. “My Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team did a great job, and my Suzuki ran great all weekend. We’ll just keep moving forward. I’m looking forward to Millville. We’re coming from an off week where we were able to work on a few things on the bike. I was able to improve physically and mentally as well. Millville is a great track and a fun race. It’s my hometown race, and the fans are great. It’s one of my favorite tracks in the series.”
Brett Metcalfe posted one of his best efforts of the season at RedBud, and throughout the second moto, was in the running for his first overall podium of the season. His 4-5 moto scores landed him fourth overall, and now the Australian rider carries a lot of confidence into Millville, currently sitting fourth in the 450 Class standings.
“Redbud went really, really good,” said Metcalfe. “I was extremely happy with the day and to finally have a result in the top five, where I feel I belong, was important. My Rockstar/Makita Suzuki has been working awesome, and I really feel like we found the setup I need, and now it’s just a matter of getting out there and getting the results I want. I’m looking forward to Millville. It’s a great track and similar to RedBud, so our bike setup should be pretty good. I’ll look to try to be up front and sneak in for our first podium of the year.”
Davi Millsaps kicked off his day at RedBud by leading the early portion of the opening moto. After engaging in battle with Reed and Dungey, Millsaps secured a spot on the podium, with a third-place result. In Moto 2, Millsaps’ fortune wasn’t quite as good, posting a 13th-place finish to land eighth overall. He comes into Millville holding down fifth place in the championship standings.
In just his second race of the 2011 motocross season, Justin Brayton put forth a strong effort at RedBud, riding consistent en route to a sixth-place overall finish. Brayton continued to build on his race conditioning, and will look to be in the mix once again this weekend.
Kevin Windham’s commitment to compete for the remainder of the 2011 season was well received by the entire motocross industry, particularly the fans. Despite being just a substitute rider for American Honda, Windham has run well. At RedBud, he posted 12-6 moto scores to finish ninth overall, and is currently engaged in a heated battle for fourth in the 450 Class standings.
“I’m looking forward to Millville,” said Windham. “I joined the factory Honda team at Millville last year and did fairly well there, so I’m excited to have the chance to race it again this year and maybe do even better.”
Making his long-awaited return to action this weekend at Spring Creek is 450 Class rookie, and defending 250 Class Champion, Trey Canard. After suffering an injury just prior to the start of the summer, Canard has patiently waited for the opportunity to make his premier class motocross debut. He picked a good venue, as Canard captured the overall victory in the 250 Class at Millville last season.
“Knowing that I’m only days away from racing again, and to be racing my first-ever 450 Class motocross event feels awesome,” said Canard. “Since getting back on my bike and training for motos, everything has gone smoothly. I love riding the CRF450R, and can’t wait to race it outdoors. I’ve been riding a lot at home in Oklahoma, and I’ve spent time in Southern California testing with the Honda team. I feel really good and the team has given me a lot of support. However, I expect it will take a little while to get up to full race speed.”
Red Bull KTM
After a slow start to the season, Andrew Short has picked up the pace in recent weeks and is arguably the fastest-climbing rider in the 450 Class standings. At RedBud, Short was one of several riders involved in a competitive battle within the top 10, ultimately posting 6-8 moto scores to finish seventh overall. His continued progress in the championship currently places him seventh in the standings. Last season, he finished on the overall podium at Spring Creek, posting a runner-up effort behind Dungey.
Despite missing the first two rounds of the season, Mike Alessi occupies ninth place in the 450 Class standings coming into Spring Creek. At RedBud, Alessi rode well, posting 8-4 moto scores and landing a top-five effort overall.
Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda
Christian Craig’s impressive rookie season in the 450 Class continues after another consistent effort at RedBud. The California native’s pair of 10th-place finishes in the day’s motos secured 10th overall, and helped Craig move into eighth in the championship standings.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
Half of the year has been completed and the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki still remains undefeated in the 250 Class. At RedBud, Dean Wilson continued to put forth the most consistent performances this season, posting 2-2 moto scores to finish second overall for the fourth time this summer. As a result, he maintained control of the championship lead, but is still eagerly awaiting the chance to take his first overall win of the year.
“I feel like it could be a good weekend,” said Wilson. “It was nice to get a weekend off and get rested. I’m ready to start the second half of the season, and hopefully I can add more to the points lead.”
Blake Baggett’s fourth win of the season from RedBud was possibly his most impressive to date. He dominated both of the day’s motos, and left little doubt en route to the win. As a result, Baggett overtook Tyla Rattray for second in the 250 Class standings and will look to keep the momentum going in Millville.
“I just have to stay focused on winning and gaining points each week to have a chance at the championship,” said Baggett. “I had a bad race at the second round and have been playing catch up. Things are starting to come around, so I’m hoping I can keep closing the gap.”
Despite a strong day of his own at RedBud, Tyla Rattray’s third-place finish ultimately cost him in the championship standings. While his closest competitors, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates, paced the field in each moto, Rattray relied on 5-3 moto scores and fell to third in the standings. He’ll look to bounce back at Spring Creek.
“If I get a good start, I know I can be up there the whole moto,” said Rattray. “It’s definitely not easy coming through the pack, and if I start off at the front, it will be a lot easier to go for the win. I would love to take back second in the points. We’ll see how it goes.”
It was a tough day all around for GEICO Honda at RedBud. Despite the excitement of the return of Wil Hahn, both of the team’s top riders, Eli Tomac and Justin Barci,a had days they’d like to forget. After a crash in practice, Tomac was forced to sit out the entire event. While he didn’t lose his fourth-place position in the standings, he lost valuable ground to his competitors.
Justin Barcia began the day by leading early in the opening moto. However, misfortune struck later, and forced Barcia to record a DNF. As he lined up on the gate for Moto 2, Barcia experienced even more hard luck, when he was unable to start the moto, ultimately leading to no points scored on the day, and dropping him to seventh in the standings.
Both Tomac and Barcia will be looking bounce back this weekend, while Hahn will aim to build upon his strong start to the season, following a sixth-place overall finish at RedBud.
DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha
Kyle Cunningham found himself in the mix for the overall podium at RedBud. The Star Racing rider rode strong in Michigan, posting a pair of fourth-place efforts, and finishing just off the box. With the misfortune of his closest championship competitor Eli Tomac, Cunningham sits just 13 points out of fourth in the 250 Class standings.
Fellow Star Racing rider Gareth Swanepoel posted 17-11 moto scores to finish 13th overall at RedBud. He currently sits eighth in the championship standings heading into Millville.
Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda
Cole Seely posted one of his best outings of the season at RedBud. The California native landed just inside the top 10 in each moto, ultimately finishing ninth overall. He also sits ninth in the 250 Class standings.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki
Thanks to an eighth-place finish at RedBud, Martin Davalos returned to the top 10 in the championship standings. He will look to build on the momentum this weekend at Millville.
“RedBud was okay for me,” said Davalos. “I’m really looking forward to Millville. That track is always fun. I’m going to try and pick up my results and put the Suzuki up front.”
The 2011 Motorcycle-Superstore.com Women’s Motocross Championship, will kick off the second half of its eight-race season at Spring Creek as well. The fifth round of the summer for the world’s fastest women’s riders marks the division’s second visit to Millville, and both Ashley Fiolek and Jessica Patterson are sure to resume their hotly-contested rivalry. Fiolek’s second win of the season at RedBud has helped give her an eight-point lead over Patterson heading into Saturday’s race.
Television coverage for Saturday’s Spring Creek Motocross National begins with live coverage of the opening motos for both the 450 and 250 classes on FUEL TV, beginning at 2 p.m. EST. Same day, final moto coverage of the 450 Class will air on SPEED, at 11 p.m. EST, while the final moto broadcast of the 250 Class will also air on SPEED, Sunday at 6 p.m. EST.