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Gareth Swanepoel Battles from the Back to Claim Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award at Unadilla

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 18, 2011) – The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship’s return to action from Unadilla Valley Sports Center in New Berlin, N.Y., last weekend, resulted in exceptional competition from the world’s best motocross athletes. After a pair of grueling motos in both the 450 and 250 classes, on one of the most challenging tracks in the world, DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Gareth Swanepoel showcased tremendous resolve to claim this week’s Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award.

After a stellar opening moto in the 250 Class, in which he battled at the front of the field to finish fourth, Swanepoel encountered misfortune in his search for a spot on the overall podium. Following the chaotic opening lap of competition in the final moto, in which riders fight tooth-and-nail for a good start, Swanepoel crossed the line in 37th, after encountering trouble. For the remainder of the near 35-minute moto, the South African battled his peers, fighting for his chance to post a season-best effort.

While Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson grabbed the checkered flag at the conclusion of 17 laps, Swanepoel’s resilient ride landed him 16th, surpassing an impressive 21 riders during the moto. As a result of his committed effort, Swanepoel finished eighth overall, thanks to 4-16 moto scores.

For his dedication at Unadilla, Swanepoel will be presented with the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award at next Saturday’s pre-race riders’ meeting, prior to the Rockstar Energy Southwick National from Southwick, Mass. The announcement will provide well-deserved recognition for his efforts in front of his peers.

Another athlete that emulated the trademark relentless pursuit of achievement regularly displayed by the award’s namesake was Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi. While Alessi had a solid day at Unadilla, posting 7-4 moto scores en route to fifth overall, he overcame adversity at the championship’s previous stop from Washougal Motocross Park. At the series’ eighth round of the summer, Alessi surpassed 21 riders in the opening 450 Class moto to climb from 30th to ninth, helping him finish sixth overall. The amount of competitor’s Alessi passed was the same amount as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, who was given the award. In recognition of his great ride, Alessi will be presented with his own RC Hard Charger Award at Southwick, alongside Swanepoel, next weekend.