The 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, is back in action tomorrow, reaching the halfway point of the season with the sixth round from iconic RedBud. The Red Bull RedBud National, from Buchanan, Mich., has become an Independence Day Weekend tradition for the sport and the competition will be highlighted by the second consecutive round to be broadcast on network television on NBC.
At the championship’s previous stop from Budds Creek MX Park in Maryland, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey kept his recent string of dominance going in the 450 Class by capturing his third straight overall victory and extending his points lead. Additionally, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett became just the second repeat winner in the 250 Class, also adding to his advantage atop the standings.
Red Bull KTM
Dungey swept the motos for the third consecutive weekend at Budds Creek and now enjoys an impressive six-moto winning streak. Since breaking into the win column a few rounds ago, Dungey has refused to relinquish his grip on the premier class and possesses a points lead of over two motos ahead of the field. His championship advantage now sits at 54 points as he heads into RedBud, looking for his second win at the facility in three years.
Mike Alessi continued his impressive start to the 2012 season at Budds Creek, securing his fourth overall podium finish of the season. The veteran rider’s 4-3 moto scores helped him secure third place and further solidified his second-place position in the standings behind Dungey. Moreover, Alessi continues to keep Dungey honest at the front of the field, leading three laps in the second moto.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Although he just missed out finishing on the overall podium at Budds Creek, Jake Weimer still posted a strong effort, finishing fourth. Weimer tied with Alessi for third overall in points, but finished off the podium by virtue of the second-moto tiebreaker. The Idaho native still occupies third in the championship and will look for a breakthrough effort at RedBud, where he won as a 250 Class competitor back during the 2009 season.
“The first moto at Budds Creek went good and I was able to get on the podium,” said Weimer. “The second moto ended up being pretty tough. I didn’t get the best start and got caught in the middle of the pack. While I was trying to work through the pack on the first lap I got drilled in the chest with a rock. It really knocked the wind out of me and I almost pulled off the track, but I decided to keep racing. It wasn’t the best day, but ending with fourth overall was alright. I’m looking forward to RedBud, it’s my favorite track on the series. It has a lot of really big jumps so it should be a lot of fun.”
After suffering a broken hand during practice at the opening round of the season at Hangtown, Tyla Rattray will return at RedBud to make his official debut for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. The weeks of recovery and time on the bike had Rattray ready to do battle with the top riders in the premier class and he’s excited to see where he stands on the big bike.
“I can’t wait to get back on the track,” said Rattray. “Being on the couch and watching the last few races from home was tough. After breaking my hand at Hangtown, I had to get surgery done on my hand. They installed a plate and some screws and sewed me back up. While I couldn’t ride, I continued to working hard on keeping up the physical side of the training. Since the doctor cleared me to ride I have been at Ryan (Villopoto’s) ranch in Florida training on my KX450F. I’m really looking forward to returning to the series at RedBud, it’s one of my favorite tracks.”
Team Chaparral Honda
Andrew Short continues to impress in his first season aboard the L&Mc Racing effort. At Budds Creek, Short didn’t get the results he was hoping for, but despite a tough second moto, the veteran rider was still able to land inside the top 10, finishing ninth with his 6-10 moto scores. While he lost a little ground in the point standings, Short still holds a 20-point advantage over his next closest competitor.
Team Yoshimura Suzuki
After missing out on the action at Budds Creek to allow for more healing time from an injury, James Stewart will be back on the track at RedBud, looking to resume the dominant form he had at the start of the season. With a full three weeks of rest under his belt, Stewart is eager to get back aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki and begin a climb up the championship standings. Currently, Stewart sits seventh in the points, but with two overall victories under his belt this season, he should be a challenger at the front of the field. The former champion won at RedBud back in 2008, and is also a two-time winner at the track in the 250 Class.
Late last week, news broke that Brett Metcalfe would miss the remainder of the 2012 season after suffered multiple injuries in a practice crash. The Australian rider was fifth in the championship following Budds Creek and looked poised for a strong run in the second half of the season. His absence is sure to be felt out on the track.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
Broc Tickle experienced a career day at the championship’s previous stop in Budds Creek, grabbing his best ever finish of second following an exceptional pair of motos (2-2). Tickle has been one of the breakthrough riders during the first half of the season and his results at Budds Creek proved he has what it takes to battle up front. Currently sitting sixth in the championship, The Michigan native will look to keep the momentum going from Budds Creek and turn some more heads at RedBud, his home race.
“Budds Creek went well,” said Tickle. “It was awesome to get my first outdoor podium with my parents in the stands. I’m just going to keep working hard and hopefully I can keep having fun and getting on the podium. I really like the track at RedBud. The dirt is really good. That event is also like a hometown race for me because I lived out there for a little while and my wife’s family is from there.”
Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki
Josh Grant’s solid 2012 season continued at Budds Creek with yet another top-10 effort. The California native has carried the flag for the first-year Jeff Ward Racing effort and relied on 10-5 moto results to finish seventh two weeks ago. Grant currently sits eighth in the championship standings and now heads to the site of his lone 450 Class victory at RedBud, claiming the overall back during the 2009 season.
Teammate Kyle Chisholm finished 11th at Budds Creek, posting 12-12 moto results. Chisholm currently sits 13th in the 450 Class standings.
After an incident in practice, Nico Izzi was forced to sit out the Budds Creek round. Through the first four races, Izzi had established himself as a top contender, proving to be another bright spot in his first full season of 450 Class competition. While not competing at Budds Creek dropped Izzi to ninth in the standings, the Michigan native is looking forward to returning to action at RedBud.
Team Honda Muscle Milk
Justin Brayton had one of his best outings of the season at Budds Creek. The first-year American Honda rider relied on 5-8 moto scores to finish fifth overall, which helped solidify him in 10th in the 450 Class standings. He’ll look to keep the momentum going into RedBud and kick off the second half of the season on a high note.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
Blake Baggett hadn’t fared well at Budds Creek in the past, but he turned things around this season, joining GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac as the only other rider in the division to grab multiple victories. Baggett has led the points since the opening round and he’ll be in search on a second consecutive win at RedBud tomorrow.
“My main goal is to keep holding onto that red plate,” said Baggett. “I don’t think I’m hungrier than I was last year, I think I’m just smarter. I really like the track at RedBud. It has a super cool layout and there are a lot of lines which makes for better racing.”
Ivan Tedesco got good starts in both motos at Budds Creek, but not long after grabbing the holeshot aboard his KX250F in Moto 2, he crashed and had to pull off the track. Tedesco finished 14th overall with 8-36 moto results and currently sits ninth in the points standings.
“I got good starts at Budds Creek,” said Tedesco. “I pulled the holeshot in the second moto and was stoked on that. Before we even finished the first lap I went down pretty hard going into a corner. My front tire slipped into some ruts and I knifed the front end. I slammed my head and tweaked my knee a little so I decided to pull off the track.”
Justin Barcia grabbed another podium finish at Budds Creek, finishing third. After winning the opening moto, Barcia didn’t get the start he needed in Moto 2, ultimately finishing fifth. While he missed out on the chance to claim his second win of the season, Barcia still sits second in the championship and is eager to give it another shot at RedBud.
One week after securing his second win of the season, Eli Tomac settled for fourth overall at Budds Creek, following a highly-competitive day of competition. With 5-3 moto scores, Tomac finished just off the podium and now sits in a tie with Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen for third in the championship stadndings.
Wil Hahn secured a top-10 effort at Budds Creek, finishing seventh overall following 6-7 moto results. Hahn has been one of the most consistent riders in the division this season and currently sits sixth in the 250 Class stadndings.
Red Bull KTM
Ken Roczen looked poised to possibly capture his first career victory on U.S. soil at Budds Creek, but settled for a strong runner-up effort instead. Roczen’s 3-2 moto scores maintained a nearly unmatched consistency in the class, remaining the only rider to finish on the overall podium at every round. While he has yet to claim victory yet this season, Roczen still sits in a tie with Tomac for third in the championship, only 22 points out of the lead.
Marvin Musquin’s consistent 4-4 moto results at Budds Creek landed him fifth overall on the day. Musquin has been on the verge of breaking onto the podium all season long and will look to do just that tomorrow.
Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki
Jason Anderson was the lead rider for the Rockstar Energy Suzuki team at Budds Creek, finishing an impressive sixth overall after 7-6 moto efforts. Anderson continues to improve each and every week and is inching closer and closer to the lead group of riders. He currently sits seventh in the championship and will look for continued success this weekend.
Despite finishing outside the top 10 at Budds Creek in 12th (9-18), Blake Wharton still maintains a solid eighth position in the championship standings. He’ll look to bounce back from a tough day at the previous stop tomorrow afternoon.
Kyle Cunningham’s day at Budds Creek didn’t go the way he had hoped. The veteran rider experienced a tough pair of motos, finishing 11th and 34th en route to 17th overall. Despite the misfortune, Cunningham still sits inside the top 10 in the standings and looks forward to turning things around at RedBud.
Following a one-round break from competition, the Women’s Motocross Championship returns to action at RedBud for its fifth of eight rounds this summer. After grabbing her third win of the season at High Point, Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Jessica Patterson enjoys a 33-point lead over Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Tarah Gieger. Defending series champion, and Team Honda Muscle Milk rider, Ashley Fiolek will also be back on track after missing the previous round to injury. Currently sitting fifth in the WMX Class standings, Fiolek is the defending race winner at RedBud.