RATTRAY 5th AT HANGTOWN AMA NATIONAL

After his more than adequate ice breaker in the AMA Nationals series a week ago, Tyla Rattray was fit and raring to go as the series rolled into its second port of call at Hangtown, Sacramento. The sunny weather and summer heat was there in all its Californian splendour, and weather-wise at least, the South African felt right at home. The track offered good visibility from most vantage points, and yet again, motocross fans descended on the event in their multitudes to watch some of the world’s best ply their wares on this rough terrain.

Tyla quickly got stuck into his qualifying duties, and clocked the seventh fastest time on his Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki. He pushed hard for a better placement, but the magic lap kept eluding him, and so it remained – he would line up for the races from the seventh gate. The arrival of two former world champions in the form of Tyla and teammate Christophe Pourcel, as well as another top GP campaigner in the form of Tommy Searle, coupled to the elevation of a number of ultra-quick homegrown young superstars to the professional ranks, have injected an additional dollop of intensity and needle into a series that was never lacking for spine-tingling excitement. A bad start is therefore the last thing that a rider with any lofty aspirations would hope for.

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Even though he knew all of this, this was exactly the fate that befell Tyla in race 1. He launched his green missile off the line with all his usual enthusiasm, but when the first corner rushed up on him, he was buried in the thick of things outside the top 10. Whilst the leaders quickly spread out and had the benefit of a clear track, Tyla had to make his way around a number of riders, each of which had his own dreams of glory and many reasons to defend his position with all the skills in his armoury. One does not become motocross world champion without picking up one or two passing skills along the way, however, and the South African steadily edged his way forward through the pack. Although the leaders were by now long gone, he got stuck into the job of making the best of his situation. With the sands of time running out on the race, he latched onto fourth-placed Brett Metcalfe, and as the flag man readied the checke red flag, he passed the Australian to cross the line for a hard-fought fourth place.

Despite his best efforts to manufacture a better start in race 2, Tyla again found himself outside the top 10. Charging like a bull, he again worked his way up to seventh with a view on another top placement. The track was by now getting rough beyond description, and on a particularly rough section, a small mistake cost him dearly. Gravity held true to its nature, and he tumbled down, losing a number of positions in the process. He quickly remounted and set about recovering the lost ground. His superior fitness started to shine through as the race entered its twilight stages and some of the competition began to wane, and he managed to work his way back onto seventh position by race end.

Tyla has a very definite idea of his objectives for the season, and he was consequently a tad less than entirely pleased with his day’s outing, despite the fact that he produced two strong comeback rides. ” I just did not ride like I know I can today,” he remarked. “My starts also left me with a lot of work to do. I know the areas that I need to work on in order to get me into the hunt for the win, and I will be focusing on this in preparation for the next race.”

Tyla takes his fourth position with him to the Lone Star State next. The third round of the series will take place at the Freestone raceway in Wortham, Texas.

RESULTS

Race 1
1. Christophe Pourcel
2. Justin Barcia
3. Trey Canard
4. Tyla Rattray
5. Brett Metcalfe
6. Brock Tickle
7. Ryan Dungey
8. Jake Weimer
9. Blake Wharton
10. P J Larsen

Race 2
1. Ryan Dungey
2. Christophe Pourcel
3. Trey Canard
4. Brett Metcalfe
5. Blake Wharton
6. Broc Tickle
7. Tyla Rattray
8. Jake Weimer
9. Tommy Searle
10. P J Larsen

Overall
1. Christophe Pourcel
2. Trey Canard
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Brett Metcalfe
5. Tyla Rattray
6. Broc Tickle
7. Blake Wharton
8. Jake Weimer
9. P J Larsen
10. Justin Barcia

Championship
1. Ryan Dungey 86
2. Christophe Pourcel 84
3. Trey Canard 75
4. Tyla Rattray 70
5. Brett Metcalfe 63
6. Justin Barcia 54
7. Jake Weimer 53
8. Blake Wharton 52
9. Tommy Searle48
10. Broc Tickle 47

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