In the shadow of the nation’s capitol, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship celebrated 25 years of competition in Southern Maryland on Saturday with the annual GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National from Budds Creek MX Park, the seventh stop of 12 this summer.
The budding 450 Class rivalry between the Red Bull KTM duo of Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen continued with Dungey gaining the advantage for just the second time this season, winning for the third straight year at Budds Creek.
In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett duplicated the achievement of his premier class counterpart, winning for the third consecutive season at the facility with his third victory of the summer.
In his third race back from an injury that kept him out for the early portion of the season, Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s Justin Brayton grabbed his first Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season in the opening 450 Class moto.
Brayton was closely followed by a large contingent of competitors, led by Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard and Dungey. Brayton maintained the lead on the opening lap with a hard-charging Dungey on his rear fender, but while that battle took shape Canard took advantage of an opportunity to slip by Dungey and then set his sights on Brayton.
Canard soon made the pass to take over the lead on the opening lap and proceeded to open a small gap over the field. As that happened, Dungey lost another spot on the track while fighting to get around Brayton, this time to his team-mate Roczen.
With no riders separating himself and the leader, Roczen set his sights on Canard and chipped away at the deficit, eventually taking control of the moto on Lap 4. Dungey, meanwhile, made the pass on Brayton and was able to close the gap on Canard to eventually take control of second.
With the KTM duo asserting themselves out front and pulling away, Canard fell into the clutches of GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac with the pair battling throughout the remaining stages of the moto.
Out front, Dungey was able to close to within a second of his teammate as they approached lappers near the end, but Roczen held him off for the win. Canard withstood the challenge of Tomac for third, with Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart coming on strong to finish fifth.
After closing in on his team-mate at the end of the first moto, Dungey aimed to seize the opportunity in Moto 2 and did just that by racing to the Motosport.com Holeshot Award.
The clear track allowed Dungey to set a torrid pace in the early stages and open a comfortable margin over the field. With Dungey pulling away, Roczen needed to work his way into second and after slotting himself in third on the opening lap, he passed Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s Josh Grant for second and looked to try and close the gap on his team-mate.
Dungey never looked back and went on to post his most dominant ride of the season with a wire-to-wire victory.
The former two-time series champion had led just nine laps coming into Budds Creek, but nearly tripled his season total by leading all 17 laps of Moto 2.
Roczen followed in second, but had to fend off a major threat from Tomac in the closing laps.
The Red Bull KTM duo posted identical moto scores once again but Dungey’s second-moto triumph awarded him the tiebreaker. Roczen’s streak of finishing on the podium in every moto this season continued.
“It was tough after that first moto, but I got back, cooled down and was feeling good,” said Dungey, who moved into third on the all-time total career wins list.
“I thought this [the second moto] was my moment. I got a good start, which that was way, way key and just allowed me to ride my laps. It’s good to get this win; it’s been since round one. This is a good step.”
“We all have our days. I’m just happy to finish second and keep the points lead the same,” said Roczen.
“That’s all I can ask for. I just wasn’t feeling it in that second moto and it’s time to put that behind me. It’s all about preparation during the week, so I’m going to go back and get stronger.”
Tomac’s hard charge to close out the final moto helped him steal third overall (4-3) from Canard, who posted identical 3-4 moto scores. Soaring Eagle/RCH Racing Suzuki’s Weston Peick finished fifth (6-5).
Roczen’s lead over Dungey in the 450 Class standings remains at 26 points. Canard sits third, 63 points behind. With three consecutive overall podiums in his first three career starts in the premier class, Tomac has already moved into 11th.
New faces emerged in the battle for victory in the opening 250 Class moto with GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle securing the Motosport.com Holeshot Award, edging out Valli Motorsports Yamaha’s Christophe Pourcel.
As this pair jockeyed up front, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson emerged as a player in the fight for the lead, passing Pourcel and setting his sights on Bogle out front.
Neither of the lead pair had ever won a moto in their career, setting the stage for a thrilling battle. After going bar-to-bar in the opening laps, Anderson slipped passed Bogle on Lap 2 and began to open a gap over the field.
With Anderson out front, the battle for the podium intensified with points leader and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider Jeremy Martin joining Bogle and Pourcel in their fight.
Martin made the pass on Pourcel for third on Lap 6 and proceeded to challenge Bogle for three laps before assuming control of the runner-up spot on Lap 9.
Throughout this fight, Baggett fought his way forward from a seventh-place start to jump into podium contention. Baggett moved into fourth on Lap 9 and then made the pass on Bogle for third just two laps later.
As Baggett pressured Martin for second, the pair started to close in one the eight-second lead that Anderson held out front with all three eventually running mere bike lengths from one another.
As the white flag flew to signify the final lap, about one second separated all three riders. Anderson maintained his lines to hold off Martin and capture his first career moto win while Baggett settled for third. Bogle finished fourth with Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb coming from an 11th-place start to finish fifth.
Martin gained the upper hand to start the second moto by securing the Motosport.com Holeshot Award with Pourcel in second and Anderson third.
The lead duo were able to pull away from the field but Baggett, who started fourth, began his march to the front, which started with a pass on Anderson for third. As Martin slowly pulled away out front, Pourcel and Baggett engaged in a hotly contested battle for second that lasted six laps before Baggett finally made the pass on Lap 7.
Once in second, Baggett faced a deficit of over five seconds to Martin and methodically closed it down to just a matter of bike lengths. With their second and third-place finishes in the opening moto, the overall win would be decided between Martin and Baggett, in which the better finisher would emerge victorious.
On Lap 11 Baggett made his move on the points leader and immediately pulled away, taking the moto win to secure the overall in convincing fashion.
“I definitely hope we can keep chipping away towards this championship,” said Baggett, whose third straight win at Budds Creek was also the ninth consecutive for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki at the track.
“All that matters is that I have the points lead at the end of the season, even If we have to wait all the way to the last moto then that’s what we’re going to do. We’re not going to stop fighting until then.”
Baggett’s 3-1 finishes edged out Martin (2-2) by one point when the final totals were tallied. Anderson’s first moto win helped him land third (1-7), with Pourcel fourth (6-3) and Webb fifth (5-4).
“I got off to a great start [in the second moto] and tried to put on a charge there for a little while and got away a bit,” said Martin. “But then we hit some lappers and I could see Baggett was right there closing in on me. He was riding really good and congrats to him today. I’m just having fun and trying to win as many races as I can. I’m getting to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing.”
Martin lost just one point to his lead in the 250 Class standings with Baggett moving into second, 27 points out. Webb sits third, 33 points behind.
The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continues next weekend with the eighth round of the 2014 season with the Spring Creek National. Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota, will host the world’s best riders on Saturday, July 19. Action begins at 2 p.m. ET.
450 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (2-1)
2. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM (1-2)
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (4-3)
4. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (3-4)
5. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki (6-5)
6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha (9-6)
7. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM (8-7)
8. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki (7-11)
9. Phil Nicoletti, Bethel, N.Y., Yamaha (12-8)
10.Matt Goerke, Sun City, Calif., KTM (11-10)
450 Class Championship Standings
1. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM, 327
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 301
3. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 264
4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 212
5. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki, 192
6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 186
7. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki, 162
8. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM, 161
9. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki, 132
10.Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 128
250 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki (3-1)
2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (2-2)
3. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., KTM (1-7)
4. Christophe Pourcel, France, Yamaha (6-3)
5. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha (5-4)
6. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (4-5)
7. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki (13-6)
8. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (10-9)
9. Anthony Rodriguez, Venezuela, Yamaha (9-10)
10.Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (8-14)
250 Class Championship Standings
1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 294
2. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki, 267
3. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha, 261
4. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda, 225
5. Christophe Pourcel, France, Yamaha, 211
6. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., KTM, 206
7. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM, 201
8. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda, 166
9. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki, 150
10.Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., Honda, 144