Thousands of motocross enthusiasts surrounded Spring Creek Motocross Park on Saturday as the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship hosted its seventh round of the 2011 season.
Following a pair of hotly-contested motos, the Spring Creek Motocross National was won by Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey. It marked the defending champion’s second victory of the season and a fourth consecutive win at his hometown track. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray dominated in the final moto of the day to capture his third win of the summer.
As the gates dropped on the opening 450 class moto it was points leader and TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing rider Chad Reed who grabbed the early lead in search of his fifth win of the year. Dungey and American Honda’s Trey Canard followed in tow. The trio of riders ran fender-to-fender throughout the first three laps before a mistake by Canard allowed Reed and Dungey to pull away. As the laps wore on Reed gradually began to extend his lead, eventually carrying it to the finish for his seventh moto win of the season.
In moto two the three 450 class title contenders in Reed, Dungey, and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto moved up front early. However, just after taking over the top spot, Reed lost control of his bike heading into the track’s largest jump and had a huge crash. Villopoto assumed the lead while Dungey moved into second. Reed managed to come away without serious injury and made a remarkable return to action, resulting in a thunderous ovation from the crowd.
Villopoto proceeded to extend his advantage to over six seconds but as he came into lapped traffic Dungey managed to trim the deficit to mere bike lengths. On lap 13 Dungey worked his way alongside Villopoto and made a pass for the lead, while Villopoto went down trying to cut back underneath him in a sand turn. From there Dungey extended his lead to post 2-1 moto scores on the day.
“I love coming back here,” says Dungey. “It’s my home track. As I went through the second moto Ryan opened a gap. I knew it was hot, so I didn’t want to push it but my laps were good. Then I saw my laps were getting better and better and I was gaining on him. That’s when I knew I had to push, even if it hurt. I was able to get up there, make the pass and grab the overall.”
Villopoto’s runner-up effort in the final moto landed him second on the overall podium (3-2) while Canard rounded things out in his 450 class motocross debut in third (5-3).
“Ryan got beside me and I squared up a right hander,” says Villopoto. “He had more momentum and got inside. I tried letting off but didn’t soon enough. I got into the powder and just fell over. Lappers were an issue but Ryan was riding good – the guy to beat in that second moto.”
Reed battled back to finish 14th, capturing fifth overall (1-14) and maintaining his points lead which now sits at six points over Villopoto and seven points over Dungey.
“I hit some bumps and the front wheel just went out from under me,” says Reed. “The next thing I know, I’m flying through the air. I’m just happy to still be here. It’s all about the championship. I wasn’t about to lay down and let these guys gain 25 points so I just went out there and rode my best and took my 14th. It’s always going to be a fight and now it’s definitely going to be that way. I’m excited for the rest of the races.”
The opening moto of the 250 class featured a close, two-rider battle between Dean Wilson and Rattray. After grabbing the lead prior to the completion of the first lap, Wilson looked to pull away from his team-mate who had to work his way past DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham. Once in second, Rattray continued to post quicker lap times than Wilson and closed to within bike lengths of the lead before lapped traffic distanced the duo. On the final lap, Rattray put in a hard charge, closing in on Wilson’s rear fender as they crossed the finish, just a half-second apart.
In moto two Cunningham fought his way into the lead early in the moto. However, Rattray made the pass just on the second lap and proceeded to dominate the rest of the way to finish with 2-1 moto scores.
“It was definitely a good day for me,” says Rattray. “Having Dean there in the second moto made it tough. I just tried to focus on my lap times and stick to my plan. It’s still a long season and a lot of points are available. But it’s going to come down to the wire.”
Wilsonfollowed his team-mate into second but wasn’t able to close the gap in the final moto. His identical scores (1-2) tied him with Rattray in points for the day but he missed out on his first overall win of the season by virtue of the second moto tiebreaker.
“The day was pretty good,” says Wilson. “I can’t complain. The first moto was good but I was spent halfway through. The heat got to me. In the next moto I tried to get a good start and I got behind Tyla. I was pretty tired though and I tried to make one last move but it didn’t work. Sometimes consistency wins championships but I definitely want to win a race.”
Fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Blake Baggett finished third (3-3).
Wilsoncontinues to lead the championship standings, holding a 16-point lead over Rattray. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team also remains undefeated in the 2011 season.
1 Chad Reed (Honda) 300
2 Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) 294
3 Ryan Dungey (Suzuki) 293
4 Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki) 209
5 Kevin Windham (Honda) 193
6 Davi Millsaps (Yamaha) 173
7 Andrew Short (KTM) 156
8 Mike Alessi (KTM) 151
9 Jake Weimer (Kawasaki) 140
10 Christian Craig (Honda) 119
1 Dean Wilson (Kawasaki) 305
2 Tyla Rattray (Kawasaki) 289
3 Blake Baggett (Kawasaki) 284
4 Kyle Cunningham (Yamaha) 199
5 Eli Tomac (Honda) 190
6 Broc Tickle (Kawasaki) 170
7 Justin Barcia (Honda) 152
8 Gareth Swanepoel (Yamaha) 145
9 Martin Davalos (Suzuki) 128
10 Darryn Durham (Honda) 122