The AMA Motocross Nationals kicked off on Saturday at the Hangtown Classic in California where all the supercross wannabes forgot to tell Kevin Windham that they wanted to be number one – the Honda veteran charging out to a lively holeshot in the opening 450 moto, much to the general satisfaction of the massive crowd.
But he soon had close company in the form of Ryan Dungey, reigning champion and fresh off the back of a series podium in the supercross championship. After losing his supercross crown to Ryan Villopoto, Dungey was in no mood to mess around and quickly gave K-Dub the good news, taking the lead and immediately heading off into the distance to define the meaning of checking out. As Windham dropped back, Villopoto and Chad Reed made their way forward, passing K-Dub and his ailing Honda before indulging in a repeat of their epic season-long supercross battle. This time, however, it was Reed who came out on top, taking second behind Dungey but ahead of Villopoto, Davi Millsaps and Brett Metcalfe.
Villopoto grabbed the holeshot in moto two but he immediately had Dungey on his case. The Makita Suzuki star made his way through into the lead and showed every intention of repeating his first race dominance but Reed made his way by ‘Poto for second and plain hounded Dungey, fixing the gap and preventing Dungey from taking off in the first half of the race, then ratcheting up the pressure and closing in on the reigning champion.
Making his way into an overall-winning lead, Reed set about trying to build a gap but Dungey wasn’t going to let it go without a fight, raising his game and putting Reed under pressure. But when it came to the crunch Reed had that little bit more left in the tank, running out moto two and event overall winner, Dungey taking the second step of the podium ahead of Villopoto with Windham and Metcalfe completing the top five.
In the 250 class Eli Tomac hit the ground running when the gate dropped, busting out a holeshot ahead of Malcolm Stewart and Dean Wilson but Wilson was quickly on the case, charging through to take the lead early on. Former Rage cover star Blake Baggett was the man on fire, however, running through the pack like it wasn’t there on his way up to the front – after a fall it looked like it was all over but the Pro Circuit Kawasaki star persevered, making his way through to second but running out of time before he could seriously threaten Wilson.
Race two saw Justin Barcia lead from the start but he crashed out to leave the Pro Circuit trio of Tyla Rattray, former Rage cover star Baggett and Wilson squabbling over the lead. Rattray looked set to take the win ahead of Wilson and former Rage cover star Baggett but former Rage cover star Baggett had other ideas, pressuring Wilson into a mistake to take second then running down former world champion Rattray to take the win and the overall.
No-one was going to stop former Rage cover star Baggett at Hangtown, although double world champion Marvin Musquin – who went from dead last in moto two to take sixth – may have something to say on the subject at future events…