Wild card rider Josh Grant of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team raced to an impressive moto win and second overall in the US finale to the FIM World MXGP Motocross Championship at Glen Helen in California.
A resident of nearby Riverside, Grant already showed his competitiveness with victory in qualification on Saturday, and he continued his good form to take the lead on the third lap of the opening GP moto to race clear until forced to slow after he had inadvertently run over his own right foot. He persevered to finish third, and, after visiting the Asterisk mobile medical unit during the interval, he returned to the track for race two to score an emphatic victory to clinch second overall.
The event was an emotional occasion: Tyla Rattray had already announced several weeks ago that this would be the final race of his long, successful professional career. But unfortunately the bad luck, which has dogged him for so much of the season, continued in race one as he was the innocent victim of a first turn collision.
Rejoining the race in a lowly 26th position, he persevered to snatch four more championship points, and ended his career with a 12th place in race two after advancing from an initial 16th. At the end of a turbulent season he was ranked 13th despite missing several races through injury.
“I’ve ridden here every Thursday as I live locally in Riverside and Ryan Villopoto gave me plenty of good advice on how to take on the weekend,” said Josh Grant. “I felt good to win two races out of three. I was leading the first GP moto too until I ran over my own right foot and twisted it about six or seven laps in. The guys at Asterisk did a great job to tape it up for race two; I got in front and put my head down for the win. It was great to be part of this experience, and I really enjoyed it; I would definitely consider MXGP in the future if there was an offer on the table.”
“It was a little emotional when I stopped after the race, but I was happy to be over,” Tyla Rattray said. “I had a great career, I’ve had a great time racing, 14 years as a professional but my body is now tired!
“I used to be a diesel in my years when I was a young guy, but after so many years of racing it has been tough and I’m happy to retire. I had a great team behind me this season; Kawasaki and Monster Energy have been great and really supportive, it was great to complete my career with such good people.
“There was a big crash in the first turn of race one and I was in; I hit my head but managed to finish the race. I focused for the second race and got a decent start, then I pushed as hard as I could, but it was really warm, the track was rough, the conditions were tough and I was happy to finish the second race and see all these friends who were waiting for me.”
Team owner, Thierry Chizat Suzzoni commented: “I would like to thank Tyla [Rattray]; he did his job with us and went to the last GP with us even if he had some up and down with several injuries. He was a real warrior all season long, and we are pleased to have been with him for his last season of racing. I’d also like to thank Ryan [Villopoto] who did a great job in the first few GPs, but then got injured and today my thoughts are also with Steven Frossard; he is another warrior and I know that his situation will get better and better, even if it takes time. Of course I want also to thank Kawasaki, Monster Energy, Motorex and all our long time partners; we are here today because they are behind us and we’ll do our best this winter to prepare for next season. Let’s hope that we’ll be free of injuries next year.”