Following a break in action this past weekend, the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship will kick off the second half of the season on July 16 with the Spring Creek Motocross National in Millville.
Coming off his fourth win of the year at the previous stop in RedBud, TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed occupies the top spot in the premier 450 class standings. In the 250 class Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson has moved into the championship lead for the second time this summer.
Heading into RedBud two weeks ago, the battle for the 450 class title had been marked by a highly-competitive three-rider battle between Reed, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey. With each rider achieving at least one overall win this season, the opportunity to capture the victory has been wide open from week-to-week and it continued in Michigan.
At RedBud Reed began the day with an impressive moto win, fending off a hard-charging Dungey. As the duo battled up front, Villopoto was forced to come from the back of the field after an early crash, ultimately fighting his way into ninth. In moto two the trio paced the field with Villopoto and Dungey leading the way. As the two rivals chased one another throughout the moto, Reed asserted himself in third and let things play out. As Villopoto rebounded to take the moto win, Reed’s 1-3 moto scores surpassed Dungey’s 2-2 effort, helping him to extend his points lead. Reed now carries a 16-point advantage over Villopoto while Dungey sits an additional six points back.
This weekend’s race from Spring Creek MX Park presents another opportunity for the 450 class championship to continue to unfold. Reed has never won at the Minnesota facility but has run well in the past. Villopoto does hold one victory but it came back in 2007 as a competitor in the 250 class. Over the past three years Dungey, a native of the state of Minnesota, has been perfect at what he considers to be his hometown track. With back-to-back victories in the 250 class from 2008-2009, Dungey made it three-in-a-row last season by taking the win in his 450 class debut at Millville. Each rider’s past history at the track makes for an intriguing storyline heading into Saturday.
Through six rounds of 250 class competition Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki has yet to relinquish a moto or overall win to any other team in the division. Wilson, Blake Baggett and Tyla Rattray have stood atop the podium every time this summer and as a result they have set the stage for a three-way battle for the championship.
At RedBud, Baggett dominated en route to his fourth overall win of the season. Despite a couple of tough rounds this summer, Baggett has shown impressive resolve and is proving to be arguably the fastest rider in the class. His RedBud outing vaulted him into second in the championship where he sits 14 points behind his team-mate coming into Spring Creek. While Wilson is surely happy to be back in possession of the red number plate this weekend, he would likely much rather have an overall win to his credit. Despite impressive consistency and three moto wins, Wilson has yet to break through and stand atop the overall podium. After a strong effort in his Millville debut last season he’ll be eager to solidify his position in the standings with a victory.
Spring Creek has been a staple of American MX since hosting its first National during the 1983 season. Since then it has become one of the most popular stops on the schedule thanks to its challenging lay-out that features a healthy assortment of obstacles as well as multiple dramatic elevation changes. Millville is home to three of the sport’s most iconic features – the longest start on the championship schedule, the ‘Holy Schmit’ jump named for late local legend Donny Schmit and the infamous sand whoops that can make or break a rider’s moto.
Last year at Spring Creek, Dungey displayed the familiar dominance that has become associated with his performances at his home track in recent years. A convincing 1-1 effort resulted in his sixth win of the season and marked his third victory at the track in as many years. In the 250 class, eventual champion Trey Canard was able to capture his second career win.