A massive crowd filled the hillsides surrounding Red Bud on Saturday as the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship reached the halfway point.
With three overall victories to his credit coming into round six, TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed relied on consistent moto scores to capture his fourth win of the season. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett swept the day’s 250 class motos to secure his fourth overall victory of the year.
Both Reed and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey began the day with strong starts in the opening moto. The pair asserted themselves early behind Muscle Milk/Toyota/JGR’s Davi Millsaps before Reed made the pass for the lead on lap seven. Dungey soon followed and paced Reed throughout the moto, attempting to take over the lead on the final lap. However, Reed fended off the challenge to take his sixth moto win of the season.
In moto two Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto took the early lead, looking to rebound from a tough first moto in which he crashed and finished ninth. Dungey positioned himself in second and set his sights on trying to claim his second straight overall. Meanwhile, Reed was forced to work his way through Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi for third.
Villopoto gradually pulled away, forcing Dungey to settle for second. Behind them, Reed made the pass on Alessi on lap nine and carried it through to the finish to secure the overall win.
“I got a good start [in moto two] and got into third,”says Reed. “Dungey made some mistakes and I tried to get by but then I made mistakes and Alessi passed me. At that point I knew I had to just settle down and be smart. I actually learned a lot today. I got my butt kicked last week and we worked on suspension. Each time I went out on the track today it was different. I learned a lot about my bike and a lot about myself as a person about the decisions I need to make on race days.”
Dungey (2-2) posted his second runner-up finish of the season while despite his misfortune in the first moto Villopoto rounded out the podium in third (9-1).
“I felt good,” says Dungey. “It was just a little unfortunate. I wanted to run in contention with Villopoto but I wasn’t making it happen. Now we’ve got a week to work on things and get better. We’ll just keep plugging away. At this point, points are valuable. We’re halfway now. I can’t get stuck behind like that. I need to get up and go.”
Reed’s advantage in the standings currently sits at 16 points over Villopoto.
It was a near-perfect day in the 250 Class for Baggett, who left little opportunity for his competitors to challenge for the win. In the opening moto Baggett relied on a strong start to position himself at the front of the field. After GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia crashed out of the early lead, Baggett pressured DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes for the lead, eventually overtaking him on lap nine.
In moto two Baggett moved into the top spot prior to the completion of the first lap and led wire-to-wire, pulling away from his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team-mate Dean Wilson. The pair of wins gives Baggett a series-leading seven moto victories.
“Going 1-1 is a pretty good day I’d say,” said Baggett. “The championship is still really far out. Neither of my team-mates has had a bad race yet but if they do I want to be there to capitalise. I just want to be there in the end and if it happens, it happens. No matter what I’m going to give it my all.”
Wilsonrelied on a pair of second-place finishes to garner his fifth runner-up effort of the season. Fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Tyla Rattray, of South Africa, completed the team sweep in third (5-3).
Wilson maintains the points lead he held coming into the weekend holding a 14-point lead over Baggett.
1 Chad Reed (Honda) 268
2 Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) 252
3 Ryan Dungey (Suzuki) 246
4 Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki) 178
5 Davi Millsaps (Yamaha) 173
6 Kevin Windham (Honda) 172
7 Andrew Short (KTM) 130
8 Christian Craig (Honda) 119
9 Mike Alessi (KTM) 115
10 Jake Weimer (Kawasaki) 112
1 Dean Wilson (Kawasaki) 258
2 Blake Baggett (Kawasaki) 244
3 Tyla Rattray (Kawasaki) 242
4 Eli Tomac (Honda) 176
5 Kyle Cunningham (Yamaha) 163
6 Broc Tickle (Kawasaki) 143
7 Justin Barcia (Honda) 137
8 Gareth Swanepoel (Yamaha) 120
9 Cole Seely (Honda) 112
10 Martin Davalos (Suzuki) 111