It was a rough start to the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship for Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing. Both riders suffered injuries from crashes at the Hangtown Motocross Classic in California.
A crash over an embankment brought the day to an abrupt end for James Stewart. Early in the first moto he swapped in the turn before the finish-line and went over landing hard on his shoulder. “I had a decent practice, but got a horrible start in the first moto,” Stewart explained. “I was just riding around trying to get comfortable. I came across the mechanic’s area and the next thing I know I was grabbing and hanging-on to my bike trying to hug-it. I went off this steep embankment and landed on my shoulder.”
The injury was painful enough that Stewart didn’t attempt to race in the second moto. His status for next week’s race in San Bernardino is day-to-day.
“I’m bummed,” Stewart added. “I keep putting-in all this work and things keep happening. I can’t quit. As hard as it is now I refuse to quit. I know I’m not done. I’m going to go back to work after I have my shoulder checked-out. I’ll see how I feel. Hopefully I can get back into action next week. I’ll be back, it’s just another setback.”
For Blake Baggett his day started much better with eighth in qualifying and a third place ride in moto one as he tapped the power on his Yoshimura RM-Z450. Things were looking good for Baggett in moto two as he ran sixth, but with four laps to go the 24-year-old went down hard and broke his collarbone.
“Moto one went about as good as it could get, charging up from the back and working my way all the way back to a podium spot,” Baggett explained. “I really felt good and thought everything was working.
“I went out in the second moto and got a decent start and was working my way through the pack. I think I needed one more spot to get a podium for the overall. And then I caught a rock and did a little high side. It was slo-mo, but I ended up going down pretty hard and breaking my collarbone.
“We’ll see where we’re at and be back to fight for sure. I know where I am right now. Hangtown is one of the gnarliest tracks there is and if you can go good there you can do it anywhere. So I’ll regroup and hopefully be back soon.”
The Yoshimura Suzuki squad heads to Southern California and Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California on Saturday May 28.