Chad Reed and Christophe Pourcel head tight points battles in 450 & 250 Motocross classes.
After a pair of first-time winners stood atop the podium last weekend in Colorado, it is anyone’s guess as to who will take the checkered flag in the 450 and 250 classes at Saturday’s Monster Energy Motocross National from Red Bud in Buchanan, Mich. The race marks the halfway point of the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship season with round six of 12.
One of the most popular stops on the circuit, Red Bud has been dubbed “America’s Track” and has served as the centerpiece of the series since its inception in 1974. In 1978, Red Bud hosted its first national over the 4th of July weekend and has been American Motocross’ Independence Day tradition since its inception. The southwestern Michigan track is notorious for its massive tabletops and the infamous LaRocco’s Leap, the largest jump in the series at 120 feet, named after Indiana-born legend Mike LaRocco who became the first rider to ever complete the uphill triple.
For 2009, Red Bud will continue its role as the centerpiece of the three-race Monster Energy Triple Crown of Motocross. Current class points leaders Chad Reed and Christophe Pourcel took victories at the opening round of the Triple Crown two races ago at High Point. They both return looking to stay in the hunt for the $25,000 bonus that comes with sweeping all three events and will lead 78 of their rivals out of the gates. Competition from the 450 class will be shown live on NBC beginning at 4:30pm ET.
Last weekend, the series completed its only round under the lights at Thunder Valley MX. Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ivan Tedesco captured his first-career overall victory in the 450 Class after a dominating 1-1 performance. The 2005 Lites (now 250) Class champion was at the top of his game all evening and moved into third in the standings thanks to his performance.
“This is actually my first win outdoors since 2005,” said Tedesco. “I won (in Colorado) in the (250 Class) and that lead to a championship in that class. It’s been a long time coming and I’ve had to battle through some injuries over the years, but I feel like I’m in top form and it feels great. This year didn’t start out great at the first race, but I’ve had podiums and great runs since then.”
Tedesco’s Honda Red Bull Racing teammate Andrew Short finished second in front of his hometown fans while Canidae/Motosport.com/Kawasaki’s Tommy Hahn captured his first career podium. All three riders enter this weekend with considerable momentum with each of the red riders closing in on Reed and his Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki team atop the standings. Also stepping into the mix on Saturday will be Dewitt, Mich. native Nick Wey. The series’ top privateer always performs well at his home track and will be eager to build upon his fourth place finish one year ago and reach the podium.
After leaving round four without scoring a single point, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer rebounded impressively with moto finishes of second and first to capture the first motocross victory of his career in the 250 Class. Teammate Pourcel and Muscle Milk/MDK/KTM’s Tommy Searle completed the podium.
“This was something huge for me,” boasted Weimer. “I didn’t know if I was going to ever get an outdoor win. I got two good starts on my Kawasaki and I only made one small mistake in the second moto. I’m really excited because this is my first moto and overall wins.”
With a huge wave of momentum behind him and the confidence to win, Weimer’s desire to overcome last season’s 13th place result at Red Bud will be considerable. Pourcel has been strong all season, despite never having been to any of the tracks on the schedule. He built upon his advantage over Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, who suffered from misfortune in Michigan one year ago with a 14th place result.
The Independence Day celebration at Red Bud was led by green machines in 2008 as eventual series champions and Kawasaki riders James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto stood atop the podium. For Stewart, it was his sixth overall victory and 12th moto win en route to a perfect season while Villopoto continued an impressive streak of his own, winning his 11th moto in a row out of 12. Additionally, each rider claimed their second Triple Crown victory, setting the stage for a $25,000 run for the money at the series finale. With each rider absent from the 2009 season, the 450 Class will see just its third different winner in the last eight years at Red Bud while the 250 Class will be won by someone other than Ryan Villopoto for the first time since his move into the professional ranks.
On Friday, July 3, the Monster Energy Fan Fest will give the faithful Red Bud fans a chance to check out the national track before the world’s best riders blast out of the gates. The Monster Energy Kawasaki team and its riders Timmy Ferry and Ricky Dietrich will be on hand to sign autographs as will the Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki squad of Chad Reed, Michael Byrne, and Ryan Dungey. Gates open for Fan Fest at 4 pm.
Additionally, the first of four rounds of the FMF 2-Stroke Invitational Series will commence during intermission on Saturday between the pro motos. The familiar and well-loved sound of two-stroke engines will resonate through the facility as motocross legends Ricky Carmichael, Jeff Stanton, and Jeff Emig lead a loaded field from the Michigan Mafia out of the gates in this special event.
Adults – $70
Kids (6-11 years) – $35
Children under 5 FREE
Adults – $35
Kids (6-11 – $15
Children under 5 – FREE
Christophe Pourcel – 250 Motocross points leader in 2009 so far!
You can see the results and point standings from all the AMA Motocross events for 2009 here at this link
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