2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series Preview: Lake Elsinore MX
It’s all down to the finale for the 250 AMA National Motocross Championship. Blake Baggett, who has held the points lead all season long, leads Eli Tomac by 14 points, and Justin Barcia by 18 points.
Thursday was media day at the track – the first time the facility has been used for a Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross event. The track is long … very long. It’s also mostly flat, and the dirt is very soft and spongy.
And, coverage of the Lake Elsinore race on Supercross.com will be here – http://www.supercross.com/ama-motocross-race-results
And the Women’s class has quite a battle as well – three riders are all in contention for the championship at this finale round – Jessica Patterson, Ashley Fiolek, and Tarah Geiger. Women’s results will be here – http://www.supercross.com/ama-womens-motocross-race-results
What do we want to see at Elsinore? A knockdown-drag-out-brawl that comes down to the final last of the last moto for the 250’s! Then again, that would be pretty close to what’s happened each time the gate has dropped for the 250 class all season long.
Ryan Dungey roosting around the Lake Elsinore MX track
The heat is on for the top three in points. Blake Baggett has led all season. Eli Tomac has moved into striking distance in second. Justin Barcia (GEICO Honda teammate of Tomac) is just four points behind Eli. Eli has probably been the ‘hottest’ of the three lately, winning last weekend, and looks like he is leaving every bit of his heart and soul on the track each and every moto! Not to take anything away from any of the other racers – but we’ve seen something in him the last few rounds that hasn’t transpired from some of the other racers rides.
14 points is not a guarantee for Blake by any means – although as he said yesterday, and Tomac as well – it’s much better to have a 14 point lead than not. Think back to the finale in 2010 – Christophe Pourcel was leading the 250 series comfortably – and then he fell – leaving the door open for Trey Canard to win the National Championship! (Look back at the 2010 race at Pala!)
14 points can honestly be wiped out by so many things it would take an hour to state them all. Let’s just say that Eli is no stranger to banging bars, especially with the likes of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad. He has already won a championship (Supercross Lites) when “Deano” took him high then he retaliated! Eli is a racer – he has it in his genes and there is no doubt about that. What should be said though is that he will not strike till he is struck upon. Blake Baggett has the ball in his court fully, but is going to have a hell of a fight on his hands with a full GEICO squad that could be in there mixing it up. Needless to say team tactics will be in full swing.
Please don’t think we are hyping this round up. Because without a doubt it will be like every other round for the 250’s – a race to the finish. The intensity that these racers have brought this year is bar-none the best we’ve seen in years. Whomever walks away with the title on Saturday deserves it, no ifs-ands-or-but’s. If Eli wins it though it will be an absolute heartbreak for Blake Baggett – who has secured the red plate for round after round.
The other thing no one really knows about is just what to expect from the Lake Elsinore Circuit come Saturday. Yes these guys have been spinning laps out here for months. But on a track that ran the other direction and a track that didn’t have 100+ racers on it. And on a track that certainly wasn’t prepped as much as this one will be. Looking at it yesterday, it’s very high speed, very long, with very soft dirt. But with a brand new track comes the unknown. So midday changes for the motos will be crucial and as we’ve seen all year the GEICO squad has knocked it out of the park. Who will be most prepared for the second moto?
Although the 250 class has been truly exciting, the Women’s series has been intense as well. Fiolek, Geiger and Patterson all have a shot at the title come tomorrow. And Ashley Fiolek has been on a roll – winning six of the last six motos, pulling herself back into the championship hunt. The WMX races should be quite exciting!
Hopefully the photo below show you some of what to expect. You’ll recognize number 5 Ryan Dungey, number 800 Mike Alessi, Marvin Musquin doing a heel-clicker, Ashley Fiolek number 1 Honda, Kenny Roczen number 70, Blake Baggett 12, Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia, and … number 92 is FIM Woman’s World Motocross Champion Kiara Fontanesi from Italy.
The season-ending Red Bull Lake Elsinore National will feature live broadcast coverage of the opening motos of both the 450 and 250 Classes on FUEL TV, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern. Same-day final moto coverage of both classes can be seen on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 11 p.m. Eastern.
Click on the thumbnail to view the larger images
Marvin Musquin having a little fun …
Ashley Fiolek tried out the new Lake Elsinore track
Courtesy MX Sports
Ryan Dungey “It’s an amazing feeling (to have the championship wrapped up). Especially knowing how hard we all worked for this moment. Starting out with just the 450, a brand new bike, we were able to really dissect it and get things (working) really well and now it feels great to be sitting here at Lake Elsinore in the position we’re in. We’ve got a whole season worth of notes on the bike, so we have a direction for which way we want to go with things.”
Mike Alessi “My confidence has been getting better and better. It’s really refreshing to have a good season and not get injured and just progressing to be better and stronger and faster and fitter every single race. I’m happy and (I’m) having fun here at MotoConcepts and having fun racing again. Monday morning we’re going to be right back at it testing and getting that motorcycle the best we can for 2013. We’re going to work our tails off this offseason to make the bike better and faster. You can never stop working on improving the bike.”
Blake Baggett “Coming into (Lake Elsinore), it’s the closest one to my house and I just want to have fun with it. Nobody has raced this track yet. We’ve all ridden it, but nobody has ridden it in this direction or with this layout yet, so we’re all going to go for it. I’m just going to go out there, do the best I can, and have some fun with it.”
Eli Tomac “Anytime you go out there and win an overall (like last weekend), you’re (thinking) I can do this again next week. It’s not going to be easy this weekend, the best case scenario for me is to get a 1-1, but it’s going to take some other things to happen too. I just have to go out there and get good starts. We’ll see what happens.”
Justin Barcia “You can’t make miracles in this sport. All I can do is go out there, give it everything I can, and just see what happens. I’m looking forward to it.”
Jessica Patterson “The last few weeks I’ve actually been riding during the week, which is different because I’ve been just racing on the weekends to give my hand time to heal. The track looks really good right now and I’m very excited because it looks totally different. I live about 10 minutes down the street, so I have ridden here quite a bit, but it’s going to be like a new track for everyone. It looks like it’s going to be fun and good for racing.”
Ashley Fiolek “I didn’t think this would happen (being in championship battle), but here we are. I was hurt in Colorado, but you know, it’s part of racing. I was out at High Point, so I’m happy to be here, I’m lucky to be here and looking forward to the racing on Saturday. I haven’t ridden at this track before, but it looks really good. I know for a lot of us this is really new and the first time for everybody, so I’m just going to go out there, try my best, and have fun. Hopefully I can get a good start, stay out front, and hope for a win. I’m just going to do the best I can and see what happens.”
Tarah Gieger “I’ve basically just kept my normal routine leading up to this weekend. It’s going to be all about fun for me. I haven’t had a real good look at the track, but I know the roost here hurts really bad, so I’d love to get a couple of holeshots. If I can go out there and get a couple wins I couldn’t ask for more. That’s pretty much the game plan. (For the past few years) this is the closest I’ve been to winning a championship. I just want to have a good race at this new track, have fun, and end the year on a good note.”