2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series Preview: Southwick MX338
Tomorrow is round nine of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series – it will be held at MX 338 in Southwick, Massachusetts. You’ll find coverage of this race coming Saturday here on Supercross.com.
If you mention the name “Southwick” today in the motocross community, it’s hard to think of anything but the panic on Ryan Dungey’s face before the second moto in 2011. Ryan was on the line for the gate drop … but his motorcycle was not – great photos.
This year we are supposed to see the likes of James Stewart make his umpteenth return to racing in 2012 ….. or will we? We’ve heard ‘yes’, and we’ve heard ‘no’. Guess we’ll just have to wait until Saturday morning to know 100% for sure.
Backing up a bit to the 2011 national with Ryan Dungey waiting on the line for his motorcycle. Set the stage for what was one of the most heroic and flat out greatest rides in the history of motocross. The rule states you are allowed to enter the racing circuit up until the racers have completed one lap. Well Dungey stretched that rule to the limits pulling out with a matter of seconds separating him and the 450 class leader Justin Barcia. Dungey then put his head down and raced all the way to the finish methodically picking off riders left and right working his way all the way up to seventh place. It was a truly incredible ride to be able to block everything out and just charge.
Ryan Dungey last year at Southwick
Although this year will not have the brute force of Hurricane Irene, there is a bit of rain in the forecast. There is a 50% chance of showers for the entirety of the day on Saturday. Which could cause some serious issues with the rider’s vision and always seems to leave the chance of a mechanical DNF, even for the factory riders.
Writing on this subject once again, but here we go again. James Stewart has said for the past few weeks that he will make his return at the Southwick National. Then there is the talk of the industry that he won’t be making his return till Unadilla. We will report as soon as we know more. At this point is it really worth him coming back? James wants to be at the races for his fans and the Suzuki team. But shouldn’t he just get back to 100% and come back then? It’s probably worse on the fans not seeing him at his full potential than not seeing him at all. Then again, none of us are James Stewart or in his position.
Last year we saw a lot of career firsts with Brett Metcalfe winning his first 450 MX overall. Justin Barcia winning his first 450 moto and Gareth Swanepoel won his first 250 moto. Will there be more firsts at this years Southwick? Will Ken Roczen finally win that moto or even that overall that he’s been striving for? Or will it be Marvin Musquin who has also been working towards the top step of the podium? A huge surprise could be Zach Bell coming out and winning or landing on the podium. He was extremely dominant at Loretta Lynn’s amateur motocross, taking home a title and the Horizon Award. Needless to say there could be a few more firsts at this years Southwick National.
We do have Ryan Dungey seemingly walking away with the 450 title, but the 250 title is very much up for grabs – only 11 points separate Blake Baggett and Justin Barcia … and then you have Tomac and Roczen and Musquin chasing as well.
So after all of the happening of last year and rain once again in the forecast for this year we should have an exciting national upon us. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for rookie Zach Bell in his first ever pro national! Of course we will all be holding our breath to see if James Stewart shows up. Also don’t forget about the Southwick legend John Dowd who has to score another 15 points to hold onto his national number 16 for another year.
Race coverage on Supercross.com will be here – http://www.supercross.com/ama-motocross-race-results
To see the current point standings, and the results from the last race at Washougal, Washington
The first motos will be shown live on FUEL TV starting at 1 p.m. EDT. The NBC Sports Network will air the second motos on August 14 starting at 4 p.m. EDT.
Notes and Stats – Courtesy MX Sports, and GEICO Honda
TV info: 1 p.m. Eastern with live first moto coverage of the 450 and 250 Classes on FUEL TV. Due to extensive NBC coverage of the London Olympics, second motos of both classes will air via tape delay on NBC Sports Network. The two-hour broadcast is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern.
Quotes from the GEICO Honda team. Justin Barcia “I don’t feel like it (having a break in action) messes up momentum or anything like that. It’s always good to have some time to regroup so you come back feeling fresh and ready to race. Southwick is easily my favorite track. I love racing in the sand and I know I’ll have fun out there. I’m confident when I have fun on the track and I know it gives me a great chance to win.”
Eli Tomac: “There’s a sandy dunes track I like to ride before this race. We did it last year, and it was a good place to test our suspension and get a feel for riding in the sand. It can be tough to ride in the sand, so you have to change your body position at times. It’s good we’ve got a place we can go like that. Outdoor season can beat you up pretty good. It’s such a physical sport, so it’s nice to get time off to spend time with the family and do some other things.”
Zach Bell: “I’m about as excited as you can get. Ryan Dungey rode some motos with me this week and he said I’m riding really good. I’m just ready to go out there and have fun. I’ve been training all my life to get to this point, and I couldn’t thank everybody on the GEICO Honda team for sticking behind me. I really want to get a top five finish if I can.”
Justin Bogle: “It’s good to come in as a rookie to these last four races and go without a lot of pressure. I’m stoked for these last races. I’ve now ridden on all the tracks we have left and I’m hoping it translates to better results. I went back to Oklahoma to train for a while, and it’s been 115 degrees here all the time so it keeps you in shape. I went up to New Hampshire to do some testing for the Factory Connection guys. I’ve been riding sand traps and working on bike setups. I feel like I’m a lot better off going into these last four rounds than I was the previous couple of races.”
Wil Hahn: “The long breaks always feel a little odd. I like the routine doing my week of homework, going to the race then coming back and starting it all over again. One weekend off you can enjoy, but the next weekend, I am ready to go back racing.”
Jake Weimer: “Washougal was tough. I was on the podium in the first moto, but I felt like I should have done better. In the second moto I didn’t get a great start, but was in a position to end the day on the podium and crashed.”
Tyla Rattray: “The motos didn’t go how I wanted at all (at Washougal). I struggled a bit and just feel I need more time to get used to the bike. I’ve won the last couple years at Southwick in the 250 Class, so I feel pretty confident with the sand and the track. This year I’m racing a different machine. It’s a lot heavier and has way more power, (so) I’ll be looking forward to Southwick.”
Broc Tickle: “I’m pretty happy with my results at Washougal. I qualified seventh and was feeling pretty good. In the first moto I just got caught in the pack and had to work through it. We made a few changes between motos and my Kawasaki was feeling really good even though the track was breaking down. In the second moto I got a pretty good start and battled with Weimer for most of the race. I was happy to finish fourth and take fifth overall. I am just going to keep working hard and hope to get back on the podium at Southwick.”
Blake Baggett: “I was feeling really good all day at Washougal. I was second fastest in qualifying, but the first moto didn’t go that well. I found myself on the ground twice, almost three times, but I saved it. I just struggled, started second and went backwards after a few crashes and ended up sixth. We made some tire changes and a little bit of a suspension change going into the second moto. I got a good start and was able to hunt them down and get to the front. It was a battle with four laps to go, but I was able to get it done and salvage some points. I lost some ground (in the championship), so now I’m going to have to come out swinging at Southwick. My goal is to have my name on Mitch’s (Payton) door by the end of the year.”
Blake Wharton: “I had a pretty good run (at Washougal). I had some good battles and I felt like my endurance was good. Overall, it was a good day, the team worked well together and everything just fell into place. (Now) we’re going to Southwick and I hope I can continue this upward spiral. I’ve finished the last four races strong, but there’s still a lot of racing left and some good points to be made up.”
Jason Anderson: “Washougal was a little bit of a struggle. But I felt like I rode well and I ended up 10th overall, so it was a good day. I crashed twice in the second moto, but I kept pushing and pushing, and ended up ninth in that race. Now, I’m looking forward to coming back strong for Southwick.”
Blake Baggett last year at the sand of Southwick
Moto Wins 450 class so far this season: Ryan Dungey – 11, James Stewart – 4, Mike Alessi – 1
Laps led 450 class so far this season: Ryan Dungey – 152, James Stewart – 68, Mike Alessi – 43, Tommy Hahn – 1
Moto Wins 250 MX Lites class so far this season: Blake Baggett – 8, Eli Tomac – 4, Justin Barcia – 4
Laps led so far this season 250 MX Lites class: Justin Barcia – 99, Ken Roczen – 51, Blake Baggett – 49, Eli Tomac – 42, Blake Wharton – 6, Marvin Musquin – 12, Jessy Nelson – 1, Phil Nicoletti – 1
Past Winners – MOTO-X 338 – Southwick, Mass.
August 27, 2011 / Brett Metcalfe, Australia / Suzuki
August 28, 2010 / Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, MN / Suzuki
August 29, 2009 / Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, FL / Yamaha
August 24, 2008 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
June 10, 2007 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Suzuki
June 11, 2006 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Suzuki
June 12, 2005 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Suzuki
June 13, 2004 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Honda
June 8, 2003 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Honda
June 9, 2002 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Honda
June 10, 2001 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
June 11, 2000 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
June 13, 1999 / Ezra Lusk, Bainbridge, GA / Honda
June 14, 1998 / Doug Henry, Oxford, CT / Yamaha
June 22, 1997 / John Dowd, Chicopee, MA / Yamaha
June 23, 1996 / Jeremy McGrath, Menifee, CA / Honda
June 25, 1995 / Jeff Emig, Riverside, CA / Yamaha
June 26, 1994 / Mike LaRocco, South Bend, IN / Kawasaki
May 2, 1993 / Mike Kiedrowski, Canyon Country, CA / Kawasaki
May 17, 1992 / Jeff Stanton, Sherwood, MI / Honda
August 4, 1991 / Jeff Stanton, Sherwood, MI / Honda
July 22, 1990 / Jeff Stanton, Sherwood, MI / Honda
May 21, 1989 / Jeff Stanton, Sherwood, MI / Honda
May 22, 1988 / Jeff Ward, Mission Viejo, CA / Kawasaki
May 17, 1987 / Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA / Honda
May 18, 1986 / Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA / Honda
May 16, 1982 / Donnie Hansen, Canyon Country, CA / Honda
May 17, 1981 / Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX / Suzuki
May 18, 1980 / Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX / Suzuki
May 20, 1979 / Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX / Suzuki
May 7, 1978 / Bob Hannah, Whittier, CA / Yamaha
May 1, 1977 / Marty Smith, San Diego, CA / Honda
June 6, 1976 / Pierre Karsmakers, Holland / Honda
August 27, 2011 / Tyla Rattray, South Africa / Kawasaki
August 28, 2010 / Tyla Rattray, South Africa / Kawasaki
August 29, 2009 / Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, GA / Honda
August 24, 2008 / Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, WA / Kawasaki
June 10, 2007 / Ben Townley, New Zealand / Kawasaki
June 11, 2006 / Andrew Short, Murrieta, CA / Honda
June 12, 2005 / Grant Langston, South Africa / Kawasaki
June 13, 2004 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
June 8, 2003 / Craig Anderson, Corona, CA / Yamaha
June 9, 2002 / Danny Smith, Middleton, ID / Suzuki
June 10, 2001 / Travis Pastrana, Annapolis, MD / Suzuki
June 11, 2000 / Travis Pastrana, Annapolis, MD / Suzuki
June 13, 1999 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
June 14, 1998 / John Dowd, Chicopee, MA / Yamaha
June 22, 1997 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
June 23, 1996 / Steve Lamson, Pollock Pines, CA / Honda
June 25, 1995 / Steve Lamson, Pollock Pines, CA / Honda
June 26, 1994 / Doug Henry, Oxford, CT / Honda
May 2, 1993 / Doug Henry, Oxford, CT / Honda
May 17, 1992 / Larry Ward, Society Hill, SC / Suzuki
August 4, 1991 / Mike Kiedrowski, Canyon Country, CA / Kawasaki
July 22, 1990 / Jean-Michel Bayle, France / Honda
May 21, 1989 / Larry Ward, Society Hill, SC / Honda
May 22, 1988 / George Holland, Kerman, CA / Honda
May 17, 1987 / Micky Dymond, Yorba Linda, CA / Honda
May 18, 1986 / Keith Bowen, Auburn Hills, CA / Yamaha
May 18, 1980 / Broc Glover, El Cajon, CA / Yamaha
May 7, 1978 / Broc Glover, El Cajon, CA / Yamaha
May 16, 1982 / Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX / Suzuki
May 17, 1981 / Broc Glover, El Cajon, CA / Yamaha
May 20, 1979 / Danny LaPorte, Yucca Valley, CA / Suzuki
Marvin Musquin last year at Southwick