2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series Preview: Unadilla MX
Questions: Will Ryan Dungey clinch the 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship on his 450 KTM this weekend in New York? Will the enigmatic James Stewart return to action? And will another rider step up to challenge Blake Baggett for the 250 MX Lites title with just three round left in the series … or will Blake go on to win his first ever National MX title?
Welcome to this week’s Friday preview of the Unadilla National! Coverage of the race on Supercross.com will be here.
But let’s look back at last week’s race in Southwick. A good word to describe it is “Wow”! From Zach Bell ripping the start of his career, to Dungey falling then having to pit stop and still coming in second or Tyla Rattray winning his first 450 moto, Southwick never disappoints! I must say that this week’s race shall be no different. The Unadilla circuit is rich in history as are so many others on the circuit. Remember Stewart jumping onto the back of Carmichael in 2006? Or sadly what some say was the beginning of the end for Travis Pastrana in 2001 when he fell down disgustingly hard in the second moto knocking himself out. Let’s also talk about the fact that this GP style track may be just what Roczen or Musquin needs to get that win that has eluded them thus far. Let’s see what is in store for us this weekend at the Unadilla national!
To see the results, point standings, and photos from last week’s event in Southwick, go here.
The man who has led the second most laps in the 250 class has yet to win a moto! That man is Ken Roczen. It goes to show that there is only one lap that matters if you’re leading. No one has demonstrated that better than Blake Baggett. He has been the master of the late moto charge and thus has stole victories from Roczen and others. Roczen has ridden brilliantly up until it’s a handful of laps to go. He has said that he is still learning and we see that everytime he’s on the track. The question is when will that moto win come that he has worked so hard for? Of all the tracks he could take a win on it would have to be the Unadilla track. It has a striking resemblance of a old school GP circuit and could very well be just what Ken needs to take it home. (Kenny is still the defending champion in the MX2 class of the World Motocross Championships.)
Since the beginning of the series Baggett has maintained the red plate and proven that he is the one to beat. The inconsistency that has plagued him in the past has been nowhere this season, and his late moto charges have been unparalleled. Yes he has been beaten, yes he has fallen, but so have the others and he holds the point lead with a margin of 24 over Justin Barcia. He has had the Pro Circuit 250 effort riding solely on his back and has handled the pressure fantastically. Last week was the first time we saw Blake physically exhausted after a moto and that proves that Roczen was pushing hard until Baggett finally took the wind out of his sails on the last lap. Baggett is still the man to beat.
In the 450 class we will have the confirmed return of Suzuki’s James Stewart. He sat out last weekend at Southwick to be sure he was ready for a return. He’s been at all of the local SoCal tracks the past two weeks and is looking back to form. Not that the last two rounds have been boring by any means, but it will be refreshing to have Bubba back at the races. Will he put another kink in Dungey’s winning ways just as Tyla Rattray and Mike Alessi both have in the past two weeks? At this point Stewart just needs to win some motos and prove to himself that he can still do it.
Ryan Dungey re-fueling last week in Southwick’s second moto
Although there is only a ten percent chance of rain on Saturday, that doesn’t mean anything for Unadilla. We’ve seen horrendous lightning storms roll in and roll out in the blink of an eye. The New York circuit has a flare for the dramatic and it always seems to create some of the best races of the year. Will one of the 250 KTM riders of Roczen or Musquin pull out a win on the GP style circuit? Or will Baggett, Tomac and Barcia steal their glory once again? Will Stewart win, or has Dungey elevated his speed to where Stewart can’t match it for each of the 30 minute +2 lap motos? Either way it’s going to be an exciting weekend to say the least. Last but not least – we send get well wishes to Tommy Hahn who had a rough get off on Thursday and was air lifted to the hospital. Get well soon Tommy – our thoughts are with you!
Revisit 2011 Unadilla MX!
FIM World MX GP results from 2012 British Grand Prix
Courtesy MX Sports – Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Notes and Stats – Red Bull Unadilla National
Jake Weimer “It was rough at Southwick. My starts were pretty terrible and I couldn’t stay off the ground all day. I crashed once in the first moto and twice in the second moto and there’s not much you can do when you’re lying on the ground. It’s just frustrating because I’ve never really done well at Southwick and I really hoped to change that last weekend, but things just didn’t go my way. I’m ready to put that race behind me and head to the next round at Unadilla and try to pull it together there.”
Tyla Rattray “Jake (Weimer) and I were able to get some good testing in over the break and came to Southwick feeling much more comfortable on the bike. Now, I think we’re in a good place with the bike. I’m really happy with the team and all their hard work; I really can’t thank them enough. (In) the second moto, I really felt like my old self again out there. I really expect to be out front fighting for the podium every moto and now I feel like we have the ball rolling again. To be able to earn a win for the team at Southwick felt awesome. It’s great to be back on the box and hopefully we can do it again next weekend at Unadilla.”
Broc Tickle “Practice went really great at Moto-X 338. I’m pretty happy to get on the podium again. Now we’re going to head back home and put in some more hard work before we head to Unadilla and try to repeat. I haven’t had the best finishes in the past at Unadilla, but it’s a new year and I’m on a new bike, so I’m hoping to change that record.”
Blake Baggett “I gave it everything I had at Southwick. In the second moto, I was trying different lines and feeling out every possible place I could to get around Ken (Roczen). I was tired, but dug deep and was able to get the pass to stick to take the win. I’m happy I was able to stretch my points lead and want to keep earning as many points as possible to cushion myself as we head into the last rounds of the season. I’m looking forward to the next round at Unadilla; the track out there is pretty sweet. It’s a fun track that is fast with big jumps and a lot of elevation changes.”
A full day of live television coverage from Unadilla begins on Saturday, August 18, with live first moto coverage of the 450 and 250 Classes on FUEL TV, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern. The second moto of the 450 Class will be showcased live on NBC, beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern, followed by a live broadcast of the second 250 Class moto on NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. Eastern.
- Unadilla was a part of the inaugural Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in 1972.
- Unadilla has some of the most uniquely-named obstacles in the country like the Gravity Cavity, the Wall, and the Skyshot.
- With over 40 years of hosting world-class motocross racing, Unadilla is one of the sport’s most historic venues and was recognized as such when it hosted a “Retro National” during the 2009 season.
- Ryan Dungey is enjoying a seven-round overall winning streak, winning 12 of the last 14 motos.
- If Dungey gains 15 points on Mike Alessi on Saturday, he will claim his second 450 MX Class title in three seasons.
- Dungey has won 36 of the 66 motos he’s entered in his 450 Class career (54%), claiming the overall in 21 of 33 races (63%). He already sits alone in fourth on the all-time wins list, just one victory away from tying Rick Johnson for third all time.
- Comparatively, through his first 33 career 450 Class races, Ricky Carmichael captured 25 overall victories.
- Carmichael also earned 1,475 career points through the first 33 races of his 450 Class career, while Dungey has amassed 1,487 over that same span.
- Dungey is the only rider in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship to finish on the podium in every moto. His worst result was third in the first moto of the season.
- Mike Alessi has finished on the overall podium in seven of the nine rounds and currently sits second on the championship as a privateer. He also has one moto win.
- Blake Baggett has the most wins in the 250 Class with four. However, he sits fourth in laps led. Justin Barcia has led the most laps, with two overall wins.
- Since Washougal in 2009, all overall victories in the 250 Class have been won by either Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki or GEICO Honda, creating the sport’s most prominent team rivalry. Kawasaki has prevailed 25 times, compared to Honda’s 12 victories. This season, Honda has five victories while Kawasaki has four.
- Rick Johnson won his last AMA race at Unadilla on October 14th, 1990, in the 500cc class.
- Overall Wins 450 Motocross: Ryan Dungey – 7, James Stewart – 2
- Moto Wins: Ryan Dungey – 12, James Stewart – 4, Mike Alessi – 1, Tyla Rattray – 1
- Laps led: Ryan Dungey – 174, James Stewart – 68, Mike Alessi – 51, Tyla Rattray – 4, Tommy Hahn – 1
- Overall Wins 250 MX Lites: Blake Baggett – 4, Eli Tomac – 3, Justin Barcia – 2
- Moto Wins: Blake Baggett – 9, Eli Tomac – 5, Justin Barcia – 4
- Laps led: Justin Barcia – 99, Ken Roczen – 65, Eli Tomac – 54, Blake Baggett – 51, Marvin Musquin – 12, Blake Wharton – 6, Zach Bell – 5, Jessy Nelson – 2, Phil Nicoletti – 1
Unadilla hosted a round of the inaugural Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in 1972, and has been a part of the Nationals landscape ever since. It remains one of the most unique venues in the sport, thanks to its rolling hills and incredible natural terrain. It boasts a high-speed layout, yet is the site of notorious and awe-inspiring obstacles like Gravity Cavity, The Wall, and the Skyshot.
Past Winners – Unadilla Valley Sports Center – New Berlin, N.Y.
August 14, 2010 / Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, MN / Suzuki
August 15, 2009 / Chad Reed, Australia / Suzuki
July 20, 2008 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
July 15, 2007 / Kevin Windham, Centreville, MS / Honda
July 16, 2006 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Suzuki
July 17, 2005 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Suzuki
July 18, 2004 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Honda
July 20, 2003 / Kevin Windham, Centreville, MS / Honda
July 21, 2002 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Honda
July 15, 2001 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
July 16, 2000 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
July 18, 1999 / Mike LaRocco, South Bend, IN / Honda
July 19, 1998 / Jeff Emig, Riverside, CA / Kawasaki
July 20, 1997 / Jeff Emig, Riverside, CA / Kawasaki
July 21, 1996 / Greg Albertyn, South Africa / Suzuki
July 23, 1995 / Mike LaRocco, South Bend, IN / Honda
July 17, 1994 / Mike LaRocco, South Bend, IN / Kawasaki
July 11, 1993 / Mike Kiedrowski, Canyon Country, CA / Kawasaki
July 29, 1973 / Pierre Karsmakers, Holland / Yamaha
July 16, 1972 / Gary Jones, Hacienda Heights, CA / Yamaha
August 14, 2010 / Trey Canard, Shawnee, OK / Honda
August 15, 2009 / Christophe Pourcel, France / Kawasaki
July 20, 2008 / Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, WA / Kawasaki
July 15, 2007 / Ben Townley, New Zealand / Kawasaki
July 16, 2006 / Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, WA / Kawasaki
July 17, 2005 / Broc Hepler, Kittanning, PA / Suzuki
July 18, 2004 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
July 20, 2003 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
July 21, 2002 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
July 15, 2001 / Grant Langston, South Africa / KTM
July 16, 2000 / Stephane Roncada, France / Yamaha
July 18, 1999 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
July 19, 1998 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
July 20, 1997 / Kevin Windham, Baton Rouge, LA / Yamaha
July 21, 1996 / Steve Lamson, Pollock Pines, CA / Honda
July 23, 1995 / Ryan Hughes, Escondido, CA / Kawasaki
July 17, 1994 / Ryan Hughes, Escondido, CA / Kawasaki
July 11, 1993 / James Dobb, Corona, CA / Kawasaki
October 13, 1991 / Guy Cooper, Stillwater, OK / Suzuki
October 14, 1990 / Guy Cooper, Stillwater, OK / Suzuki
October 15, 1989 / Damon Bradshaw, Charlotte, NC / Yamaha
October 13, 1991 / Jeff Ward, San Juan Capistrano, CA / Kawasaki
October 14, 1990 / Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA / Honda
October 15, 1989 / Jean-Michel Bayle, France / Honda
July 31, 1977 / Marty Smith, San Diego, CA / Honda
August 1, 1976 / Steve Stackable, Austin, TX / Suzuki