The 2011 AMA National Motocross Championship series heads to Thunder Valley MX in Lakewood Colorado for Round 5 this coming Saturday, June 25.
There are three championship battles that will be racing on Saturday – the 450 Motocross class, the 250 MX Lites class, and the Women’s class.
In the Motocross class, two-time AMA Supercross Champion Chad Reed, riding the number 22 Honda, is making it look easy, as he’s won three of the four rounds to date. He leads Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto, and current AMA Motocross class Champion Ryan Dungey in the point standings.
In the 250 MX Lites class, former MX2 World Motocross Champion Tyla Rattray, riding the number 28 Kawasaki, is leading the series over teammates Dean Wilson and Blake Baggett.
In the Women’s class, it seems to be a two way battle between the current and former champion – Jessica Patterson and Ashley Fiolek.
Photos, results, and points from the 450 and 250 men’s classes will be here.
Photos, results, and points from the women’s class will be here.
Here is the schedule for the 2011 AMA National Motocross Championship series.
Thunder Valley MX has a rich history in American Motocross. Last September it hosted the annual Motocross of Nations. To see a video recap by Amanda of the 2010 Motocross of Nations (won by Team USA), visit this link on Supercross.com.
To see the story and lots of photos of Team USA’s (Ryan Dungey, Andrew Short, Trey Canard) victory at the 2010 Motocross of Nations in Colorado, visit this link.
To see the story, results, points, and a lot of photos from last year’s AMA National MX at Lakewood, visit this link.
And here, courtesy of MXSports, is more info about this weekend’s race in Colorado …
Another exciting weekend of action resulted in TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed adding to his overall win total for the 2011 season. The Australian rider has won three of the first four rounds of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, and currently occupies the lead in the 450 Class standings. This weekend, Reed, and 250 Class points leader Tyla Rattray, lead the world’s best riders into Thunder Valley MX Park in Lakewood, Colo., for Saturday’s Toyota Trucks Thunder Valley National.
Throughout the first month of action this summer, three riders have asserted themselves as the leaders of the pack in the 450 Class. Reed, along with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, have won every moto thus far and each week, this trio has engaged in intense battles for the overall victory.
Last weekend from Budds Creek MX Park, Reed took a strategic approach to his third win of the year. After losing touch of both Villopoto and Dungey in the opening moto, Reed put himself in position to win Moto 2, controlling what he’s capable of, and letting the points play out. At each of the first three rounds, Reed won the final moto of the day, and that trend continued at Budds Creek. Despite a hard charge from Dungey throughout the moto, Reed crossed the finish line first and, in turn, overtook Villopoto, who won Moto 1 and tied Reed in points for the day, in the tiebreaker for the top spot overall.
It’s been an impressive start to the season for Reed, and now he leads the 450 Class field into a venue at which he’s never won before. He currently holds a 15-point lead over Villopoto, and a 28-point lead over Dungey in the championship standings. Reed’s rivals’ hope their past success at Thunder Valley gives them an edge, as each rider has stood atop the podium at the Colorado facility.
The story of the 250 Class continues to be headlined by the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team. Through four rounds and eight motos, three of Mitch Payton’s riders – Tyla Rattray, Dean Wilson and Blake Baggett – are the only athletes to grab a victory. Wilson and Baggett share three moto wins apiece, while Rattray boasts two of his own. In the overall win category, both Rattray and Baggett share two each, and currently, all three riders occupy the top three in the 250 Class standings.
At Budds Creek, Wilson got off to a fast start, winning the opening moto for the third time in 2011. However, in Moto 2, Rattray took charge, grabbing the lead early and never looking back. Wilson was able to secure his third overall runner-up effort of the season, overcoming a tough start in the final moto, and sits four points behind his teammate in the standings. As for Baggett, adversity struck the sophomore rider in both motos, and his pair of seventh-place finishes landed him seventh overall.
Since becoming part of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship in 2005, Thunder Valley MX Park has become one of the most anticipated stops on the entire schedule. As the lone national event in the Rocky Mountain region, fans come in droves from throughout the Midwest for the chance to watch the world’s best riders in action. With its mile-high elevation and sprawling layout, Thunder Valley presents one of the most unique challenges for both the riders and their teams. The thin mountain air robs bikes of power while also testing a rider’s endurance. It is a one-of-a-kind combination that is only found at Thunder Valley and each year, it is a storyline in the outcome of the race.
Last year at Thunder Valley, Dungey broke through for his first-career win at the facility, posting 2-1 moto scores. In the 250 Class, then-Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Christophe Pourcel swept the day’s motos for his second overall victory of the 2010 season.
This weekend, Dungey enters the race as the only return winner in the 450 Class at Thunder Valley. While Reed and Villopoto, a two-time winner at the track in the 250 Class, lead the way as challengers, several additional front-runners, like Muscle Milk/Toyota/JGR’s Davi Millsaps and Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi, will look to put themselves in the mix. Also, Colorado native Andrew Short will be in search of his first podium performance of 2011 for Red Bull KTM at his hometown track.
The Motorcycle-Superstorecom Women’s Motocross Championship also returns to action this weekend, following a two-round break. American Honda’s Ashley Fiolek leads the WMX standings through two rounds of competition, while DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jessica Patterson sits just eight points out of the lead. Patterson will seek to defend her victory at Thunder Valley one year ago, while Fiolek will be in search for her second win in Colorado.
The on-track action for the Toyota Trucks Thunder Valley National begins this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. EST with practice and qualifying. Opening ceremonies begin at 2:30 p.m. EST with motos kicking off at 3 p.m. EST.
See the results, points and photos from last weekend’s race in Budds Creek, Maryland.
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Which Team will win the 2011 Monster Energy Motocross of Nations?
More info courtesy of MXSports
TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing
“The team is doing an awesome job,” said Chad Reed. “We have the speed and the bike to win races, and we’ve demonstrated that. It’s nice to have the lead in the points early in the season. It’s a matter of being consistent and finishing on the box every weekend in order to be in the hunt for the championship come the end of the year.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Ryan Villopoto’s outing at Budds Creek was equally as strong as Reed, as the two riders tied for points on the day. While his third-place effort in the final moto gave the tiebreaker to Reed, Villopoto still left Maryland with no points lost. He still remains just 15 points out of the lead and returns to Thunder Valley for the first time since 2008, when he took the overall win in the 250 Class.
Fellow Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Jake Weimer also had a solid day at Budds Creek. Weimer has improved his consistency over the last couple weeks and his 10-7 moto scores in Maryland landed him eighth overall. Weimer took his first career win at Thunder Valley in 2009 as a member of the 250 Class, and he hopes his past success will result in his strongest ride of the year on Saturday.
“It was another good, solid weekend,” said Dungey. “We got off to really good starts on my RM-Z and I was able to get second in both motos. Overall, my Rockstar Makita Suzuki felt great and we were solid throughout the day. We just have to keep moving forward and plugging away. We’ve got Lakewood this weekend and I’m really looking forward to it. Last year we were able to get a win there in the AMA Pro Motocross Championship race as well as the Motocross of Nations. It’s always a great track.”
Brett Metcalfe enjoyed one of his strongest outing of the season at Budds Creek. After a strong start to the day in practice, Metcalfe overcame a tough start in the opening moto to finish sixth. A better start in the final moto put Metcalfe in position to run inside the top five, but he ultimately settled for another sixth-place effort and landed sixth overall. He currently sits fifth in the standings and heads to a track he enjoys this weekend.
“It was a pretty positive day for me at Budds Creek,” said Metcalfe. “I went 6-6 for sixth overall and there were some positives and negatives, but overall I felt pretty good. My Rockstar/Makita Suzuki is working great and the team has been doing a great job getting me more comfortable out there. I think that’s why I was able to qualify faster. I’m happy and feel that Budds Creek was my best riding of the season. I’m looking forward to Lakewood. It’s a track I’ve done well at in the past. And I think it is a track that suits me. I’m hoping to go there and put my Suzuki up on the podium where I know it can be.”
Davi Millsaps’ return to Budds Creek resulted in a seventh-place finish overall. The JGR rider has rode consistent throughout the season and even in the face of adversity, has found a way to fight through. As a result, Millsaps currently occupies fourth place in the championship standings. He enters Thunder Valley looking to keep the momentum going.
Budds Creek originally signified the end of Kevin Windham’s 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship season. Windham capped off his fill-in role for American Honda with a strong effort, posting a pair of fourth-place efforts to finish fourth overall. After the success, Windham decided he couldn’t stay away and will be back one more time on Saturday at Thunder Valley.
“I feel I have good momentum going into Colorado after finishing fourth last weekend at Budds Creek,” said Windham. “I’m having such a good time this season, and the fans’ support at each round has played a big role in my decision to race some additional rounds in the series.”
Josh Grant made his return to action at Budds Creek, following a lengthy absence from competition due to injury. Grant’s first race of any kind since January resulted in a solid start to his 2011 season, posting 8th and 10th place finishes to finish tenth overall.
“It felt so good to be back racing last weekend,” said Grant. “I loved getting to race my factory Honda again, and getting to spend the weekend with all the Honda crew. My goal was to finish in the top 10 last weekend and I achieved that. I’m looking to build on that result on Saturday.”
Red Bull KTM
“I had a better weekend last week, but still struggled in a few areas,” said Andrew Short. “I definitely need to improve my starts. I am working my butt off and hoping to get closer to the top five as we near the halfway point of the season.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
The entire Mitch Payton-led squad continues to dominate the 250 Class. Through four rounds of competition, Payton’s riders have won every moto and overall of the season. Currently, Tyla Rattray sits atop the championship standings and the South African rider was able to capture his second win of the season last weekend at Budds Creek.
Not far behind sits Dean Wilson. The sophomore rider has yet to claim an overall win this summer, but he’s been a consistent challenger, boasting three moto victories and sitting just four points from his teammate in the standings. At Budds Creek, he finished second overall and will look for that first win of the season at Thunder Valley.
Blake Baggett occupies the third spot in the 250 Class standings, giving Payton a clean sweep of the championship podium to this point. Baggett has a pair of overall wins to his credit, but suffered from misfortune at Budds Creek, finishing seventh overall. He’ll look to bounce back on Saturday.
Broc Tickle rounds out the talented Pro Circuit lineup, coming off a season-best fifth-place finish at Budds Creek. Tickle has shown consistent improvement from week-to-week and despite sitting seventh in the standings, he will look to challenge for the podium this weekend.
Justin Barcia secured his first podium finish of the 2011 season at Budds Creek, showing impressive resolve despite suffering from illness. Barcia’s 6-2 moto scores landed him third overall and he hopes that the momentum from the performance carries into Thunder Valley.
Eli Tomac also performed well at Budds Creek, despite not getting the starts he had hoped for. Tomac posted a pair of fifth-place finishes to bring home fourth overall and close the gap on Blake Baggett for third in the 250 Class standings.
DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha
Kyle Cunningham started his day at Budds Creek with a solid fourth-place effort in the opening moto. However, misfortune struck in Moto 2 and resulted in a 15th place effort. Despite that, Cunningham still finished inside the top 10, in eighth overall.
Gareth Swanepoel boasted the strongest effort in the Star Racing stable at Budds Creek. The South African rider began with a ninth-place finish in the opening moto, but posted a strong second moto performance by finishing fourth, which helped him grab sixth overall.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki
Martin Davalos finished ninth overall at Budds Creek, to lead the way for the Rockstar Energy Suzuki team. The veteran rider’s pair of 10th place moto scores resulted in ninth overall and it also boosted him into ninth in the 250 Class standings.
“My Budds Creek weekend was decent overall,” said Davalos. “Now, we’re heading to Thunder Valley and that’s my favorite track of the entire series. It reminds me of home because the altitude is pretty high. I’m looking forward to going there and getting some good starts and running up front. I’ve got the speed; I just need to keep out of trouble.”
The Motorcycle-Superstorecom Women’s Motocross Championship also returns to action on Saturday at Thunder Valley. With two of eight rounds completed, American Honda’s Ashley Fiolek holds an eight-point lead over DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jessica Patterson. Last season at Thunder Valley, Patterson dominated en route to the win, but Fiolek is coming off her first win of the 2011 season at Freestone and will look to maintain the momentum.
Television coverage for Saturday’s Toyota Trucks Thunder Valley National begins with live coverage of the opening motos for both the 450 and 250 classes on FUEL TV, beginning at 3 p.m. EST. Same-day, final moto coverage of both classes will air back-to-back on SPEED, beginning at 12 midnight EST with the 450 Class, immediately followed by 250 Class coverage at 1 a.m. EST.