AMA Motocross Saturday night in Colorado – Thunder Valley Ready to Challenge World’s Best at Night
Leaders Reed and Pourcel Carry Points Lead into Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross National at Thunder Valley
Can Reed Back up First-Ever 450 Motocross Win?
For just the second time in history, the Toyota AMA Pro National at Thunder Valley, round five of the 12-race Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, will be held under the lights this Saturday evening. An international pairing sits atop the standings as Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Chad Reed, of Australia, carries the 450 Class points lead while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel, of France, aims to hold down the 250 Class points lead for a second week in a row.
Created in 1999, Thunder Valley Motocross hosted its inaugural Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship race in 2005 and has been on the schedule ever since. Last year, the track reached a series milestone when it hosted the first-ever night race. After undergoing several upgrades and renovations, Thunder Valley is awaiting the arrival of the world’s best motocross racers to settle the score under the illuminated mountainside Saturday night. Fans that can’t make the race will be able to follow the 450 Class action live on SPEED at 11:00 p.m. ET. The 250 Class will also air on SPEED at 6 p.m. ET on July 5.
The preceding round of the series, held at High Point Raceway, was won by fan favorite Reed. The event served as the first first-ever 450 Class overall victory for Reed, who has two AMA Supercross championships to his name. After a two-year hiatus, he has come back to the Nationals with a vengeance for 2009. Finishing 1-1 at High Point, Reed extended his overall points lead and looks forward to a repeat this weekend.
“It definitely took me (a long time),” said Reed. “To be truthful, I didn’t think it’d be eight years for my first overall. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. It feels good to get one and this is actually where I got my first (250) win. This weekend off is coming at a good time for me; I’m still not 100%. I’m just not feeling right and that’s not the way to go (racing).”
Finishing second in the 450 Class was Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short while his teammate Ivan Tedesco finished third. Short, a Colorado native, currently sits third in the season standings and is on the cusp of capturing his first career 450 Class victory. A front runner at Thunder Valley since 2005, a win in front of his hometown crowd could be the push Short needs in the championship fight.
In the midst of his first season in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, Pourcel ran away with the overall in Mt. Morris, finishing 1-1 for the first moto sweep of his career, which translated into stealing the points lead from Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey by just two points.
“I liked supercross a lot and I felt like today was like that. I just got into a rhythm,” said Pourcel. “I went to my doctor and she told me I have a lot of problems (internally) and it’s not going to get better since I was paralyzed. It’s not easy to ride like that but I just have to keep doing my best.”
Being his rookie campaign, Pourcel has never faced a challenge quite like running at night in mile-high altitude. His adjustment to the conditions will be crucial to his position in the standings as Dungey, who has not finished better than 11th in two trips to Thunder Valley, looks to overcome his hard luck in Colorado.
The WMX Class also makes its return to Lakewood for round five of its eight-race season. So far, Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ashley Fiolek has won every race and all but one moto. However, rival Jessica Patterson has been on her heels all season. Last year, Thunder Valley marked the site of current third place holder Sherri Cruse’s breakout performance as she dominated the field en route to a second moto victory and a best career finish of second overall. Fiolek asserted her control of the 2008 championship in Colorado with the overall victory.
At last season’s historic event in Lakewood, eventual series champion James Stewart piloted his way to the fifth consecutive 450 Class overall win of 2008 and his 10th consecutive moto win. In the 250 Class, Ryan Villopoto kept his overall winning streak alive at Thunder Valley, making it four in a row with his 1-1 moto sweep. With Stewart’s absence and Villopoto’s move to the big bikes, Thunder Valley will welcome a pair of first time winner’s in each class under the lights this season.
On Friday, June 26 Sun Enterprises, Colorado’s largest motorcycle dealership, will be the site of the official Toyota AMA Pro National at Thunder Valley Fan Fest, a combination autograph session and celebration of the return of AMA Professional Racing to Colorado. Starting at Noon, this year’s Fan Fest will conclude at 8:00 p.m. and admission is free.
Saturday General Admission Tickets
Kids (6-11 years) $18
Children under 5 FREE
Saturday Grandstand Tickets
Kids (6-11) $40
Children under 5 FREE