After three months of high drama, memorable action and the world’s premier motocross athletes laying it all on the line, the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship will come to an exciting conclusion this Saturday, September 11 with the inaugural Pala Motocross National, from Pala Raceway in Pala, Calif. The facility, located in San Diego’s North County, is the newest venue of American motocross and marks the return of the motocross nationals to San Diego County for the first time in 28 years.
For nearly three decades, the avid motocross community in San Diego County has been void of an AMA Motocross national. Not since the legendary Carlsbad Raceway in the ’70s and ’80s have the world’s best riders descended upon the fifth-most-populous county in the United States for a major outdoor motocross event. Pala Raceway is one of the newest motocross playgrounds in Southern California. Based just outside the sport’s talent hotbeds in Murrieta and Temecula, Pala is focused on providing the best riding facility possible to the thousands of motocross riders in the region. Whether young or old, a novice or a veteran, Pala Raceway offers a variety of tracks for all riders with the mission of eventually becoming the premier motocross destination of California.
With only one round and two motos remaining, the intense 250 Class title fight will take center stage at Pala as Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel and GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard take their battle down to the wire. At Steel City last weekend, the penultimate round of the series, Canard’s second-half dominance continued, winning his fifth overall in the last six races and fending off his championship rival in both motos in the process. Currently, only seven points separates the pair, but Pourcel holds the advantage despite Canard’s momentum, needing just a pair of runner-up efforts in each moto no matter what Canard does in order to secure the championship–by one point! Based on consistency and last week’s performance, that task looks to be well within the Frenchman’s reach, but Canard will no doubt do everything he can to get the upper hand when the final points are tallied.
Last weekend at Steel City, a surprise winner provided a lot of excitement and a heart-warming storyline as 17-year veteran Kevin Windham returned to the top of the 450 Class overall podium for the first time since 2007. The Honda Red Bull Racing rider and fan favorite has enjoyed his return to the outdoor nationals, subbing for the injured Davi Millsaps since Round 7 at Millville. As Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rookie and newly-crowned champion Ryan Dungey stumbled in his attempt to win his tenth race in a row, Windham capitalized, withstanding an aggressive challenge from GEICO Powersports Honda’s Brett Metcalfe, who was in search of his first career win during his rookie campaign in the premier class.
Nonetheless, Metcalfe’s strong runner-up effort helped him pass Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short for second place in the championship. The Australian rider sits five points ahead of his Honda counterpart and now sits in position to give an impressive 1-2 rookie sweep of the premier class behind Dungey, who already clinched the title.
With only one round remaining in the eight-race Motorcycle USA Women’s Motocross Championship, DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jessica Patterson looks to be in control of her own destiny in search of her sixth women’s motocross title. Despite strong efforts by reigning two-time champion and Honda Red Bull Racing rider Ashley Fiolek, who’s managed to grab the opening moto win the last two rounds, Patterson has found a way to respond to the pressure and take away any advantage her longtime rival has obtained. Currently, 22 points separates the duo and with six wins to who credit in seven rounds, Patterson has placed the pressure firmly on Fiolek. As one of the most determined and resilient riders on WMX history, it will be interesting to see how the defending champion responds.