Washougal Motocross Park, a tree lined track nestled in the hills near Vancouver Washington. There’s a beautiful river nearby and snow covered mountains in the distance which makes for a picturesque scene at Round 8’s Motocross National. This race was a special treat for me because I was able to include some family in my adventures to Washougal making this trip that much more fun, plus the camping and atmosphere creates a cool place to set-up your tent for the night.
After an fun Friday afternoon of work in the press tent and a nice hike around the track in 90 degree temperatures for the press ride, my day was done and I had the perfect excuse to make my way down to the water to check out the scene. We packed up and headed down to the River near the track; it’s a short 10 minute drive till you find a clearing and a trailhead that leads you to a great afternoon on the river. Washougal River is nice; plenty of places to chill with friends and the water is filled with rocks so the proper sandals are helpful. If you want to take a swim theirs is a rope big swing and swimming spot. We found a good spot to relax on the river’s edge and kicked our feet around the water and enjoyed a great picnic but before long it was time to get back and rest up for race day.
Saturday morning; qualifying starts at 8:30 am and you have many viewing options for your best Moto experience. You can bring your lounge chairs and sit back and watch the action or you can walk around to the different sections of the track during the race. As much as I like to relax and watch the race, it really is a lot of fun to check out all the different sections of the track, and in my opinion Washougal offers the fans of motocross the sweet experience of some real up close racing action! Lucky for me, I also had a pretty good view of all the action; here’s my break down and thoughts on that 450 Motocross racing action from Washougal.
450 Moto 1:
The 450 Class lines up on the gate, taking those last few moments in the shade and that last gulp of water before the starting gate drops for their first Moto of the day. It’s time and the 30 second card goes sideways, the gates drops and it’s Chad Reed, Jake Moss, and Ivan Tedesco to come around the first turn in the lead but Ivan gets caught up and ended up almost last on that first lap. By lap two Ivan had moved his bike 10 positions and that was just the beginning. Ivan ‘Hot Sauce’ Tedesco would ultimately move his Honda Red Bull Racing bike from 38th position to 11th place, not something you want to have happen but watching Ivan make moves and pass guys all over the track was a great demonstrate to his abilities in the face of adversity.
The trail of talent that followed Chad Reed was impressive and those few new faces in the top 10 made for some sweet racing action. One guy we really haven’t seen much of lately, but Washougal definitely put him back on the racing map, Matt Goerke spent his Saturday racing in the top 5 working on that points challenge. After a hiccup in his routine at Round 3’s Freestone National, Matt missed the following three rounds of racing but he made a comeback at Spring Creek and now Washougal and things just seem to be getting better for this guy.
Matt found himself right behind Chad in that first lap, but it was Tommy Hahn and Clement Desalle that made a few quick moves on Matt as they both passed him pushing Goerke back to fourth. Tommy was now in second place and looking steady and strong as he trailed Chad by just a few bikes length the entire race.
Hahn’s hard work paid off with his best finish of the season, a 2nd place podium unfortunately Moto 2 Tommy didn’t get the same great result, read on and find out what went down!
My next bit of interesting info to share is about a 250 privateer rider getting the factory treatment and riding a 450 at Washougal; Scott Champion found himself “in the right place at the right time” and on a Factory Yamaha YZ450F at Washougal. I did get to chat with Scott about this opportunity at Yamaha and it was very cool to see this humble guy get the spotlight this weekend. Going out and lining up on a factory built bike, next to the top 450 guys must have been exciting. The first Moto was more like a learning lesson in motion for Scott; and his valiant efforts didn’t pay off like he hoped but he still had one more Moto to manage the power of that factory YZ450F Yamaha.
A rider you might not heard of before Washougal is Clement Desalle. He made his Motocross Nationals debut at Washougal all the way from Belgium where he currently is racing the GP’s. Riding with the number 463 and in third position after the first lap, Clement would hold on for the remainder of the race and land on the podium finishing in 3rd place; nice job for his first race in the US.
With a respectable start to the first Moto, Josh Grant rode from eighth position, making quick moves to pass Jimmy Albertson and Nick Wey for a fifth place position. Josh continued with that fifth the remainder of the Moto all the way to the checkered flag but this was just the start of a great day for this tough racer.
Jake Moss was back on the starting gate for Washougal; Thunder Valley was his last race but Jake was back in action and it was obvious he was there to make up for lost time. Moto 1, Jake was out front in the top three when the gates dropped. He would fall to sixth and battle back and forth with Andrew Short, ultimately pushing Shorty back to seventh! This Moto would actually be the best race on the day for Andrew, pushing him further behind in that championship battle.
Ultimately Chad Reed would win Moto 1 with an impressive ride and strong lead the entire race. This was just the start to a great day for the number 22.
450 MOTO 2:
Back to the line, the 450 Moto 2 gets set for another 30 minutes plus two laps and again that uphill first left handed turn would make for an unforgettable start to a great race. This time around, Josh Grant would twist the throttle hard to the Holeshot leaving behind a huge pile-up and bike carnage with top riders in the mix. The first group of guys, Davi Millsaps, Jeff Alessi, Tommy Hahn, and Chad Reed were right on the rear fender of Josh’s bike, which might have sent Tommy straight to the ground.
Either way, Tommy was the first of many to hit the ground in that quick 5 second turn, unfortunately due to his location, he would also be the Moto speed bump for Chad Reed and a slew of other riders, endings Hahn’s day of racing. It’s a tough break for Tommy; having his best race and most likely worst race in the same day, I am sure he will be back for more next weekend.
Factory 450 Yamaha rider for the day, Scott Champion, would come back with more steam in Moto 2 and race a hard race ultimately earning two points from Moto 2 with a 19th place finish, very cool! Now we will have to wait and see what becomes of this rare opportunity; either way I think it’s great that Yamaha stepped up and opened their factory gig to this very hard working guy.
I was surprised to see both Andrew Short and Ivan Tedesco out of their elements this weekend. Both riders were involved in first turn pile-ups and had to really fight for positions with damaged bikes from almost last.
Andrew would come back from LAST to finish in 18th place. Ivan was in the same moto-boat with a 33rd place start but finished all the way to 11th. It’s these kinds of days where you really see what a rider is made of; how they handle the stress and how they execute their comeback is a great example of their spirit. Both Andrew and Ivan are strong individuals but can they now make up the points needed to battle the points’ leader?
The racing action in Washougal ended with a bundle of new and interesting stories to share, first one; Jason Lawrence raced an entire day at Washougal, wait…. and he finished both Motos’ and came away with a third overall on the day. Yes, you read this right, J-law kicked butt at Washougal, and I am talking Moto-butt with a 10th place in Moto 1 and a 3rd place in Moto 2. Washougal was good for Jason, and it’s about time if you ask me, this guy has talent on the bike and the proof was in the points. But let’s see if this was not just a fluke; can J-law continue to excel and show his real potential in these last four rounds of the Motocross Nationals, stay tuned!!
63’s Chris Blose finshed Moto 2 in 15th plc, ahead of Tyler Bowers 17th plc; another tough battle on the track!
With that huge jump off the starting gate, Josh Grant sprung around the track like wild fire. It was exciting to have Josh up front and leading a race again but not even his lead and fire could keep ‘Chad Reed’ from making a huge pass on Josh in those last laps. Josh and the Joe Gibbs Racing Team would celebrate second place overall on the day and second in points, moving the team even closer to that ultimate goal.
(Unfortunately, Josh will not make the remaining Motocross Nationals due an injury which occurred during the X-Games in LA. I am not shocked that someone got hurt but I am seriously disappointed that it had to be Josh Grant!! ) Davi Millsaps get 7th in Moto 2 and ends the day with a 16th overall.
Washougal made for another great race for Chad Reed as he scored big with points and continued control towards the championship. It was in Moto 2 that Chad started back in seventh after hitting that Hahn speed bump in the first turn. He would managed to maneuver around guys with momentum and in the last 3 laps he did eventually catch up to the leader and made a slam dunk pass on Josh in the corner where he would continue on for another win on the day. This victory gave Chad the overall win at Washougal and another 50 points.
It was great being back in Washington and on the west coast as this Motocross series starts to dwindle to an end but hey there’s still a few more locations left on the map till the final checkered flag is thrown down. The Moto action is close and with just a few more races to go these guys need to make up points, get on that podium, and get as close to their dreams as possible. Don’t miss out on all the action, get out to the races!