With Two Wins to His Credit, Tyla Rattray Leads the Way in the 250 Class

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-Superstore.com 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.

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