Thor/Parts Unlimited Motocross Week in Review: Budds Creek

2009-08-24 11:56
When Chad Reed arrived at Budds Creek Motocross Park, he knew that within three weeks he would be the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Champion if he didn’t get hurt or make any serious mistakes. The Australian star of the Thor/Parts Unlimited team also knew that anything can happen in racing. As a result, the Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki rider proceeded to erase any “ifs” and clinched the 450 Class title with his fourth straight overall win.

Reed’s title-winning ride guaranteed that it would a great day for the Thor crew, but great became fantastic when Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates Jake Weimer and Christophe Pourcel dominated the 250 Class podium. Weimer won the second moto and captured his third overall win of the season while Pourcel took the first moto and second overall to strengthen his hold on the points lead with two races remaining.

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again
Race day in Mechanicsville, Md. ended up being almost as much about the weather as about anything that happened on the track. The weather leading up to the Monster Energy Motocross National was hot and humid but meteorologists were predicting rain and warning of flash floods in the area.

Those predictions came true late in the afternoon. Rain began to fall during the second 450 Class moto and turned into a torrent by the start of the second 250 Class moto, the final race of the day. Finally, with puddles forming and water running over the race course, the final moto was red-flagged just as it approached the final minutes.

Not Bad for a Last-Minute Entry
Chad Reed wasn’t expected to be among the riders competing in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship this season. Since the close of the 2006 season, the two-time Supercross champion had ridden just one outdoor event (at Budds Creek in 2007) and as soon as the 2009 Supercross season ended, Reed went home to Australia for what was expected to be a long vacation. Instead, the Florida resident decided to make a return to the nationals in an effort to capture a title that had eluded him since coming to the U.S. and was back in the country in time to get in some practice before the series began and was on the grid for round one at Glen Helen in late May.

Reed started modestly while reacquainting himself with the natural terrain and lengthy motos while also dealing with a persistent stomach problem. At the series fourth round, he broke through for his first overall win in the premier class with a 1-1 effort at High Point and has been almost unbeatable since. His only win outdoors prior to this season had been in the former 125cc Class in 2002. Now, his resume includes five overall victories, nine moto wins and the third AMA championship of his illustrious career.

Reed has time to add to those numbers, too, with events remaining Aug. 29 at Motocross 338 in Southwick, Mass., and Sept. 5 at Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pa.

Closing the Door on the Competition
Three straight overall wins helped put Reed in position to clinch the title at Budds Creek and he got it done in impressive style. He was slowed by a freak accident in the first turn of the opening moto, barely remaining in the top 10, but quickly worked his way into second place and spent the second half of the moto in pursuit of Honda rider Davi Millsaps. Reed applied intense pressure over the final laps, but Millsaps hung on and forced him to settle for second.

The second moto had a different tone. Reed ran with the leaders from the start of the rain-soaked 30-minutes plus 2 laps race, took the lead about a third of the way through the race and pulled away easily. He started the day 82 points in front of Honda’s Andrew Short, who struggled all day and finished eighth overall, and finished things off holding an insurmountable 104-point advantage

“I feel like my career is complete, though I also feel like I have a lot of fight left in me,” Reed said. “Winning the championship is what this hard work is all about and I want to thank everybody at the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team because everybody did a great job. We were a last-minute entry and we gave it our all. We are very, very happy to get this championship.”

Show Them the Money
As if the day wasn’t good enough already, it managed to get even better as the Budds Creek round of the series was also the final round of the three-race Monster Energy Triple Crown of Motocross and Thor stalwarts Reed and Pourcel each took home $5,000 checks as the leading scorers throughout trio of events. Despite the gloomy conditions, there were a lot of smiling faces amongst the Thor camp when all was said and done Saturday afternoon.

Weimer Gets His Hat Trick
Jake Weimer had posted back-to-back overall wins in rounds five and six of the 12-race series, but had some inconsistency over the next three rounds. The young man from Rupert, Idaho, was the epitome of excellence at Budds Creek, however.

Weimer led the opening moto for a while before losing the top spot to Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Pourcel, following him across the finish for second place. In the second moto, Weimer overcame a botched start and the torrential rain to run down early leader Brett Metcalfe and make the winning pass in a technical whoop section just before the race was called due to inclement weather.

Weimer’s third overall win of the 2009 campaign moved him into fourth in the points, just 10 behind Metcalfe.

Back in Control
Christophe Pourcel said before round 10 got under way that he knew what he needed to do in the final three events to wind up with the #1 plate that goes to the series champion. Then he went out and proved it.

After beating Pro Circuit teammate Weimer in the opening moto, Pourcel turned in a smart, conservative ride through the rain in the second moto, content to settle for third place and hold on to the valuable championship points. That gave the rookie from France second overall and added seven points to his lead over Suzuki rival Ryan Dungey.

Pourcel, the only rider to stand on the podium at every round, leads Dungey by 13 points with two events and four motos to go and if he finishes second in each of those remaining motos, Pourcel will win the championship no matter what Dungey does.

At Full Strength Again
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki had its full team with which it began the season on hand at Budds Creek for the first time since Austin Stroupe suffered his hip injury during round two at Hangtown. Stroupe made his return last week at Unadilla and showed he’s quickly regaining his form by taking fifth overall with 8-6 finishes at Budds Creek.

Stroupe was joined by Tyla Rattray, who had been sidelined for three rounds due to a broken thumb. The South African was 10th overall with 6-15 finishes.

Has Anybody Seen My Pants?
Factory Yamaha newcomer Matt Goerke unintentionally made a fashion statement at Budds Creek. Goerke, a member of the Parts Unlimited family through his sponsorship from Moose gear, got to the track without any pants. Fortunately for Goerke, Yamaha rider and Thor team member Josh Hill is the same size. The quick-thinking and resourceful minds behind Parts Unlimited and Thor acted quickly to assure that the Florida rider would be able to race and responded by providing him with Hill’s. As a result, Goerke rode in a Moose jersey and Thor pants in an accidental showcase for both of Parts Unlimited’s premier lines of motocross apparel.

Source: Thor/Parts Unlimited

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story