Thor/Parts Unlimited Motocross Week in Review: Southwick2009-08-31 12:20
A gloomy, rainy day in Southern Massachusetts turned out to be Tyla Rattray’s time to shine in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships. The South African rider led the Thor/Parts Unlimited team’s efforts at Moto-X 338 by winning his first moto of the season and finishing second overall in the 250 Class.
The mood of the other team members more closely matched the weather, though, because of a series of contrasting results that showed, again, how quickly things can change in this sport. Team leader and new 450 Class champion Chad Reed crashed and failed to finish the second moto but avoided serious injury, Christophe Pourcel’s bid for the 250 class title got bogged down in the mud that plagued everyone, and Jake Weimer, Austin Stroupe and Ryan Morais made the best of unfortunate circumstances.
A Good Day for Rattray
Tyla Rattray, the defending MX2 World Champion, got his best finish of the season for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki with a second overall and confirmed his position on the podium by closing the day with his initial moto win.
Rattray started round 11 of the 12-race series with a steady ride to sixth place in moto one. In the second moto, however, he got the holeshot and led every inch of the way to beat Honda teammates Brett Metcalfe and Justin Barcia by 13 and 43 seconds, respectively. The second overall was Rattray’s best since making the move to the U.S., but Barcia got the overall victory thanks to his win in moto one.
Champions Are Human, Too
Chad Reed, who had clinched the 450 Class title with his fourth straight overall victory at Budds Creek, Md. the week before, appeared en route to making it five in a row at Southwick after getting the holeshot and winning the opening 30-minutes-plus-2-laps moto by almost 6 seconds.
The Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki star got out front early in the second moto, too, only to have his day spoiled by one of the mishaps that greatly affected the competitors on a course made sloppy by a day of steady rain. Reed cross-rutted off the face of the finish line jump midway through the moto, dismounted his bike and landed hard, avoiding possibly serious injury when his motorcycle narrowly missed hitting him in the head.
Reed crawled off the track to assess his condition and finally got up on his own and walked off, his frustration obvious. Indications are that the Florida resident had suffered several bumps and bruises but nothing that would prevent his participation in the series’ finale at Steel City this weekend. Based on history, Reed has never been one to back down, proving to be one of the toughest riders to ever throw a leg over a motorcycle by riding through injury on several occasions. Saturday’s race should be no different.
Weathering Another Storm
The New England weather played a major role in the proceedings at Southwick, where two riders posted their initial overall victories and many of the consistent contenders had inconsistent results.
Rain that fell steadily throughout the day turned the normally sandy course into thick, clumpy slop that contributed to numerous crashes, several mechanical failures and forced many riders to ditch their goggles as a result of the messy roost.
It was the second straight race hampered by rain. As a result, everyone is hoping the long-range forecast calling for sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70’s at Steel City stays true.
Bogged Down at a Bad Time
Christophe Pourcel, the sensational Pro Circuit Kawasaki rookie who’s been waging an exciting fight for the 250 Class title with Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, was one of those who fell victim to the conditions at Moto-X 338. The French rider went into the day with a 13-point lead and exited it with a 17-point deficit and his worst performance of the season.
Pourcel got a slow start in the opening moto, but had worked his way into fifth place via his trademark tenacity when his Kawasaki lost power with just under two laps remaining, resulting in a DNF and an official result of 27th. In the second moto, Pourcel and Dungey got together just off the start, leaving Pourcel in last place. He was 32nd after the first lap and steadily picked his way through the field to finish 11th. That determined ride gave him 18th overall and the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award after passing 21 riders. Unfortunately, he lost 30 points to Dungey, who was fourth overall. It also was the first time this season he was not on the podium.
Pourcel has demonstrated great resolve and maturity throughout his rookie season. His ability to adjust to any situation leaves him fully capable of closing the season with a pair of moto wins, an overall victory and, given the nature of racing, quite possibly the championship.
Mixed Results for Pro Circuit
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit team had a day of mixed results overall. Jake Weimer, the 250 overall winner at Budds Creek, had trouble in each moto at Southwick and went 13-9 for ninth overall. Austin Stroupe had a strong fifth in the opening moto, but fell to 29th in the second and was 13th overall.
Ryan Morais, who underwent shoulder surgery immediately following the final race of the Supercross season in early May, made his 2009 outdoor debut. He had mechanical issues during practice and fell in his consolation race, but shook off the rust from more than three months on the sidelines and will be ready for Steel City.
Price is Fourth After Her Sixth
Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Sara Price continues to impress observers with her development and is becoming one of the riders to watch in the Women’s Motocross Class. She was sixth overall at Southwick, finishing fourth in the opening moto and sixth in the second. That left the Canyon Lake, Calif. resident fourth in the standings going into this weekend’s finale at Delmont, Pa.
Source: Thor/Parts Unlimited
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