Monster Energy Kawasaki Rider Jason Anderson Secures Consecutive Podium Finish at Washougal2022-08-02 02:15
Round 8 of the 2022 AMA Pro Motocross Championship headed to the Pacific Northwest in Washougal, Washington, where Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson claimed his fourth overall podium finish with a third-place result. Fellow Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Joey Savatgy capitalized on two superb starts to earn seventh overall with 7-7 moto scores. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Jo Shimoda mastered the forests of Washougal to claim third overall (3-3), while teammate Seth Hammaker battled to respectable 5-8 moto finishes for sixth overall.
The evergreens of the Pacific Northwest provided a picturesque background for the 41st running of the Washougal MX National as a sea of fans cheered on the world’s elite motocross racers. Drastic changes in elevation, dark shadows and mixed soil conditions offered unique challenges for all riders from the start of qualifying. The 450 Class qualifying sessions began with both Anderson and Savatgy recording lap times inside the top-10 before electing to make slight bike adjustments to better suit the slick track conditions. As the second qualifying session began winding down, Anderson recorded a 2:11.361 lap time to qualify third overall. An accident towards the end of the second session cost Savatgy the opportunity to better his 2:14.155 time from the first session but was still fast enough to rank the No.17 ninth fastest heading into Moto 1.
The start of 450 Moto 1 would see both Monster Energy Kawasaki riders emerge from the first turn inside the top-5. Anderson and Savatgy utilized the power of their KX™450SR motorcycles to keep the leaders within reach early on. A mistake by Anderson on Lap 2 would drop the No.21 back to seventh however, a quick recovery allowed the New Mexico native to maneuver past his competitors and back into fourth place within one lap. Running 15 seconds behind his closest championship points rival, Anderson steadily chipped away at the deficit as the race progressed. With less than 10 minutes left in the moto, Anderson placed heavy pressure on the rider in third before lighting up the roars of the crowd by making the pass for the podium. Meanwhile, the No.17 was engrossed in a three-rider battle for sixth nearly the entire duration of the race. When the checkered flag flew, Anderson crossed the line in third and Savatgy finished seventh.
The second 450 Class moto began with both Monster Energy Kawasaki riders again crossing the holeshot line inside the top-5. The No.21 established himself in third from the start of the race and briefly latched onto the leaders pace, but slick conditions and deep ruts made it difficult for Anderson to match the pace. Savatgy settled into fifth early in the race but came under heavy pressure around Lap 4. Unwilling to concede the position, Savatgy raised the pace and focused forward. This pressure forced a mistake by the rider ahead, allowing Savatgy to capitalize and secure fourth for a couple laps before a mistake of his own dropped him three positions. At the finish, Anderson secured his second consecutive podium result with a third overall (3-3), while Savatgy brought home a respectable seventh overall with 7-7 finishes.
“Being the third best guy out there is hard to accept. I expect to be up front every round and I’ve proven I have the speed to do it, but we just didn’t have it today. The guys up front were running a crazy pace. All in all, it was still a good day for us and we made up points in the race for third in the championship. We’ll try to keep this podium streak going as we head into the final four rounds.”
- Jason Anderson
“I had a scary moment in practice after I caught my foot in a rut coming off the face of a tabletop. It could’ve been really bad but I’m happy I was able to save that one. Overall, seventh is right around where I expect to be right now. Obviously, I’d like to be up front with the leaders, but we’re making progress. If I can keep fighting for the fourths, fifths and sixths until the end of the season I’ll be proud.”
- Joey Savatgy
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Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Seth Hammaker was poised to improve on his seventh-place result from last weekend as he set the fourth fastest time in 250 Class qualifying (2:13.741). Meanwhile, Shimoda clocked in the seventh fastest lap (2:14.252) overall.
At the start of Moto 1, Shimoda launched his KX™250 out the gate to claim the holeshot and the lead. Teammate Hammaker was also out to a great start, emerging from the first turn in fourth. With a clear track ahead, the Japanese-born sensation tried to break away from the pack but was instantly met with heavy pressure from the rider in second. The No.30 had the crowd on their feet as he defended attack after attack from his opponent for four laps before conceding the position. The pressure didn’t stop there, however, as Shimoda was again faced with pressure from another competitor behind. The roars of the crowd followed Shimoda around the track as he used a combination of raw speed and optimal line selection to maintain second position. The intense battle reached its climax when the No.30 dropped to third. Fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Hammaker was sitting comfortably in fourth most of the race before a former 250 Class Championship began creeping up behind him. Unphased by his opponent, Hammaker upped his pace and fended off his attacker for six laps before settling for fifth. When the checkered flag came out, Shimoda crossed the line in third and Hammaker was not far behind in fifth.
The second 250 Class moto hosted green out front again as Shimoda came across the holeshot line in third and Hammaker close behind in fifth. A quick pass by the No.30 moved him into second before the end of the opening lap. With only one rider in front, Shimoda began to slowly chip at the leader’s advantage until he was caught in a battle of his own to maintain second place. Shimoda did all he could to hold last year’s 250 Class champion at bay but a slight bobble down the backside of Horsepower Hill saw the No.30 move into third. The battles for Shimoda continued down to the checkered flag as he put on a heroic effort to hold off the Moto 1 winner for the last two laps of the race and cross the finish line in third. Hammaker, comfortably in fifth for much of the race, faced a mid-moto push by the riders behind who caught up to the No.47 and moved him back to eighth by the time the checkered flag flew. Despite Shimoda’s brilliant 3-3 performances, the swapping of positions from the top four riders awarded the No.30 fourth overall with his teammate Hammaker securing sixth (5-8).
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