SOUTHWICK, Mass. — The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its annual stop in New England Saturday, hosting the ninth round of the season from Moto-X 338.
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., continued his dominance in the 450 Class, capturing his seventh consecutive win, but needed a pit stop in order to do so.
In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett, of Grand Terrace, Calif., raced to his fourth victory of the summer, extending his lead in the championship.
MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi, of Victorville, Calif., grabbed the holeshot in the opening 450 Class moto, while Dungey quickly worked his way forward from a third-place start. The point leader paced his main championship rival for five laps before making a pass for the lead and pulling away for the moto win.
In Moto 2, Dungey once again found himself slotted behind Alessi, who captured the holeshot. This time, Dungey wasted no time taking over the top spot, crossing the line at the front of the field at the conclusion of the opening lap. After opening up a multi-second lead, Dungey tipped over on lap six, losing the lead to Alessi.
Just two laps later, Dungey passed Alessi again and eventually extended his advantage to more than 10 seconds. Over the course of those laps, Dungey’s KTM team became aware that fuel had spilled from his gas tank in the earlier fall and for fear of running empty, determined Dungey would need to pull into the mechanic’s area to replenish the tank.
On lap 13, Dungey pulled off the track to receive fuel, holding a 13-second advantage. After a quick exchange, he was back running, but had fallen to second behind Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray, of South Africa, who passed Alessi just one lap prior. Dungey stayed close to Rattray for the final four laps, but was unable to pass him for the moto win. Nevertheless, by virtue of his 1-2 finish, Dungey claimed the overall win.
“I got a little bit of a lead and felt like I was in a groove,” explained Dungey. “Coming to the finish, my rear stepped to the right, hooked the jump, and made me cross rut. I tried to save it, but it took me right down. When I fell, I think I kicked the gas cap off. I got back into the lead, but I kept worrying if I had enough left.
“The TV footage allowed our guys to see what happened, which helped them decide to bring me in, which worked out because I wouldn’t have made another lap. I tried to catch (Tyla Rattray), but he’s a great sand rider. I’m bummed I made a mistake, but given the situation, things couldn’t have worked out better.”
Alessi’s 2-3 finishes landed him second overall, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle finished third (6-4) for his second career podium result.
Dungey’s lead in the 450 Class standings now sits at 85 points over Alessi, giving him the potential to capture the title at the next round.
In the 250 Class, GEICO Honda’s Zach Bell, of Cairo, Ga., turned heads in his professional debut by grabbing the opening moto holeshot and pulling away for an early lead. The 17-year-old rider paced the field for five laps before yielding to his teammate Eli Tomac, of Cortez, Colo., on Lap 6. Bell crashed moments later, while Tomac never looked back, winning by over 12 seconds.
In Moto 2, Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen, of Germany, made quick work of early leader, and Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda rider, Jessy Nelson, of Paso Robles, Calif., and asserted himself out front. Behind him, Baggett positioned himself into second and began his pursuit of the lead, setting the stage for a moto-long battle between the familiar foes.
After leading for nearly the entire moto, Roczen came under fire from Baggett on lap 15, with the Kawasaki rider making a tough pass, only to be passed again by Roczen just a few turns later. Then Tomac, who had fallen earlier in the race, caught the lead duo and made a quick pass on Baggett, only to crash in the next turn and fall back to third. On the following lap, Baggett made another move on Roczen, making the pass stick and carrying it through to the finish, tying Tomac in points for the day, but securing the second-moto tiebreaker (3-1).
Tomac finished second (1-3), while Roczen rounded out the podium in third (4-2).
Baggett’s lead in the championship now sits at 24 points over GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, of Monroe, N.Y.
The Women’s Motocross Championship hosted its penultimate round on Saturday. Reigning champion Ashley Fiolek, of St. Augustine, Fla., captured her third consecutive victory (1-1) aboard her Team Honda Muscle Milk machine, setting the stage for a dramatic final round battle for the championship. Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Jessica Patterson, of Tallahassee, Fla., finished second (2-2), while Munn Racing KTM’s Sara Pettersson, of Sweden, finished third (4-4).