WASHOUGAL, Wash. — The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its annual stop in the Pacific Northwest Saturday, hosting the eighth round of the season from Washougal MX Park.
For the sixth consecutive race, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., claimed the overall win, but not without some pressure from his closest title contender — MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi, of Victorville, Calif.
In the 250 Class, GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, of Monroe. N.Y., raced to his second victory of the 2012 season, following a strong and consistence outing.
Alessi grabbed the holeshot in the opening moto of the 450 Class and set a fast pace early on, with Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki’s Josh Grant, of Riverside, Calif., and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, of Rupert, Idaho, in tow. Following a fourth-place start, Dungey quickly began to move his way forward and positioned himself behind Alessi on the second lap.
Dungey soon eliminated his deficit to Alessi and applied pressure for the lead. After several attempts to pass, Dungey lost traction on Lap 12 and fell, remounting in second, but dropping nearly seven seconds back. Just two laps later, Dungey was once again on Alessi’s rear wheel, but the Suzuki rider withstood the advances yet again to claim a hard-earned victory, ending Dungey’s 10-moto winning streak.
In Moto 2, Dungey made short work of the field, securing the holeshot and quickly asserting himself as the rider to beat by establishing a multi-second lead on the opening lap. The KTM rider led all 15 laps to tie Alessi in points for the day, but secured the tiebreaker over his rival by virtue of the better second-moto result.
“It was fun (out there),” said Dungey, who won for the fifth straight year at Washougal. “”I was riding in second (behind Alessi) and I was up on him, but I had a hard time making the pass. I had a (moto-winning) streak going and I was happy with it, but at the end of the day, winning every moto doesn’t get (the championship) done. If anything, it was a kick in motivation to go a little harder, which I did in the second moto.”
Alessi’s runner-up effort (1-2) was highlighted by his first moto win since the 2010 season and the inaugural moto victory for the Spokane-based MotoConcepts team. Team Chaparral Honda’s Andrew Short, of Smithville, Texas, took the final spot on the podium in third (3-4).
Dungey’s lead in the 450 Class standings remains at 80 points over Alessi.
In the 250 Class, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin, of France, set the tone early in the first moto by capturing the holeshot and opening up a comfortable advantage over the field. Musquin continued to lead for the majority of the moto with his sights set on a first-career moto win, but was passed by Barcia on the eleventh lap. Barcia fended off his teammate Eli Tomac, of Cortez, Colo., the rest of the way, while Musquin followed in third.
In Moto 2, Barcia took advantage of a strong start to open up a slight lead over points leader Blake Baggett, of Grand Terrace, Calif., who was looking to overcome his own misfortune in the opening moto. The duo paced one another for nearly the entire moto before Baggett made a late pass on Lap 13 to steal the win and secure a spot on the overall podium.
Barcia’s second-place effort in the final moto was enough to claim the overall win, with Tomac in second (2-3) and Baggett in third (6-1).
“The first moto was awesome, I had to ride really hard,” said Barcia. “I just kind of got sick getting roosted, so I made the pass. In the second moto, I got a good start and was riding great, but Blake (Baggett) pressured me and I ended up losing my front end with a couple laps to go. The last two years here I’ve really struggled, but after today I’m happy.”
After losing valuable points in the first moto, Baggett’s win in Moto 2 minimized his total points lost to seven, giving him an 11-point lead heading into the next round.
“I just made a mistake and tried going faster than I could go,” said Baggett. “I had a couple falls, so I just went back and regrouped. I made some changes between motos and I guess they worked.”
The Women’s Motocross Championship was also in action on Saturday, with the sixth of eight rounds this summer. After suffering a broken hand just a few weeks ago, points leader Jessica Patterson, of Tallahassee, Fla., was looking to maintain her advantage aboard her Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki.
At the end of two motos, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Ashley Fiolek, of St. Augustine, Fla., prevailed with her third win of the season (1-1), while Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Tarah Gieger, of Puerto Rico, finished second (3-2), and MotoConcepts Honda’s Mariana Balbi, of Brazil, finished third (4-3). Patterson was in position to claim the overall win, leading the early portion of the second moto, but misfortune relegated her to a fourth-place finish overall (2-8). However, Patterson maintains possession of the points lead, holding just a two-point advantage over Gieger.
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