BUCHANAN, Mich. — Thousands of avid motocross fans braved the heat on Saturday to cheer on the world’s best motocross riders as legendary RedBud USA hosted the sixth round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing.
As the season reached its halfway point, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey kept his dominant run going in the 450 Class, wining his fourth straight race with another 1-1 moto sweep.
In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett raced to his third victory of the season and second in-a-row with an impressive 1-1 effort.
In the opening 450 Class moto, it was Dungey who prevailed out of the gate, establishing himself as the rider to beat early while Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart followed in second in his return to action.
As Dungey pushed to open a gap on Stewart, the Suzuki rider went down, allowing Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer and Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton to move past. On the following lap, Stewart encountered misfortune again, stalling his bike and falling to seventh. He eventually worked his way to a sixth-place result.
Out front, Dungey took the checkered flag by more than 45 seconds ahead of the field.
In Moto 2, MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi grabbed the holeshot and led early, but it didn’t take long for Dungey to take over the top spot and pull away. Alessi, who was involved in a first-turn crash in the first moto, settled into second for the remainder of the moto, while Stewart bounced back to run third.
Dungey’s near 35-second win extended his moto winning streak to eight.
“Having James (Stewart) back this week was good to add another challenge, and it’s good for the sport,” said Dungey. “We made some more changes to the bike coming into (today) and I think we’ve made even more progress. My starts were good and I knew getting out front would make life easier, having a whole track to work with. It’s (too) early to think points, but you’ve got to be smart. With James back, you knew he’d be there, so I didn’t want to downplay him. I just wanted to get a good start and see how things played out.”
Brayton brought home his first overall podium result of the season in second (3-4), while Stewart finished third (3-6) despite his troubles.
Dungey extended his lead in the 450 Class standings to 72 points over Alessi.
In the 250 Class, Baggett needed a pair of come-from-behind performances to take the win. After crossing the line in sixth at the conclusion of the first lap in Moto 1, Baggett began a charge to the front of the field. He quickly picked off riders to move into second by lap five and overcame a five-second deficit to pass GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia for the lead on lap 12 and pull away.
In Moto 2, Baggett put himself in a better position, coming out of the gate in third and working his way to the front of the field by the conclusion of the opening lap. On lap two, a mistake forced Baggett to fall, allowing Barcia to take over the lead.
After losing just one spot, Baggett once again set his sights on the lead and managed to take over the position again on lap eight, holding it through to the finish.
“This track is one of the best on the schedule, its got a little bit of everything,” said Baggett. “There’s no formula to the way I ride. It just happens. I had a pitiful start in the first moto and fought my way through the pack. I got a good start in the second moto and just tipped it over. I looked at lines to see where I could pick up ground and I just took a shot (at the lead) when I had a chance.”
Barcia’s pair of second-place finishes landed him second overall, while his teammate Eli Tomac finished third (5-3).
Baggett extended his lead in the championship to 19 points over Barcia.
The Women’s Motocross Championship hosted its fifth round of eight for the 2012 season. Defending champion, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Ashley Fiolek dominated both motos to claim her second win of the summer. Fiolek missed the WMX Class’ previous round at High Point in June with an injury, but gained valuable points in the championship.
Munn Racing KTM’s Sara Pettersson finished second (3-4).
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