MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The 2014 season of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, got under way last Saturday with the Red Bull Glen Helen Nat’l in San Bernardino, Calif.
Minnesota natives Ryan Dungey and Jeremy Martin secured season-opening victories. Now, heading into round two of the 12-race championship this weekend in Sacramento, Calif.,, Dungey will wear the coveted red number plate background to indicate his points lead in the 450 Class, while Martin will sport the 250 Class version of the leader’s red plate.
Taking place at the Prairie City OHV Park, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will embark upon the 46th running of the GoPro Hangtown Motocross Classic this Saturday, as the fastest professional motocross racers in the world are poised to challenge for their respective titles at one of the oldest stops on the national circuit.
While Red Bull KTM’s Dungey secured the overall victory at the opening round just last weekend, the Belle Plaine, Minnesota, native has an onslaught of competitors right on his heels. For example, Dungey’s Red Bull KTM teammate and 450 Class rookie Ken Roczen has proven to be a contender early on with a second overall at round one.
In fact, Roczen led a majority of the second moto before Dungey, who is a two-time 450 Class Champion, made a last-lap pass for the win. As a former world champion hailing from Apolda, Germany, Roczen will is a young addition to this class worth keeping an eye on.
And don’t count out the Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX veteran Josh Grant, who led Moto 1 from start to finish at Glen Helen. While Grant experienced a big crash in the second moto, the California native made a big statement right out of the gates. He’s also proven in the past that he loves the Hangtown track-he made his professional debut here exactly ten years ago, leading his first-ever race right out of the gate.
Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia was a heavy favorite for a podium finish at the opener; however, a broken chain in Moto 1 left the Monroe, New York, native with a 34th place finish. Barcia bounced back with a fourth in the second moto, and he looks to improve his results at Hangtown. But there was no disappointment from his Team Honda Muscle Milk teammate Trey Canard, who kicked off the season with an overall podium finish. Canard’s moto scores of 7-3 were enough to place the Shawnee, Oklahoma, rider in third place for the day.
Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s newest member, Brett Metcalfe, who is filling in for the injured 450 Class Champion, Ryan Villopoto, had a great showing at the first round with his new team, securing fourth overall. Metcalfe, the reigning Canadian Motocross Champion, has been slated as another contender this season.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart finished just outside the top five at the season opener, where he experienced a minor crash in the first moto. Stewart, a former 450 Class Champion, is expected to be in championship contention this season. TwoTwo Motorsports/Discount Tire Racing’s Chad Reed enters the 2014 season fresh off an injury and the former 450 Class Champion is admittedly easing himself back into competition, where he is expected to be a front-runner upon full recovery.
In the 250 Class, the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha duo of Jeremy Martin and Cooper Webb put forth an impressive performance at last Saturday’s opener. Martin swept the entire field, grabbing both MotoSport.com holeshots before dominating each moto for the win. Martin will have his hands full with teammate Cooper Webb, who finished as a consistent runner-up last weekend in Southern California. It was the first 1-2 finish for Yamaha in a 250 National since 1998.
In addition to the Yamaha duo above, the 250 Class has a strong field of talent competing for the championship. Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson, who grabbed third place in Moto 1 at Glen Helen, put his KTM in the mix early on but the Edgewood, New Mexico, native experienced mechanical issues in the second moto. Then there’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett, who also claimed a third-place moto finish. Baggett is a former 250 Class Champion and knows what it takes to get the job done through 12 rounds.
In the end, it was Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/Honda’s Cole Seely who claimed the final podium position at the opener. Seely made a big statement that he is ready to compete for the 250 Class title this season.
Former 250 Class Champion and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki rider Dean Wilson sustained a knee injury at round one and will not be competing this weekend at Hangtown. Additionally, GEICO Honda’s Zach Osborne will be sitting out, due to a thumb injury.