Mother Nature was the story of the day on Thursday at the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, presented by AMSOIL, as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms forced an extended delay in action at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. When racing eventually resumed, racers were greeted with a wet and challenging racetrack, which resulted in an unpredictable afternoon of competition.

Moto 2: 250 B Limited
The lone class of the day not upended by the rain was 250 B Limited, which opened the morning ahead of the storm that initiated the weather delay. After a win in Moto 1, NSA Yamaha Amateur Factory Team rider Leum Oehlhof entered the second moto as the rider to beat, but his path to another potential victory was likely going to include resistance from KTM Orange Brigade’s Jeremy Fappani.

A very damp racetrack greeted riders as the field stormed out the starting gate, from which Yamaha rider Thomas Ralston appeared to secure the STACYC Holeshot before Fappani stormed to the front of the field to lead the early stages of the moto. With his rival out front, Oehlhof was forced to do work on the opening laps to overcome a start deep in the top 10. Despite the slippery conditions, Oehlhof carved his way through the field with ease and soon slotted in behind Fappani in second.

More than 10 seconds separated the lead rivals just two laps into the moto, but it was apparent that Oehlhof took a liking to the conditions, and he soon started to take big chunks out of his deficit to Fappani. At the midway point of the moto Oehlhof had closed to within striking distance of the lead, but as both riders looked to find the balance of speed and avoiding mistakes on the treacherous track, it resulted in dramatic momentum swings that allowed Fappani to maintain his hold of the lead. As he looked to mount a charge and pressure Fappani, Oehlhof suffered a costly tip over that ultimately ended his hopes of another moto win.

The clear track off the start was the difference maker for Fappani as he led every lap en route to the Moto 2 win. Oehlhof followed all alone in second, while KTM rider Grayson Fair rounded out the moto podium in third.

With identical finishes through the first two motos, Fappani and Oehlhof are now set up for a winner-take-all showdown in Moto 3, which will commence on Friday.

250 B Limited Moto 2 Results

  1. Jeremy Fappani, Scottsdale, Ariz., KTM
  2. Leum Oehlhof, Oak Hills, Calif., Yamaha
  3. Grayson Fair, Jonesboro, La., KTM
  4. Thomas Ralston, Dalhart, Texas, Yamaha
  5. Trace Holland, Spicewood, Texas, KTM
Jeremy Fappani brought home a big win in the second moto of 250 B Limited. Photo Courtesy: MX Sports / Align Media

Moto 2: 250 B
All eyes were on Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Casey Cochran as the 250 B field lined up onto the starting gate for the second time. Cochran came into the day undefeated and had yet to be seriously challenged in a moto in his quest for a pair of class titles.

As the field emerged from the first turn to star Moto 2 it was the Yamaha of Rodrigo Borges out front for the STACYC Holeshot, but he was soon passed by the KTM of Jordan Renfro and several other riders. Renfro was then passed by a slew of riders as well as AEO Powersports GASGAS’ Casey Benard Jr. grabbed the lead, followed by the Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green duo of Krystian Janik and Drew Adams.

Benard held a tenuous lead for the opening laps as Janik was all over his rear fender in search of a way around. The Kawasaki rider’s persistence finally paid off as he seized control of the moto on the third lap. Behind this, the complexion of the hunt for the 250 B title took a dramatic and unexpected turn when Cochran, who was running sixth, was spotted on the side of the track, seemingly favoring his right arm. The Moto 1 winner’s race was over, along with his title aspirations, which opened the door for another rider to grab control of the class.

Once in the lead Janik was able to increase his pace and laid down the fastest lap of the moto just past halfway to push his advantage to nearly 10 seconds. After a persistent battle with Benard, Adams was able to take control of second and brought along NSA Yamaha Amateur Factory Team rider Logan Best with him into third.

Janik’s control of the moto was never in doubt the rest of the way and he easily took the win over Adams for a Team Green 1-2, while Best rounded out the top three.

Thanks to a pair of runner-up results, Adams is the lone rider in the class to post back-to-back podiums, which has put him in control of his own destiny entering the final moto on Friday.

250 B Moto 2 Results

  1. Krystian Janik, Oak Lawn, Ill., Kawasaki
  2. Drew Adams, Chattanooga, Tenn., Kawasaki
  3. Logan Best, North Port, Fla., Yamaha
  4. Casey Benard Jr., Gilbert, Ariz., GASGAS
  5. Jordan Renfro, Lake Park, Ga., KTM
Krystian Janik captured the Moto 2 win in 250 B. Photo Courtesy: MX Sports / Align Media

Moto 2: Masters (50+)
After a miscue effectively cost him the Moto 1 victory on Tuesday, Munn Racing KTM’s Mike Brown entered Thursday’s second Masters moto solely focused on reasserting his dominance over the field. While a challenge from fellow KTM-mounted pro legend Jeff Emig was to be expected, Brown’s overwhelming success at the Ranch speaks for itself.

The least path of resistance for Brown would be to grab the STACYC Holeshot, which he did with relative ease to start the moto. With a clear track ahead, Brown sprinted away on the opening lap to establish an initial lead of nearly five seconds over Emig, who jockeyed his way into second place. The pair proceeded to distance themselves from the rest of the field for a head-to-head battle that never fully materialized.

Brown’s fastest lap of the moto came just prior to the midway point of the race and came just before Emig endured through some misfortune to post his slowest lap of the moto. The saw the lead expand to more than a half minute, ending any hopes of a battle between the two.

Brown went wire-to-wire to capture the Moto 2 victory while Emig followed in a distant second. More than 90 seconds behind the lead in third was Suzuki rider Barry Carsten.

Masters (50+) Moto 2 Results

  1. Mike Brown, Bluff City, Tenn., KTM
  2. Jeff Emig, Riverside, Calif., KTM
  3. Barry Carsten, Bayville, N.J., Suzuki
  4. Gregory Pamart, Birdsboro, Pa., Kawasaki
  5. Brian Carroll Jr., Vineland, N.J., Yamaha
No one was any match for Mike Brown in the second moto of Masters (50+). Photos Courtesy: MX Sports / Align Media

Moto 2: Mini Sr. 1 (12-14)
One of the more unexpected outcomes of Thursday’s action came in Mini Sr. 1, where KTM rider Jayce Wolf, Husqvarna rider Vincent Wey, GASGAS rider Jonathan Getz, and KTM rider Cole Blecha all figured to be factors in the battle for the win. Instead, a rider who didn’t even finish inside the top 10 in Moto 1 stole the spotlight.

Wey did what he had to do to open the moto as he put his Husqvarna out front and raced to the STACYC Holeshot. However, the slippery track conditions caused him to lose traction and go down in front of all his rivals and dropped him to the tail end of the field. That opened the door for KTM rider Dakota Baker to take control of the moto. Interestingly enough, it was the last time any other rider would have a shot at challenging for the top spot.

Baker, who finished 15th in Moto 1, was exceptional in his ability to navigate the conditions. His most emphatic moment of the moto came on the penultimate lap when he posted the fastest single lap of the race to help his advantage surpass 20 seconds.

Baker was in a class of his own out front and captured a surprising moto win over Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Carson Wood, who himself never factored in the opening moto battle. Completing the moto podium was another shock in GASGAS rider Austin Camden.

As a result of the wild action in Moto 2, the battle for the Super Mini 1 crown now has four riders within three points of one another heading into the deciding third moto on Friday. Shockingly, both favorites, Wolf and Wey, will face steep odds in their hopes of capturing the title.

Mini Sr. 1 (12-14) Moto 2 Results

  1. Dakota Baker, Bowling Green, Ind., KTM
  2. Carson Wood, Zephyrhills, Fla., Kawasaki
  3. Austin Camden, Edmond, Okla., GASGAS
  4. Colby Lessar, Centennial, Colo., KTM
  5. Cole Blecha, Fruita, Colo., KTM
Dakota Baker took a surprise win in Moto 2 of Mini Sr. 1 (12-14). Photos Courtesy: MX Sports / Align Media

Moto 2: Supermini 1 (12-15)
Given the talent in the class and the less-than-ideal track conditions, the rider who emerged with the best start in the second Supermini 1 moto would have a tremendous opportunity to parlay that into a victory.

Husqvarna rider Deacon Denno was the one who seized the moment with the STACYC Holeshot which put him out front ahead of his toughest rivals. A massive collection of riders jockeyed for position behind Denno, including Moto 1 winner and KTM Orange Brigade rider Seth Dennis and Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Landen Gordon.

With each passing lap Denno’s lead continued to grow, particularly as Dennis and Gordon were doing their best to make passes in difficult track conditions after starting sixth and eighth, respectively. Gordon appeared to settle into a nice flow on the track, which allowed him to run the fastest lap of the moto and surpass Dennis on the way to fourth at the halfway point. He continued to move forward and found his way into the top three. With his confidence brimming, Gordon continued his push to improve another position for third over KTM rider Canyon Richards.

Denno maintained a double-digit margin throughout most of the moto before backing it down at the end for a big moto win. Gordon put in a valiant effort to secure the runner-up spot, while Richards fended off a late push by Dennis to secure third.

The chase for the Supermini 1 crown will come down to Denno, Gordon, and Dennis. The third and final moto is scheduled for Saturday.

Supermini 1 (12-15) Moto 2 Results

  1. Deacon Denno, Malakoff, Texas, Husqvarna
  2. Landen Gordon, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki
  3. Canyon Richards, Estell Manor, N.J., KTM
  4. Seth Dennis, Groveland, Fla., KTM
  5. Logan Mortberg, Pierson, Fla., KTM
Deacon Denno made a statement with his Moto 2 triumph in Supermini 1 (12-15). Photos Courtesy: MX Sports / Align Media

2023 AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship Thursday Winners

65cc (10-11) Limited: Jaydin Smart, Berry Creek, Calif., Cobra
125 Jr. (12-17) B/C: Kyle Paleologos, Auburn Ala., Yamaha
Junior (25+): Jeremy Fappani, Scottsdale, Ariz., KTM
250 C: Wyatt Thurman, Burleson, Texas, KTM
WMX: Ronnie Renner, Floral City, Fla., KTM
College (18-24): Chase Haynes, Scottsdale, Ariz., Kawasaki
65cc (7-9): Easton Graves, Walker, La., KTM

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