Chad Reed was on the 450 Class podium for the first time and Christophe Pourcel won another moto and took second overall in the 250 Class, but round three of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Wortham, Texas, was a tough day for the Thor/Parts Unlimited team.
Third Place Puts Reed Second in Points
Reed earned his first podium finish of the season with a strong runner-up effort in the second moto after finishing fifth in the opening race of the Flagstar Bank Motocross National. The Australian star was just inside the top 10 at the start of the second moto, but overtook Andrew Short and Dan Reardon for second just past the halfway mark and rode unchallenged the rest of the way.
Reed officially had finished third overall in round two, but that was due to a penalty imposed on Josh Grant. This time, the Reed earned the finish despite an unspecified stomach ailment that left him at less than 100% on a hot, humid day. With nine rounds remaining, he is second in the point standings, 31 behind overall winner and Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki teammate Mike Alessi.
Illness Doesn’t Change Positive Outlook
Third-place finishes aren’t what Reed expects of himself, but considering the illness that’s hampering his return to outdoor competition after a two-year layoff, the Florida resident is in a positive frame of mind.
‘A lot of people worked hard to make (this season) happen,’ he said. ‘It’s good. It’s my second third in a row. We’re having a few issues here and there, but at the end of the day I’m having a lot of fun. It’s coming around. My riding is great and we’ve made a lot of improvements on the bike in a small amount of time.
‘It’s just me. I need to get healthy and work out what my issues are with throwing up. I had (the problem) during Supercross and it’s coming up now. It’s frustrating to feel great all week but start feeling bad when its race time and I can’t put my best foot forward. I’m just battling my own demons with that.
‘When I’m 100 percent I feel like I’ll be able to win races – motos and overalls – and chase down Mike and make this a race for the championship.’
Villopoto’s Surgery Successful
Ryan Villopoto, who suffered a left knee injury while preparing for round two of the series, underwent surgery Wednesday (June 3). The surgery was deemed successful, but Villopoto still will be out for the balance of the season. He said it hurt to have to sit out, but having surgery now will give him plenty of time to rehabilitate the knee and prepare for a strong 2010 season.
Hot in the Heart of Texas
Freestone Raceway has only been a series stop for three years, but it already has a reputation as one of the most demanding venues on the circuit because of its rough terrain and the heat and humidity that taxes the riders physically.
This year was no exception, with the temperature in the mid-90s. Still, that was cool compared to last year’s 103 on race day.
The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship will be at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa., this weekend and the forecast for Saturday is temperatures in the high 70’s and a 20% chance of rain.
Still and Up-‘Hill’ Battle
Josh Hill continues to search for consistency. The Yamaha rider from Murrieta, Calif., was 21st overall in Texas after placing 17th in the opening moto and 31st in the second.
Stomaching a Runner-Up Finish
Christophe Pourcel has won all three opening motos in the 250 Class and finished in the top two overall at all three races this season after another runner-up effort at Freestone. He took the lead on lap 2 of the opening moto and won easily, then fought back from a poor start to take fourth in the second race. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider has established himself as the primary opponent for Ryan Dungey in a championship battle that Dungey leads by 6 points after his overall win.
What makes Pourcel’s performances even more impressive is the fact that he, too, is plagued by stomach problems stemming from a 2007 crash that nearly ended his career.
‘I have my stomach problems and it’s not real easy to go into the weekend and ride,’ said Pourcel, a Frenchman who makes his U.S. home in Corona, Calif. ‘When it gets warm it’s not easy for me. I get my stomach pain and cannot eat anything before the moto and it’s never easy to ride like that. I just try to do what I can on the bike, but it’s not easy for me.’
A Decent Day for Rattray
Tyla Rattray, the South African who’s still adapting to the pace of American motocross, turned in another promising performance. He was fifth in the opening moto and sixth in the second, and that left him seventh overall. Rattray is fourth in the standings, 32 points behind Dungey.
Pro Circuit teammate Jake Weimer had a rough day on the rough Texas track. He was racing with the leaders early in the opening moto, but ran into problems and finished 18th. He bounced back a little with an 11th-place finish in the second race, but that left him 14th overall and dropped him to ninth in the standings.
Austin Stroupe sat out the weekend due to a chipped hip suffered in round two and will be sidelined indefinitely.
Sara Solid Again
Sara Price continued to demonstrate the talent that should make her a consistent podium finisher despite a modest 8th-place overall finish in the WMX Class. Price was running in the top three in moto one when her Kawasaki developed mechanical problems that relegated her to a 15th-place finish. But after a quick engine change, Price got the second moto holeshot and stayed near the front, finishing fourth while bothered by nagging back pain. The Canyon Lake, Calif., resident is tied for fifth in the standings.
Some High Points for High Point
The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship will make its network television debut next weekend at High Point Raceway. The historic event will be televised by NBC beginning at 4:30 p.m. EDT Saturday. It also will be the first round of the three-race Monster Energy Triple Crown of Motocross and the first time the women will race at the track in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania.