Irvine, Calif. – Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett both earned victories for Team USA in their respective classes during the Saturday qualifying races at the Motocross of Nations (MXON) at Circuit du Puy de Poursay in St. Jean-D’Angely, France. Helping Great Britain qualify seventh for Sunday’s race by earning third in the MX2 class, Dean Wilson came from behind to land on the podium. In his first race aboard the 2012 Kawasaki KX™450F, Tyla Rattray made his move to finish fifth in the MX1 class, helping South Africa qualify sixth.

Big Lead
Getting out to the lead after the first turn, Villopoto turned up his speed to lead by more than 10 seconds at one point in the race. With two motos run before him, Villopoto was faced with a tough track to tackle aboard his championship winning 2012 Kawasaki KX450F.

“I was the last moto and the track had deteriorated pretty bad,” said Villopoto. “I knew with our 1-1 going into the third race we were in and my goal was to get out there and to get some track time.

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray grabbed the 250 class overall win for the second-straight year at MX 338 in Southwick, Mass with an impressive 2-1 moto finish during Round 10 of the AMA Motocross Championship series. Finishing just behind him in second was teammate Dean Wilson with a 3-2 moto result, which extended his points lead in the class championship to 38 points. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto also extended his lead in the 450 class championship to eight points after he finished second overall with a 2-4. Jake Weimer remained consistent as he finished sixth overall for the second-straight race aboard the 2012 Kawasaki KX™450F. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett came from behind to finish fifth overall with a 9-6, while Broc Tickle showed speed finishing seventh overall with a 5-12.

Back Into Second
After a tough round at Unadilla, Rattray was able to bounce back in a big way as he grabbed his fourth overall victory of the season. In the first moto, Rattray made his move to the front and was able to finish out the 30 minutes plus two laps in second. After a few set-up changes, Rattray came out ready to lock up the overall and after passing for the lead on the third lap, he captured his fourth moto win of the season.

“The track was a lot rougher than we were thinking it would be in the first moto so we made some changes and the bike was perfect in the second moto,” said Rattray. “I’ve ridden on tracks like this all my life and I think it helps a lot when we come to a track like Southwick. It’s obviously different than anything we see all year and I’m always happy to come here.”

More Points For Wilson
Following his win last week at Unadilla, Wilson entered the race in Southwick with a 25-point gap in the standings. With his smart riding in the deep sand of Southwick, Wilson was able extend that lead to 38 points over second with another podium finish with a 3-2 moto score.

“I didn’t do the greatest here last year so I wanted to come in and put together two good motos and see what happened,” said Wilson. “It was nice to be up on the podium again and add more points to my lead. I would really like to win again this season. We’ll see what happens at Steel City.”

Race By Race
Villopoto started the day with the top qualifying time, but track conditions continued to change as rain started to fall. In the first moto, Villopoto got a good start, but was pushed back to fifth after the second turn. He moved his Kawasaki KX™450F into second and made a push in the final laps, but couldn’t make a pass in time. In the second moto, conditions were even worse and Villopoto did what he needed to keep his bike on two wheels to finish fourth.

“It was pretty gnarly out there during the second moto,” said Villopoto. “Even with the sand, the track was slick and it was hard to get into a groove. I knew I wanted to make sure I didn’t go down because it is really hard to get going again with your hands covered in mud and sand. I would have liked to have left with more than a one-point gain in the championship, but we did get another point ahead of second.”

Another Great Finish
In his rookie motocross season in the 450 class, Weimer continued to get good starts and maintain his position near the front. The starts were important at Southwick, and Weimer was able to put his 2012 Kawasaki KX450F just outside the top-five for the second-straight week.

“It’s nice to finally feel like I’m getting into a groove with my riding,” said Weimer. “I am definitely feeling more comfortable now. I was so close to a top-five this week and I know that I’m riding more consistent. Hopefully I’ll be able to put us into the top-five, not just outside of it.”

Managing the Roost
With the mixture of rain and sand at the MX 338 track, Baggett had to tackle conditions he isn’t normally used to. In both motos he had to make charges to the front from mid-pack and in both motos made it inside the top-10. Showing off his never-give-up attitude, he finished the day with a 9-6 moto score that was good enough for fifth overall.

“In the first moto I was making good progress, but had to pull off my goggles with just a few laps to go,” said Baggett. “With those conditions, I had to come in so I lost a few positions there. My second moto wasn’t much better. I am just glad to get out of here healthy and I’m definitely looking forward to next week at Steel City.”

Showing What He’s Got
After a year of battling bad luck, Tickle was finally able to put his speed up front as he finished fifth in the first moto at Southwick. Unfortunately the bad luck would follow him to the second moto where an early moto crash pushed him back to 26th on the first lap. Showing his determination once again, Tickle made it all the way up to 12th to finish seventh overall.

“I am happy to finally be able to show my speed in one moto, but then I have a bad second moto and can’t put together what I think could have been a podium finish,” said Tickle. “I felt really good coming into the weekend. Despite all the bad luck, I can at least say that I haven’t given up during any moto when I have been able to come through the pack. I just hope everyone can see that.”

Top-10 for Junk Yard Dog
While he’s already attended two rounds this season, 46-year-old Kawasaki rider John Dowd was happy to have the AMA Motocross Championship back in his home state of Massachusetts. Since 1987, Dowd has been racing at his hometown track and despite being the most senior racer on the track, he scored an impressive 9-8 moto finish to end the day eighth overall.

Hurricane Warning
While Massachusetts declared a state of emergency in preparation for Hurricane Irene, the racers took to the track in wet conditions. The fans weren’t afraid to come out and see their favorite racers as attendance was better than expected despite surrounding conditions.

“It was great to see all the fans come out considering the weather and hurricane warnings,” said Weimer. “I was thinking the hurricane would have scared everyone away, but it seemed to be a really good turnout.”

Final Stretch
The series hits the final stretch with only two races to go as the series heads to Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pa. over Labor Day weekend. Wilson holds on to a 38-point lead over his teammate Rattray with only 100 points available over the next two rounds, while Villopoto will try to extend his eight-point lead in the 450 class.

MECHANICSVILLE, Md. – Thousands of fans packed into Budds Creek MX Park on Saturday to watch the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship host its fifth round of the 2011 season. TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing’s Chad Reed, of Australia, grabbed his third overall victory of season at the MotoTees Budds Creek National. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray, of South Africa, won his second race of the year in the 250 Class.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, of Poulsbo, Wash., grabbed the opening 450 Class moto win, fending off Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., in the late stages. Reed, who grabbed the holeshot, finished third.

As the gates dropped for Moto 2, Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi, of Victorville, Calif., moved into the early lead, only to have Reed take over the top spot on Lap 3. From there, Reed pushed to extend his advantage over the field. Dungey made his way past Alessi just a short time later and began his pursuit of the lead. Villopoto followed suit, moving into third, and tightening up the points to determine the overall results for the day.

Reed and Dungey followed one another, just bike lengths apart, throughout the moto and gradually pulled away from the field. With just one point separating the two riders in the day’s standings, whoever captured the moto win would also take home the overall victory. As they encountered lapped riders, strategy played into Reed’s favor, helping him open up a lead on Dungey to take the checkered flag and secure his series-leading third overall win.

“I was bummed after the first moto,” said Reed. “I just didn’t have the pace. The Ryan’s showed me what’s up. I came out in the second and gave it all I had. I’m pumped. We made some changes to the bike and it paid off. I’m excited to come out and win that second moto. These guys are on their game this season and it hasn’t been easy.”

Villopoto’s duplicate 1-3 moto scores tied him in points with Reed on the day, but by virtue of the second-moto tiebreaker, he landed in the runner-up spot.

“I felt good today,” said Villopoto. “I just needed to pick some better lines in that second moto. It was a good day overall. There’s still a lot of racing left this season.”

Relying on his impressive 2-2 results, Dungey rounded out the podium in third.

“It was a good day, I just couldn’t make it happen,” said Dungey. “I felt like I needed to make a move (on Reed), but it never happened. I had to come from behind a couple times. It’s what racing is all about. It’s a man’s sport and it’s challenging. We’ll just keep moving forward.”

Reed maintains his lead in the championship standings, 15 points ahead of Villopoto.

The first moto of the 250 Class featured a dominant performance from Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson, of Scotland. The defending race winner at Budds Creek looked to be in position to go back-to-back, but Rattray outran his teammate and the rest of the field to lead every lap of Moto 2 and finish with 2-1 scores. As a result, the current points leader became the first rider this season in the 250 Class to lead the championship standings over consecutive weeks.

“I think it’s important in a championship to be up front,” said Rattray. “It’s important to be on podium as much as you can, and that’s what I’ve done so far. I just want to get big points at each round and stay consistent. Having such strong competitors makes you dig deeper, and I just want it really bad.”

The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team also maintained its current streak of winning every moto and overall so far this season.

Wilson (1-3) finished second overall, while GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, of Ochlocknee, Ga., finished third (6-2).

The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship continues next weekend with Round 5 of the 2011 season. Thunder Valley MX Park, in Lakewood, Colo., will host the Toyota Trucks Thunder Valley National on Saturday, June 18, beginning at 3 p.m. EST.

Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship
MotoTees Budds Creek National
Budds Creek MX Park – Mechanicsville, Md.
June 18, 2011
Round 5 of 12

450 Class (Moto Finish)

  1. Chad Reed, Australia, Honda (3-1)
  2. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki (1-3)
  3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki (2-2)
  4. Kevin Windham, Baton Rouge, La., Honda (4-4)
  5. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM (5-5)
  6. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Suzuki (6-6)
  7. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha (7-9)
  8. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki (10-7)
  9. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM (9-8)
  10. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Honda (8-10)

450 Class Championship Standings

  1. Chad Reed, Australia, Honda – 183
  2. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 168
  3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki – 155
  4. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha – 130
  5. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Suzuki – 118
  6. Kevin Windham, Baton Rouge, La., Honda – 112
  7. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki – 93
  8. Ricky Dietrich, Snohomish, Wash., Yamaha – 92
  9. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 76
  10. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM – 75

250 Class (Moto Finish)

  1. Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki (2-1)
  2. Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki (1-3)
  3. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda (6-2)
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (5-5)
  5. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki (3-9)
  6. Gareth Swanepoel, South Africa, Yamaha (9-4)
  7. Blake Baggett, Redlands, Calif., Kawasaki (7-7)
  8. Kyle Cunningham, Irving, Texas, Yamaha (4-15)
  9. Martin Davalos, Ecuador, Suzuki (10-10)
  10. Nico Izzi, Rochester, N.Y., Honda (8-13)

250 Class Championship Standings

  1. Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki – 174
  2. Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki – 170
  3. Blake Baggett, Redlands, Calif., Kawasaki – 144
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda – 136
  5. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda – 116
  6. Kyle Cunningham, Irving, Texas, Yamaha – 114
  7. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki – 99
  8. Gareth Swanepoel, South Africa, Yamaha – 91
  9. Martin Davalos, Ecuador, Suzuki – 75
  10. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda – 72

Tickets for the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship are on sale at www.allisports.com, Special discounts and incentives are available for advance ticket purchasers.