Roczen, Baggett Earn Wins at Thunder Valley

Jun. 09, 2014 By Josh Burns, Photos by Rich Shepherd
Ken Roczen’s 2-1 motos were enough to secure another victory at the third round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.

The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship returned to action this past weekend for the third round at the 10th Annual Toyota Thunder Valley National from Thunder Valley MX Park in Lakewood, Colorado. Making it two wins in a row, Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen claimed the overall victory in the 450 Class, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett broke through for his first win of the season with a great second-moto performance.

450 Class
In the first of two 450 Class motos, Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX's Josh Grant earned the Holeshot Award but quickly lost his lead to Team Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart. Stewart set a nice pace out front while Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey settled into second. Behind the two racers up front, Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard and Roczen worked past Grant to take over third and fourth, respectively.

As the race wore on and Stewart and Dungey battled for the top spot, Roczen was able to pass Canard for third and then set his site on the front two. Dungey was later passed by Roczen on lap 13, and Dungey then fell while trying to chase down Stewart and Roczen on the next lap, falling back into fourth behind Candard. In the battle for first, Roczen was unable to get past Stewart, who went on to earn his first win of the 2014 season. Roczen finished the moto in second, with Canard third, Dungey fourth, and Grant fifth.

Canard got a great jump off the start of the second moto, taking the Holeshot Award with while leading the field of Dungey, Grant, Roczen and Stewart. Canard, Dungey and Roczen battled back and forth for the lead spot for the first few laps, with KTM teammates Roczen and Dungey leading the pack. Dungey, however, was unable to reel in Roczen, who finished just over six seconds ahead of Dungey. Stewart was able to pass Canard halfway through the moto to finish third, giving him second overall just behind Roczen after the two motors.

James Stewart had a great weekend at Thunder Valley with a moto-one victory and a third-place finish in moto two.

"It's early to really say anything [about the championship],"Roczen said. "I feel like I'm riding good right now and I feel strong. I got a good jump [in the first moto] but didn't get up the hill well and had to fight my way through. I made some adjustments to the bike [in between motos] to make it easier to ride and it paid off. I just want to keep clicking  away like I've been doing and stay healthy."

Roczen now holds a 12-point edge over Dungey in the 450 points standings. Stewart moved into third with his great performance at Thunder Valley, 30 points behind Roczen, while Canard sits fourth at 31 points out of the lead.

250 Class
At the start of the 250 Class it was Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda's Jessy Nelson who captured the Holeshot Award and proceeded to open sizable gap over the field, with GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle and the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha duo of Cooper Webb and Jeremy Martin in chase. Nelson maintained a comfortable gap until Martin and Webb took over second and third, respectively, on Lap 4 and closed down the deficit to the lead. Nelson paced the field for the first 20 minutes of the moto but went off the track on lap 8, which allowed Martin to take over the lead spot. Nelson then was passed by Webb on Lap 9.

It looked as though Blake Baggett’s fourth-place finish in moto one would take him out of contention for the overall, but his win in moto two was just enough to edge out Justin Bogle’s 3-2 finish to earn the overall win.

Webb pushed hard for the lead over Martin but crashed and lost several positions later in the race, allowing Martin to keep his undefeated streak intact as he cruised to victory. Nelson earned a career-best second-place finish, while Bogle finished in the final podium spot for moto one.

All eyes focused on Martin at the start of the second moto to see if he could keep his win streak alive, but he had his work cut out for him as GEICO Honda's Zach Bell claimed the Holeshot Award, with Anderson and Valli Motorsports Yamaha's Christophe Pourcel close in tow.

Bell's lead didn't last long, however, as Pourcel took over the lead on the opening lap. Baggett then worked to push toward the front, eventually taking over second and setting his sights on Pourcel out front. Baggett eventually made the pass and never looked back. Pourcel was then left to fend off Bogle and a hard-charging Martin who tracked down the second and third rider. Martin's streak wouldn't last on top of the podium, however, as he crashed while chasing third. Baggett then was able to ride out front and secure his win in moto two to earn the 4-1 overall victory over Bogle (3-2).

"I wasn't prepared coming into the season due to an injury right before the opening round, but we've been testing and getting to where we want to be," said Baggett, who last won at the fifth round of the championship last season. "When you haven't won in awhile it starts eating at you, and I wanted to stop [Martin's] dominance, so I just went for it. We're headed in the right direction and there's still 18 motos left, so anything can happen."

Blake Baggett (center) earned the overall win. He is flanked by Runner-up Justin Bogle (left) and third-place finisher Jeremy Martin (right).

Although he wasn't able to podium in the second moto, Martin retains control of the 250 Class standings with a 26-point lead over teammate Webb. Pourcel sits third, 47 points behind, while Baggett moved into fourth, facing a 49-point deficit. Bogle rounds out the top five, 50 points behind Martin.

"I really had to work hard for [the podium] today," said Martin, who has won five of the first six motos. "I didn't get off to the best start [in Moto 1], but I knew I just needed to start clicking off the laps. Nelson went off the track and made it easy on me, so it was a good first moto. I was trying to hunt those guys down [up front] in the second moto and switched my line up, and it just didn't work out for me. I'm where I expected to be coming into the season, but it just took a little bit for everyone else to get up to speed. Clearly, after today, they're there."

The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continues next weekend with the fourth round of the season. High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, will host the UPMC Sports Medicine High Point National on Saturday, June 14. Action begins at 1 p.m. ET.

450cc Overall
1. Ken Roczen-KTM/2-1
2. James Stewart-Suz/1-3
3. Ryan Dungey-KTM/4-2
4. Trey Canard-Hon/3-4
5. Josh Grant-Yam/5-6
6. Brett Metcalfe-Kaw/9-5
7. Malcolm Stewart-Hon/7-8
8. Andrew Short-KTM/6-9
9. Weston Peick-Suz/10-7
10. Jake Weimer-Kaw/8-12

450cc Series Points Standings (after 3 of 12 rounds)
1. Ken Roczen-141/2 wins
2. Ryan Dungey-129/1 win
3. James Stewart-111
4. Trey Canard-110
5. Brett Metcalfe-89
6. Malcolm Stewart-78
7. Weston Peick-77
8. Josh Grant-74
9. Jake Weimer-74
10. Chad Reed-61

250cc Overall
1. Blake Baggett-Kaw/4-1
2. Justin Bogle-Hon/3-2
3. Jeremy Martin-Yam/1-6
4. Jessy Nelson-Hon/2-9
5. Marvin Musquin-KTM/7-4
6. Jason Anderson-KTM/5-5
7. Christophe Pourcel-Yam/11-3
8. Cooper Webb-Yam/9-7
9. Cole Seely-Hon/8-8
10. Justin Hill-Kaw/10-10

250cc Series Points Standings (after 3 of 12 rounds)
1. Jeremy Marti-140/2 wins
2. Cooper Webb-114
3. Christophe Pourcel-93
4. Blake Baggett-91/1 win
5. Justin Bogle-90
6. Jessy Nelson-85
7. Marvin Musquin-82
8. Jason Anderson-81
9. Justin Hill-65
10. Matt Bisceglia-63 Newsletter
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