Roczen Sweeps Hangtown Motocross Classic
After nearly winning both races at the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season-opening Red Bull Helen National last weekend but having to settle for second in each, Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen left nothing to chance and swept both motos during the running of the 46th running of the GoPro Hangtown Motocross Classic.
450cc Moto 1
Red Bull KTM’s has a solid 1-2 punch with teammates Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen, both of whom quickly shot to the front of the 40-rider pack when the gate dropped for the first 450cc Pro moto. Dungey barely edged out Roczen to collect the $500 Motosport.com Holeshot Award, yet the took a wild turn when Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart and Muscle Milk Honda’s Trey Canard tagged onto the rear of Dungey and Roczen as they headed through the three “Split-S” corners on the Hangtown track. Stewart slid back to fourth place after a bobble while Roczen charged past Dungey to take the lead. Meanwhile, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe was able to catch and pass Stewart for fourth place on the opening lap, while Stewart seemed to be having similar steering issues that he did at Glen Helen, but he was able to recover and retake fourth on Metcalfe.
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Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Barcia ran a lonely sixth and MAVTV/Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda’s Malcolm Stewart a lonely seventh as the moto progressed, but the race for eighth place behind them began to heat up as TwoTwo Motorsports/Discount Tire’s Chad Reed, Mosnter Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer and Toyota/JGR Yamaha’s Josh Grant were tied together and battling for eighth place 10 minutes into the moto. Barcia stepped up his game just before the halfway point, and he ran down Metcalfe and then Stewart, drawing close to Canard at the halfway point in the moto. Stewart would lose ground to the two Honda riders.
Roczen has built up a 5.1-second lead over Dungey with 10 minutes remaining in the moto, while Canard was just over 14 seconds behind Dungey, and Barcia and Stewart remained in contention for the last podium spot.
Roczen kept up his solid pace and ended up winning the moto by 8.498 seconds over Dungey. Canard remained in third place and stayed in front of fourth-place finisher Barcia, who finished ahead of Stewart and Metcalfe. Roczen was pleased with his performance and said the race went well.
“We pushed it from the beginning, and toward the end, I don’t know if Ryan [Dungey] let loose, but [I was] just saving energy for the second moto,” Roczen said. “But it was a good race. I got right by him and just put my head down and charged. It was good.”
More Lucas Oil Pro Motocross
Dungey Wins at Glen Helen
Even though he had to settle for second, Dungey was pleased with his first-moto result.
“We got off to a good start,” Dungey said. “Kenny [Roczen] made the pass right away, which I didn’t want to happen. He rode a good race, had some good lines, and by the time I got things figured out he opened up a little bit of a gap. You know, he’s young and quick, and he is coming out of the gate fast. So, I have to work on that, but overall everything felt good.”
Canard again showed speed and consistency in the first moto, making his Glen Helen finish less of an eye opener in retrospect. If Canard can stay healthy, he could be the closest threat that the Red Bull KTM team faces in the battle for the Lucas Oil 450cc Pro Motocross title.
“We’re just trying to get off to a good start, and that was a decent job that time, I felt like,” Canard said. “I was struggling a little bit, but I was just trying to keep tabs on those guys. We’ll try to make some changes to the bike and try to come back stronger in the second moto.”
450cc Moto 2
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer got off to a quick start to claim the $500 Motosport.com Holeshot Award, though he was followed by teammate and Canadian National Champion Brett Metcalfe. Both Dungey and Stewart were off to great starts again, sitting third and fourth, respectively, while Roczen and Barcia battled for fifth at a frantic pace that pushed them past Stewart.
Barcia passed Dungey to move into third place before the uphull double, while Metcalfe fired by Weimer to take the lead. The race then turned into a five-rider battle for the lead, with Metcalfe, Weimer, Barcia, Dungey and Roczen putting real estate between themselves and Stewart.
After a number of battles at the top of the field, the usual suspects in Roczen and Dungey found themselves out front again and appeared to be setting up another Red Bull KTM battle for the win, but a flawless ride by Roczen clinched another moto win to give him 1-1 finishes on the weekend, while Dungey finished 11 seconds behind Roczen for another second place.
Stewart battled on to finish third in moto two, which earned him fourth overall via 5-3 moto finishes.
Roczen was clearly happy to prove that he can hold a lead once he gets it.
“I didn’t get off to the best start, and I got roosted in the beginning the whole time,” Roczen said. “I could make the first [place] pass pretty much at the same time [as the pass for second]. From then on, I just took off. It was awesome. That was the plan. It’s my first 1-1, and I’m super happy about it. I’m super fit, and I just want to keep going like that.”
Dungey said that bike changes between motos may have hampered his performance.
“I was really trying to push,” Dungey said. “That second moto, we made a change going into it—just a minor change—and it was a big no-no. It was just kind of fighting that, but no excuses on my part. Ken rode a good race, and he rode hard. We just came up a little bit short. This track is just the one that I can’t seem to get a win at, it seems. We’ll regroup and keep ‘er going.”
Canard was happy to finish third overall but said that if he had gotten a better start, he might have had a chance for the moto win.
“It was a tough race, you know,” Canard said. “I was way back in the beginning, managed to come back up, and I was really happy with the bike that time. I just wish I would better track position to show it off a little more. But I’m grateful, you know. I’ve got to give it all the Lord. I’m very thankful to be safe and grateful to be racing next weekend.”
250cc Moto 1
It was GEICO Honda’s Zach Bell who earned the Motosport.com Holeshot, but Jeremy Martin, who swept the class at Glen Helen, quickly passed Bell to take over the lead and relegate him to second. GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle ran third place behind both Martin and Bell.
Martin quickly pulled away from the field, while Bogle passed Bell for second place, and then Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb shot passed Bell for third place and came after Bogle. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Justin Hill ran alone in fifth place. Although Hill wasn’t battling for the lead, he wasn’t battling flat tires like the one that cost him dearly at the Glen Helen season opener.
By the halfway point Martin had already checked out, but Bogle was trying to fend off Webb for second place. Webb made an attempt on Bogle as the pair entered the same line in Split-S corners—a popular passing zone—but Bogle left Webb no room, and Webb crashed. Webb remounted in third place, where he was now within sight of Hill, who maintained a 5-second advantage over Hill. Webb was still on the charge, however, and he caught back up to Bogle and made a concrete pass for second place before one of the uphill double jumps on the course.
Out front, Martin took the win with a massive 19-second lead over Webb. Bogle was third, another 2.4 seconds behind Webb, with Hill and Bell finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett overcame a poor start to finish sixth.
“I know what I want to do,” Martin said after the moto. “I want to win, and I want to win as many races as I can. I won’t be satisfied unless I go out there and win. [Yamaha’s] bike is really good. It’s fast and it handles good. Last year’s bike was good. This year’s bike is even better and continues to get better, so I have to step my game up and try to get better too.”
250cc Moto 2
Jumping out to another early lead was Martin, who led a trio of Yamahas into the first turn of the second moto, with teammate Cooper Webb and Valli Motorsports Yamaha’s Chrstophe Pourcel battling for second place.
Bogle moved into fourth place early on, running ahead of teammate Matt Bisceglia and Cycletrader.com/Rock River Yamaha’s Alex Martin, the brother of Jeremy Martin. Jason Andeson, Justin Hill and Marvin Musquin were battling for seventh place.
Unfortunately for Bogle, his race went sour after crashed at high speed on the downhill section after the Red Bull uphill double on lap four. He was unable to continue and was credited with 35th place. As the race wore on, Hill then passed Alex Martin to take over fourth place.
With the top three riders riding unchallenged, Hill ran fourth all alone as well, until a crash on lap 10 dropped him to fifth place, behind Anderson. Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda’s Jessy Nelson, who ran seventh in the first moto, would also get past Hill to take the fifth spot on the last lap, setting the top five as Jeremy Martin once again put in a dominating performance to win the moto by 19.468 seconds over Webb, with Pourcel third. Pourcel’s second moto finish, combined with the misfortunes of many of the first-moto frontrunners, allowed him to also net third overall, giving Yamaha YZ250Fs a sweep of the top three positions at Hangtown.
As the series moves onto round three, the Thunder Valley National in Lakewood, Colorado, Martin has to be considered the favorite for the win.
“I don’t know if it’s going to roll on to the rest of the season,” Martin said. “You know, those guys were going good. Christophe [Pourcel] got a good start. He qualified faster than me by like a second and a half, so he was up there. My teammate, Cooper [Webb] was up there, finished second to me so far this year. It was a dogfight. I was pushing, and they were pushing. It was good racing. I wasn’t pulling that much on them. I just tried to race the track and go forward.”
More Lucas Oil Pro Motocross
Dungey Wins at Glen Helen
GoPro Hangtown Motocross Classic Results
Prairie City SVRA, Sacramento, California
May 31, 2014 (Round 2 of 12)
1. Ken Roczen-KTM/1-1
2. Ryan Dungey-KTM/2-2
3. Trey Canard-Hon/3-4
4. James Stewart-Suz/5-3
5. Justin Barcia-Hon/4-5
6. Weston Peick-Suz/8-6
7. Jake Weimer-Kaw/7-8
8. Brett Metcalfe-Kaw/6-9
9. Malcolm Stewart-Suz/10-7
10. Chad Reed-Kaw/11-12
450cc Series Points Standings (After 2 of 12 rounds)
1. Ken Roczen-94/1 win
2. Ryan Dungey-89/1 win
3. Trey Canard-72
4. James Stewart-66
5. Brett Metcalfe-61
6. Justin Barcia-52
7. Weston Peick-52
8. Jake Weimer-52
9. Malcolm Stewart-51
10. Josh Grant-43
250cc Round 2 Results
1. Jeremy Martin-Yam/1-1
2. Cooper Webb-Yam/2-2
3. Christophe Pourcel-Yam/8-3
4. Justin Hill-Kaw/4-6
5. Jessy Nelson-Hon/7-5
6. Jason Anderson-KTM/10-4
7. Marvin Musquin-KTM/9-7
8. Zach Bell-Hon/5-12
9. Matt Bisceglia-Hon/13-8
10. Justin Bogle-Hon/3-35
250cc Series Points Standings (After 2 of 12 rounds)
1. Jeremy Martin-100/2 wins
2. Cooper Webb-88
3. Christophe Pourcel-63
4. Jessy Nelson-51
5. Marvin Musquin-50
6. Jason Anderson-49
7. Justin Bogle-48
8. Blake Baggett-48
9. Matt Bisceglia-45
10. Justin Hill-43