Race Report: Thunder Valley 2012

words: Anton
photos: Kinman 

The Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship made its annual stop at Lakewood, Colorado’s Thunder Valley Motocross Park for the third round of the 2012 season. This was the seventh visit to the suburban Denver track, and a change from its typical placement of later in the summer. The move by MX Sports and the AMA was to help curb the oppressive heat that the riders must overcome in addition to the increased altitude, and was met with mixed results. While temperatures were drastically cooler, but a spring storm front rolled over the mountains and wrecked havoc on the track and schedule. A dramatic turn of events in the first 450 moto of the day regarding James Stewart added another unforeseen element to the day, and allowed Ryan Dungey to sweep the class. Justin Barcia, Blake Baggett, and Ken Roczen made it a three way duel for the 250 overall, as Barcia and Roczen stuck to one another while Blake Baggett launched yet another come from behind charge.

 

450 Class

Moto One

Tommy Hahn led the 40-person field into the first turn aboard his Team Honda Muscle Milk CRF450R with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer in tow. Hahn set the pace for a number of laps and held off advances from Weimer and Chaparral Motorsports’ Andrew Short, but a charging James Stewart made his way to the front after only a handful of laps on his still new Yoshimura Suzuki. Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey had established a rhythm much like Stewart’s to earn the second spot before the 10-minute mark and set about closing the already extensive gap. As Stewart crested one of the many blind jumps on the hillside layout, an unnamed photographer/videographer crossed the track in view of the airborne Stewart, apparently causing him to bobble as he entered the soft, deeply rutted straightaway. Stewart flipped violently into the ground, but remounted, pacing the track slowly and favoring his right hand/wrist before pulling off. This incident handed the lead to Dungey for the first time of the 2012 season, and Dungey would go on to win the moto with ease.

As the Red Bull KTM racer rode to his first win, the field of riders behind battled for the available positions. Both Weimer and MotoConcepts Racing’s Mike Alessi worked past Hahn for a place in the top three, and Hahn would be forced to drop out of the day altogether after a flying rock broke one of the replacement rider’s fingers. In the final moments of the race Stewart’s teammate, Brett Metcalfe, made a charge to steal the final podium spot from Alessi.

Results

  1. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
  2. Jake Weimer (Kaw)
  3. Brett Metcalfe (Suz)
  4. Mike Alessi (Suz)
  5. Nico Izzi (Yam)
  6. Ryan Sipes (Yam)
  7. Andrew Short (Hon)
  8. Josh Grant (Kaw)
  9. Justin Brayton (Hon)
  10. Kyle Chisholm (Kaw)
  11. Billy Laninovich (Hon)
  12. Michael Byrne (Suz)
  13. Matt Lemoine (Kaw)
  14. Shane Sewell (KTM)
  15. Vince Friese (Suz)
  16. Derek Anderson (Kaw)
  17. Kevin Rookstool (Hon)
  18. Ben LaMay (Yam)
  19. Evgeny Mikhaylov (Suz)
  20. Les Smith (KTM)

Moto Two

Dungey carried the momentum from his victory earlier in the day to the line for the second moto and edged Team Honda Muscle Milk rider Justin Brayton at the stripe for the holeshot. With his foil out for the day with an injured arm and wrist, Dungey rode away to the overall victory, his first of the year and third at Lakewood, without incident.
As Dungey motored away, the talented and stacked 450 class battled viciously. Andrew Short moved past Brayton in the early moments for second place, a spot he would hold for the majority of the moto. With the running order of the top two locked in place for the moment, the attention turned to Jake Weimer and Broc Tickle’s duel for third. Tickle was on a quest to overcome his first moto DNF, and the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider put in the most impressive performance of his 450 career. After making work of Weimer by railing the outside of a rutted turn, he closed on Short, but would not be able to pry second place away from him. These finishes gave both Weimer and Short the final two overall podium solts.

Results

  1. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
  2. Andrew Short (Hon)
  3. Broc Tickle (Kaw)
  4. Jake Weimer (Kaw)
  5. Nico Izzi (Yam)
  6. Justin Brayton (Hon)
  7. Michael Byrne (Suz)
  8. Billy Laninovich (Hon)
  9. Mike Alessi (Suz)
  10. Brett Metcalfe (Suz)
  11. Kyle Chisholm (Kaw)
  12. Matt Lemoine (Kaw)
  13. Shane Sewell (KTM)
  14. Les Smith (KTM)
  15. Ben LaMay (Yam)
  16. Derek Anderson (Kaw)
  17. Jimmy Albertson (Suz)
  18. Vince Friese (Suz)
  19. Josh Grant (Kaw)
  20. Evgeny Mikhaylov (Suz)

 

Overall
1. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
2. Jake Weimer (Kaw)
3. Andrew Short (Hon)
4. Nico Izzi (Yam)
5. Brett Metcalfe (Suz)
6. Mike Alessi (Suz)
7. Justin Brayton (Hon)
8. Michael Byrne (Suz)
9. Billy Laninovich (Hon)
10. Kyle Chisholm (Kaw)
11. Broc Tickle (Kaw)
12. Matt Lemoine (Kaw)
13. Shane Sewell (KTM)
14. Josh Grant (Kaw)
15. Ryan Sipes (Yam)
16. Derek Anderson (Kaw)
17. Ben LaMay (Yam)
18. Vince Friese (Suz)
19. Les Smith (KTM)
20. Jimmy Albertson
450 Class Championship Points Standings (After 3 of 12 rounds)
1. Ryan Dungey (136 pts/1 win)
2. Jake Weimer (101)
3. James Stewart (100/ 2 wins)
4. Mike Alessi (100)
5. Andrew Short (97)
6. Brett Metcalfe (84)
7. Josh Grant (73)
8. Nico Izzi (71)
9. Broc Tickle (63)
10. Kyle Chisholm (50)

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