2014 Washougal MX | 450 Race Report
Photos by Jeff Kardas
The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continued its run through the summer at one of the most scenic stops of the twelve-round tour, Washougal MX in southern Washington state. A very fast layout is carved through the trees and the shadows created by the massive evergreens add just another element riders must overcome. With the championship chase in the 450 class intensifying with every round, the action at the ninth race of the year shrunk the gap between title contenders and Red Bull KTM teammates Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey.
Ryan Dungey | 1-1 | First Overall
Performing well under pressure has long been one of Ryan Dungey's strengths and is something the Red Bull KTM rider needs to unleash in the final rounds of the 450 championship. Taking top qualifier honors in the morning gave Dungey a surge of much needed confidence, which he carried to a second place start in the first moto. A pass on Justin Brayton in the opening lap moved Dungey into the lead, and he would control the entire sixteen-lap moto with lap times over a full second faster than the competition.
The first laps of moto two were nearly identical to the first, as Dungey followed Brayton around the first turn and took the lead shortly after. With a clear course ahead and his biggest rival dropped deep in the pack, Dungey seemed to unleash every amount of speed he and his Red Bull KTM possessed. His lead over second place hovered around four seconds for much of the race, until a blistering lap midway through the moto put Dungey nearly ten seconds ahead. The gap would shrink back to eight and a half seconds at the checkered flag, but the day was still a massive success. A sweep of the day allowed him to score a full fifty points, and close the margin between himself and Roczen in the championship chase to just fourteen markers.
Eli Tomac | 2-2 | Second Overall
After taking the first 450 overall of his career a week ago in Millville, all eyes were on Eli Tomac. The GEICO Honda rider timed third on the morning, but a poor start buried him in the top-ten early in the first moto. After spending the first minutes trying to find a way up the running order, Tomac suddenly surged by other riders and was into third pace. Closing the gap built by Ken Roczen took some time, but Tomac eventually made the pass for second place on his long-time rival through the long whoop section with only a handful of laps remaining in the race.
Squeezed off on the start, Tomac still managed to run third place early in the second moto and was soon in second, step one in his pursuit of Dungey. The gap between the two was never small enough for a true battle, and Tomac eventually lost sight of the overall leader midway through, but 2-2 scores on the day for second overall had a massive influence on the championship. It allowed Dungey to score a few extra points in the championship, and helped Tomac's own spot in the order; despite missing the opening rounds, the string of podium finishes have put him ninth in the standings.
Ken Roczen | 3-3 | Third Overall
Speculation on Ken Roczen's recent finishes have been the talk of the paddock, as past rounds have shown the Red Bull KTM rider's first signs of weakness in the long summer season. He timed fourth fastest in the morning practice, but was beat to the holeshot stripe by a number of riders in the first competitive moto of the day. He took advantage of the close pack on the opening lap and to move up to fifth place, then began another intense battle with Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard for fourth. Roczen would run as high as second in the moto, but ultimately finished third after a pass by Eli Tomac late in the race.
While sixth place off of the start does not seem horrible, it can be somewhat devastating if your biggest foe manages to snag the holeshot. This is exactly what happened to Roczen in moto two, as he was outside the top-five in the opening laps while Dungey sped away with the lead. Roczen quickly went to work and was up to third place after a series of passes, but the difference in pace between the two made closing the massive gap impossible. A pair of third place finishes put Roczen third overall on the day, but dropped ten points to Dungey in the championship standings. Roczen retains the red plate and a fourteen-point lead heading into the final three rounds.
Brett Metcalfe | 5-4 | Fourth Overall
Brett Metcalfe is in the final rounds of his summer gig with Monster Energy Kawasaki, and there is added importance in each race because the possibilities of rides in 2015 depending on these performances. After clocking the seventh fastest time in the morning, Metcalfe charged to a top-five start in the first outing but would fall out of the front pack as Roczen and Tomac moved up. He pursued Andrew Short for much of the moto and then slipped back into the top-five with a pass in the latter half of the race.
Metcalfe jumped to third place at the start of the second 450 moto, and this put him in prime position for the remainder of the race. While podium finishers Dungey, Tomac, and Roczen slipped away in the distance, Metcalfe rode calmly by himself in fourth place and finished the moto nine-seconds ahead of his nearest competition. This pair of top-five scores put Metcalfe fourth overall on the day, one of his best rides of the year.
Andrew Short | 6-5 | Fifth Overall
A dismal qualifying time gave Andrew Short fifteenth gate pick in the first moto, but this didn't stop him from putting his BTO Sports KTM in the top-three off the start. Short barreled through the first turn just behind Justin Brayton and Ryan Dungey, but slipped back to fourth after a move by Canard, fifth from Tomac's run to second place, and finally sixth with Brett Metcalfe's late-race pass.
Andrew Short was up front again in the final 450 moto of the day, and like Metcalfe, spent much of the race on his own. The only true battle that he engaged in was with Roczen for the fourth spot in the running order, which Roczen claimed on his way to a third place finish. After this, Short continued the rest of the race in fifth place, well ahead of Weston Peick in sixth.
News and notes from the 450 class…
– After an eleventh place ride in moto one, Chad Reed withdrew from the second race with apparent back issues. The Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports chief is still fighting to find his speed after the injuries suffered in his crash at the San Diego SX earlier in the year, and was competing with the chance he and wife Ellie’s third child is slated for delivery on Sunday.
– Trey Canard scored another fourth place finish in moto one, but a crash early in moto two and near-collisions with the bulk of the field dropped the Team Honda Muscle Milk rider down to almost last place. He rebounded to take eleventh place in the moto and seventh overall on the day.
– Josh Grant had a brutal crash while ascending Horsepower Hill in the final 450 practice of the day, and the impact reportedly rattled the JGRMX/Toyota/NFAB/Yamaha rider’s head enough that he was benched for the motos. Like Reed, Grant and wife Ashley are expecting the birth of another child on Sunday.
– James Stewart and the Yoshimura Suzuki team sat out the Washougal stop, no doubt fueled by the recent turmoil and results surrounding the team’s lone racer. Stewart’s brother, Malcolm, also sat out the weekend as he recovers from severe dehydration that hospitalized him just before Millville.
– Local hero Tommy Weeck nabbed eleventh overall on the day, with his best score (a ninth) coming in the second moto.
– Weston Peick was the lone racer under the RCH/Soaring Eagle/Suzuki tent, the result of Ivan Tedesco’s retirement on Friday evening.
– Christian Crag earned tenth overall in his fourth race for the GEICO Honda team. The temporary ride was supposed to end last weekend in Millville, but there is a chance Craig could now complete the year.
1. Ryan Dungey 1-1
2. Eli Tomac 2-2
3. Ken Roczen 3-3
4. Brett Metcalfe 5-4
5. Andrew Short 6-5
6. Weston Peick 7-6
7. Trey Canard 4-11
8. Fredrik Noren 9-7
9. Justin Brayton 8-8
10. Christian Craig 10-12
11. Tommy Weeck 16-9
12. Tommy Hahn 15-10
13. Ben Lamay 13-13
14. Matt Goerke 12-17
15. Chad Reed 11-35
16. Evgeny Mikhaylov 17-16
17. Jimmy Albertson 19-15
18. Kellian Rusk 23-14
19. Ryan Sipes 14-39
20. Tevin Tapia 18-20
|2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship 450 Class (After 18 of 24 motos)
1. Ken Roczen 407pts (7 moto wins)
2. Ryan Dungey 393pts (5 moto wins)
3. Trey Canard 330pts
4. Brett Metcalfe 256pts
5. James Stewart 226pts (3 moto wins)
6. Josh Grant 218pts (1 moto win)
7. Andrew Short 218pts
8. Weston Peick 217pts
9. Eli Tomac 212pts (2 moto wins)
10. Chad Reed 156pts