After a few weeks off, the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships visited the sands of Southwick, Massachusetts, at MX 338. And while there was some amazing racing action in all the classes, that’s not all that happened at Southwick. Check out this week’s Monday Kickstart for everything that went down at the ‘Wick.
With scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, the possibility of another wet and muddy Southwick National looked good. In spite of that, though, thousands of fans still flocked to the MX338 track to take in all the action. What they were treated to was some great racing in all the classes. According to the riders, the track was also one of the roughest and most unforgiving Southwick tracks they have seen in a long time. Mike Alessi said, “This was probably the roughest Southwick that I have ever ridden.”
The weekend’s racing opened up with the announcement of Team USA for this year’s Motocross of Nations in Lommel, Belgium. Alongside returning team captain Ryan Dungey will be current 250 points leader Blake Baggett and Justin Barcia. With Barcia moving up to the 450 class next year, the MXoN will see him aboard a 450 competing in the MX3 class. Baggett will compete in the MX2 and Dungey in the MX1. The Lommel track is a notoriously rough sand track where European riders shine. When questioned about it, team manager Roger DeCoster said the team will be heading over early in order to get some testing in before the race.
With the announcement of Team USA, some people were wondering why Motoconcept’s Mike Alessi—currently second in 450 class points and the first rider other than James Stewart to beat Dungey—wasn’t chosen to ride the MX3 class. During the post-race press conference, Alessi was asked about his thoughts, to which he quickly interrupted the question and said, “I don’t want to comment on that. It’s just not the time.”
The start straight at Southwick features one of the tightest turns on the circuit, funneling the riders into a tight left hand corner then immediately into a right hand corner. Needless to say, it’s the perfect recipe for a first or second turn pile-up. As it turned out, in many of the motos there were crashes in either the first or second turn, with some of the top riders falling victim.
Team Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Brayton was one of the top riders that got tangled up in the first turn. Justin went down in both motos and was forced to come from behind. In the first moto, he turned in a 19th after coming back from dead last. In the second, though, he pulled out after a few laps. No word on the reason.