Race Report:
Hitachi AMA/WMA National Motocross Championship Round 5: Broome Tioga Sports Center

Steady rainfall on Saturday afternoon turned the beautiful Broome Tioga Sports Center track into a quagmire, just in time for round five of the AMA/Women’s Motocross Association series, but Team Moto XXX rider Jessica Patterson went about business as usual and scored her third win of the series aboard her Eddie Ray-tuned Honda CRF250R and took over the championship points lead with one round to go. Sadly for WMA fans, series points leader Katherine Prumm of New Zealand was not in attendance at Broome Tioga, as red tape and travel fiascos that resulted from the recent airline security measures kept her from returning to the United States. If all goes well, the speedy Kawasaki rider will show up at the Steel City series finale in two weeks, but the damage has been done and Prumm now finds herself at a 23-point deficit to Patterson with only the last race remaining.

Due to the heavy rainfall, AMA Sports shortened the WMA program to only a single 20-minute moto for the 16 racers. NorCal’s Alisa Nix grabbed the holeshot aboard her Yamaha YZ250F and led the charge on lap one, pursued by Richardson’s RV rider Tarah Gieger, Patterson, Honda’s Jessye David and the other half of the Richardson’s team, Sarah Whitmore. Nix seemed to check out early on, but Gieger found her pace in the slippery conditions once she had a couple laps under her belt and began to pressure the leader.

“It was hard to pass, said Gieger. “Heck, it was hard to follow! The mud made the track really one-lined and it was hard to get a good drive to pass anyone out of the good line.

Through the middle of the race, Nix and Gieger each took turns leading the race, but both of them fell victims to the muddy conditions and went down several times. During her second stint in the lead, Nix lost control in a slimy downhill section and actually rode off the course, allowing Gieger to sneak past and into the pole position.

While the two Yamaha riders battled out front, Patterson sat back and set a consistent pace, never really losing control or having any close calls. “I just sat back and rode as best I could, said Patterson. “Those two were hanging it out and I knew that being steady and consistent would pay off.

As she predicted, Patterson assumed the lead when Gieger crashed out of the lead for good, dropping as far back as fourth at one point. While Patterson rode a relatively uneventful race to the end, Gieger did manage to work back into second and close rapidly on her Honda-mounted rival. “I think that if I had one or two more laps, I could have gotten her back, said Gieger, who is fresh off her second Women’s National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s. “But that’s racing. I felt really fast, but I fell down one time too many.

Third at the finish was Whitmore. “White Chocolate stayed upright throughout the moto and maintained a speedy pace to the finish. Throughout the moto, she battled with Davis, Nix and Gieger, and her smooth ride rewarded her with the final podium position. “It feels good to be back on the podium, said Whitmore, who was still obviously not content with third. “I’ve struggled with a shoulder injury since before the start of the season and this is my first race back with the WMA since Hangtown. You have to ride easy in the mud, like ‘braaaah, braaaah,’ not ‘BRAAAP! BRAAAAP!’

Fourth went to Nix, the speedy holeshot artist, while Canadian Heidi Cooke rounded out the top five. Several crashes relegated Davis to sixth, while Georgia’s Leah Cantrell never really looked comfortable in the sloppy conditions as she rode to seventh. Brazil’s Mariana Balbi and Californians Katie McGuire and Elizabeth Bash rounded out the top 10.

RESULTS

  1. Jessica Patterson (Hon)
  2. Tarah Gieger (Yam)
  3. Sarah Whitmore (Yam)
  4. Alisa Nix (Yam)
  5. Heidi Cooke (Hon)
  6. Jessye Davis (Hon)
  7. Leah Cantrelll (Suz)
  8. Mariana Balbi (Hon)
  9. Katie McGuire (Kaw)
  10. Elizabeth Bash (Kaw)
  11. Aubriana Dunn (Hon)
  12. Josephine Adlam (Yam)
  13. Penni Cyrus (Kaw)
  14. April Zastrow (Hon)
  15. Sherri Cruse (Yam)
  16. Kaide Garrett (Yam)

AMA/WMA Hitachi National Motocross Series Point Standings

  1. Jessica Patterson (184/3 wins)
  2. Katherine Prumm (161/2 wins)
  3. Alisa Nix (156)
  4. (TIE) Tarah Gieger/Mariana Balbi (145)
  5. Jessye Davis (120)
  6. Leah Cantrell (109)
  7. Sherri Cruse (104)
  8. Sarah Whitmore (85)
  9. Ashley Boham (83)

For more photos click the link to the far right.