Race Report – Hangtown

The 41st Motocross Classic went off without a hitch today at Hangtown in Prairie City, CA. Hosted by the Dirt Diggers, the Motocross Classic is the oldest of the current Outdoor National rounds, and they proved again that they know how to make a motocross track. This year, they added rice and sand to the soil to help fend off the square-edged hardpack that Hangtown is known for; and though the track still got rough, the dirt remained surprisingly soft and rounded. Yes, there were some get-offs (some worse than others), but all in all, the riders of the Lucas Oils Motocross Champioship seemed pleased with the race conditions they were presented.

450 Moto One
With the sun at its highest, the gates slammed down into the dirt, allowing Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Mike Alessi to nab yet another holeshot; but his lead was short-lived. He went down before one lap was in the books, allowing privateer Jeff Northrop to enjoy an equally short-lived lead. Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ivan Tedesco took over the lead within a blink, while JGR’s Cody Cooper yielded a third place spot after the first lap. Meanwhile, mired in the back was championship favorite Ryan Villopoto and Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Chad Reed. Villopoto went down early in the first lap and aggravated his knee (which would eventually lead to his withdrawal from the race, and the season).  Reed, however, suffered from a horrifying start and had to do his best to make up for it. Cooper took over second before two laps were in the can.
Tedesco stretched out a lead, but Alessi didn’t let him get far. After passing Cooper for the second place spot, Alessi slowly but surely reeled in the Honda Red Bull Racing rider. With about 20 minutes on the clock, Alessi got by Hot Sauce and settled into the top spot. Though Reed was mired in the pack, he continuously logged the fastest time, lap after lap, and he eventually clawed his way back to sixth.
Alessi built a comfrotable lead, but nearly lost it when he stalled his bike before the finish line. But, before Tedesco could capitalize, Alessi got his machine restarted. When all was said and done, Alessi took the checkers with Tedesco and Short in tow.

450 Moto Two
The sun settled into the western sky as the 450 riders lined up for the final moto of the day on the 41st Motocross Classic from Hangtown. With live SPEED TV coverage honing in on the riders, the stage was set for both everyone in attendance, and for the thousands of folks at home waiting in front of their televisions with Hot Pockets, nachos, or other fine cuisines fit for a tray. Wen the gates dropped and the fielded rounded the first turn, it was Joe Gibbs Racing’s Josh Grant who stole the holeshot from Mike Alessi. Ivan Tedesco, still riding the momentum he built in the first moto, moved in behind Grant, ahead of Alessi, Andrew Short, and Chad Reed. Alessi, clearly bummed he had his holeshot stolen, swooped in on Tedesco and took over the second spot.
As the field spread out and the time ticked away, focus stuck with the battle for moto supremacy between Grant and Alessi, as well as the dicing Reed, Tedesco, and Reardon. While Grant fended off advances from Alessi, Reed chipped away at the Hondas in front of him, eventually getting by Tedesco and sealing third place.
Mid-moto, Alessi made his way around Grant, but he couldn’t make it stick. Grant found his way back into the lead, taking lines away from the Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki rider. When the checkers came out, Grant crossed the finish line first and celebrated on the podium as the moto winner. Later, however, he was penalized a position for jumping while a medic flag was being waved. The rules state riders must roll jumps when that flag is out, so Grant suffered a position-dock. With that, Mike Alessi was crowned the 1-1 overall winner; the first of his 450 career.

(Note: Ryan Villopoto did not race the second moto, and word is he will sit the rest of the season out to undergo surgery on his injured knee.)
Overall Results (Top Twenty)
1.    Mike Alessi (1-1)
2.    Ivan Tedesco (2-4)
3.    Chad Reed (6-3)
4.    Andrew Short (3-6)
5.    Josh Grant (9-2)
6.    Dan Reardon (7-5)
7.    Matt Goerke (5-9)
8.    Justin Brayton (8-10)
9.    Tommy Hahn (11-8)
10.    Cody Cooper (4-23)
11.    Jimmy Albertson (14-13)
12.    Nick Wey (12-15)
13.    Jake Moss (24-7)
14.    Chris Blose (19-11)
15.    Josh Hill (10-20)
16.    Troy Adams (20-12)
17.    Michael Byrne (18-14)
18.    Bobby Bonds (13-19)
19.    Davi Millsaps (15-35)
20.    Jeff Alessi (22-16)