Race Report – Steel City

words: Antonovich
photos: Kinman

The whirlwind 12-stop tour that is the Lucas Oil AMA National Championship came to a close in Pennsylvania, and the racing was met with clear skies (a blessing, considering the previous east coast rounds). Two titles were still to be decided when the day began, as both the Lites class and the WMA championships were still hanging in the balance at the end of a long summer that started in May on the opposite side of the country at Glen Helen. With two six motos left in one of the most unpredictable seasons in AMA history, the surprises continued up until the champagne and sweat soaked number one plate was finally handed over. While it’s nowhere near as good as being there, here is the final race report of the 2009 AMA National Championship.

250 Moto One

The gate clanged into the PA soil and Geico Powersports/Factory Connection/ Honda rookie Justin Barcia bolted to the first turn with the early lead. Just behind him, the title contenders of Rockstar/Makita/ Suzuki hotshot Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s French import Christophe Pourcel made their way around the recent overall winner and went to the top two spots to try and settle the championship in thirty-five minutes. Dungey would attempt multiple passes in Pourcel, sneaking on the inside and going wide around Pourcel in the rhythm and downhill sections, but Pourcel would fire right back and hold off the USA MXoN team member. The contenders were close enough for the majority of the race that it was easy to see the different styles the two have; Pourcel’s smooth and consistent flow and Dungey’s more American wide open attack. On the closing laps, Dungey did falter and lost a bit of time to Pourcel, then hung back and stayed in second, losing minimum points going into the second moto with a slight point lead over Pourcel. The duo’s lead over Justin Barcia was well over fourteen seconds, a clear display of the speed the two possess.

250 Moto One Results

1. Christophe Pourcel
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Justin Barcia
4. Jake Weimer
5. Austin Stroupe
6. Ryan Sipes
7. Ryan Morais
8. Blake Wharton
9. Brett Metcalfe
10. Steven Clarke

250 Moto Two

Moto two had a shake up for the holeshot, as Christophe Pourcel came across the stripe first with Ryan Dungey buried in the back of the top ten. The Kawasaki rider had a clear track ahead and started to gap the rest of the field as RD10 fought through traffic to keep damage control on his point lead, and would come to fifth place by the end of the first lap. Dungey made his way around the third and fourth place rookies of Geico Powersports/Factory Connection/Honda’s Blake Wharton and privateer Pro Circuit/Kawasaki supported Blake Baggett, and the two Blake’s would battle back and forth while keeping Dungey from establishing too massive of a gap. Ten seconds ahead of the three Americans, Pourcel led the final laps of the season and won the overall, but Dungey’s 2-2 scores were enough to clinch his first AMA National title.

Muscle Milk/MDK/KTM’s Tommy Searle had a rough final day to his season; while chasing Blake Wharton in the first moto the front end seemed to wash out, and he re-fired in a puff of smoke. The second moto would have him running second to Pourcel before another crash dropped him to sixth. Justin Barcia would be unable to match his success from the first moto, and could only muster a thirteenth in the final race of the day. Muscle Milk/MDK/KTM rider Ryan Sipes would also put in solid results with a 5-6 for his day’s scores, which was enough for a fourth overall.

250 Moto Two Results

1. Christophe Pourcel
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Blake Wharton
4. Blake Baggett
5. Ryan Sipes
6. Tommy Searle
7. Brett Metcalfe
8. Jake Weimer
9. Broc Tickle
10. Austin Stroupe

Overall

1. Christophe Pourcel 1-1
2. Ryan Dungey 2-2
3. Blake Wharton 8-3
4. Ryan Sipes 6-5
5. Jake Weimer 4-8
6. Justin Barcia 3-13
7. Austin Stroupe 5-10
8. Brett Metcalfe 9-7
9. Tommy Searle 13-6
10. Blake Baggett 17-4

Championship Points

1. Ryan Dungey 503
2. Christophe Pourcel 492
3. Brett Metcalfe 378
4. Jake Weimer 353
5. Justin Barcia 340
6. Tommy Searle 332
7. Broc Tickle 285
8. Blake Wharton 273
9. Tyla Rattray 236
10. Matt Lemoine 189