Round four of the hotly contested AMA motocross series headed east to Budds Creek Maryland this weekend and the Ryan Dungey train was rolling. The supercross champion had reasserted himself as the man after a terrible opening round by winning four motos in a row and taking the points lead. You could certainly call him butter because he was on a roll. In the 250's, series leader Christophe Pourcel wasn't as dominant as a lot of people thought he would be but having said that, he had over a moto lead on second place.
So having said that, onward and upward to Budds Creek!
There's a lot of questions that needed to be answered about the nationals and seeing as how this is my twentieth "Observations" of the year and I need to get a new angle to make this interesting, I thought that I would answer some of the questions about the 450 class that have flooded my inbox.
Dear Matthes, I was busy picking up the garbage and parking cars to notice anything but what did you think of my track? Your slightly different dude, Jonathan Beasley
Thanks Jonathan for all you do with your track and facility. You provided nice hospitality to myself and Kelly Smith in 2000 and 2001 when we were dominating the East Coast Four-Stroke Nationals and I was standing by the announcers tower when I first heard about the World Trade Center buildings falling down so that's a memory I have of your track. And of course who could forget that day in 2003 when Tim Ferry won the first moto (beating RC)? I know I can't.
Anyways, I have never liked the new start you put in for the MXDN. It's always been way to slanted towards having the number one gate pick and the dudes around the box have zero chance of pulling a start (especially when you run it counter-clockwise) but for this year, you angled the gate and for that I say, Bravo! As far as the rest of the place, as usual, good job and I think your track is looked upon favorably by the riders and the teams.
Dear Steve, do you think that I have this title chase under control? I know it's only four races but how am I doing? By the way, I'm working hard and doing my homework, I'm taking it one race at a time and I have to give it up to my team. Your friend, Ryan Dungey
Thanks Ryan for writing in. You're certainly doing a much better job after that stinker at Hangtown (I still would really like to know if you were hung over or high on PCP at that race by the way) with five moto wins in the last six and a nice 36-point cushion on Chad Reed. You definitely would've came away with a second in the first moto at Budds Creek had you not fallen and tossed your goggles and maybe even a first. At this point, you are enjoying a better year than Michael Jackson in 1983 so just keep on beating it Billie Jean. (Wait, that didn't sound right.)
Wait Steve, what about me? I think I can win this thing still. Your buddy, Chad Reed
Yes Chad I do as well but you have to make something happen and make it happen soon. The Dunge is going to be there each and every moto. And you're over a moto behind right now and I know you know that Goose isn't going to leave the seat bolts loose for you to get that DNF from the #5. To me, Chad or Andrew Short are the only guys with a chance at the 450 title right now. Shorty's going to put it on the box FOR SURE this weekend and probably win the thing. So you can't count him and his consistency out and Reed's got 8 trillion dollars in his bank for a reason. He's a fighter but he had a chance in the second moto at Budds to make something happen and Ryan gapped him.
What about if I do some extra kayaking this week? Do I have a shot at winning this thing? Tony Mike Alessi
Mike, it’s going to be a tough uphill climb. The master plan of sitting out supercross and then coming in hot for the nationals on the KTM350 is not exactly working out. You didn't ride all last week, you're possibly sick, you are going to Colorado all this week to ride your race bike and to me, your bike looks like the bucking bronco I once rode at a bar in Atlanta. Your ride in the second moto at Hangtown was incredible but you haven't done much since then to make me think you can beat Ryan Dungey every time out. A moto here and there? Yeah, sure. A title? I don't think so. Nice goggles though!
What's the weirdest trend I've caused so far in the nationals? The Moto Gods
That would be the incredible disparity of Hangtown and then the three nationals that followed after it. It was if the Hangtown national took place in some sort of space- time continuum with Marty McFly and then we got shot out of that and into the real Lucas Oil Motocross Nationals. Look at the results from Hangtown:
1-Chad Reed- Hasn't won since.
2-Mike Alessi- Hasn't finished second since.
3-Davi Millsaps- Hadn't finished this high all year and now will be out for a long time after a nasty crash at Budds.
4-Brett Metcalfe- Ok fine. My theory is a little off.
5-Josh Grant- He was amazing at Hangtown, came slicing through the pack in the first moto and I would argue that he hasn't been that impressive since. Although if Joshua went 1-1 this weekend with massive leads, I wouldn't be surprised.
8- Ryan Dungey-Is now the points leader and dominating.
10- Andrew Short- Missed the third moto with a mechanical and has gone 6-3-2-1-5 since.
So if we've learned one thing at all, it's the fact that we didn't learn a damm thing at Hangtown. The Moto Gods work in strange ways but they did let us know that Brett Metcalfe is one of the fast guys that we have to mention when talking about podium riders. Speaking of which…
Dear Matthes. You're an idiot. I'm fast. Eat poop and die, Metty
Whoa, easy there Brett Metcalfe. You are super fast and in my Pulpmx Pre-Season podcasts, I've been constantly hyping you as a guy that could do something and that is indeed what you have been doing so far in the outdoors. I appreciate you let me stand on your motorhome roof at Mt Morris to watch the race but I just don't think you're a championship contender yet. You have to walk before you can fly (in my case, you have to eat single cheeseburgers before moving up to the triples) and you have never won a race here in America. I want you to, you want to and hopefully you'll get a moto win, then an overall, then put a few together and then you'll be in the mix. Until then, you're just a superfast rider with many podiums who many other riders would love to be.
Let's take a look at the results from Budds Creek, shall we?
1 108 Dean Wilson Glasgow, SC Kawasaki KX 250F 4 1 43- YEAH! The Scottish-Canadian rider finally puts the gaffe of Texas behind him and wins his first overall. He was dominant in the second moto and his riding style is pretty cool to watch. Just arms and legs (and sometimes ass) everywhere.
2 17 Justin Barcia Ochlocknee, GA Honda CRF250R 3 2 42- Some people were asking what was wrong with Justin Barcia but there's absolutely nothing wrong with him. Get back on the wagon everyone, next stop- the top step of the box!
3 28 Tyla Rattray Durban, SA Kawasaki KX 250F 2 3 42- Ratters had the overall if he could just make a pass on Barcia with two laps left. The South African went for it and almost pulled it off and when that didn't work, he almost pulled off going into the fence. Still, Tyla's here and he made up some points on Pourcel.
4 377 Christophe Pourcel Marseilla, FR Kawasaki KX 250F 1 6 40- The crafty/slick/reclusive/weird/funny Pourcel's average first moto points this year? 23. His average second moto points this year? 18. Who here thought he would be better? But guess what? He's got a big points lead so maybe all of us can suck it.
5 49 William Hahn Decatur, TX Honda CRF250R 5 4 34- Wilbur led the second moto for a bit before Wilson got by but he's getting there folks. He's close to putting it on the box soon, baby steps…
6 20 Broc Tickle Holly, MI Yamaha YZ 250F 6 5 31
7 38 Trey Canard Shawnee, OK Honda CRF250R 7 8 27- Perhaps the fact that Trey dips pancakes in his coffee is what is holding him back. I'm just sayin… That and the 40th gate pick for the first moto when his bike developed a bit of a problem in staging and his mechanic had to go back to the truck for repairs.
8 577 Martin Davalos Quito, EC Yamaha YZ 250F 9 10 23
9 21 Blake Wharton Aubrey, TX Honda CRF250R 11 9 22- Wharton's been fast at times but at the end of the day, you're like "Blake Wharton? How'd he do?"
10 243 Eli Tomac Cortez, CO Honda CRF250R 10 13 19- I just interviewed Eli a couple of weeks ago and refuse to believe that the experience scarred him so bad that he can't focus on racing anymore. All he sees is my hideous face when he closes his eyes is what some people are telling me.
11 200 Cole Seely Newbury Park, CA Honda CRF250R 13 11 18
12 12 Jake Weimer Rupert, ID Kawasaki KX 250F 21 7 14
13 48 Max Anstie Newbury, EN Yamaha YZ 250F 8 39 13- Anstie was up front in the first moto after using a creative line out there. Then he fell off the pace bad and I'm not sure if he crashed or not.
14 126 Hunter Hewitt Pilot Point, TX Suzuki RM Z250 17 14 11
15 61 Vince Friese Murrieta, CA Yamaha YZ 250F 24 12 9
16 87 Les Smith York, SC Honda CRF250R 18 15 9
17 31 Matthew Lemoine Collinsville, TX Suzuki RM Z250 16 17 9
18 19 Tommy Searle Pembury, EN KTM 250 SXF 12 38 9- Another victim of my Hangtown theory? Remember he was a couple of laps away from winning the opening moto of the year. That seems like so long ago…
19 36 Darryn Durham Butler, PA Honda CRF250R 14 30 7- Tim Ferry-"Durham has the best style ever." Me-"What about James Stewart?" Ferry- " I said ever…"
20 50 Alex Martin Millville, MN Honda CRF250R 15 23 6
21 92 Michael Willard Newark, OH Honda CRF250R 22 16 5
22 133 Myles Martin Tedder Surfside, CA Kawasaki KX 250F 28 18 3
23 520 Tony Gallo Valley City, OH Honda CRF250R 27 19 2
24 341 Nico Izzi Murrieta, CA Yamaha YZ 250F 19 25 2- Izzi has hooked up with Randy Lawrence to try and get healthy and get his career back on track.
25 521 Kyle Gills Wiggins, MS Kawasaki KX 250F 26 20 1
26 370 Drew Yenerich New Lenox, IL Yamaha YZ 250F 20 29 1
27 85 Scott Champion Sun City, CA Kawasaki KX 250F 23 21 0
28 918 Michael Akaydin Louisville, KY Kawasaki KX 250F 31 24 0
29 211 Tevin Tapia Federal Way, WA KTM 250 SXF 34 22 0
30 166 Dakota Tedder Surfside, CA Kawasaki KX 250F 29 27 0
31 160 Corey Pennington Santa Cruz, CA Kawasaki KX 250F 32 28 0
32 972 Michael Picone Hernando, FL Honda CRF250R 25 37 0- Apparently beating up on everyone at the Dade City Cup races wasn't enough for the driven Picone. He came out to the national to get some competition.
33 565 Preston Mull Livingston, CA Honda CR250R 37 26 0
34 731 Steve Roman Apollo, PA Yamaha YZ 250F 30 34 0
35 834 Hunter Clements Weston, MO Honda CRF250R 33 32 0
36 613 James DeCotis Peabody, MA Honda CRF250R 35 31 0
37 592 Jake Canada Sun City, CA Kawasaki KX 250F 38 33 0- On a day where Dean Wilson does it for his country (Sort of), Jake can't back it up for his motherland.
38 172 Jeffrey Gibson Blacklick, OH Honda CR250R 36 35 0- I wonder when Jeff sleeps, if he sees a giant Cannondale chasing after him?
39 175 Phillip Nicoletti Bethal, NY KTM 350 SXF 39 36 0
40 66 Blake Baggett Grand Terrace, CA Suzuki RM Z250 40 40 0- Blake will be MIA for a while with a broken humorous bone and there's nothing funny about that at all. Heal up BB Gun!
1 5 Ryan Dungey Belle Plaine, MN Suzuki RMZ 450 3 1 45- Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead (or in second place).
2 29 Andrew Short Smithville, TX Honda CRF450R 1 5 41- Would you be happy or bummed that you won the first moto and then went from first to sixth in the second go-around? If you're 95.9% of the world, you're pissed but if you're Andrew Short, you're happy and loving life. This guy drives me nuts with his positivity.
3 1 Chad Reed Kurri Kurri, AU Kawasaki KX 450F 4 2 40
4 33 Josh Grant Riverside, CA Yamaha YZ 450F 5 4 34- Grant is hot and cold right now. I'm telling you people that he'll go 1-1 at a race real soon. He's that good.
5 800 Mike Alessi Victorville, CA KTM 350 SXF 2 12 31
6 24 Brett Metcalfe Mannum, AU Honda CRF450R 6 6 30
7 46 Ryan Sipes Vine Grove, KY Yamaha YZ 450F 7 7 28- The Sipes-ster had a good race at Budds and overall, a pretty good season. His average placing not including tracks named Freestone? Eighth place.
8 101 Ben Townley Taupo, NZ Honda CRF450R 14 3 27- That black cloud struck again as BT101 was comfortably in fourth when his fuel pump went out. He ended up fourteenth. Second moto he was great in getting a third. If Ben was a Gremlin, he would fall into a swimming pool.
9 55 Kyle Chisholm Valrico, FL Yamaha YZ 450F 8 8 26- The Chiz gets screwed again! Last week he was 12-10 and ended up 13th overall (?!?) and this week he went 8-8 for 9th overall. I've seen guys go 8-8 and get 4th overall before but not the Chiz.
10 23 Justin Brayton Ft. Dodge, IA Yamaha YZ 450F 10 10 22
11 32 Kyle Cunningham Fort Worth, TX Yamaha YZ 450F 9 13 20
12 27 Nicholas Wey DeWitt, MI Kawasaki KX 450F 12 14 16
13 41 Kyle Regal Kemp, TX Honda CRF450R 11 15 16- Not quite as good as Freestone but a solid ride nevertheless. There was three groups out there on Saturday. The top seven (RD, AS, CR, JG, BM, MA) then a big gap to Sipes, Chisholm, Brayton, Cunningham, Wey and Regal and then everyone else.
14 122 Daniel Reardon Queensland, AU Yamaha YZ 450F 37 9 12- Oh yeah, and Reardon was in there as well in both motos. He crashed out in the first one I believe.
15 42 Ben Evans Boise, ID Kawasaki KX 450F 15 16 11
16 712 Matt Moss Sussex Inlet, AU Suzuki RMZ 450 13 18 11- Oh man, Matt is not doing very well for the bike/team he is on. I know he’s been hurt and all. I wonder if DeCoster even acknowledges him?
17 10 Thomas Hahn Decatur, TX Suzuki RMZ 450 38 11 10- T-Hahn hurt his shoulder in the first moto and toughed it out the second time out. Team manager Bill Keefe will be pulling fans out of the stands for rides next week if this keeps up. He lost Bagget and Tommy first motos, Morais a while ago as well as Jake Moss (who is supposed to be back this week.) All aboard the Hunter Hewitt train!
18 58 Weston Peick Wildomar, CA Yamaha YZ 450F 17 19 6
19 134 Travis Sewell Westville, IN Yamaha YZ 450F 16 21 5
20 35 Matthew Goerke Lake Helen, FL Yamaha YZ 450F 39 17 4- I can honestly I never saw Matt out on the track all day. Not sure what happened after his good day in Mt Morris.
21 196 Tyler Wharton Aubrey, TX Honda CRF450R 18 40 3
22 43 Steven Clarke West Midlands, EN Suzuki RM Z250 19 29 2
23 209 Heath Harrison Silverhill, AL Kawasaki KX 450F 28 20 1
24 251 Joshua Clark North Franklin, CT Kawasaki KX450F 20 26 1
25 771 Terren ODell Siloam Springs, AR Yamaha YZ 450F 23 22 0
26 79 Justin Sipes Vine Grove, KY Kawasaki KX450F 21 24 0- Pooh just misses out on some points. But he does score some for coolest nickname ever.
27 241 Derek Anderson Arvada, CO Kawasaki KX 450F 27 23 0
28 687 Garret Toth Carlisle, PA Suzuki RMZ450 25 27 0
29 774 Robby Marshall Stow, MA Kawasaki KX 450F 29 25 0
30 261 Jacob Morrison Wareham, MA Honda CRF450R 26 31 0
31 88 Ricky Renner Lakeland, FL KTM 450 XC 22 36 0
32 418 Nicholas Hayes Chester, VA Kawasaki KX 450F 32 30 0
33 167 Ryan Mills Clintondale, NY KTM 450 SX-F 24 38 0
34 587 Dustin Kendall Carlisle, PA Yamaha YZ 450F 31 32 0
35 606 Ronnie Stewart Easton, PA Suzuki RMZ 450 30 33 0
36 8 Grant Langston Durban, SA Yamaha YZ 450F 40 28 0- GL's a friend of mine but I have to say, this is ugly for sure.
37 388 Bryan Wallace New Eqypt, NJ KTM 450 SX-F 34 34 0
38 597 Mitchell Dougherty Whitesboro, NY Honda CRF450R 33 35 0
39 18 David Millsaps Cairo, GA Honda CRF450R 36 37 0- We're not going to see Davi for a while. If you were at the race, you might've just seen Millsaps on a Honda for the last time.
40 57 Jarred Browne Nuevo, CA Kawasaki KX 450F 35 39 0
Dear Readers, I had a serious case of writers block this week and this was all I had and the only format that got me into writing this for some reason. I'll be back strong next week in Colorado and thanks for reading. Your trusted servant, Steve Matthes
p.s.- You can email me at email@example.com if you want to talk.