In case you didn’t know, the USGP made its return back to Glen Helen over the weekend after a year away. The fan attendance was low, but the racing action was great. Check out this edition of Monday Kickstart to see what you missed.
The track at Glen Helen had huge jumps, technical lines, and great racing action, but it missed one thing: fans. Like last year, the fan attendance fell short again this year, but it probably had to do with the rain Sunday morning. The cold temperatures and pouring rain hit Glen Helen hard after the warm and sunny day on Saturday.
One of the coolest thing about the Grand Prix races is the mechanic areas. Unlike the small space the mechanics get for the Nationals, Grand Prix riders pit in style.
For being his first race back since his injury from Bercy, Marvin Musquin didn't disappoint. Qualifying third on Saturday behind his teammates, Ken Roczen and Jeffrey Herlings, Musquin finished 11th overall. He ran up front in his first moto on Sunday, but he ran into troubles and had to head into his pit. In his second moto, he had a hard charge towards the front and eventually finished sixth.
On his CLS/Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, Tommy Searle finished third overall with a 5-3 finish on Sunday.
You might remember Clement Desalle from Unadilla last year when he beat James Stewart in the first moto, and then he battled Ryan Dungey for the win in the second moto. His 2-2 finish was pretty impressive for an off-weekend race in the States, and his 1-1 finish was just as impressive at the USGP on Sunday. The MX Panda rode a near flawless race in both motos, and he now carries the red plate going into the next GP.
All weekend long, these were the bikes to watch...
Without the restrictions like the US bikes have, teams are allowed to do just about anything to their bikes. Check out this carbon fiber subframe.
The medical staff at the USGP came out in huge numbers: 7 doctors, and 40 staff members.
Last year the USGP was put on by Red Bull, but this year there was a switch to Monster Energy. With that brings the Monster Girls. Enjoy...
Doug Dubach came out to the USGP and won the Vet World Cup, but it was a different story for this year. In the first moto on Saturday, he got the holeshot and won the race. When the gates dropped on Sunday for the second moto, it looked like the same thing was going to happen when he grabbed another holeshot in the muddy conditions. However, he had a flat rear tire, and he finished the race in third. His 1-3 finished put him in second place overall for the weekend.
16-year-old Jeffrey Herlings came out in Valkenswaard and put in a perfect 1-1 finish on the sandy track. Similar to those track conditions, a lot of eyes were on the Red Bull/Teka/KTM rider. Although his 2-2 didn't put him in the number one position, it was a great ride from the young rider.
Even Ken came out to watch the races...
Shaun Simpson recorded his best finish in the MX1 class over the weekend with a sixth place finish in the second moto. However, a fall in the start of the first moto kept him from running up front, and he ended the day with a 11th place overall finish.
One thing you don't get to see in America is Husqvarnas racing in the outdoors. Team Husqvarna made their way out to the USGP over the weekend with their best finish coming from Alessandro Lupino, who finished 15th in the MX2 class.
Moto Blankents... Just in case your bike gets cold.
More carbon fiber goods...
Monster Energy Yamaha's Steven Frossard lost the red plate this weekend when crashes and bad starts kept him from running up front.
With the muddy conditions in the first moto, American Scott Champion skipped out on the race because he couldn't risk destroying his bike before Hangtown. However, the dry conditions in moto two brought him back out, and he nearly grabbed the holeshot. At the end of the race, he finished 12th, which put him at 19th overall.
After racing the outdoors last year in America, Max Anstie headed back to Europe to race the Grand Prix aboard a CLS/Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki. He went on to finish in the top three in the first moto, but his fifth place finish kept him out of the top three overall.
Christian Craig also made Glen Helen his first race back since his injury. Now on a 450 for the outdoors, his 8-13 finish was enough to put him in the top-10 overall, and it was the best finish by an American in the MX1 class.
A lot a riders came out to race the USGP, but there were not enough to fill up the gates. Nevertheless, the racing action was still good.
A lot of American teams came out this weekend to help support the Europeans. The Monster Energy Yamaha team pitted under the Valli Motorsports Yamaha's rig.
After the hot day on Saturday, rain hit Devore, California, hard on Sunday morning. Not letting off until about noon, you can imagine how muddy the track got. However, once the rain was over, the sun came out and dried up the track for the second motos.
Mike Sleeter joined the list of Americans to race the USGP. He went on to finish the day with a 32-DNF.
Even though there weren't a lot of US National riders out to race over the weekend, a lot of them did show up to watch...
Sporting the number three plate for the WMX series, Tarah Gieger came out to show her support for her teammates, Christian Craig and Travis Baker.
The rodeo outside of the LS Honda rig...
After a sixth place finish in moto one, Gautier Paulin was looking forward to moto two. However, mechanical issues forced him to DNF.
Winner of the Marty Moates Cup for the second year in a row was Zach Osborne. His fifth place overall was the best finish by an American over the weekend, which gave him back the cup. Photo By: Steve Emter
Weston Peick got in some racing before Hangtown next weekend on his new Kawi. With a DNF in the first moto and a 18th in the second moto, he finished the day in 20th. Photo By: Steve Emter
Once Roczen got into the front, it was all over for the rest of the riders in the MX2 class. Photo By: Steve Emter
A lot of the European riders commented that the track was dangerous with all of the big jumps on the track, but that didn't stop them from jumping all of them. Photo By: Steve Emter
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda's Travis Baker put himself in a good position in the second moto when he was battling in the top five until he got a flat tire. A pit stop caused him to drop back a lot of positions but he eventually fought back up to 16th. He went on to finish the weekend with a 12th place overall. Photo By: Steven Emter