As expected round 10 of the Lucas Oils AMA Motocross Championship at MX 338 in Southwick, Massachusetts, didn’t disappoint this past weekend. While Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey wrapped up the 450 class championship, the 250 class title hunt tightened up even more, as current points leader Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel finished off the podium for the first time in quite a while. Pourcel’s misfortune was compounded by Geico Powersports/Honda’s Trey Canard’s first moto win and subsequent third overall finish. Like always, though, the racing action wasn’t all that went down at the ‘Wick, and we managed to capture just about everything else. So sit back, relax, and flip through the following pages to get filled in on the inside scoop.
Like always, early in the morning was when the Southwick track looked pristine. This photo was shot before practice even got underway.
As the day progressed, the track quickly turned into one of the roughest on the circuit. Riders commented that even from lap to lap, the lines would change, forcing them to adapt to the racing surface. If one thing is certain, Southwick is truly a unique track on the AMA circuit.
While cruising around the pits, we stumbled across some of Alpinestars' newest additions to its protective gear line up. This is the A6 chest protector and is designed to be worn under the jersey and work perfectly with the Alpinestars Bionic Neck Support to give you full upper body protection.
While the A6 chest protector is worn under the jersey, the A10 is worn over the jersey. Just like the A6, though, the A10 was designed to work specifically with the Bionic Neck Support system without hindering comfort. What you can't see in this photo, however, is the extensive back protection that Alpinestars took from its development work with back protectors.
Just like every year, Southwick local John Dowd came out of retirement to race. Last year, Dowdy finished on the podium with a 10-2 moto tally for third overall. This year, however, the popular rider didn't have the best of luck. In the first moto, Dowd turned in a very good 11th place finish. The second, though, was when everything went downhill, as he crashed in the first turn and eventually pulled out of the race due to bike problems.
In spite of his second moto misfortune, John Dowd still gets to keep his number 16 for one more year due to his 11th place finish in the first moto.
Southwick is always one of those tracks where local riders tend to shine. Unfortunately for local privateer Jimmy Decotis, though, his day didn't go as planned. He finished 17th overall with a 20-14 moto score.
One rider that turned quite a few heads this weekend was KTM privateer Jeremy Medaglia. Medaglia turned in the third fastest qualifying time in the morning, but his motos didn't go quite as well. He finished 22nd in the first moto, and 20th in the second. Still, the young rider proved that he in fact does have the speed.
Here's what happened to Medaglia off the start of the second moto. Somehow his front end tucked, spitting him over the bars before the pack got to the first turn.
JGR/Yamaha's Josh Grant's season of bad luck continued this weekend. During the first practice, the Yamaha rider was ejected off his back, landing on his shoulder. No word yet on the extent of his injury or if he is out of action for the rest of the season, however, he is getting an MRI to find out.
We know we've shown up close shots of the Red Bull Honda Racing bikes before, but we just couldn't help but notice how cool the bead blasted finish of the factory engine cases looked.
If you look closely, you can see what appears to be an exhaust sensor on the header pipe of Fiolek's Red Bull Honda Racing CRF250R. We tested with a similar unit on a Yoshimura Suzuki a few weeks ago, which was designed to adjust the EFI mapping according to track and weather conditions. We can attest that it works very well in getting the bike dialed in.
Tire choice on the sandy Southwick track is paramount. Most of the riders were running this version of Dunlop's sand tire. But local riders that have spun countless laps around the circuit prefer to run Pirelli's popular sand tire.
Here is another choice for tires that Monster Energy Kawasaki's Nick Wey was contemplating during practice.
Red Bull Honda Racing's Andrew Short had a day he would probably rather forget. In the first practice, Shorty had bike problems, forcing him to pull out and return to the pits, and leaving him only the second session—when the track is very rough—to post a fast lap. The resulting time left him to use the provisional rule where a rider who is top-10 in points can be seeded directly into the motos if they run into problems in practice. In the motos, his luck didn't get much better and after starting outside the top-10 in moto one, he crashed. In the second moto, a first turn crash again ruined his chances of finishing towards the front.
Troy Lee Designs/Honda's Ben Townley had an up and down day. He ran towards the front of the first moto, but ultimately came together with Short. The crash punched a hole in his cases, forcing him to DNF the moto. The second went much smoother, as BT led the opening laps before finishing second behind Dungey.
Last year's Southwick winner MotoConcepts/Yamaha's Matt Goerke had a very good day. In the first moto, Goerke charged hard to climb up to sixth from as far back as 19th in the opening stages. In the second race, he again charged his way towards the front to finish third. The 6-3 finishes were good enough to solidify him third overall. Not bad considering this was his first race back.
Geico Powersports/Honda's Brett Metcalfe was riding very well all day. After getting the holeshot in the first moto and leading the entire race, bad luck struck. With less than half a lap remaining, Metty ran out of gas. He DNFed the moto and didn't score any points. The second went a little better as he finished seventh.
Here's how close Metcalfe and Dungey were for most of the first 450 moto. There were spots on the track where Metcalfe would pull away from Dungey, but Ryan would be able to make the ground back up on Metty in others.
Here is the moment of heartbreak for Metcalfe. After leading the entire moto, his bike ran out of gas. He tried to push it up the hill, but couldn't make it.
The Rockstar/Suzuki pits were nearly filled back to the normal four riders, as rookies Ian Trettle and Austin Howell were drafted to fill in for injured riders. This was Howell's second National, but it was the first for Trettle.
Trettle is one of the most recent graduates from Loretta Lynn's and Southwick marked his first-ever pro race. He did well, going 17-10 for 14th overall. Here, he hangs out in the pits with his dad.
For Trettle's second moto 10th, he was awarded the Muscle Milk Recovery award. The award is given to the rider with the best improvement from moto one to moto two.
The Geico Powersports/Honda team has been running larger capacity tanks for a few rounds now, but this was the first time we noticed them on the Honda of Troy bikes. With the deep sand of Southwick, there is no question that a bigger tank is needed.
Have you been wondering what the Raptor Carbon stickers are on the forks of the Geico Powersports/Hondas? According to Kibby, the company supplies the coatings on the suspension. Since the team uses production suspension, coatings are added to both the forks and shock.
The front straight next to the mechanic's area was newly dedicated to Southwick legend Doug Henry this weekend.
Here is a shot showing the entire Henry Highway with second place overall finisher Mike Alessi blasting his way down it. Alessi has been in a slump this season, however, managed to turn that around this weekend. According to Alessi, he has been putting in a lot of time training during the off weeks and it is finally beginning to pay off.
Grand Prix racer Gareth Swanepoel made the trip overseas to race for the DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing/Yamaha team. As it turned out, Swanepoel is a pretty good sand rider. He went 10-6 for eighth overall.
After injuring his shoulder while practicing, Troy Lee Designs/Honda's Wil Hahn returned to action at Unadilla a few weeks ago. At Southwick, though, you wouldn't know that it was only his second race back. Wilbur led a good portion of the first moto before ultimately finishing third, then grabbed the second moto holeshot to finish fifth. The combined total was good for fourth overall. It was the first time, though, that Wil has led a National for a number of laps.
Line selection is key to riding fast around the flowing Southwick circuit. Here, following the first practice, Eli Tomac goes over a track map with his team. Tomac had a solid day on the rough track, finishing 6-7 for seventh overall.
Just like he has been at other races, newly retired Tim Ferry was at Southwick helping out Trey Canard. Canard won the first moto, but in the second couldn't make up time after a bad start. Still, he did make up some points on championship rival Christophe Pourcel. Canard is now 13 points down from the lead with two rounds remaining.
Although she didn't win the overall, Red Bull Honda Racing's Ashley Fiolek had a good day at Southwick. She went 1-2 for second overall. Fiolek currently sits second in points behind Jessica Patterson.
DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing/Yamaha's Jessica Patterson was flying at Southwick. After going down in the first turn in moto one, she nearly caught and passed moto winner Fiolek. In the second moto, she got the holeshot and quickly checked out. She is now leading the points by 22 over defending champ Fiolek.
Rockstar/Suzuki's Tommy Hahn rode very well in the first moto and was the only rider who was able to keep sight of the top two riders for the first half of the race. When Metcalfe ran out of gas, Hahn was awarded with his best single moto finish all season with a second. In moto two, Hahn's luck wasn't quite as good as he DNFed and was awarded no points.
How dirty do the riders get at Southwick? Check out this shot of Ryan Dungey following the second moto. The sand at Southwick is very fine and sticks to just about everything.
Dungey's mechanic Mike Gosselaar had a cool message for the new Champion on his last lap of the second moto.
With Jason Lawrence out for unknown reasons, his team elected to bring privateer Kyle Regal on board. And with some excellent rides this season, Regal was an easy choice for them. He had a little bad luck, but turned in a solid first moto fifth.
After winning last year's Southwick National—it was his first win as a rookie—Justin Barcia was no doubt looking forward to this race. In the first moto he finished a strong fourth, but came back in the second to take the holeshot and check out. His 4-1 moto scores were good enough for second overall.
Heading into this race, Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Tyla Rattray wasn't shy about how he would do at Southwick, claiming that an overall was coming. As it turned out, the South African didn't disappoint and was easily the fastest rider during both motos. His 2-2 score was good enough for the overall. It was also especially sweet due to the fact that Tyla's baby girl was born on the same day. He flew out right after the race to be with his family back home.
To the victors go the spoils. With only two rounds remaining, the 250 class title hunt is heating up.
It's always better to end with a Rockstar girl photo. See you next week at Steel City!