GP regular Tom Church and the Hitachi KTM team made the trek to Southwick, but failed to qualify for the event.
DNA Shred Stix/Yamaha rider Gannon Audette had his breakthrough ride of the year, finishing eighth overall. Audette finished a surprising fourth in the first moto, but was overshadowed a bit perhaps, by Gareth Swanepoel's shocking moto win. Audette's second moto didn't go quite as well and he crossed the finish line in 16th. Still, it was a great day for the former Amateur National Champion.
Oversized tanks were the order of the day in the 250 class. This large-capacity tank by Clarke manufacturing is affectionately referred to by riders as, "The Ball Buster."
Local favorite and all-around motocross hero John Dowd was at Southwick on a mission to earn 22 points, in order to secure his permanent number 16 for another season. Junkyard ended up scoring 25 points with his remarkable eighth-place finish. Dowdy is 46 years old.
With Hurricane Irene making the Southwick National a soggy affair, this flagger made good use of a trackside banner. Nothing like staying dry, AND plugging the sponsors, right?
In order to keep the wet sand from clogging the radiators, several of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki mechanics used coarse foam and mesh to keep the sand out of the radiator fins.
The deep sands of Southwick are hard on clutches, especially in the 250 class, where riders use the clutch to keep the revs up on the power-robbing surface. A new clutch each moto? Of course!
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You know you've made it as a photographer when you have your own umbrella girl.
The DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing/Yamaha riders showed up with "Roost Factory" exhaust systems on their race bikes. Those of you who have been around for a while will make the connection immediately. For those of you under 35, Roost Factory was a hop-up shop owned by Don Emler. With the recent FMF Energy vs. Monster vs. Rockstar vs. DNA vs. Muscle Milk fuss, it appears that the guys at FMF are having a bit of fun.
No, Dean Wilson is not entering the Baja 1000 aboard his Paul Perijbinos-tuned Kawasaki KX250F; that massive fuel tank is to ensure that a fuel shortage is not an issue. Because the deep sand of MX 338 robs power and uses more fuel, several riders showed up with large-capacity tanks on their race bikes.
Paddle tires are illegal for racing use, but this is about as close as you can get with a set of knobs.
While Dean Wilson went with the massive desert tank on his bike, Tyla Rattray's bike was equipped with this trick carbon fiber tank. Not as large in capacity as Wilson's, but about 50 times cooler, yes?Oddly enough, the carbureted Yamaha YZ250Fs of the DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing/Yamaha squad were equipped with stock tanks. Perhaps the YZ250Fs five-valve head design is more fuel efficient?
Carbon fiber is certainly trick, but nothing oozes that works look like a handmade aluminum fuel tank. This one was on Eli Tomac's Geico Honda CRF250R.
Ryan Villopoto finished the day second overall with 2-4 moto scores, and enjoys an eight-point lead over champion Ryan Dungey with two races left. RV2 was closing on Dungey in the first moto, but it was too little, too late, and he had to settle for second at the line.
"I guess I have to wear rain boots because it's gonna be a wet one, but they just look so ugly...oh, I know! I'll spruce them up with my knee-high green leg warmers!"
Series points leader not allowed?
The most-talked about happening of the day? Without a doubt Ryan Dungey's race back up to seventh in the second moto, after starting the race over a half-lap down on the rest of the field.
Dean Wilson was second overall at Southwick, but his day did not go smoothly. In the second moto, Wilson's bike began to give up the ghost, and he was forced to slow in order to coax his bike to the finish. It was without a doubt one of the longest motos of the season for Deano and his mechanic Paul Perebijnos.
Geico Honda's rookie Justin Bogle continues to impress. After struggling to 18th in the first moto, the kid from Oklahoma chalked up a fourth in race two for eighth overall.
Dean Wilson's championship rival and teammate, Blake Baggett, had a forgettable day at Southwick, as evidenced by this message from his mechanic.
Congratulations to Brett and Sheena Metcalfe on their first AMA win. After last year's heartbreak (Metty ran out of gas on the last lap while leading), it was especially sweet. Brett's dad was on hand to share the moment.
Dean Wilson now enjoys a 38-point lead in the 250 National Championship series point standings. Before Southwick, his teammate Blake Baggett was his closest rival. Leaving Southwick, his teammate and event winner Tyla Rattray took over second.
Before the start of moto two, the entire Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki team scrambled to diagnose and remedy the electrical issue that caused the number-one RM-Z450 to die, only minutes before rider staging.
Solid brake rotors were the order of the day in the muddy conditions.
The new Fox Racing V4 helmet made its competition debut on the heads of Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed, and the Geico Honda team. We've seen the new helmet evolve through its prototype stages and can't wait to get our hands on a full production unit.
The new Fox helmet features a ton of venting in the forehead area, as well as a reshaped visor.
The entire Geico Honda team debuted the new helmet.
Former teen prodigy Robbie Reynard is working closely with rookie Justin Bogle. The Oklahoma neighbors are a formidable pairing, as Bogle has shown a ton of talent and potential in his first two Nationals.
South African Gareth Swanepoel predicted that he would win Southwick in last week's "Ask Me A Question" video with Tyla Rattray, and he succeeded with a win in moto one, topping none other than fellow SA rider Rattray. Swanie was third overall after a fifth in moto two.
Team Honda's Ashley Fiolek won the overall at Southwick and moved one step closer to earning her third WMX National Championship. Fiolek's regular mechanic, Toshi Chiba, was replaced by Josh Grant's mechanic Jason Haines, at Southwick, as Chiba was in Japan renewing his Visa.