Monday Kickstart – Washougal MX 2012

Another round of the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series is in the books, and the series will take another one-week break before heading the sand of Southwick. Ryan Dungey emerged the victor once again this weekend in the 450 class, and Justin Barcia chipped away at Blake Baggett’s lead in the 250 class. Check out some more photos from the race in the Great Northwest and stay tuned for Pit Pass, Behind Bars, and more from this weekend’s action.

Washougal is arguably the most scenic track in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series. Nestled into rural southwestern Washington, the track weaves through dense trees that tower high overhead, providing both shade for fans and harsh shadows for the riders.

 

Washougal always attracts a humungous crowd, and they showed up in droves again in 2012. With pleasant temperatures and plenty of shade, Washougal offered as much comfort for fans as an outdoor track in the middle of nowhere possibly can. The multiple Coors Light beer gardens helped as well.

 

For the last few years, Troy Lee Designs has used Washougal as its setting for one-off bikes and/or gear. We remember the baby blue and orange bikes from last season, right? This year they did it again, this time with flo orange and yellow. So dope.

 

Red Bull KTM is enjoying their most successful year in American motocross. The Austrian company dominates motocross in FIM circuits, but has come up short in AMA-sanctioned racing until now. WIth Roger DeCoster at the helm, tireless development behind the scenes, and their golden boy Ryan Dungey aboard their 450, KTM is the winningest manufacturer of the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series. After his second-moto win at Washougal, Dungey now has 11 moto wins thus far in 2012.

Ryan Villopoto joined Jake Weimer and Tyla Rattray at their autograph signing at his home state track. As you know, RV2 has been sidelined since blowing out his knee at Seattle Supercross after sealing his championship in the stadium-based series. Word is, he will be back on the bike very, very soon.

 

Kyle Regal's struggles have apparently stemmed from arm pump issues. The team has worked at some course of remedy, but for whatever reason, Regal's forearms flare up, without fail, just a few laps into the moto.

 

And the winner of the Most Bitchin' Party Shirt award is...

 

Josh Grant hasn't scored a podium yet this season, nor has he yielded the results he is hoping for, but he has quietly found himself well inside the top ten in the points chase. He has struggled with starts, but he finally got one in the first moto at Washougal.

Jessica Patterson is unwilling to relinquish her championship hopes. After breaking her hand before Red Bud, JP$ still managed to tough out the Buchanan, Michigan, track salvaging valuable points. While the guys raced Millville, the WMX series took a break before returning to racing this weekend at Washougal. During the short break, Patterson repaired her hand, but by no means was she 100 percent when they lined up on Saturday. In true moto fashion, JP$ shook it off and rode to 2-8 finishes, retaining her small points lead of Tarah Gieger and Ashley Fiolek.

 

Honda Muscle Milk's Tommy Hahn looked strong all day long at Washougal. He set his tone early in the day by posting the fastest lap in the first 450 practice session. Good starts and consistent riding garnered him seventh place in both motos. His luck, or lack thereof, has followed him closely over the last few years, but T.Hahn has remained resilient, and his performance at Washougal is proof positive of that.

 

Sleeveless pickup kit and cold-weather pickup kit together in perfect moto-fan harmony. The balance of opposites.

MIke Alessi showed off some 2013 JT Racing gear. Although the logo treatment still screams retro, the colorway of the kit as a whole is a step toward more contemporary design.

Jake Weimer continues to build on his confidence in the 450 class. Other than Mike Alessi, Weimer has been the most consistent rider in the class behind the nearly flawless Dungey. He just missed the podium this weekend with fourth overall, but he definitely won in the dope helmet department.

Ryan Dungey and Fox Racing paid their respects to Art Jefferson, who served as paddock concierge at all of the Nationals. Mr. Jefferson suffered a fatal stroke in Minnesota last week. A portion of his ashes will be spread at his home track of Southwick in accordance to his wishes. Godspeed, Art.

Red Bull parachutes usually fall from the skies during opening ceremonies, but it was the GoPro Bomb Squad that descended onto the start straight moments before the first gate drop this weekend at Washougal.

 

Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin scored a big holeshot over Blake Baggett in the first 250 moto and pulled away for a good portion of the moto. The Geico Honda duo of Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac eventually tracked him down after the midway point of the moto. Barcia struck first, then Tomac followed, but Musquin held onto third place when the checkers flew.

Jeff Ward Racing's Josh Grant gutted out a strong sixth-place finish after his big yard sale in the first moto. After getting his best start of the season out of the gate, JG33 was enjoying a top-five position, when he got pitched sideways off an awkward, small double out a sweeping right turn. He was violently thrown to the ground, but after he shook it off he remounted and continued the moto to salvage 17th. He returned in the second moto for some redemption and sealed sixth, giving him 10th overall on the day.

You can't deny the Fox/Red Bull KTM combo, or Dungey's Blue Steel.

 

Justin Brayton's Tagger Designs-blasted Skullcandy lid looked good atop his purple One Industries gear.

 

The Geico Honda squad continues to be the most prolific team in American motocross this year. Tomac and Barcia are podium guys each and every week, and they are the only two racers other than Pro Circuit's Blake Baggett to score overall wins this season. Barcia is just 11 points behind Baggett in the points chase, with Tomac another 21 behind Barcia.

 

The Supercross-only Dodge/Hart & Huntington/Sycuan team brought the semi out to support Josh Hill in his first race back. Originally slated to race just Washougal, Hill and the H&H team are planning on making the trip to Southwick for some sand action in two weeks.

 

Josh Hill's KX450F looked better than ever. With a totally white seat cover and spokes, Hilly's stallion stood out from every other bike on the track, except for Troy Lee's bikes of course.

Washougal provides a bit of a quagmire when it comes to tire selection. Although the soil appears loamy and deep at first glance, it is actually quite slick and develops both dry sections and deep, slippery ruts. What may work in one section, may be detrimental in another. The key is to find something that will keep the rider relatively comfortable in all sections, without completely sacrificing traction on either side of the spectrum of conditions.

 

Dungey was a bit frustrated after the first moto. Alessi's wide riding forced Dungey to bounce from line to line throughout the moto, and the alternate routes just didn't end up paying the dividends he needed. Even after a washout crash and valuable seconds lost, Dungey caught back up to Alessi in no time, but just couldn't get around him before moto's end.

Dungey's first-moto frustrations were put to rest in the second, as he continued where he left off at Millville. He dominated the final moto, getting out front and checking out early. Dungey now has 11 moto wins this season, although his consecutive streak was broken with Alessi's first-moto win.

 

The Great Northwest still laments the loss of their beloved Sonics, but they still show their love. (Looks as though Shawn Kemp has gained a bit of weight since his retirement in the nineties).

Weston Peick is a bad dude; he showed up to Washougal with a couple of stock Suzukis, rode his ass off and scored ninth overall. He also took some time out of his day to express his concern to Vince Friese that he may be a bit of a menace on the track. After Friese had collided with Peick in both practices, Peick made his opinion of the MotoConcepts rider known after the second crash. Typically soft-spoken, Peick reached his boiling point with Friese and snapped.

 

Washougal fans rule.

 

Did we mention Troy Lee' bikes are f-ing rad?

 

Ryan Dungey displayed some superpumped-ness on the podium this weekend. Typically reserved, Dungey jumped off the podium mid-champagne-spray to the delight of the crowd. Good to see some heartfelt celebration from the red plate holder.

 

SEE YOU AT SOUTHWICK!