450 Class Race Report | 2014 Hangtown MX
Photos by Jeff Kardas
The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship moved to Northern California for the GoPro Hangtown Classic, the second stop of the series. After a pair of thrilling motos to start the year, it’s obvious that anything can happen in the 450 class this season and that the field of fast riders will battle until the final flag for the National championship. Incredible weather and track conditions made for another day of intense on-track action and by the final flag, a new rider controlled the point standings.
1. Ken Roczen | First Overall
Ken Roczen proved at Glen Helen that he has the speed to run at the front of the pack, but circumstances kept the Red Bull KTM rider from taking either moto win. Hangtown was another story, as the former World Champion swept the day in dominating fashion. Roczen crested the first turn in second place, but grabbed the lead just moments into the opening lap. As the laps clicked off, Roczen inched away from second place and teammate Ryan Dungey to end the seventeen lap moto nearly eight and a half seconds ahead. This was the first moto victory of Roczen's 450 career.
Roczen started the second moto slightly further back, but a pair of passes at the right time jumped him from third to first in a matter of minutes. While Brett Metcalfe and Justin Barcia raced for the lead, Roczen waited in the wings for a mistake by the wild Honda rider, moved into second place, and the followed shortly after with a pass on Metcalfe for the lead. Roczen would cruise to another commanding moto win, taking the flag over Dungey by just over eleven seconds. These moto wins gave Roczen the first overall of his 450 career and the point lead heading into round three.
2. Ryan Dungey | Second Overall
With his Red Bull KTM outfitted with the red plate, Ryan Dungey entered the weekend as the one to watch. The first moto of the day started with him claiming the holeshot by just inches over the field, but Roczen's pass on lap one dropped him to second place. He spent the next sixteen laps in a fevered chase, but could not close the gap Roczen quickly built in the opening moments and finished the moto in second place.
Dungey latched on to his teammate in the second moto, overtook Jake Weimer for the fourth spot in the opening laps, and set off after the leaders behind Roczen. He followed with a series of his own passes on Metcalfe and Barcia just moments after Roczen, putting him up to second place. Because Roczen's move into the lead came while Dungey battled with two riders, he was never within striking distance of the lead and rode to second place on the moto. His 2-2 scores on the day would give him second overall, but he would lose the point lead to his teammate.
3. Trey Canard | Third Overall
Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard was at the front of the pack from the moment the gate dropped in the first moto, quickly reaching third place on the first lap and beginning pursuit on the Red Bull KTM teammates. While he managed to keep them in sight for the opening moments, they would slip away as the laps clicked off. One scary moment in particular came early in the race, when the rear of Canard's Honda kicked on a massive braking bump and nearly spat him over the bars. Despite being dropped by the front two, Canard held a roughly five second lead over fourth place at the finish line.
Canard started the second moto near the back of the top ten, but used the problems experienced by other riders to climb up the running. Although the lead pack had pulled far out of sight, Canard was able to battle with a fast pack, including Malcolm Stewart and Brett Mecalfe, giving him fourth in the final moto and third overall on the day.
4. James Stewart | Fourth Overall
The start of the first moto was every race fan's dream, as it put each of the favorites at front of the field. Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart was just behind Trey Canard on the opening lap, but numerous issues make him appear uncomfortable with the bike's setup and a series of passes dropped him to sixth place. Even with problems, Stewart was able to maintain the pace and eventually overtook Brett Metcalfe for fifth place midway through race.
James Stewart came into the second moto recharged and made the best of his time on the track. Flat-out speed and lap times roughly two seconds quicker let him catch Metcalfe and Barcia for third and fourth, respectively, and moved into the top three in the final ten minutes of the moto. The charge continued for the remainder of the moto and he pulled within four seconds of second place Ryan Dungey at the end of the moto.
5. Justin Barcia | Fifth Overall
Justin Barcia was on the move in the day's first moto. A mediocre start put the Team Honda Muscle Milk rider somewhat deep in the pack, but his aggressive riding style and quick lap times let him fight through the competition. He would catch up to in both Stewart and Metcalfe, thanks to the intense battle between the two veterans and this gave him the chance to slip by both and into fourth place midway through the moto.
A great start and fearless riding put Justin Barcia up front early in the race, but a number of errors occurred just after he made a move for the lead. Soon passed by Roczen and Dungey, the Honda rider dropped off the pace and was eventually overtaken by James Stewart. His day would end with a fifth place finish and fifth overall.
1. Ken Roczen 1-1
2. Ryan Dungey 2-2
3. Trey Canard 3-4
4. James Stewart 5-3
5. Justin Barcia 4-5
6. Weston Peick 8-6
7. Jake Weimer 7-8
8. Brett Metcalfe 6-9
9. Malcolm Stewart 10-7
10. Chad Reed 11-12
11. Andrew Short 14-10
12. Fredrik Noren 12-13
13. Josh Grant 9-39
14. Sean Collier 15-16
15. Phil Nicoletti 23-11
16. Ben Lamay 19-15
17. Kellian Rusk 13-23
18. Ivan Tedesco 32-14
19. Jimmy Albertson 17-18
20. PJ Larsen 16-24
|2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship 450 Class (After 4 of 24 motos)
1. Ken Roczen 94pts (2 moto wins)
2. Ryan Dungey 89pts (1 moto win)
3. Trey Canard 72pts
4. James Stewart 66pts
5. Brett Metcalfe 61pts
6. Justin Barcia 52pts
7. Weston Peick 52pts
8. Jake Weimer 52pts
9. Malcolm Stewart 51pts
10. Josh Grant 43pts (1 moto win)