Washougal Race Report: Dungey and Reed Strike Again

Dungey and Reed Strike Again
Words: Michael Antonovich
Photos: swap

The Lucas Oil AMA National Series hopped over to the Washougal MX Park for round eight of the championship, and the Northwest battleground met them with layout changes, heat, and humidity. After last week’s sandy soil at Millville, the dark shadows and slick surface had riders changing their setups and riding styles. We saw a shakeup in points; break through performances, and not to mention history in the making. With live TV coverage of the 450 class, accessibility of the sport is getting easier and easier, but as always, the race report from Washougal is here in case you were mowing the lawn and forgot to set the TiVo.

Moto 1
The day got off to a bang with Geico Powersports/Factory Connection/Honda’s other rookie superstar Blake Wharton making his way around the left hand tree turn ahead of the pack. Rockstar/Makita/ Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey sat on Wharton’s wheel for numerous laps and made his way around the long-haired Honda pilot, but it took many attempts before the pass would stick. Dungey’s arch rival for 2009, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki import Christophe Pourcel, found himself buried farther back than he would have wanted, and as the opening lap was scored he was credited with 24th position. It wouldn’t deter the Frenchman, as he and teammate Jake Weimer picked their way past riders and both moved to the top 10. That’s not to say that Pourcel had it easy; Motoconcepts Honda rider Vince Friese tried to squeeze the point leader in a downhill, but Christophe hit the throttle and moved Friese out of the way. The action wasn’t limited to only a handful of riders, and throughout the pack passes were exchanged. Canidae/Motosport/Kawasaki’s Kyle Cunningham picked off many to achieve a career best second place just behind Dungey, and last week’s battle between Division Seven/Star Racing/Yamaha rider Darryn Durham and Geico Powersports/Factory Connection/Honda veteran Brett Metcalfe was relived, with Metcalfe getting the edge on the Pennsylvania rookie. Metty’s stablemate Justin Barcia found himself on the ground in the same section he ran Jake Weimer’s Kawasaki over in not once, but twice before he was able to regroup. Ryan Dungey wouldn’t escape the first moto without laying in the Washington state soil, but luckily he kept his Suzuki running and still finished with the win.

Moto 1 Results
1.    Ryan Dungey
2.    Kyle Cunningham
3.    Blake Wharton
4.    Brett Metcalfe
5.    Darryn Durham
6.    Tommy Searle
7.    Broc Tickle
8.    Christophe Pourcel
9.    Max Anstie
10.    Jake Weimer

250 Moto 2
The second time around,  Pourcel found himself in control after getting the holeshot and used the open track ahead of him to its potential. Wharton seemed to know a secret in the woods, and he continued a strong day as he chased Pourcel before allowing Pourcel's teammate  Weimer by for the runner up spot. One rider who wouldn't continue his hot streak was Cunningham; the Kawasaki rider hit the ground hard and pulled in just two laps into the second moto, sans visor.  Dungey's luck also ran low in race two, and he was forced to lift his bike off the ground and re-pass Muscle Milk/MDK/KTM chap Tommy Searle multiple times , and settle in behind Brett Metcalfe after a valiant ride back through traffic.\r\nThe moto win would go to Pourcel, but the overall was still claimed by Dungey. Leaving Washougal, Dungey and Pourcel sit in a tie for the series points lead. Wharton finished a career high with a second overall, and his steady first moto was the key to finishing ahead of Pourcel in the day's results. The points battle is now tied as the summer break starts and the riders regroup before the East Coast swing and final rounds of the year.
Moto 2 Results
1.    Christophe Pourcel
2.    Jake Weimer
3.    Blake Wharton
4.    Brett Metcalfe
5.    Ryan Dungey
6.    Tommy Searle
7.    Justin Barcia
8.    Broc Tickle
9.    Max Anstie
10.    Darryn Durham

250 Overall
1.    Ryan Dungey 1-5
2.    Blake Wharton 3-3
3.    Christophe Pourcel 8-1
4.    Brett Metcalfe 4-4
5.    Jake Weimer 10-2
6.    Tommy Searle 6-6
7.    Broc Tickle 7-8
8.    Darryn Durham 5-10
9.    Max Anstie 9-9
10.    Kyle Cunningham 2-34
250 Point Standings
1.    Christophe Pourcel 337pts
2.    Ryan Dungey 337pts
3.    Brett Metcalfe 251pts
4.    Tommy Searle 243pts
5.    Jake Weimer 215pts
6.    Justin Barcia 210pts
7.    Broc Tickle 199pts
8.    Blake Wharton 198pts
9.    Tyla Rattray 175pts
10.    Trey Canard 139pts

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450 Moto 1
The first moto drag race to the holeshot stripe was an Aussie throw down between Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki captain Chad Reed and Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/ Honda’s Jake Moss. Reed held his own and was far enough away from the major pileup that seemed to throw the first moto wide open, which had his fellow Australian and teammate Michael Byrne and Red Bull Honda’s Dave Millsaps and Ivan Tedesco at the tail end of the pack. The Canidae/Motosport/Kawasaki squad had a stellar set of opening motos, which was aided by lone 450 rider Tommy Hahn’s unbridled chase of Reed. The Kawasaki rider stumbled but never backed off of Reed, and the chase is highlight of his young big-bore career. They would finish the moto with a massive distance between themselves and Belgian teenager Clement Desalle, who is currently fourth in the MX1 standings in the World Championship that takes place on the other side of the ocean. The previously mentioned first turn scramble was the catalyst for the surges of many factory riders. Byrne would pass half the field and finish in 15th, and  Tedesco was able to pass three more before settling in ninth. Josh Grant was the more fortunate of the Joe Gibb’s riders, as the vicious ragdoll-like twist of Cody Cooper was the end of the Kiwi’s day. And last but not least, in response to last week’s DNF at Millville, Jason Lawrence took his Monster Energy/ Boost Mobile/ ampm/ Yamaha from the mid teens to 10th place after letting a quicker Justin Brayton on his Jagermiester/MDK/KTM take ninth. The riders then cooled down and ready for their live television finale, which further exemplified how 2009 has been unpredictable.
Moto 1 Results
1.    Chad Reed
2.    Tommy Hahn
3.    Clement Desalle
4.    Matt Georke
5.    Josh Grant
6.    Jake Moss
7.    Andrew Short
8.    Jimmy Albertson
9.    Justin Brayton
10.    Jason Lawrence

450 Moto 2
The sun faded behind the massive fir trees and the 450 class funneled back to the starting gate for the second moto, all before a Speed Channel audience. Looking to rebound from a troubling day (engine failure in practice, a poor start in the first moto), Josh Grant cracked the throttle and took the early lead over the thumping blur of color and metal. Just behind him were  Lawrence, Red Bull Honda’s Millsaps, and the younger of the Alessi brothers, Jeffrey, on his MotoConcepts Honda.  Reed was unable to reclaim the opening lap magic and was shuffled back to seventh, where he was working on Team Solitaire’s Antonio Balbi. Babli’s pace in the top 10 was enough to maintain his position, but his Honda engine gave up the ghost in heartbreaking fashion.Reed was long past Balbi by that point, and had switched to overdrive speed as the seconds ticked off the clock. Chad launched his Suzuki past Millsaps, rode the high line Byrne, and found a tiring Lawrence to steal away third away from. Once around the Jersey wild child, Reed saw the race unfolding like Red Bud had just a few weeks ago, but now the tables had turned. Reed was now the hunter and Grant the prey, and the momentum carried by the “Double Deuce” into every section sliced the lead Grant had established. It was in the chicanes that Chad made his move, and once by Grant he never looked back. They would finish eight seconds apart, and another five seconds between Grant and Lawrence.
Moto 2 Results
1.    Chad Reed
2.    Josh Grant
3.    Jason Lawrence
4.    Michael Byrne
5.    Jarred Browne
6.    Nick Wey
7.    Davi Millsaps
8.    Justin Brayton
9.    Ben LaMay
10.    Jimmy Albertson
450 Overall
1.    Chad Reed 1-1
2.    Josh Grant 5-2
3.    Jason Lawrence 10-3
4.    Justin Brayton 9-8
5.    Michael Byrne 15-4
6.    Jimmy Albertson 8-10
7.    Nick Wey 13-6
8.    Tommy Hahn 2-38
9.    Ivan Tedesco 11-11
10.    Clement Desalle 3-25
450 Point Standings
1.    Chad Reed 337pts
2.    Josh Grant 272pts
3.    Andrew Short 267pts
4.    Ivan Tedesco 258pts
5.    Michael Byrne 207pts
6.    Tommy Hahn 171pts
7.    Cody Cooper 157pts
8.    Justin Brayton 152pts
9.    Nick Wey 149pts
10.    Mike Alessi 142pts

The WMA tour came back after taking the last two rounds off and blazed into the Washougal MX Park, and even though the girls may have had some competition rust to knock off, they sure didn’t show it. The year has been highlighted by dominant performances and convincing wins by Red Bull Honda’s teenage prodigy Ashley Fiolek aboard her factory CRF250R, and it seems like her results may net her a second consecutive title in the Woman’s Professional Championship. But the final flag hasn’t dropped and the blue plate hasn’t been handed over, and the competition is just as hungry for a win as the blonde from Florida. Her main rival is Jessica Patterson, and the Honda of Huston backed rider has put in the effort it takes to be a champion, and being a part of Ryan Hughes’ “Meat Locker” has allowed the number 250 to shed noticeable weight.  As the title battle tightens, the racing is sure to come down to the wire, just like it did at Washougal between the massive trees and shadows.
Moto 1
After a quick sighting lap, the girls filed back and readied for the first moto. As it seemed like business as usual once the gate dropped, as Ashley Fiolek did her best Mike Alessi impression and nabbed the holeshot and early lead. Behind her, the freight train of riders slid into position and started the chase. Patterson only had to look ahead to see the Alpinestars clad target of Fiolek, and for fifteen minutes she watched the Honda put eight seconds of a lead on the rest of the back. Behind the power duo, the remaining spots had to be earned, and a touch of international flare was thrown in for good measure in the form of Brazil’s Marina Balbi and Haruna Masu, the reigning Women’s champion in her homeland of Japan. The visitor from the Land of the Rising Sun had her hands full with Sherri Cruse on her Cernic’s Suzuki, and found herself finishing sixth in her US debut. Cruse destroyed distance between fifth place and herself in sixth position, and looked like she could have made up even more time on forth place. Balbi was higher up the score card, trailing the Honda’s of Fiolek and Patterson, but well ahead of KTM-mounted Sara Whitmore. The podium was all Honda at the end of the first moto, and the top two spots looked like carbon copies of weeks past.
Moto 1 Results
1.    Ashley Fiolek
2.    Jessica Patterson
3.    Mariana Balbi
4.    Sarah Whitmore
5.    Sherri Cruse
6.    Haruna Masu
7.    Elizabeth Bash
8.    Hailey Larson
9.    Sara Price
Moto 2
The second moto was nothing like the first, and it was evident as soon as the gate hit the soil.  Masu got the holeshot on her Geico Powersports/Factory Connection/Honda that she piloted for the day, and with that she ended Fiolek’s chokehold on the tour. Fiolek went wide in the next turn, which allowed a mass of riders to go beneath and push her back to fifth. Masu would lead the opening laps until the slick Washington dirt washed away her front end, and the lead was then Sara Price’s. Price would fend off Patterson’s numerous advances on the position, but would succumb to a pass that Patterson had planned out during the battle. Fiolek made a dash to the front in the short amount of time she had, getting passed Balbi and working by Price, but the damage was done; Patterson’s twelve second lead was too much to bring down in less than three laps. Price’s position wasn’t safe after Fiolek got by, as Mariana Balbi set a block pass on Price and ran off with third.
Moto 2 Results
1.    Jessica Patterson
2.    Ashley Fiolek
3.    Mariana Balbi
4.    Sara Price
5.    Haruna Masu
6.    Jacqueline Strong
7.    Sherri Cruse
8.    Sarah Whitmore
9.    Sayyaka Kaneshiro
10.    Ashley Boham
Overall Results
1.    Jessica Patterson 2-1
2.    Ashley Fiolek 1-2
3.    Mariana Balbi 3-3
4.    Haurna Masu 6-5
5.    Sarah Whitmore 4-8
6.    Sherri Cruse 5-7
7.    Sara Price 10-4
8.    Jacqueline Strong 8-6
9.    Sayyaka Kaneshiro 13-9
10.    Ashley Boham 12-10
Point Standings
1.    Ashley Fiolek 294pts
2.    Jessica Patterson 245pts
3.    Sherri Cruse 224pts
4.    Vicki Golden 192pts
5.    Sara Price 175pts
6.    Elizabeth Bash 161pts
7.    Sarah Whitmore 149pts
8.    Mariana Balbi 126pts
9.    Penni Cyrus 116pts
10.    Tatum Sik 101pts