Riders and fans alike could not have asked for a better Independence Day weekend for racing. With temps in the mid-80, crystal clear skies, and a slight breeze, the conditions were ideal for great racing, and that is exactly what the Michigan Mafia got. An absolutely stunning track produced excellent racing in all three classes and if anyone left dissappointed, it was because they weren’t paying attention. In case you were one of those few, or you were unable to catch the live Alli and NBC coverage, here is a recap of all six motos from Red Buuuuud.
In what is becoming a common occurrence, Honda Red Bull Racing's Andrew Short took the holeshot with more than a few title hopefuls were hot on his heels including Lucas Oil/TLD/Honda's Ben Townley, Rockstar /Makita/Suzuki ace Ryan Dungey, and Chad Reed aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki. However, on the opening lap, Townley was able to over take the lead and immediately put his head down to charge. With Townley out front, Short was left to deal with Reed and Dungey as the two riders were applying constant pressure to the factory Honda ace. As the race hit mid-stride Dungey inched every closer to Short and eventually both and Reed were able to make their way around. But the action did not stop there.
The Dungey/Reed duo attached themselves to Townley, ushering in a battle that would last the entire moto. The laps were clicking off, and as the checkered flag got closer, the three riders became closer and closer. The freight train or riders were definitely in a league of the own and Dungey even attempted to make the pass on a few occasions, but to no avail. With Reed also in the zone, the three riders seemed glued to one another.
Finally on the last lap, Reed and Dungey were able to force Townley into a mistake on the far side of the track. Unfortunately the TLD crash on his own but Reed was so close at the time that he also got stuck in the crash. So in one lap, and the most crucial one, Townley gave up his moto long lead and dropped back to fourth while Reed was able to remount in second. At the finish it was Dungey, Reed, Short, Townley, and Brett Metcalfe.
Following the excitement of the first moto, many were expecting and hoping for another battle royale, but it was not to be. While Short was again jumped out to the early lead, it was not long lived, as Dungey took over the lead and never really looked back. Towley was not far behind and took over second, while Reed eventually bumped up to third place. The incredible preparation of the track allowed for multiple lines on just about every segment of the track and Reed took advantage of this, moving past Townley midway through the race.
Further back in the pack was Brett Metcalfe, who was also eventually able to overtake Short to hold a solid fourth place position. Muscle Milk/Toyota/JGR/Yamaha's Josh Grant put in another consistent ride, matching his first moto finish with sixth place, while Honda privateer, Kyle Regal, was a rider on the move, charging from just inside the top ten to seventh at the finish line. The young 450 pilot was rapidly gaining on Short and Metcalfe but simply ran out of time. At the finish, it was Dungey, Reed, and Townley rounding out the podium for the moto and the day.
1) Ryan Dungey 1-1
2) Chad Reed 2-2
3) Ben Townley 4-3
4) Andrew Short 3-5
5) Brett Metcalfe 5-4
6) Josh Grant 6-6
7) Kyle Regal 7-7
8) Ryan Sipes 8-8
9) Mike Alessi 10-9
10) Nick Wey 9-12
Off the line, Christophe Pourcel knocked out the holeshot with a large contingent of championship contenders in tow. Following the French rider were his South African teammate, Tyla Rattray, Geico Powersports/Honda's Justin Barcia, and yet another Pro Circuit member, Jake Weimer. In the opening laps, the battle raging from first through fourth was very intense, as all of the riders were running within only a few seconds of one another. Weimer in particular seemed like an entirely different rider than the one we have seen outdoors this year; more similar to the Weimer who won the 2009 Red Bud National overall.
As the laps clicked off, Barcia had a small get-off in the back section of the track, and although he was able to remount in third place, he lost valuable ground to Weimer and Dean Wilson. Up front, while at first Rattray was gaining ground on the number 377, the points leader was able to slowly open a gap on his teammate and main championship rival.
Further back in the pack were three riders all putting in separate charges of their own, Geico Powersports/Honda's Blake Wharton and Trey Canard, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Dean Wilson. The three riders all had less than favorable starts but were able to slice their way through the tough pack. Perhaps most impressive was Canard's push from outside the top ten into fourth by the closing laps, while Wilson drove from around eighth on the start to finish on the last step of the podium.
At the finish it was yet another all Pro Circuit podium, with Pourcel, Rattray, and Wilson taking the honors.
Dean Wilson ripped off the best start of the 250 Class and led the pack off of the staple ski jump after the mechanics' area. Once again, Rattray was not far behind the leader, but this time around, he would feel much more pressure from the riders behind him. While Max Anstie briefly ran in third, but was quickly overtaken by Justin Barcia and Canard, who set their sights on Rattray. Canard was the rider in the biggest rush, as he pushed past Barcia for third place and continued towards the front.
By the mid-point of the race, Barcia was hot on Rattray's heals. As the two riders came into one of the roughest section of the track, a slightly off-camber down hill into a turn, Rattray got a little more than he bargained for, getting bucked over the bars just as Barcia was really applying the pressure. Although it was not a hard crash, it took Tyla a bit to get his bike going again, certainly costing him an overall podium.
While first moto winner Pourcel was stuck just within the top five behind Wharton, a battle was brewing out front. Canard was relentless in his drive, and as the laps wore on, there were noticeable flaws in Wilson armor. Small mistakes cost the Pro Circuit rookie crucial seconds, as Trey inched ever closer. Finally with only a few laps remaining, the Honda star was able to make his way around Wilson, who was able to regroup and hold onto the runner-up spot. Canard went on to claim his first ever moto win, and thanks to the inconsistency in among his competition, was able to turn 4-1 moto scores into the overall victory as well. Wilson and Barcia would round out the podium.
1) Trey Canard 4-1
2) Dean Wilson 3-2
3) Christophe Pourcel 1-5
4) Justin Barcia 5-3
5) Blake Wharton 6-4
6) Tyla Rattray 2-11
7) Broc Tickle 7-6
8) Jake Weimer 11-7
9) Martin Davalos 10-8
10) Eli Tomac 12-9
If there is one person you can usually count on for a holeshot, it is Honda Red Bull Racing's Ashley Fiolek, and sure enough the diminutive rider delivered into the Red Bud first turn. Of course, all eyes were on the DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing/Yamaha of Jessica Patterson who had taken every moto win so far this season. Riding strong in third, fourth, and fifth were Tarah Geiger, Sara Price, and Vicki Golden.
But all eyes were up front. With the defending champ and current series leader going head-to-head, you could only expect an intense battle. But that never truly developed. While Patterson was able to make up some ground on Fiolek, it was never enough to mount a full charge. In the closing laps it was apparent that, barring any major incidents, the running order would remain the same. At the finish, Fiolek took her first win since last year.
In a near mirror image of the first moto, Fiolek once again jumped out to the early lead ahead of Patterson and Geiger. While a small crash dropped Price sneak into third ahead of Geiger, all of the action was out front.
The two major rivals were riding at a different level than the rest, opening an enormous gap back to third as the duo duke it out for the lead. Patterson's persistent seemed intent on forcing Fiolek into a mistake as the lap count clicked off. But the mistake never came. The two went back and forth at one point, with Patterson skipping out front briefly before the large tabletop in the back section. Unfortunately though, her inside line did not give her enough drive to get over the table and Fiolek reclaimed the lead and never looked back.
1) Ashley Fiolek 1-1
2) Jessica Patterson 2-2
3) Tarah Geiger 3-3
4) Sara Price 7-4
5) Mariana Balbi 5-5
6) Sarah Whitmore 6-6
7) Tatum Sik 9-7
8) Alexah Pearson 8-8
9) Vicki Golden 4-15
10) Erica Cook 10-9