Alessi and Pourcel Start it Off

Jean Turner | May 30, 2009

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mike Alessi finally notched his first premier class moto win of his career. Right out of the gate, Alessi grabbed his characteristic holeshot and began to stretch his lead while his teammate Chad Reed was buried in the back in the pack along with Glen Helen winner Ryan Villopoto.

Rather than run away with the lead, however, Alessi kept it interesting from the first lap when he high-sided off the jump coming out of the off-camber turn. Fortunately he kept his RM-Z450 running and recovered in 6th place. Meanwhile local racer Jeff Northrop had some clear air for a lap before Red Bull Honda’s Ivan Tedesco overtook him to move into the lead.

Tedesco led the charge for most of the race (despite his pants coming unbuckled and starting to fall down), but Alessi was charging hard, and working his way back up into the top three. Before long, Alessi was breathing down Tedesco’s neck, and was able to pressure him into a mistake. Tedesco swapped coming up the backside of a hill. It was just the window Alessi needed to take the lead for good – despite stalling just before the finish line and letting Tedesco gain back a few seconds.

JGR Yamaha’s Cody Cooper established him in a strong second place for much of the race, but in the last two laps of the race, Tedesco’s teammate Andrew Short also snuck by him to finish third in the moto.

Cooper finished fourth followed by Suzuki-mounted Matt Goerke.

In the 250 division, it was Glen Helen all over again as Justin Barcia got off to an early lead in the first moto and began to run away with the lead. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel and GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard quickly fell into second and third, respectively, and never let Barcia get away.

Barcia held the lead while a patient Pourcel studied his lines and waited for the right moment. Once the two-lap board was up, Pourcel went in for the kill, and made quick work of Barcia. The GEICO Powersports Honda rider held on for second in the moto while Trey Canard rounded out the podium.

Round one winner Ryan Dungey, meanwhile, got tangled with another rider on the first lap, and spent the moto working his way up from the back of the pack. The Makita Suzuki rider would eventually salvage seventh place.

In the women’s division, Ashley Fiolek maintains her perfect win streak so far, dominating the first moto from wire to wire once again. Rookie rider Vicki Golden landed her first podium of the season after fending off Honda of Houston’s Jessica Patterson for much of the moto. Golden finished second over Patterson, who rounded out the podium.

Qualifying Times:


1. Chad Reed 2:04.830

2. Michael Alessi 2:04.998

3. Josh Grant 2:05.261

4. Jason Lawrence 2:06.486

5. Ryan Villopoto 2:06.971

6. Cody Cooper 2:07.216

7. Ivan Tedesco 2:07.317

8. Andrew Short 2:07.539

9. Jimmy Albertson 2:07.577

10. Matt Goerke 2:08.228


1. Christophe Pourcel 2:05.246

2. Ryan Dungey 2:06.129

3. Trey Canard 2:07.326

4. Blake Wharton 2:07.379

5. Broc Tickle 2:07.531

6. Austin Stroupe 2:07.540

7. Tyla Rattray 2:07.548

8. Justin Barcia 2:07.899

9. Jake Weimer 2:07.942

10. Tommy Searle 2:08.013

Jean Turner | Contributor

A former staffer at Cycle News, Turner continues to contribute to the website and magazine as a columnist and someone we can count on to whip up a few thousand words on an off-road race when needed.