The 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship ventures to mile high territory this Saturday with the Toyota AMA Pro National from Thunder Valley MX in Lakewood, Colorado. Coverage of the race will be showcased live on SPEED beginning at 11 p.m. ET.Just two weeks ago, the series underwent a shift atop of the standings in the 450 and 250 classes, leaving High Point Raceway with a pair of new points leaders. Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Chad Reed won his first career premier class race with an impressive 1-1 moto sweep to overtake injured teammate Mike Alessi from the top spot. In the 250 class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel captured his first career moto sweep to unseat previous points leader Ryan Dungey.The WMX Class continues to be dominated by Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ashley Fiolek who captured her fourth overall victory of 2009, and remains undefeated for the season thus far.450 ClassRockstar/Makita/Suzuki
With the win, Reed asserted himself at the top of the standings. He currently sits 19 points ahead of Alessi. It took the Australian-native seven years to capture his first 450-class win, but at this point his return from a two-year hiatus of racing outdoor motocross is proving to be worthwhile. Fellow Australian Michael Byrne is also getting into race shape after a lengthy recovery from injury. His fourth-place finish in Mt. Morris is a season best. With the night race this weekend, both riders are excited.”I’m excited about racing at Thunder Valley,” said Reed. “I’ve raced there before and have done well. I really enjoy the track and I’m interested to see how the racing is under the lights there.””Everything has been really, really good,” said Byrne. “I’ve worked pretty hard during this week off to build more strength in my shoulder and get it a little bit stronger. I think everything has been going well. I feel better than I have on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 and I like the Thunder Valley track. Its fun and racing at night is always cool. It should be a good event.”Honda Red Bull Racing
The Red Bull stable is having arguably its best season in many years. Andrew Short and Ivan Tedesco have been at the top of their game all season and each are on the cusp of claiming their first premier class victories. Short currently sits third in the standings, 34 points behind Reed and five points behind an injured Alessi. He returns to his home state this weekend and to a track that he has always performed well at. Tedesco sits fifth in the standings despite missing an entire moto at the series’ opening round. He has run up front consistently and so far has been the breakout performer in 2009.Monster Energy Kawasaki
Through two races with the team, Ricky Dietrich has been a bright spot for Kawasaki. The off-road racer-turned part-time motocrosser posted a fifth-place finish in his first race with the team and backed it up with a sixth-place finish at High Point. The Washington rider is 12th in the standings, just five points out of the top 10.”I’ve gotten a top-five finish already,” said Dietrich. “Now I want to move up to the podium. Last race was challenging because I was doing the National and the WORCS race, but we’re in a break in the WORCS season now so I can concentrate on MX. I’ve worked a lot on my starts the last two weeks so hopefully I can get through the first turn better than I have.”JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha
The Joe Gibbs racing team has been solid throughout the 2009 season. Josh Grant came out of the box quickly to start the season, establishing himself as a title threat. While he continues to show the speed, he has had difficulty in finding consistently over the past two races, including an tough outing at the series’ last round. Despite his hard luck, Grant still holds down the fourth spot in the standings. Gibbs’ other rider Cody Cooper is beginning to find the stride that made him last season’s breakout rider. The New Zealand-native put in his most impressive ride of 2009 at High Point and is currently sixth in the points. While Cooper did not have a strong race in Colorado last season, Grant engaged in a stellar second moto battle in the 250 class with eventual winner Ryan Villopoto and hopes to repeat that.Jagermeister KTM
Justin Brayton continues to prove his move into the premier 450 class was a good decision this season. The Southern California rider posted another top-10 finish in Pennsylvania and inches his way up the ladder each and every week. His ninth-place finish at High Point matches his position in the standings.”I just stuck to my training program and rode every day I possibly could,” explained Brayton. “I’m very close to finishing inside the top five and I will continue to work hard to get there and then on the podium before the end of the year.”250 ClassMonster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
Pourcel’s win in Mt. Morris proved to be the biggest of his early U.S. motocross career. The French rider rode almost flawlessly throughout the day, running away from the field in moto one and letting the race come to him in the final moto. His bike will be adorned with the red plate for the first time under the lights at Thunder Valley, his debut at the track. South African teammate Tyla Rattray is quietly putting together a stellar rookie season. A fourth place finish at High Point solidified his fourth spot in the standings, just four points out of the top three. Like Pourcel, he will race in Lakewood for the first time. The third member of the Pro Circuit stable Jake Weimer failed to score points in Pennsylvania, adding further frustration to what has been a difficult season for the Idaho rider. Last season, he posted an eighth-place finish in Colorado.”I’m where I want to be right now,” stated Pourcel. “I’ve won championships before and I know I have to be consistent. I’m going to keep working on getting better in the second moto. My stomach is still bothering me a little, but I think I’m getting better.””The break was good for me,” said Rattray. “After the first four races, I saw the things that I needed to work on and now I’ve had the time to do it. I’m almost there as far as competing for wins so hopefully everything I worked on will get me back on the podium.Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki
For the first time in 2009, Ryan Dungey will not wear the red plate. High Point was also the first race in which Dungey did not capture a moto victory. Small bouts of misfortune prevented the Minnesota-native from performing at his best, but despite losing the points lead, he still is just two points out of the top spot. Additionally, he has finished on the podium at every race and is arguably the most consistent rider in the series. Dungey has never finished better than 11th at Thunder Valley and will be looking to change his fortune on Saturday.”Yes, I have struggled there a little bit in the past, but the past is the past,” explained Dungey. “To be honest, overall I really like the Thunder Valley track. It’s a cool set-up, the way they have it on the side of a hill. It’s a little higher in elevation and that affects the bikes, but it’s a really fun track and I’m looking forward to the race. Like I said, the past is the past and I’m looking forward to making improvements in the future there.”GEICO Powersports Honda
Hard luck hit the GEICO team hard at High Point. The red bikes were the most consistent team overall this season with all four riders in the top 10 in points. However, their front-running efforts took a big hit in Pennsylvania when Trey Canard, who sits third in points, crashed out of the lead in moto two, breaking his wrist. He will miss the remainder of 2009. Blake Wharton, Brett Metcalfe, and Justin Barcia were solid in Mt. Morris. Wharton grabbed fifth overall, while Barcia followed right behind in sixth. While Metcalfe only posted a 13th-place result, he overcame bad luck in the first moto to grab a hard-earned 19th-place finish. He followed that with a seventh-place effort in the final moto. Of the three riders, Metcalfe is the only with experience in Lakewood, finishing 13th there last season.Muscle Milk/MDK/KTM
The Muscle Milk KTM team found itself on the podium for the first time in Pennsylvania when British rookie Tommy Searle captured third overall. Searle is still adjusting to the pace of American Motocross, but is getting closer to the front each week. He sits fifth in the points and will visit Thunder Valley for the first time. Teammate Wil Hahn had a rough outing at High Point, finishing 12th overall. Last season, he brought home a 15th-place result in Colorado and will look to improve upon that Saturday night.”I was happy to get my first podium recently and hope to stay on the box the remainder of the season,” said Searle. “I lost some points early on and I need to finish inside the top three every weekend to make up for that loss.””I took this week to really focus on speed work,” explained Hahn. “I trained with my brother (Tommy Hahn) near our hometown in Texas during the break and I feel that I should be able to move up and finish inside the top ten on a regular basis.”WMX ClassFiolek put forth arguably the most impressive performance of the 2009 season at High Point. She capitalized on her factory Honda equipment to gap the field and never looked back in either moto. Jessica Patterson continues to chase closely behind Fiolek but has struggled with her consistency. Rookie Vicki Golden and Sherri Cruse are engaged in a heated battled for the final spot each week, but a dominating second moto victory at Thunder Valley by Cruse one year ago should play into her favor.Round 5 Series Statistical Report• The mile-high altitude wreaks havoc on the bikes, causing them to run with less power but also forcing the temperature of the engine to increase due to the extra effort necessary to make them run.
• Riders must adjust to the thin air via pre-race training as they prepare to endure two 30-minute plus two lap motos.
• Privateer rider Jimmy Albertson captured the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award for Valli Motorsports Yamaha, passing 21 riders in the first 450 Class moto at High Point Raceway.450 Class Stats:• The first Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship race was held at Thunder Valley on July 24, 2005, with Ricky Carmichael winning on a Suzuki.
• This will be only the fifth time the gate has dropped for the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley.
Thunder Valley wins by brand:
• Ricky Carmichael and James Stewarts are the only two riders to ever win at Thunder Valley. That will change this season.
• After waiting seven years for his first career victory, Chad Reed will look to earn his second in consecutive races.
• Colorado-native Andrew Short has been on the cusp of achieving his first overall at this track and perhaps has his best opportunity to do so this season.
• Brand sweeps (wins in both 450 and 250 classes, same year) at Thunder Valley – Kawasaki – James Stewart and Ben Townley (2007); Kawasaki – James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto (2008).450 Class – Thunder Valley Overall Winners (2005-2008)
July 28, 2008 James Stewart (Kawasaki)
July 22, 2007 James Stewart (Kawasaki)
July 23, 2006 Ricky Carmichael (Suzuki)
July 24, 2005 Ricky Carmichael (Suzuki)450 Class Point Standings – Thru 4 of 12 Rounds
1. Chad Reed, Australia, Suzuki, 161
2. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 142
3. Andrew Short, Smithville, Tex., Honda, 137
4. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 119
5. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 110
6. Cody Cooper, New Zealand, Yamaha, 91
7. Thomas Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Kawasaki, 89
8. Michael Byrne, Australia, Suzuki, 84
9. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 79
10. Dan Reardon, Australia, Honda, 68450 Class Overall Wins
Mike Alessi – 2
Chad Reed – 1
Ryan Villopoto – 1450 Class Moto Wins
Mike Alessi – 4
Chad Reed – 2
Ryan Villopoto – 2450 Class Wins by Brand
Suzuki – 3
Kawasaki – 1450 Class Laps Led
Mike Alessi – 51
Josh Grant – 24
Chad Reed – 20
Ivan Tedesco – 18
Ryan Villopoto – 8
Andrew Short – 1450 Class Muscle Milk Recovery Rider of the Day – High Point
Tommy Hahn (M1: 18, M2: 4) – 14 Positions250 Class Stats:• The first 250 Class race was held July 24, 2005, with Ivan Tedesco winning on a Kawasaki.
• Pro Circuit and Kawasaki have won every race at Thunder Valley in the 250 Class.
• Local rider Andrew Short was on the verge of claiming the 2006 event aboard a Honda before bike failure forced him out of the lead in the second moto.
• Wins by brands at Thunder Valley:
• First time winners at Thunder Valley: Ivan Tedesco – 2005 (Kawasaki).
• There as never been a repeat winner at Thunder Valley and that trend will continue in 2009. In fact, Thunder Valley will see a first time winner at the track this season.250 Class – Thunder Valley Overall Winners (2005-2008)
July 28, 2008 Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
July 22, 2007 Ben Townley (Kawasaki)
July 23, 2006 Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
July 24, 2005 Ivan Tedesco (Kawasaki)250 Class Point Standings – Thru 4 of 12 Rounds
1. Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki, 177
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 175
3. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 139
4. Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki, 135
5. Tommy Searle, England, KTM, 117
6. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda, 116
7. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda, 111
8. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha, 97
9. Justin Barcia, Cairo, Ga., Honda, 83
10. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 66250 Class Overall Wins
Ryan Dungey – 2
Christophe Pourcel – 2250 Class Moto Wins
Christophe Pourcel – 5
Ryan Dungey – 3250 Class Wins by Brand
Kawasaki – 2
Suzuki – 2250 Class Laps Led
Christophe Pourcel – 40
Justin Barcia – 32
Ryan Dungey – 29
Trey Canard – 21250 Class Muscle Milk Recovery Rider of the Day – High Point
Brett Metcalfe (M1: 19, M2: 7) – 12 positionsWMX Class Stats• The WMX Class has raced at Colorado since it became part of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship schedule in 2005.
• Wins by brand at Thunder Valley
Honda – 1
Yamaha – 2
Kawasaki – 1
• Sherri Cruse won her first career moto at Thunder Valley last season.WMX Class Point Standings – After 4 of 12 rounds
1. Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda, 197
2. Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 163
3. Vicki Golden, El Cajon, Calif., Honda, 154
4. Sherri Cruse, Bakersfield, Calif., Suzuki, 154
5. Elizabeth Bash, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki, 119
6. Sara Price, Canyon Lake, Calif., Kawasaki, 117
7. Sarah Whitmore, Cheboygan, Mich., KTM, 94
8. Penni Cyrus, Queen Creek, Ariz., Kawasaki, 85
9. Kim Kocher, Paris, Ohio, KTM, 81
10. Tatum Sik, Temecula, Calif., Suzuki, 77WMX Class Overall Wins
Ashley Fiolek – 4WMX Class Moto Wins
Ashley Fiolek – 7
Jessica Patterson – 1WMX Class Wins by Brand
Honda – 4Tickets are available are available at the box office, or online at www.allitsports.com. Saturday General Admission tickets: Adults – $37, Kids (6-11) – $18, Children 5 and under – Free; Saturday Grandstand tickets: Adults – $50, Kids (6-11) – $40, Children 5 and under – FreeFans can catch live video feed of the first motos in each of the three classes streaming on the internet at www.allisports.com beginning at 6 p.m. MT.