Both James Stewart and Blake Baggett finished off the day with second-moto wins in their respective classes at the Hangtown Classic Motocross, the first round of the 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Stewart and Baggett both backed up their first-moto wins with another pair of wins to grab the overall victories in the 450 and 250 classes.
Stewart had to work a little bit harder to get his second win, though he was still pretty much in control the whole way. Mike Alessi, on the MotoConcepts Suzuki, nailed the second-moto holeshot and led for a few laps until both Ryan Dungey and Stewart got by him, nearly back to back.
The dual that everyone had been hoping for – between Stewart and Dungey – had begun. Stewart got around Dungey early on, but Dungey matched the Suzuki rider’s every move, lap after lap. Dungey, however, just couldn’t quite get close enough again to really go on the attack. Still, Dungey pushed Stewart until lapped traffic momentarily ran him off the track, which was all Stewart needed to run away with it for good.
Stewart opened up about a five-second lead that he held to the finish to record his first outdoor overall win – not to mention finish – since 2008, when he won every round.
After the race, Stewart said he felt very comfortable on his new Yoshimura Suzuki in what was his first race on the bike.
Dungey’s second-place finish combined with his first-moto third gave him second overall.
Third overall on the day went to Alessi who finished seventh in the first moto. Alessi admitted afterwards that he struggled with bike set-up in the first moto but made big improvements to the bike for the second moto.
Fourth overall went to Chaparral Honda’s Andrew Short with a 5-4, while Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe rounded out the top five with a 4-5.
Toyota/JGRMX Yamaha’s Davi Millsaps, who finished second in the first moto, got off to a bad start in the second moto and finished 14th for seventh overall.
Jake Weimer, Josh Grant and Nico Izzi rounded out the top 10 overall.
Tyla Rattray, who was making his debut in the 450 class on the Monster Energy Kawasaki, fell in the first moto and broke his hand. He did not return for the second moto.
After dazzling the crowd in the first moto by passing both Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen on the last lap to take the win, Baggett dazzled the crowd again but this time with just plain old fast riding. He reeled in early race leader Barcia by the halfway point and steadily pulled away for his second win, this time with the crowd heading to the parking lot well before this one was over.
Baggett finished well ahead of Barcia for the overall victory.
Bacia held off Roczen to finish second and get second overall on the day.
Roczen had to settle for third overall with a 2-3.
Fourth overall went to former 125cc National MX Champion Ivan Tedesco who was making his re-debut ride on the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team. Tedesco put fast starts to good use and went 6-5 on the day.
Barcia’s teammate Eli Tomac wasn’t able to capitalize on his first-moto fourth after going down with Wil Hahn and a couple of other riders in the first turn. He came from near dead last to finish 10th.
Kyle Cunningham, Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin and Hahn completed the top 10 overall.
Musquin was riding with a sore hand. The Red Bull KTM rider has been riding with a broken bone in the hand since just before the Las Vegas Supercross and had surgery right after the Vegas race. He said the pain prevented him from charging as hard as he could.
Defending 250 MX Champion Dean Wilson pulled out of the first moto and did not ride the second. The shoulder he injured at the Seattle Supercross was not up to the pounding and he will now have the shoulder repaired and be out of action indefinitely.