With just three races left in the AMA Pro Motocross Championship it’s crunch time for the GEICO Honda riders as they try to close the gap on championship leader Blake Baggett. And they know it.
There are just six motos remaining and Baggett leads Barcia by 24 points. Barcia’s teammate Eli Tomac is 32 points behind.
“We can’t let Blake Baggett get away from us,” said Justin Barcia, who is second to Baggett in the standings, in a team press release. “That means getting great starts, racing two good motos a day and really just not beating ourselves.”
This weekend, Barcia might have an ace up his sleeve as the Unadilla track is one the native New Yorker knows very well.
“It’s my home track and I know I’m going to have a lot of fans cheering for me there,” he said. “I really rip there. I’m not sure how much of an advantage I’ll have because everyone is so fast now, but I’m going in there with a strong mind and ready to fight.”
Tomac said he’s looking forward to getting back to a more familiar layout after the sandy circuit in Southwick last weekend.
“It’s a true moto track, that’s for sure,” Tomac said. “It’s a little more wide-open with natural terrain. There’s a lot of up and down the hills. It’s a cool track for sure.”
After suffering a mild concussion in the first moto last week, rookie Zach Bell has been cleared to race this weekend. Before the tip-over that ended his day, Bell was looking promising by earning the holeshot in the first moto and holding the lead for the first two-thirds of the race.
“We had an encouraging start,” Bell said. “This’ll be my first time seeing this track so I can’t wait to get out there, get another holeshot and go for a win.”
Wil Hahn will be looking to solidify his spot in the standings while trying to bounce back from a tough day in Southwick.
“I look forward to making things better this weekend,” Hahn said. “I fell a couple of times last week, so I’m going to do some more homework and get back to putting two good motos together. Unadilla is a new kind of track with new terrain. There’s big hills, it’s fast, it gets rough; I like it.”
Hahn is sixth in the standings, 33 points ahead of seventh-place Blake Wharton.
Justin Bogle has been trying to find his footing since coming back from knee surgery, and is hoping Unadilla will be the place where it all comes together for him.
“I’m glad to be going back to a track that’s more normal,” Bogle said. “I rode there really well last year. It’s got the big tabletops and jumps, which is a little more fun for me to ride.”
Practice starts at 8:30 a.m. EDT at Unadilla with opening ceremonies at noon. FUEL TV will air the first motos live starting at 12:30 p.m. EDT. The 250cc class second motos will air on the NBC Sports Network starting at 4 p.m.