Cody Webb and Patrick Smage remain tied atop the championship points standings in the AMA National Trials Series after trading wins at rounds three and four of the series in Exeter, Rhode Island, June 19-20.Patrick Smage
Just as he had done at the opener in Oklahoma, Webb struck first, taking a decisive win over Smage on the slippery rock outcroppings of Stepping Stone Ranch during Saturday's round. The two riders riders - Webb on the Gas Gas Race model and Smage on a modified 300cc Sherco - remained tied through the first six sections of the opening lap, but Webb was able to break away at section seven after Smage scored a surprising five when he was not able to make a steep climb. Webb countered with a two on the section and from that point on the Californian was in the drivers seat. Webb went on to finish the first lap with a score of 7 while Smage finished with four points more.
"Pat and I were both clean through the sixth section and I was starting the think it was going to be tight," said Webb. "But in section seven Pat had kind of an unfortunate five and nobody was expecting that. So I was thinking that was some weight off my shoulders. But then I went in there and I gave it way too much throttle and almost looped out. I saved it, although it was pretty out of control, and I ended up getting a two out of it, so that gave me a bit of a cushion over Pat for the rest of the loop."
Both Webb and Smage fived the following section - number 8, which ended up being one of the toughest of the trial.
On the second lap, Webb increased his lead, dropping three points to Smage's seven, after taking a one on section eight, and then finishing up with two other one-point rides.
In section 10, Webb spun his rear wheel and was lucky to get out with a two, which were all the points he took for his final lap.
Webb ended up taking Saturday's win by 13 points over Smage, 12 points to 25, while Webb's Gas Gas USA teammate Keith Wineland finished third with 71 points.
"I was really satisfied with my ride, the bike was working really well and I felt good on this stuff," said Webb. "I had no idea how well Pat was doing, because I was riding ahead of him. I think he got a little frustrated when he had that five on the first lap, that was unexpected and he fell off the pace right away. Sometimes when you are playing catch-up you make mistakes you normally wouldn't make." Cody Webb
For all intents and purposes, section seven on the first lap cost Smage the win.
"In number seven, I think I kind of rushed it a little bit," said Smage. "I was planning on using third gear but for some reason I forgot and right when I got ready to go I remembered I was in second and that kind of messed me up for the double step."
"Unfortunately, I just had too many fives today," added Smage. "Cody was riding awesome, he gets better every time I see him and I was going to be tough to beat him no matter what, but I didn't help myself with that five in seven. Once you make the first mistake it's hard not to make the next ones."
On Sunday, Smage got off to a bad start when he fived the opening section, giving Webb another opening. Webb cleaned the section and went on to finish the first lap with a three-point advantage over Smage - Webb completing the lap with just three marks lost, while Smage dropped six.
On lap two, Smage got back in the groove and needed only a single dab to complete the 12-section course. Webb on the other hand, dropped a three in the mud bog at section 10 and added one other dab in section 11 for a total of four.
After two laps Webb and Smage were tied with seven points each and the two riders started the final lap in the rain, which in Rhode Island, translates into slippery conditions ahead! Both riders cleaned the first seven sections, however, Webb encountered trouble in the difficult eighth, spinning out on a slick rock and taking a three. Another dab in section 11 gave Webb four points for the lap and 11 for the day. Smage countered with three single dabs and a total of 10 for the win.
"I just misjudged how muddy that first section was and that three put me in a hole again," said Smage. "I was able to shake it off and just hope that there were enough tough sections that I could overcome it. I just followed Cody and watched his lines. He was riding awesome and it took everything I had to beat him but I was able to do it."
Wineland again finish third, with Commo once again finishing fourth.
1. Cody Webb 12
2. Patrick Smage 25
3. Keith Wineland 71
4. Ron Commo III 121
5. Karl Davis Jr. 155
6. Andrew Oldar 161
1. Patrick Smage 102. Cody Webb 11
3. Keith Wineland 67
4. Ron Commo III 131
5. Karl Davis Jr. 139
6. Andrew Oldar 155