After eight winless years in America, transplanted Australian Brett Metcalfe rode his Rockstar Makita Suzuki to an emotional overall win in the 450 class of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Motocross 338 in Southwick, Massachusetts. Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Tyla Rattray did the job in the 250 class, taking his fourth overall win of the season.
Bret Metcalfe score his first career 450-class win.
With the looming threat of Hurricane Irene on everyone’s minds all week long, the first motos were run with a mild drizzle that hardly affected the track conditions, but that all changed for the second round of motos that were held in wet and windy conditions. The second motos were brutal on the riders and attrition was a huge factor for many.
TwoTwo Motorsports Honda's Chad Reed saw his already waning title hopes disappear completely when he failed to finish either moto. His bike quit in the first moto, and he fell early in the second moto, pulling out later with more bike problems.
Second-moto winner, Justin Barcia also fell a victim to the same mechanical gremlins while running near the front in the first 450 moto.
Honda wasn’t the only team bit by bike problems. First-moto 450 winner Ryan Dungey, who held off rival Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto right at the end, was left stranded on the line when his bike failed to fire up before the start of the second moto, due to most likely an electrical problem. The team did a complete electrical change and finally got it running. He admitted that he nearly “lost it” when he watched the rest of the field take off and his title hopes fade away, stating later that he was about to throw his helmet to the ground but was stopped by his mother, who somehow restrained him. His bike arrived after the gate had already dropped, and he took off after the pack, nearly a lap down. He would finish a remarkable seventh for third overall.
"My parents always told me to never quit," said Dungey. "I wanted to, and I almost did, but then I saw the bike come down the hill. I just went out there and rode as hard as I could. I can't take all the credit though. The Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team made it happen. It was the difference between starting late, or not starting at all. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have been out there."
When it was all over, Metcalfe had the overall win with 3-2 scores, beating Villopoto’s 2-4 and Dungey’s heroic 1-7 finishes. Despite it all, Dungey dropped just one point to Villopoto on the day and is just eight points back with two rounds left.
"I'm a winner now," Metcalfe said. "This career has been a roller coaster. After everything I've been through, to finally get a win after eight years just feels good. The first moto was the worst I've ever rode at Southwick, but I still got third. We prepared my bike for the mud in the second moto and it rode like butter. It was perfect. I knew I had to beat Villopoto for the overall. I saw him ahead of me, dug deep, and passed him."
GEICO Powersport/Honda's Barcia led the entire way in the second 450 moto and was credited with seventh overall with a 36-1.
Massachusetts' own John Dowd suited up and finished in the top 10 overall with a 9-8.
It was a battle of South Africans in the first 250 moto between DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha's Gareth Swanepoel and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Tyla Rattray, and it was the Yamaha rider holding on for the win. Rattray was leading when he stalled his bike, giving way to eventual moto winner Swanepoel. Rattray finished second ahead of his teammate Dean Wilson.
In rapidly deteriorating weather conditions, Rattray came back and won the second moto over Wilson and claimed the overall win. Swanepoel was fifth and ended up third overall behind Rattray and Wilson, who was forced to nurse in his ailing bike, which had started steaming.
Honda privateer Alex Martin led the start of the second moto before getting passed by Rattray and Wilson. He ended up finishing a career high fourth overall with a 10-3. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett rounded out the top five overall with a 9-6.
"This track has been good to me," said Rattray. "I've ridden in the sand a lot in my career, so it means a little more to win here. I settled for second in the first moto and knew the track was going to be tough in the second moto, so I pressured myself to get a good start, which I did. I was able to get into the lead, and then I just put my head down."
In the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Women's Motocross Championship, American Honda's Ashley Fiolek won her third race of the season with 1-2 moto results. Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda's Tarah Gieger finished second (2-5), while KTM rider Alexah Pearson finished third (7-3).
It wasn't long after the last race that Hurricane Irene started barring down on the area.
Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship
Rockstar Energy Southwick National
Moto-X 338 - Southwick, Massachusetts
August 27, 2011
Round 10 of 12
1.Brett Metcalfe Suzuki (3-2)
2. Ryan VillopotoKawasaki (2-4)
3. Ryan Dungey Suzuki (1-7)
4. Justin BraytonYamaha (7-3)
5. Mike Alessi KTM (4-6)
6. Jake Weimer Kawasaki (6-5)
7. Justin Barcia Honda (36-1)
8. John Dowd Kawasaki (9-8)
9. Les Smith Yamaha (8-9)
10. Kyle Chisholm Yamaha (11-10)
450 POINTS STANDINGS:
1 Ryan Villopoto Kawasaki - 431
2. Ryan Dungey Suzuki - 423
3. Chad Reed Honda - 366
4. Brett Metcalfe Suzuki - 304
5. Mike Alessi KTM - 243
6. Jake Weimer Kawasaki - 221
7. Andrew Short KTM - 196
8. Kevin Windham Honda - 193
9. Davi Millsaps Yamaha - 173
10. Justin Brayton Yamaha - 163
1. Tyla Rattray Kawasaki (2-1)
2 Dean Wilson Kawasaki (3-2)
3. Gareth Swanepoel Yamaha (1-5)
4. Alex Martin Honda (10-3)
5. Blake Baggett Kawasaki (9-6)
6. Marvin Musquin KTM (7-8)
7. Broc Tickle Kawasaki (5-12)
8. Gannon Audette Yamaha (4-16)
9. Justin Bogle Honda (18-4)
10. Darryn Durham Honda (8-13)
250 POINTS STANDINGS:
1. Dean Wilson Kawasaki - 438
2. Tyla Rattray Kawasaki - 400
3. Blake Baggett Kawasaki - 398
4. Kyle Cunningham Yamaha - 264
5. Eli Tomac Honda - 246
6. Gareth Swanepoel Yamaha - 241
7. Broc Tickle Kawasaki - 220
8. Justin Barcia Honda - 181
9. Martin Davalos Suzuki - 175
10. Alex Martin Honda - 170
1. Ashley Fiolek Honda (1-2)
2. Tarah Gieger Honda (2-5)
3. Alexah Pearson KTM (7-3)
4. Sarah Whitmore Yamaha (5-4)
5. Julie Parizek Kawasaki (8-7)
6. Jessica Patterson Yamaha (27-1)
7. Kasie Creson Honda (11-6)
8. Lindsey Palmer Honda (9-8)
9. Jacqueline Strong KTM (4-15)
10. Sade Allender Kawasaki (10-9)
WMX POINTS STANDINGS:
1. Ashley Fiolek Honda - 279
2. Jessica Patterson Yamaha - 249
3. Tarah Gieger Honda - 226
4. Jacqueline Strong KTM - 162
5. Kasie Creson Honda - 153
6. Marissa Markelon Yamaha - 148
7. Vicki Golden Kawasaki - 140
8. Alexah Pearson KTM - 137
9. Lindsey Palmer Honda - 132
10. Sayaka Kaneshiro Suzuki - 113