The Southwick round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships was full of surprises as first-time winners claimed overall victories in both classes. The 250 division also saw a stunning shakeup at the top of the overall standings.
As an all-day rain turned the sandy Southwick course to slop, Yamaha replacement rider Matt Goerke took advantage of a second-moto fall by Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed to score his first-ever 450-class moto win. Reed held a safe lead before the fall and appeared to be on his way to his fifth-straight overall win, but a miscue over the finishing line jump on the 10th lap of the race handed the lead to Goerke, who then held off a determined bid by 44-year-old Southwick specialist John Dowd to win the moto. On a day when miscues and mechanical problems were the norm, a sixth place finish by Goerke in the opening moto was good enough to give the Florida rider his first overall win of the series.
"This is the best day of my life," said Goerke, who has been filling in for the injured Josh Hill on the factory Yamaha team. "I crashed in the first moto and thought my day was over. I really was hoping for a good overall today but luckily I got back up to sixth. In the second moto, I missed gate pick and had to start all the way outside so it wasn't looking good, but everything worked out."
Suzuki’s Michael Byrne was in good position to take the overall win, as well, but he needed to catch Dowd in the second moto to do so. Dowd, however, used his expert sand-riding skills to keep his Kawasaki in front of Byrne for the duration of the moto. A 3-3 score gave Byrne the runner-up spot in the overall standings, while Dowd claimed third overall with a 10-2 score.
After winning the first moto, Reed was credited with eighth overall as a result of his second moto DNF. The newly crowned outdoor champ hit the ground pretty hard and was helped off the track, but according to Suzuki team manager Roger DeCoster, he is expected to finish out the season next week at Steel City.
Canidae/Motosport.com’s Tommy Hahn was fourth overall with a 9-4 total, while local Suzuki rider Robbie Marshall gave the home crowd a thrill by rounding out the top five with 5-7 moto finishes.
In the 250 division, Justin Barcia claimed his first-ever overall win after going 1-3 on the day. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray was second overall with a 6-1 tally, while Barcia’s GEICO Powersports Honda teammate Brett Metcalfe was third after posting 4-2 moto finishes.
"I'm just really excited," said Barcia. "Today just felt like my day. I woke up in a really good mood and everything just went smooth. I really love it here (at Southwick) and I'm really happy to get my first win here."
Meanwhile, the big news centered around the two riders battling for the series title: Christophe Pourcel and Ryan Dungey. Neither rider finished on the podium, but at the end of the day, Dungey left with town with a 17 point lead in the series standings after coming into Southwick 13-point behind.
In the first moto, Dungey led the early laps but ultimately settled for a safe second behind Barcia. Meanwhile, Pourcel ran near the back of the pack during the early going after suffering a bad start. In the final stages of the race, Pourcel’s bike quit in the mud, leaving the Frenchman credited with 27th.
In moto two, both Pourcel and Dungey both started at the back of the pack, however, Dungey was able to work his way into fourth, while Pourcel could only manage an 11th.
Dungey’s 2-4 gave him fourth overall and a 30-point swing after Pourcel finished 11th overall with a 27-11.