Dungey Heading North To Unadilla
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As always, the sand track in Southwick produced a wild day of action last weekend as the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, returned to the East Coast.
Following dramatic victories by the respective series points leaders, the schedule returns to Central New York on Saturday, for the highly-anticipated Red Bull Unadilla National, in New Berlin.
For more than 40 years, Unadilla has hosted premier motocross races and with this season’s championships hitting the home stretch, the thousands of fans in attendance will be treated to an afternoon of high-intensity competition.
Unadilla is considered hallowed ground in the sport of motocross, and thanks to the facility’s rough terrain, high speed, and incredibly big air, it will be a fitting way to showcase the world’s best riders with a full day of live television coverage, highlighted by a network broadcast on NBC that will reach millions of homes.
Last weekend at Moto-X 338, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey needed a rare pit stop for fuel to secure his seventh consecutive win of the 2012 season. After a dominant win in the opening moto, Dungey put himself in position for a similar result in Moto 2, only to go down while leading, which caused fuel to spill from his bike in the process. After remounting his KTM in second, Dungey surged back into the lead and built a double-digit advantage on the field.
Just a couple laps later, he pulled into the mechanics area to get additional fuel and ultimately settled for second in the moto, which was enough for the overall victory.
“The TV footage allowed our guys to see what happened, which helped them decide to bring me in,” explained Dungey at the end of the race. “(It) worked out because I wouldn’t have made another lap.”
With his win, Dungey extended his lead in the championship over MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi, who finished second at Southwick, to 85 points with three rounds remaining. If Dungey is able to gain 15 points on his rival at Unadilla on Saturday, he will claim his second 450 Class title in three seasons.
Last season at Unadilla, eventual champion Ryan Villopoto dominated aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki, sweeping the day’s motos for arguably the most convincing effort of the 2011 season and effectively putting himself in control of the championship. Dungey followed in second.
With just 11 points separating Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett and GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia in the 250 Class standings coming into Moto-X 338, all eyes were on this duo to see how things would unfold. Based on his past success in Southwick, Barcia was considered a favorite, especially with the momentum of a win at the previous round. However, after finding himself on the ground in the first turn of the opening moto, Barcia’s day would be one filled with misfortune, while Baggett took advantage of the opportunity to take back control of the championship.
Baggett followed up his solid third-place finish in the opening moto with a captivating battle for the Moto 2 win with Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen. A late pass for the lead put Baggett into a tie with GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac for the overall victory, but thanks to the second-moto tiebreaker, he captured his fourth victory of the season and extended his points lead.
Despite starting at the tail end of the field in the first moto, Barcia battled back to finish seventh and grabbed a much better start in the final moto.
However, after he hit a tree on the inside of a corner, Barcia fell and lost valuable ground on his rivals. He rebounded to finish fourth, for fifth overall, but lost 13 points to Baggett in the championship and faces a 24-point deficit coming into Unadilla.
Last year at Unadilla, eventual champion Dean Wilson won his first race of the 2011 season aboard his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, leading all but four laps of competition and solidifying himself as the rider to beat for the title.