Posted By: James Hanson
Rockstar Energy Racing migrated to Muddy Creek Raceway to begin a swing of several consecutive nationals on the East Coast. This first stop represented the first Motcross National in the Southeast in 15 years. Needless to say that caused much excitement as moto deprived fans came out in droves. It was a successful event for holding their first national ever. The track was set in a valley with plenty of elevation changes and great viewing for all in attendance. It was rough, rutted and presented several lines in every corner so the racing was very captivating.
This was also the final race that Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 riders Clement Desalle and Kevin Strijbos could attend to mix up the points a little. In the end both the riders we’re sad to go but they have their own series to attend to where they are both in the championship hunt.
Ryan Sipes’ homecoming went nothing like he had hoped. He qualified good in practice and his speed was excellent all day. He looked poised for his first top 5 finish in moto one when he went down. He would have only lost one position to Desalle but his clutch side grip was stuck in the mud. It was very difficult to pick up the bike and keep it running, so he ended up losing several spots. He got up and put in an impressive comeback all the way to 9th. His second moto just came completely unraveled from the start. He was collected in the a turn pile up, then just plain had a bad moto from then on. He was still able to muster 21st after multiple incidents but obviously was in no way happy with that. He is very hungry now heading into next weekend.
Ryan Sipes: “Muddy Creek…..It was fun, besides crashing four times in the second moto. The first moto I felt really good, felt like I had a top 5 in me and I just lost the front end and ended up 9th. The second moto, the start crash, I couldn’t really avoid it. After that back in 36th, guys just don’t ride like they do in the front. Maybe I was just in a hurry but I hit a guy and went down, then went down two more times. It was a tough second moto.”
Jason Anderson rode well every time he was on the track but just didn’t finish where he is capable. He moved into the top 3 in moto one but experienced some bike problems and ended up going back to 7th. In the second moto he went the opposite direction after a less than stellar start with the same result, another 7th. It was good enough to finish 6th overall and closer to the top 5. He has podium speed however and won’t be kept off the box much longer.
Jason Anderson: “The weekend was alright. I ended up 7-7 on the day which isn’t bad. Struggled a little bit again with some situations. All in all it’s a step in the right direction. I think I got 6th overall, so I matched my second best finish ever outdoors.”
Blake Wharton is slowly but surely improving each moto and this week was no different. His endurance is improving and so are his results. He’s consistently finishing in or around the top ten every time he crosses the finish line. He wants to finish higher up and is doing the right things to make that possible.
Blake Wharton: “I used to race Muddy Creek a lot as an amateur. I’ve been comin here since I was 9. It was a tough track then and it’s it’s still pretty tough. It’s just has gnarly ruts and you don’t know where you’re going sometimes and you just gotta pin it. My first moto, I got 11th, second moto I got 9th. It was a decent weekend for me just putting in more time. I just have to keep pushing and not rest no matter what. I’m looking forward to finishing further towards the front. Highpoint will be similar to this I feel. I’m looking forward to next weekend.”
Nico Izzi is also continuing to improve but unfortunately he didn’t have a good weekend overall. He was putting in a good positive moto in the top ten in the first race until disaster struck. He came into contact with another rider several laps prior and to the knowledge of no one including Izzi, he had punctured his radiator. His bike slowly ran out of coolant and then began to lose power. Instead of pulling off he strived to make it to the end of the race and he was oh so close. As he went up the finish line table and the white flag waived, his bike expired catapulting Nico over the bars. Landing on your feet without your bike from that height and going that fast is very scary and does not feel good. One positive thing is that Izzi did get over the bars cleanly and was not hit by the bike. He was pretty beat up and was forced to DNS the second moto. He will be ok and back fighting for positions next week.
Nico Izzi: “Felt good rolling into Tennessee. Killed It in the first practice with P-4 and the second with P-6. Then we came into the first moto and I didn’t have the best start, probably around 12th. I made a couple passes and was battling with [Cole] Seely for 9th. Then with 4 laps to go, my bike was losing a lot of power and I rode it until it died and I went over the bars. I’m going to be back to lay the hammer down at Highpoint. I love that place.”
Clement Desalle came over to the US with a very difficult schedule and adapted immediately into becoming one of the top guys on the track. Being completely foreign to sprint speed, he was still able to qualify with the 2nd fastest lap in both Colorado and Tennessee. He had a very solid first moto and was close to getting his best finish of the trip as he was attempting to make his way around James Stewart. He was trying everything to get by him until finally he went for an outside line that ended up landing him on the side of a jump off the track on the last lap. His attack was thwarted but it was still a very successful finish in 5th. His second moto did not go as well but was equally as impressive. He went down in the first turn and his bike was literally buried in a yard sale of other motorcycles. He moved through the pack picking up position after position all the way into 9th. It looked as if he would be able to garner one more spot for 8th but he was just spent and wisely cruised to the finish safely. He passed enough riders that he may have won the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger award which is yet to be determined. If that’s the case he’s very excited to place that kind if special trophy on his mantle back home.
Clement Desalle: “This morning’s qualification was good. In the second practice, I was 2nd fastest. It feels good to go into the first moto with a good gate pick. I tried a new technique on my start, because I have nothing to lose here and it’s good practice for me. It was positive and my first start I was 5th or 6th. Then in the first two laps, these guys ride much different than what I’m used to. So aggressive in the first couple laps, so I lost some positions and at the same time made some mistakes. Then I was 8th or 9th and I came back to 5th. On the last lap I almost passed [James] Stewart. It was exciting, I didn’t get him but it was good racing. In the second moto my start felt so good. I was about 4th in the first corner and I think somebody hit me. I lost the front wheel and crashed and some guys ran into me. It was a big pile of bikes and mine was at the bottom so I started last. Then I came back to 9th and I tried to keep pushing, but I was really tired. The conditions were really warm here for me. But it was good practice for the season and hopefully the weather is less humid next week in Europe.”
Kevin Strijbos had another good day for the final race of his first trip to the United States. He struggled a bit in practice but his riding was much better when the gate dropped. He had a solid race going in moto one, but just went down in a tough turn. It was a sharp, rutted right hander immediately after the landing of a high speed double. He went around the corner pedaling his foot as if he was on a skateboard, saving it, saving it and then finally succumbing to gravity. It was a tough spot to remount being on the landing of a blind jump. Kevin rejoined the race well back in the pack but was able to move passed several competitors by race’s end. Strijbos improved on his performance in moto two in every aspect. A better start, no crashes and a higher finish. In the end it was a positive day and he was happy with his riding the entire trip.
Kevin Strijbos: “The day started out quite difficult. I didn’t feel that good on the track and I was 13th in second practice which is not so good. The start in the first race was ok. I was back in about 8th or 9th, then I crashed from my own mistake. I had to regroup for a few laps and I moved back forward to 13th. I think my riding was good again, that I had the speed to be 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th. The second race I had a really good start but I braked too early before the corner and my teammate crashed in front of me and I hit him. I was a little bit further back then cause I think I should have been 2nd or 3rd. I tried to hang with those guys but they are so aggressive in the beginning of the race and we’re not used to that. I kind of pushed and made a few mistakes, then Ryan [Villopoto] passed me in the same corner where I crashed in the first race. I tried to follow him and learn some lines but he was gone too quick. Then I was just riding by myself and I saw James [Stewart] in my sights. I knew I didn’t lose much time so I was quite happy with that. In the end I was done, I gave so much in the first moto.”
Next week the team continues in the East. Sipes wants badly to recover from a less than stellar weekend. Anderson will look to put everything together and finish closer to the podium. Wharton will push to keep finishing closer to the top 5. Izzi will recover from his big crash and try to have his best race of 2013 on a track he is very fond of. Desalle and Strijbos will immediately travel much farther east to France and the next round of the GP’s. They both finished on the podium in the previous round in Brazil.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
Built Ford Tough Tennessee National
Muddy Creek Raceway – Blountville, Tenn.
June 1, 2013
Round 3 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (3-1)
2. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda (2-2)
3. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki (1-4)
4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki (4-6)
5. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki (6-5)
6. Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki (5-9)
7. Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, Suzuki (14-7)
8. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM (12-10)
9. Trey Canard, Oklahoma City, Okla., Honda, (29-3)
10. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki (13-11)
450 Class Championship Standings
1. Ryan Villopoto, Seattle, Wash., Kawasaki, 143
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 133
3. Justin Barcia, Pinetta, Fla., Honda, 114
4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 99
5. Trey Canard, Oklahoma City, Okla., Honda, 90
6. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 85
7. Tyla Rattray, Wildomar, Calif., Kawasaki, 59
8. Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki, 58
9. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 54
10. Ryan Sipes, Elizabethtown, Ky., Suzuki, 49
250 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM (2-2)
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (4-1)
3. Ken Roczen, Apolda, Germany, KTM (1-4)
4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki (3-3)
5. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Honda (6-5)
6. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki (7-7)
7. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (12-6)
8. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha (8-11)
9. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki (11-9)
10. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha (5-15)
250 Class Championship Standings
1. Ken Roczen, Apolda, Germany, KTM, 138
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 132
3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM, 116
4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki, 110
5. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Honda, 96
6. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki, 77
7. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha, 65
8. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha, 62
9. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda, 61
10. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 61