Australian rider Chad Reed is hopeful of picking up where he left off last weekend and standing on the top step of the podium at the Washougal MX Park round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship tomorrow.
The host venue is characterised by lush green surroundings, high-speed sections and a number of dramatic elevations, including the infamous Horsepower Hill.
Coming off his strongest round of the season, Reed heads to round 8 of 12 with a solid 37-point advantage over his closest title rival.
Leading the outdoors 450 class for the first time in his career in 2009, the two-time AMA/World Supercross champion is immensely experienced when it comes to the pressure of defending.
“You can only give what you’ve got, the key is to keep a cool head, work out where you need to be and focus on getting yourself there,” said Reed.
“This season I knew I would face challenges but I also knew I would be competitive.
“There’s been weeks where we haven’t quite got there in terms of the bike and it’s shown. The class is so even this year that if you make a mistake or get a bad start, there are three or four guys ready to take the position from you straight away.
“Lately we’ve found a good balance and I’ve found some extra confidence in riding outdoors.
“Rockstar Makita Suzuki have worked with me every step of the way and I felt like last week we reached a new level where everything came together and I just felt strong.
Despite extending his lead by a considerable margin, Reed said he expected a fight on his hands at Washougal.
“There’s five rounds left and I would be surprised if these guys aren’t still giving everything they’ve got on the very last lap of the very last moto.”
The 27-year-old holds the red plate heading into the event, with his lead built on a balance of pace and consistency.
He has placed top three in 10 of the 14 motos to date, including 3 moto wins.