MX SPORTS PRO RACING:
In arguably the most competitive season ever, the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship heats up this Saturday for round nine with the Unadilla Retro Motocross National in New Berlin, N.Y. This year’s event will feature a very special retro theme and all attending fans are encouraged to wear some retro clothing from their favorite motocross era. The retro theme is a celebration of 40 years of motocross at Unadilla Valley Sports Center.
Known to American Motocross fans as a staple in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship schedule, Unadilla is one of the longest running motocross circuits in the United States. The legendary facility has played host to a number of epic events and has been a fixture of the AMA since 1972. Additionally, Unadilla is a favorite among the series’ competitors thanks to its “old school” layout and characteristics in which obstacles within the natural terrain provide all the hang time and difficulty necessary for a standout motocross circuit. With sections of the circuit boasting names like Gravity Cavity, it is clear why Unadilla is a favorite amongst riders and fans alike.
This year’s race kicks off with an amateur program and the Friday afternoon Monster Energy Fan Fest, which begins at 4:00 p.m. Fan Fest will feature current and former Unadilla racing legends, including the GEICO Powersports Honda team and the Jagermeister KTM teams. Following Fan Fest, a special outdoor screening of the Motocross Files will be presented, courtesy of the noted producer Todd Huffman. Viewing will take place in the amateur pit area.
With a two-week break from the action, the stars of the world’s most prestigious motocross championship can’t wait to get back on track and continue the fight for the title during the series’ final four races. Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Chad Reed leads the way in the series standings for the 450 Class while his teammate Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel sit deadlocked atop the 250 Class.
Since taking over the points lead at the fourth round of the championship at High Point, Reed has been a man on a mission, claiming his third victory of 2009 and extending his healthy points lead at the previous round. The Australian rider went 1-1 on the day at Washougal and looks to be in great shape for his first motocross championship. However, with the way things have gone in 2009 anything is possible as the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship lost its third title contender this season when JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha’s Josh Grant went down with injuries suffered at the X Games. The current second place rider in the standings will sit out the remainder of the year, giving way to Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short in third, who sits 70 points out of the lead and hopes to capture his first career premier class victory.
GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham, who has become a supercross-only rider the past few seasons, will make his 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship debut this weekend. Windham, a longtime fan favorite, has finished runner-up in the 450 Class four times during his career and will become another challenger to Reed for the overall win this weekend.
One year after claiming his first-ever 250 Class victory at Washougal MX Park, Dungey returned to the Pacific Northwest to claim his second straight win at the facility, finishing 1-5 on the day and creating a tie atop the 250 Class standings with Pourcel. By virtue of his four overall victories compared to Pourcel’s two, Dungey holds the slight advantage when it comes to tie-breakers. The duo has been the class of the field for most of the season, but rookie upstart Justin Barcia has turned countless heads thanks to his stellar speed and all-out style.
Growing up just a few hours away in Monroe, the GEICO Powersports Honda rider returns to his home state for the first time as a professional in search of his first career overall podium.
Last year at Unadilla in muddy conditions thanks to a mid-race thunderstorm, James Stewart held on to sweep both 450 Class motos and keep his undefeated streak alive en route to his first-ever premier class championship and the series’ third perfect season. In the 250 Class, Ryan Villopoto capped off a solid weekend, posting a dominant 1-1 performance on the way to his third consecutive title.