The national motocross championships in the United States wrapped up at Steel City Raceway, in Pennsylvania, on Saturday.
The 450cc title was won already by Australian Chad Reed (Suzuki), but there was still plenty left to fight for at this final round.
Kawasaki’s Tommy Hahn became the seventh first-time winner of the 2009 season in the 450 class, winning his first career moto en route to the victory, but it was a mediocre showing from New Zealand’s Cody Cooper (Yamaha), who finished 19th overall (20th and 15th in his races) on the day and slipped from eighth to ninth in the final series standings.
The close-fought 250cc class championship went down to the wire with Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey edging out Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel, the race winner, for his first career national championship.
In the WMX (women’s) class season finale, Honda’s Ashley Fiolek, of St. Augustine, Fla., secured her second straight title despite not competing in the final moto of the day. Honda’s Jessica Patterson won her third race in a row to close out the season second in the standings.
After a dramatic turnaround in the 250 Class title fight last weekend, Dungey entered Steel City with a 17-point advantage. Pourcel, of France, did what he needed to do in order to stay in the hunt, sweeping the day’s motos. However, Dungey kept the Frenchman in his sights with a pair of runner-up finishes to add this AMA Motocross championship to the AMA Supercross title won earlier this season.
“I knew all year from the very beginning it was going to take every weekend to be there and be in the hunt,” said Dungey, who becomes the eighth rider in history to claim entry-class titles in each discipline.
“After Southwick, I was able to come out with a bit of a lead to carry into this weekend. All year it’s been him and (I) in a back and forth battle with wins and everything so I’m just pumped to be up here with (the championship).”
Honda’s Blake Wharton rounded out the podium in third.
Not since 1999 has the premier 450 class seen so much parity when seven winners took the checkers during that season as well. With the title wrapped up, it was another opportunity for a new face to grace the top of the podium as each of the day’s motos produced first-time winners with Hahn and KTM’s Justin Brayton. Hahn backed up his moto one victory with a fourth in the final moto to clinch the overall for his privateer Kawasaki team.
“After I won the first moto today I came into (moto two) with an open mind and let it end up where it ended up,” said Hahn.
“I concentrated on getting a good start and just went from there. I wasn’t going to let (a bad second moto) happen again. It’s happened too much in the past. So I just wanted to go ride as hard as I could for 30 minutes.”
Honda’s Ivan Tedesco finished second overall (4-3), while Brayton grabbed third (11-1) for his first career podium finish. Australian Jake Moss finished fourth after logging the fastest lap time in practice.
Patterson dominated the WMX class for the third race in a row, sweeping the day’s motos. Her late-season charge closed the gap over her rival in the standings, but it was too little too late. Fiolek’s lone result of seventh in moto one helped secure the title and served as a bit of good fortune when a crash late in the race resulted in a broken collarbone and forced her to miss moto two.
“I’m in a lot of pain but it’s exciting to be the champion again,” said Fiolek. “I knew something was wrong (in the moto) but I just needed to finish. I didn’t get nervous about (Jessica) because I won the first five rounds so I just had to ride smart and that’s what I did.”
Honda’s Mariana Balbi, of Brazil, finished second overall (2-2) with KTM’s Sarah Whitmore, of Cheboygan, Mich., in third (5-3).
AMA Pro Motocross Championship – Steel City Raceway – Delmont, Pa:
450 class (moto finish):
Tommy Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Kawasaki (1-4)
Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda (4-3)
Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (11-1)
Jake Moss, Australia, Kawasaki (10-2)
Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda (5-5)
Michael Byrne, Australia, Suzuki (3-9)
Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Honda (6-10)
Timmy Ferry, Largo, Fla., Kawasaki (12-7)
Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., Yamaha (7-12)
Chad Reed, Australia, Suzuki (2-34)
450 class final championship standings:
Chad Reed, Australia, Suzuki, 481
Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 388
Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 376
Michael Byrne, Australia, Suzuki, 348
Thomas Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Kawasaki, 302
Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 280
Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 249
Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Yamaha, 200
Cody Cooper, New Zealand, Yamaha, 191
Jimmy Albertson, Ozark, Mo., Yamaha, 185
250 Class (moto finish):
Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki (1-1)
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki (2-2)
Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda (8-3)
Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ky., KTM (6-5)
Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki (4-8)
Justin Barcia, Cairo, Ga., Honda (3-13)
Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Kawasaki (5-10)
Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda (9-7)
Tommy Searle, Great Britain, KTM (13-6)
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki (17-4)
250 class final championship standings:
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 503
Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki, 492
Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda, 378
Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 353
Justin Barcia, Cairo, Ga., Honda, 340
Tommy Searle, Great Britain, KTM, 332
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha, 285
Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda, 273
Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki, 236
Matt Lemoine, Collinsville, Texas, Yamaha, 189
WMX class (moto finish):
Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda (1-1)
Mariana Balbi, Brazil, Honda (2-2)
Sarah Whitmore, Cheboygan, Mich., KTM (5-3)
Tarah Gieger, Vero Beach, Fla., Yamaha (4-4)
Jacqueline Strong, Sedona, Ariz., Honda (3-7)
Elizabeth Bash, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki (6-6)
Sara Price, Canyon Lake, Calif., Kawasaki (8-5)
Allison Vrba, Albion, Ind., Yamaha (10-8)
Penni Cyrus, Queen Creek, Ariz., Kawasaki (9-10)
Alyssa Fitch, Denver, Colo., Honda (12-9)
WMX class final standings:
Ashley Fiolek, St. Augustine, Fla., Honda, 350
Jessica Patterson, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 345
Sherri Cruse, Bakersfield, Calif., Suzuki, 258
Sara Price, Canyon Lake, Calif., Kawasaki, 237
Elizabeth Bash, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki, 217
Vicki Golden, El Cajon, Calif., Honda, 192
Sarah Whitmore, Cheboygan, Mich., KTM, 185
Mariana Balbi, Brazil, Honda, 170
Penni Cyrus, Queen Creek, Ariz., Kawasaki, 157
Jacqueline Strong, Sedona, Ariz., Honda, 148
Photo by Big Joe, www.BikesportNZ.com