The see-saw ride continued for many of the top contenders in the United States motocross championships at the weekend.
New Zealand’s Ben Townley fired off two more top-10 finishes at round seven of the AMA Motocross Championships at the weekend, but, with the series heading into the second half of the season now, he knows he needs to do more to catch the seemingly unbeatable Ryan Dungey.
With just five rounds to go to complete the season, Bay of Plenty rider Townley is now up to third overall in the US series standings after the weekend’s racing at Millville, Minnesota, but a massive 95 points behind the runaway leader, Suzuki’s Dungey, who enjoyed another set of back-to-back wins.
Townley (Honda) finished fourth and fifth in his two 450cc class races at Millville, good enough for fifth overall on the day, while, significantly, several other key riders had shocking performances.
Defending champion Chad Reed (Kawasaki), of Australia, who had been second in the rankings at the start of the day, scored no points at Millville and slipped to sixth spot in the championship chase.
Fellow Australian Brett Metcalfe (Honda) finished 16-6 at Millville and slipped from third to fourth in the standings, while Yamaha’s Josh Grant finished 2-10 to move up one spot from fifth to fourth in the standings.
Millville welcomed the return to top-flight racing of former factory Honda rider Kevin Windham, who clocked 5-4 scores on the day at the Minnesota track – equal with Townley – but it was his first outing in the championship this season and he has virtually no chance of a top-10 overall result.
Windham grabbed the holeshot at the start of race one, but was quickly passed by Dungey, who then pulled a gap on the pack, and finished the race comfortably in front of Grant, with Short taking third spot.
Race two was more of the same. Although this time it was Townley who took the holeshot. After a few laps, Dungey took over the lead and began to pull away. In the end, Dungey finished the race ahead of Texas rider Kyle Regal (Honda), and Short again finished third.
“Although I have climbed to third in the championship, I am actually disappointed with my result today,” said Townley. “After Red Bud, I thought I knew what it would take to run up front and stay there but it just never seemed to work today. We made some improvements on the bike and still have some more to come so I’m look forward to piecing it all together.”
Meanwhile, in the 250cc class, Honda’s Trey Canard won the day with a 2-1 scoreline.
“My comfort level and belief in myself went up,” said Canard, who raced to the moto two win in heavy rain.
“I came in more self relieved. When you come in like that you’re less nervous and it all comes easier. The effort I put in today was good for me. I’m just excited about what’s going on and I hope to keep (the momentum) going.”
The 250 Class rookie and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Dean Wilson, of Scotland, grabbed the runner-up spot (6-2) with his team-mate Tyla Rattray, of South Africa, rounding out the podium in third (4-4). Their team-mate and current points leader Christophe Pourcel, of France, finished off the podium for the first time in 2010 in fifth (1-10).
Pourcel’s advantage over Wilson in the championship standings sits at 32 points. The Frenchman also leads the class in laps led with 99 and an average finish of 2.9.
Next weekend, the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship returns to action for round eight and the Motosport.com Washougal Retro National from Washougal Motocross Park in Washougal, Wash.
Spring Creek MX Park – Millville, Minn – Round 7 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki (1-1)
Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda (3-3)
Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Honda (8-2)
Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda (5-4)
Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda (4-5)
Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha (2-10)
Ryan Sipes, Flaherty, Texas, Yamaha (9-7)
Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Yamaha (7-9)
Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda (16-6)
Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Kawasaki (11-11)
450 Class Championship Standings
Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 318
Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 229
Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda, 223
Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda, 221
Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 215
Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki, 204
Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM, 196
Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Honda, 157
Ryan Sipes, Flaherty, Texas, Yamaha, 140
Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Yamaha, 134
250 Class (Moto Finish)
Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (2-1)
Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki (6-2)
Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki (4-4)
Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki (3-5)
Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki (1-10)
Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda (5-7)
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha (7-6)
Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda (16-3)
Tommy Searle, England, KTM (11-9)
Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (8-15)
250 Class Championship Standings
Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki, 296
Dean Wilson, Scotland, Kawasaki, 264
Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 252
Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki, 248
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha, 209
Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 201
Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda, 175
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 174
Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 165
Martin Davalos, Ecuador, Yamaha, 147
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com