Maybe it was the bike – Stewart wins Hangtown
Is the JGR crew scratching their head a bit? Maybe it really was the bike. Stewart set the fastest qualifying time of 1:58; nearly 2 seconds faster than the JGR mounted Milsaps. Moto 1 produced the same results as qualifying with Stewart checking out. There was a great battle behind Stewart with Short, Metcalfe, Milsaps and Dungey, but they had nothing for Stewart and the Yoshimura Suzuki. 40 year old Ryan Hughes was looking strong in the first couple laps passing up from around 30 deep up into the top 20, but then injured himself and ended his day. Ryan Dungey battled from a horrible start and made it into third behind Stewart and Milsaps
Moto 2 had Alessi holeshot with Dungey and Stewart chasing him down. Alessi showed a bit of heart when Dungey passed him, getting back around Dungey, but it was short lived as Dungey and Stewart both got by and began to drop the pack. Dungey kept Stewart honest most of the race with Dungey only a second or two behind Stewart for most of the race. It appeared Dungey was catching Stewart until they ran into lapped traffic. Stewart was able to get through clean, but not Dungey; he lost precious seconds with only a couple of laps to go and had to settle for 2nd place.
Did Stewart quiet his critics or just give them more fuel for the fire. Stewart sits atop the leader board with 1-1 scores and 50 points. Dungey finishes up the day in 2nd with 42 points. Third place had a 3 way tie for third overall between Alessi (7-3), Short (5-4) and Metcalfe (4-5). They all finished with 34 points, but the better 2nd moto finish went to Alessi giving him the 3rd overall for the day and 3rd in the series points. Remember in Pro racing your result is tallied by your points, not your finish. In local racing Alessi’s 7-3 finish would be 10 with Short and Metcalfe both having moto scores totaling 9. In Pro racing you get points for your finish and all three of them ended up with 34 points.
Norcal had 11 riders entered in the 450 class. Austin Howell had the best finish with 26-25 scores followed by Preston Mull at 31-30 and Blake Ballard with 37-34. I wonder if things would have turned out differently for Howell if he would have gotten the Suzuki ride a couple of years back instead of Ian Trettel. Howell is Norcal’s strongest hope for solid results in the 450 class. It goes to show you how fast the pros are riding at these races. Just about everyone one of us has been passed at the local track by Norcal’s fast local pros like David Gassin or Keith Knight, yet both of them were over 6 seconds off the qualifying time to make it into the afternoon race. Hang tough guys, keep putting in the work and we will keep an eye on you throughout the year.
Moto 1 of the Lites race setup just about like everyone expected with the early favorites of the Geico Hondas battling with Pro Circuit and KTM. The early part of the race had Barcia leading the KTM rider Ken Roczen around the track with Tomac, Tedesco, Wilson and Baggett in tow. Roczen eventually got around Barcia and I am guessing was feeling confident about getting the first win of the 2012 AMA Motocross season, but Norcalmotocross.com favorite Lites rider Blake Baggett had something to say about it running down Barcia, and putting a last lap pass on Roczen to win Moto 1.
Norcalmotocross.com has adopted Blake Baggett as our rider for the Lites class. The past couple of years Blake Baggett’s mom has joined our little crew atop the Oak Tree hill to film and watch her son. She is a super nice lady and this year she even brought us some blakebaggett.com swag. Nobody around the track was screaming louder than the Oak Tree crew during the last lap of Moto 1.
Moto 2 had the same start with Barcia and Roczen in 1-2. Roczen went down on the first lap and Baggett slid into 2nd place. Shortly after that Baggett put the pass on Barcia and checked out. Roczen charged his way back up to 3rd. Where was the other KTM rider of Musquin? On lap 1 he came around in 3rd place and faded what seemed to be lap after lap to be outside of the Top 10. Tomac and Hahn went down in the first turn and were able to battle back up to respectable finishes of 10th and 13th.
Baggett sets the early tone for the season with 1-1 finishes and 50 points. Barcia and Roczen are tied for 2nd in points with 42 followed up by Tedesco and then Tomac. Wilson, the series champion from 2011 looks to be out for the season with his shoulder still injured from Supercross.
Norcal had 11 riders entered with 3 riders making it in with Jessy Nelson, Topher Ingalls and Robert Noftz. This was the pro debut for Nelson riding for Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda. He had a great opener with a 13/17 finish. The 2nd moto had him down in the first turn with Tomac and Hahn. Finishing in a points paying position for your first AMA pro race is awesome. Topher battled hard for 35/31 finishes. He finished up just behind Malcolm Stewart
Norcal had a great showing in the Women’s division with Kasie Creson going 6-6 on the day, Hailey Larson putting in a solid 9-13 score for 10th overall and Alexah Pearson going 19-12 for 14th on the day. Patterson and Fiolek battled a bit in the first moto with Fiolek getting the win. In Moto 2 Fiolek went down early and got hit a couple of time trying to get up. Patterson went down later in the moto, popping her shoulder out of socket, but was able to battle back to a 2nd place finish and getting the overall.