Monday 10th & Tuesday 11th December: CLOSED> Tracks are closed on Mondays & Tuesdays.

Race Day at Hangtown

USA MX 2016

maddix park mx

NZ's Cody Cooper was 19th in moto 1 and 16th in moto 2 for a 19th overall on equal points with Justin Brayton and Benny Bloss. 

Comment from Coops:
"Was a hard day. Full on racing with them USA guys. All are very fast. Couple of little things we need to fix and we will be going better"

www.racerxonline.com By Jason Weigandt and Aaron Hansel 

The opening round of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross doesn’t always serve as an indicator of how the rest of the season will turn out, and there’s a whole pack of people hoping that’s the case this year. Ken Roczen and Joey Savatgy served notice with big 1-1 rides to sweep the 450 and 250 classes, respectively, at the Go Pro Hangtown classic, and now it’s up to everyone else to make these rides look like a fluke. The way they’re going, that task won’t be easy.

That’s especially true in the 450s, where Roczen was dominant. Not Eli-Tomac-2015 dominant, but he ate the field alive at the beginning of each moto, making quick work of the top five and blasting into the lead by the second lap. It was unreal how quickly he went around everyone! In both motos, defending champion Ryan Dungey got going eventually and matched Kenny for awhile, but he was never close enough to mount much of a threat. For Kenny, the day couldn’t have been much better, as he looked absolutely on point the whole way and even moved away from Dungey a bit late in each moto. This was much more of the 2014 Ken Roczen here—but we’ve got a long way to go.

"It’s a new season and everybody has a chance at another title, and for the whole season I want to bring it every single weekend," Roczen said afterward. "Last year I was playing catchup the whole time and we were in a bad place. But now I feel like I can go from weekend to weekend and progress with my riding. It’s going to be a hard battle and it’s only the first race, but I’m super happy I put myself in a good position." 

Roczen leaves Hangtown with the red plate, something he hasn't had in long time.
Roczen leaves Hangtown with the red plate, something he hasn't had in long time.Cudby

And it was all fine with Dungey, who oddly has never won at Hangtown and usually finds himself in this exact scenario—leaving the track chasing a championship challenger, and often he’s the one who ends up on top by season’s end. Plus he can say he was closer to Roczen this year than he was to Tomac last year. Ryan Dungey on the podium. It’s all good.

"I think overall it was really good. We had two second places, and that’s good. Kenny got away in the first one but we were able to maintain a gap and even close it down, which was good," Dungey said. "But in the second moto, he’s really good when it gets choppy, slick and rough, kind of hardpack. He was able to get up the inside, and he made the pass. I definitely want to win, for sure, but we’re getting things started here in the outdoors. The speed was there and the bike setup was good. Round one was good and Kenny rode well today. We’re going to keep getting better week by week."

Dungey has won at every single track except for Hangtown.
Dungey has won at every single track except for Hangtown.Cudby

Coming into the season, the 450MX class is deep in talent, but most saw Roczen, Dungey and Eli Tomac as the pre-season favorites. Tomac indeed finished third overall to put that trio on the podium, but it wasn’t quite the day he wanted. Tomac carded 4-4 scores, working his way forward in both motos. But in the first race, he passed Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Baggett only to have Baggett stalk him the whole way and then get him back for third at the finish. In moto two, Tomac got to fourth but couldn’t get to third-place Jason Anderson. Third overall is solid but not the dominant performance we saw from Tomac outdoors last year—you can bet he and his Monster Energy Kawasaki team will go back to work trying to close up on Dungey and Roczen by next week at Glen Helen.

Cole Seely edged Trey Canard for the holeshot by mere inches.
Cole Seely edged Trey Canard for the holeshot by mere inches.Cudby

"In the first moto I eventually got to third place but wasn’t comfortable at all really and Blake [Baggett] ended up getting me back. I didn’t have very good lines and was missing some insides. It was disappointing," Tomac admitted in the post-race press conference. "We made a few little changes and came back for moto two and went the right direction on one end of the bike but on the other end felt a little bit goofier. I don’t know, I was just kind of searching all day in the motos. But in practice it felt really good. It’s something I have to work on for sure."

It’s also difficult to make comparisons to last year because the track was totally different. It wasn’t a mudder but rain had a huge impact on the conditions. It rained hard Friday night and was expected to hit again during the second motos, so the track crew didn’t dig the track up nearly as deep as usual, which is standard rain prep (a deep track would soak up the rain and turn into a mud bath almost instantly). The track held up well to the Friday night rain and when it hit again during the first 250 moto, it again held. But then expected late afternoon rain never came, and the track crew actually had to water the track later in the day to keep the dust down. Overall, compared to the deep, rough, rutted Hangtown of the last few years, this track was harder, choppier and faster. Things could be a lot different when we hit some deep tracks over the next few weeks.

Tomac thought he had Baggett covered after passing him in moto one, but Baggett caught fire late in the moto and got Tomac back for third.
Tomac thought he had Baggett covered after passing him in moto one, but Baggett caught fire late in the moto and got Tomac back for third.Cudby

Oh what could have been for Baggett, who looked massively improved over 2015 and staked the claim that he can break up the Dunegy-Roczen-Tomac pairing. He bested Tomac in moto one and overcame a bad start in moto two to get to sixth before hitting a rock in a corner and high siding. He broke his collarbone in the crash…but somehow gutted out four more laps to finish the race in nineteenth! Blake hopes to get the collarbone plated and not miss much time.

Things were even worse for the other Yoshimura Suzuki rider, James Stewart, who crashed in the first moto, popping his shoulder out in the process. He had his arm in a sling later, and it isn't likely he'll be back next week, which means the team will have no active riders at Glen Helen.

Anderson’s ride in the second moto was strong for third on the Rockstar Husky. Sixth in the first moto was okay—but the pack in the 450 class looked exceptionally closely-matched. Lots of riders in that group have things to be happy about. Cole Seely holeshotted the first moto and ran second and then third most of the way before eventually carding fifth. Last year he was down and out in the first turn of the first moto. His Honda HRC teammate Trey Canard got a great start in moto one—he was edged by Seely for the holeshot by literally inches—which is a great sign since Trey has been mired in a start slump for two years now. Trey fell briefly in the moto but roared back for seventh, then took fifth in moto two for fifth overall. A good day for him. Seely got a bad start in moto two but came back to tenth for sixth overall.

Justin Barcia is looking to start over after being injured for much of supercross.
Justin Barcia is looking to start over after being injured for much of supercross.Cudby

And while 10-6 scores for seventh don’t sound awesome, it’s at least progress for Justin Barcia compared to his awful supercross season, and actually better than Hangtown last year, too. The Autotrader.com/Monster Energy JGR Yamaha team told us Barcia had some arm pump to deal with but he was happy with his speed. In the second moto he was third and kept Dungey close early on before fading back to sixth.

We talked about Savatgy's perfect day, but several other 250 riders had very impressive days as well. Jordon Smith notched a career best with a second in the first moto, Cooper Webb and his injured wrist went 4-5 for third overall, and Aaron Plessinger finished the second moto in third, not far behind first, after barely qualifying inside the top twenty. Alex Martin was outstanding too, raging to second in the second moto (cleaning out Jordon Smith in the process) and even pressuring Joey Savatgy for the moto win. He had a chance to battle with his brother, Jeremy, as well.

Savatgy's day was almost as perfect as the photo bomb in the background. She must be a Cooper Webb fan.
Savatgy's day was almost as perfect as the photo bomb in the background. She must be a Cooper Webb fan.Cudby

"In the second moto I was like, ‘Okay let’s get going Jeremy, let’s go through the pack together.’ But I think he came in a little under the weather, a little sick, and he just didn’t have that spunk. So I was like, ‘Okay well I’m going to go around you if you’re not going to keep going forward,'" Martin told us. "I was happy. I felt comfortable, I was aggressive, and I was charging. It was a good performance and I was happy with it."

Speaking of Jeremy Martin, the champ didn't have the greatest day. He was third in the first moto but crashed back to ninth after tangling with Austin Forkner in the second. Still, fifth overall isn't bad and you know he'll be back strong in Glen Helen next week.

A great day for high profile rookies Tristan Charboneau and Austin Forkner. Charboneau went 6-14 for ninth overall and Forkner was eighth overall via 13-7 scores. Charboneau was ecstatic after the first moto, and Forkner should be pumped too. He was crazy fast all day and ran as high as third at one point. Expect some podiums from him at some point this summer.

With 12-11 for thirteenth overall, Adam Cianciarulo's day wasn't great. But he was fast, and he'll get better.
With 12-11 for thirteenth overall, Adam Cianciarulo's day wasn't great. But he was fast, and he'll get better.Cudby

You won’t see Kyle Cunningham’s name in any kind of standings from today, unless you look at the results sheet from the consolation race, which is motocross’ version of an LCQ. And even there he’s credited with a DNS. Unfortunately for Cunningham and Motorcycle Superstore Suzuki, his bike was plagued with electrical problems all day. The team thought they had it figured out for the consolation race, but when Cunningham lined up the bike died. Tough way to start out the season.

450 Moto Two

If you’re a Ken Roczen fan the second 450 moto couldn’t have gone any better. Roczen took the lead away from Ryan Dungey about half a lap into it and that was it. Roczen hammered down and just disappeared, beating Dungey by a large margin. In third early was Justin Barcia but Jason Anderson caught and passed him, and after that Barcia started sliding backward in a hurry.

Eli Tomac didn’t start as poorly as he did in the first moto, but didn’t have near the speed needed to run down the leaders. He made a few passes, but by the time he got into fourth Anderson was long gone and everyone was pretty spread out. Tomac went 4-4 but ended up third overall. Blake Baggett was making his way forward but ended up getting spit off his bike and going down hard. He wasn’t the same rider after that and just seemed to circulate around the track instead of charging. James Stewart didn’t race this moto after crashing out of the first and incurring a possible arm injury.

450 Moto Two
450 Moto Two
450 Overall
450 Overall

250 Moto Two

Jessy Nelson found himself in the lead when the second 250 moto got underway, but it lasted less than a lap when a red flag came out after Stone Edler crashed about three turns in. But justice was served on the restart when Nelson ripped the holeshot and took off with Joey Savatgy, who didn’t start well in the first gate drop, close behind him.  Savatgy looked poised to make a move but just couldn’t get close enough. Finally, late in the race, Savatgy was able to get it done. At that point Nelson started fading, giving up additional spots to Alex Martin, Aaron Plessinger, Zach Osborne, and Cooper Webb. Up front Savatgy was getting pressure from Alex Martin, who was having a great race. He wasn’t able to get quite close enough to Savatgy though and finished second, 1.420 seconds back. Plessinger and Osborne flashed across the line almost immediately behind Martin.

What about the other Martin? Jeremy was battling behind his brother for quite some time but went down when Austin Forkner bumped him in a turn. He lost a lot of time and ended up taking ninth. Jordon Smith was putting together another great moto, running third, but he went down in the same place Martin did, also the victim of some bumping. There were plenty of other crashes elsewhere too. RJ Hampshire had a great start but went down and found himself under his bike. Forkner, who ran as high as third, also had a problem somewhere out of view and lost a bunch of spots, eventually finishing in seventh.

250 Moto Two
250 Moto Two
250 Overall
250 Overall

450 Moto One

After rain came down during the 250 moto, the clouds parted and the sun came out for the start of the first 450 moto. When the gate dropped Cole Seely took the holeshot by inches over his teammate Trey Canard. About half a lap after that Ken Roczen took over the lead and started checking out, while Canard took over second. But then Canard went down and lost a ton of spots, getting underway in about fifteenth. He was on the move though and was able to charge back up to seventh. Up front Roczen continued to disappear, but Ryan Dungey took over second and slowly started eating into Roczen’s lead. But Roczen responded and maintained roughly a five-second gap over Dungey the whole time, leading wire to wire. Dungey took second by about thirty-five seconds over third.

Elsewhere Eli Tomac had a horrible start and was faced with ripping through the pack, which he started doing right away. At roughly the halfway point he was already up to fourth, and late in the race he caught Cole Seely for third. At this point Roczen and Dungey were already gone, so third seemed to be a foregone conclusion for Tomac. But then Blake Baggett, who Tomac had passed earlier, started flying, even setting his fastest lap of the moto near the very end. He got back by Tomac and gapped him for the final podium spot. El Chupacabra’s back people!

Jason Anderson had a pretty good race. He got a terrible start but managed to work up to sixth. On the flip side, Marvin Musquin got a good start but ended up fading a bit, ending up ninth after running fourth.

Bad news for James Stewart. The Yoshimura Suzuki rider went down while running around twelfth and had to go to the Asterisk Medical Rig. He emerged later with his arm in a sling, and initial reports are that he suffered a possible arm injury. We’ll find out more and fill you in as soon as we can.

450 Moto One
450 Moto One

250 Moto One

The skies may be grey here at the GoPro Hangtown Motocross Classic, but the front of the pack was green in the first 250 moto. Joey Savatgy holeshot the first moto of the season and took off. He dealt with pressure early on from GEICO Honda’s Jordon Smith, but he inched his way out and eventually took off, holding about a six second lead for most of the race. He had to do it in varying conditions too, as the rain started coming down fairly hard a few laps into the moto. It continued to fall for about ten minutes, and while it wasn't enough to create any standing water, things did start getting slick.

Smith held second, but nearly surrendered it late in the moto to the charging duo of Jeremy Martin and Cooper Webb, who had their own battle going for quite a while. Webb held third for about the first half of the race, but Martin was able to get by and start building a gap. But a few laps later Webb came right back, only to have Martin inch back out. Then, with only two laps left Webb made one final charge. He was all over Martin, but Martin held on, nearly getting Smith in the process.

Adam Cianciarulo’s result a twelfth, isn’t great on paper but he earned it after going down very early and remounting in what looked like outside the top twenty. He finished one spot ahead of his teammate, and rookie, Austin Forkner. And speaking of rookies, Tristan Charboneau had an outstanding debut, finishing sixth. As he was pulling off the track his smile was so big his helmet could barely contain it and several team members came over to hug and congratulate him.

250 Moto One
250 Moto One

Practice Report

The first practice sessions of the season are in the books here in Northern California, and it’s already pretty clear the riders are going to be battling an extremely rough track today. How rough? Times were roughly two to three seconds slower in the second practice sessions. If the track got that gnarly after just a few practice sessions it’s going to get ridiculously chewed up during today’s motos.

In 250 action most everyone you would expect to look fast looked fast, and plenty of guys were cranking out fast laps, including rookie Austin Forkner, who held the fastest lap at times, eventually ending the first session fourth fastest. Cooper Webb looked good too, and if his wrist is still bothering him you’d never know it. He was ripping out there and ended up third fastest right behind his old amateur rival Adam Cianciarulo. Joey Savatgy ended up fastest in the first session, and thanks to a slower, rougher track in the second practice, his time would hold up, making him the fastest overall 250 qualifier. Jeremy Martin was king of the second qualifier though, logging a 1:57.799, with Forkner not too far off with a 1:58.109. Forkner even found himself a few bike lengths behind Martin for a lap and was able to stay with him. We’ll see if he can keep that kind of pace for thirty plus two.

250 Times
250 Times

In the 450 ranks the headliner was Eli Tomac. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider didn’t post a time that was wildly faster than everyone, Trey Canard was less than half a second back in the first session, but any indications of top-shelf speed from Tomac have to be alarming for the competition. Of course, the overall times don’t tell the whole story here. Ryan Dungey was a few seconds off in the first session, but he killed it in the second, topping Canard by a little over half a second. But since the rougher track was slower for the second session his overall time doesn’t look as good on paper as it actually is. No matter what happens, we’re in for some good racing today.

450 Times
450 Times

Today’s track is pretty similar to the traditional Hangtown layout, complete with all the up and downhill sections that always get extremely rough and nasty. What is different today is the weather. It's chilly and reports are indicating about a 20% chance of rain this afternoon. The area received some rain last night too, but nothing major and right now the track is in good shape. 

 
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