Rockstar Energy 'Insider' Report
Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Manager James Hanson gives his insider view of the final 12th round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Lake Elsinore at the weekend.
The last race of 2013 was not an easy one. While the entire series had much more mild weather than the norm, Lake Elsinore did not follow in that suit. It was the hottest race of the year and it took its toll on many riders, with the evidence being in late moto lap times. Not unlike many races this outdoor season, Rockstar Energy Racing experienced highs and lows again at the final round. The team did not finish where it necessarily wanted to, but there were positives and things to build on.
Ryan Sipes was still recovering from his crash a few weeks ago, although it did not show in his riding. Even though Sipes did not have an amazing day on paper, he made obvious strides in comparison to the past several weeks. With the soaring, near sweltering temperatures, Sipes rode very strong. In fact in the first moto, his fastest lap time came three-quarters of the way to completion. Not only was he unyielding to the conditions, but also very consistent. He seemed to post times in the 2:14 range every lap; a very impressive thing to do on such a long, rough track. His second moto was more of the same. Charging through the last lap as other riders succumbed to the heat. Although he wasn't able to crack the top 10 in Southern California, one could make a case that he passed more riders than anyone else out there.
Ryan Sipes: "It wasn't a bad weekend aside from my starts. That part was bad. I feel good though. I'm safe, my lap times were good even coming from 76th place. Last race of the year; it was a good day and I'm happy."
Ever since Jason Anderson picked up his first career MX podium in Millville, he has had struggles. As noted earlier in the year, Anderson made an indisputable leap forward in his speed the second moto at Washougal. Hence the podium a short time after. Unfortunately this creates growing pains for any rider, but that is just part of the game. With more speed comes more mistakes. The key is to reach a certain level of comfort at that pace and with time, the blunders occur fewer and farther between. Anderson would have certainly like to use on Mulligan on his first moto. With a bad start, bad luck with an initial lap pile-up and two more crashes on his own, there wasn't much to celebrate when he returned to the team semi. In moto two however, he was well on the way to the most remarkable ride of his motocross career. First off he had a start good enough to put him near the top five around the first turn. Then he quite simply put, was just hauling the mail. As Blake Bagget and Eli Tomac were gapping the riders in between Anderson and themselves, he was running lap times on par with theirs while making passes. Much to his dismay, after moving into third place, Anderson caught a handlebar to the ribs, knocking the wind out of him to an extent that he has never experienced and he was forced to retire.
Jason Anderson: "Had some bad luck today but I was riding really well. I'm just looking forward to next season."
Michael Leib was not able to overcome the injury to his hand that took place in the opening moto in Utah. He tried to tough it out in practice and even made an attempt to race the first moto. The pain was too much for him to overcome though which is not surprising when finding out that the hand was actually broken. All he could do was try his best and that's what he did.
Rockstar Energy Racing will now shift focus to major changes on the near horizon. Switching manufacturers and hitting the drawing board to dial-in completely new machines. There will be very little time to rest now with the MEC coming in October and the whole circus hitting the road again in January.
450 Class (Moto Finish):
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki (1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (2-2)
3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda (5-3)
4. Jake Weimer, Twin Falls, Idaho, Kawasaki (8-4)
5. Tyla Rattray, South Africa, Kawasaki (7-6)
6. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda (4-10)
7. Mike Alessi, Hilliard, Fla., Suzuki (12-5)
8. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Kawasaki (10-8)
9. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM (6-12)
10. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki (11-11)
450 Class Championship Standings:
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 563
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 507
3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda, 411
4. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 332
5. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 289
6. Jake Weimer, Twin Falls, Idaho, Kawasaki, 275
7. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM, 262
8. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 236
9. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 229
10. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 228
250 Class (Moto Finish):
1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (2-1)
2. Ken Roczen, Apolda, Germany, KTM (1-7)
3. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha (4-3)
4. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (3-5)
5. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Honda (5-4)
6. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda (6-6)
7. Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM (9-10)
8. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (8-11)
9. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki (33-2)
10. Martin Davalos, Ecuador, Kawasaki (11-9)
250 Class Championship Standings:
1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 552
2. Ken Roczen, Apolda, Germany, KTM, 493
3. Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM, 411
4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki, 395
5. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Honda, 356
6. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 300
7. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda, 291
8. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki, 260
9. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha, 255
10. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha, 228