The Texas afternoon sun was searing the dusty Freestone track as the ladies braced for the intense 100-degree heat. Many riders in the men’s class were wearing hydration systems to keep from becoming dehydrated during their grueling motos. But overheated riders weren’t the only issue when it came to the difficult Texas track; pro-mechanics know that hot fuel can hamper engine output so proper tuning was crucial for gaining optimal machine performance. In Round 1 at Hangtown, Jessica Patterson unexpectedly swept the podium. Patterson was feeling confident at the opening race and it showed in her riding. As the ladies performed their sight lap, fans could only speculate as how the racing would unfold in Wortham.
Engines roared across the Texas ranch as the gate dropped for Moto 1 of the MotoUSA.com WMX. Ashley Fiolek and Jessica Patterson got an early jump but it was the factory backed Honda rider, Fiolek who claimed the MotorcycleUSA.com holeshot award. Just after the holeshot turn, a crash took down Mariana Balbi, Sarah Whitmore and Tressa Rau. Balbi quickly got her MotoConcepts Yamaha back up and started, however Whitmore struggled to get her Jagermeister KTM up and running again.
At the front of the pack, Fiolek continued to lead the first lap with Patterson just seconds behind her. As the ladies crossed the finish line for Lap 2, Patterson turned on the juice and overtook Fiolek. Surprisingly, the lead would change hands again as Fiolek passed Patterson in the whoops.
Despite taking the holeshot in both motos Ashley Fiolek was second fiddle again in Freestone. She needs to find a way to beat Patterson if she wants to retain her title.
Fiolek’s lead wouldn’t last, as just seconds later Patterson on her DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha managed to retake the lead for the last time and began pulling away from the 2009 champ.
Tarah Geiger, who earned third overall at Hangtown, began putting pressure on Fiolek. Balbi who was involved in the crash at the start of the race began working her way to the front of the pack. Meanwhile, Kawasaki rider Sara Price and Elizabeth Bash battled shoulder to shoulder for fifth place. The blazing heat was slowly taking its toll and as the riders neared the 13-minute mark, even the flaggers were encouraging the riders to continue riding hard for just a little bit longer. By the end of the moto is was Patterson in first, Fiolek in second, Geiger in third, Vicki Golden in fourth, and Price in fifth.
As the gate dropped in Moto 2, it was once again Fiolek who launched off the line and crossed the MotorcycleUSA.com holeshot line followed by Patterson, Price, Geiger, Golden, Bash and Balbi. Fiolek began to drop the hammer and starting pulling five bike lengths away from Patterson. Shortly after the ladies crossed the finish line for Lap 2, Patterson adjusted her lines and took a shot at the lead. The CRF pilot held her speed through the corner and forced Patterson to remain in second. Meanwhile, mid-pack, Geiger doubled the camelback jump and passed Price in midair to land the third position. Several times the slippery top soil of the Texas track caused Fiolek’s Honda to lose traction momentarily. Patterson’s Yamaha gripped the track and gave her just enough momentum to get past and into the lead again. At the halfway mark, Patterson began pulling away while back in the pack a tense battle between Price and Bash developed.
Tarah Geiger continued her strong push for a higher podium spot and slowly started to close the gap on second place Fiolek but couldn’t make the pass.
Just as Bash was attempting to pass she crashed hard. Medics quickly were on scene as fans watched a motionless Bash. Eventually medics helped the Honda rider off the track and she exited on the Asterisk medical vehicle sitting on her own power. Sarah Whitmore, who has unfortunately been unable to land podium since the start of the 2010 WMX season, desperately tried to catch Balbi, without luck. As the checkered flag came out it was an exact repeat of Moto 1 with Patterson in first, Fiolek second, Geiger for third, Golden in fourth and Price fifth.
JP now has a perfect score as she leaves the Lone Star State. Her training skills with Ryan Hughes and the confidence she has with both the new team and bike is clearly evident. The WMX riders now have a couple of weeks off to not only recuperate but to possibly rethink riding strategies. They will rejoin the men at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colorado on June 26th for Round 3 of the MotoUSA.com Women’s Motocross Championship. So get out there and enjoy what is guaranteed to be some spectacular racing!
WMX Overall Results:
1. Jessica Patterson, (1-1)
2. Ashley Fiolek, Honda (2-2)
3. Tarah Geiger, Honda (3-3)
4. Vicki Golden, Yamaha (4-4)
5. Sara Price, Kawasaki (5-5)
6. Erica Cook, Yamaha (7-10)
7. Mariana Balbi, Yamaha (10-8)
8. Tatum Sik, Yamaha (8-11)
9. Sarah Whitmore, KTM (12-9)
10. Shelbie Brittain, Kawasaki (11-12)
11. Jacqueline Strong, Yamaha (28-6)
12. Elizabeth Bash, Honda, (6-27)
13. Sayaka Kaneshiro, Suzuki (25-7)
14. Nicole Madsen, Yamaha, (13-15)
15. Alexah Pearson, Yamaha (9-28)