We are just one day away from the second-to-last round of the WMX season at Steel City in Pennsylvania. As of press time, hurricane Earl was forecasted to be off the New Jersey coast around race day so we may have some exciting racing in more ways than one.
Last weekend at Southwick, Jessica Patterson stunned the crowd as she quickly recovered from a multi-rider crash at the start of the race which placed her in 20th and fought her way to second place in just a matter of minutes. On the last lap Patterson was only a fraction of a second behind the race leader Ashley Fiolek. It was truly an amazing feat! Patterson’s lap times were almost four seconds faster than Fiolek’s.
At this point Patterson is still the series leader with the factory Honda rider trailing by 22 points. Last year the final round was held here at Steel City. It was a momentous event that stunned the industry. Fiolek, whose title was still in contention with Patterson, captured the crown even though she was riding with a broken collarbone and finished in 14th. Fiolek was unable to ride the second moto, but her Moto 1 finish was enough to cinch the 2009 championship. This weekend Ashley will need to give it everything she has if she wants to retain her title.
Troy Lee Designs’ Tarah Geiger has had an excellent year. She’s been consistently placing in the top-five which has placed her third overall in the point standings. Geiger has 229 points which places her 39 points ahead of fourth-place rider Vicki Golden.
With just two rounds remaining Ashley Fiolek will need a strong performance if she wants a chance at the title.
Golden, Sara Price and Mariana Balbi have all been racing well. All three riders continuously place within the top-10 even though all three riders have been struggling with injuries throughout the year. Some of the most exciting racing has been between these three racers as they routinely battle shoulder to shoulder in order to make a pass.
Sherri Cruse, who’s been absent for the majority of the series recovering from an injured wrist, finally returned at Southwick. Cruse was off to a good start but crashed in a corner and lost a couple places. She started making her way to the front of the pack but unfortunately crashed in the same corner and by the time she got back on the bike she was a lap down. Cruse didn’t fare any better in Moto 2 and crashed into a rider that had stalled in front of her. A disappointing way to return to the series, but hopefully we’ll see her pick up the pace this weekend.
As the ladies prepare to race the hillsides of Steel City in Pennsylvania, let’s hope hurricane Earl cooperates and we have some decent weather come race time. We’re already at the penultimate race, so it’s sure to get even more exciting as Fiolek tries to earn those much needed series points. Depending on the results, the championship title could be decided this weekend, so check back for the Steel City race recap! See ya at the races.