First off let’s talk about the new track at Pala. Two words – it’s gnarly. Freshly constructed for the National, the San Diego county track is big and fast with more elevation changes than you would expect to see on the property. There are some huge hills that had the 250 machines screaming their guts out during the press day on Thursday. Along with the huge climbs and
Can Metty hold on to second place in the points at Pala? He has two motos left to get a rookie moto win.
descents, there are some massive doubles and a tricky six-pack section before a tabletop. Expect to see many different combos on this section of the track. Not only will the riders have to contend with the massive jumps and hills, but the dirt is going to be against them as well. The soil is a mixture of dirt, sand and silt that is going to rut-up big time, and will tax the engines of the 250 and 450 class. We might see some Hondas run out of gas again.
Even though the 450 class championship is decided, second place is still up for grabs between Honda pilots Andrew Short and Brett Metcalfe. Metty has been on a tear as of late, almost winning a moto at the last two venues. The Aussie is on fire right now, while Short seems to be cooling down. He’s given points up to the Number-24 rider at Southwick and Steel City. Shorty really needs to make that holeshot work for him at Pala if he wants to close the five-point gap on second. This one is really almost too close to call, and we should see some good racing between the two Honda riders.
Don’t expect to see anything less than the usual from Ryan Dungey. Just because he locked in his first 450 Motocross championship at Southwick doesn’t mean he’s done racing for the season. RD5 needs just one more moto win to take the record of most rookie moto wins. The way he’s been laying waste to the competition the chances are he’ll add that notch in his belt 35 minutes after the gate drops for the first ever National at Pala.
Can K-Dub get another win before the season is over? Pala is going to make it tough on the old-timer.
What about the veteran? Kevin Windham won last weekend but was beyond tired after the race. Expect him to run in the top five, but the Pala track is going to be brutal, especially in the second moto. Even though K-Dub has got the speed, his endurance and conditioning might not be up to the punishment Pala is going to dish out. I for one would like to be surprised and see the oldest rider in the field take another win, but it’s unlikely especially if Dungey doesn’t run into any trouble.
The 250 class championship just might come down to the last lap of the season. GEICO’s Trey Canard is hot on Pro Circuit’s Christophe Pourcel heels, trailing by just seven points. Ice-Trey is going to need to win both motos and hope that his French rival doesn’t finish second in both motos. He did everything right at Steel City and beat Pourcel heads up which could be a good indication of how things might go tomorrow. Not only will he have his championship rival to worry about, but also the rest of the Pro Circuit squad will make their machines mega-wide if the ends up behind them. Canard is going to need to get out in front of the green bikes off the get-go to make his day easier.
Trey Canard’s game plan for the championship at Pala is simple, win and hope Pourcel makes a mistake.
Pourcel has watched his point lead shrink as Ice-Trey has charged hard in the second half of the season. Inconsistent moto finishes have been giving up points every weekend, and now the fast Frenchman faces the very real possibility of losing the championship in the last moto. Last weekend he was not too happy with his second place finish behind Canard, and it showed. His frustration was apparent after he couldn’t get the win at Steel City. Pourcel needs to come out in the first moto with a win, and shut his Honda rival down early. Pourcel’s second motos have been his Achilles heel thoughout the season so he needs to pad the points early in the day. This one is too close to call, and that’s the way we like our racing at MotoUSA.
Stay tuned for results and updates from the final round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship right here at MotoUSA!