Round 1 of the Motorcycle-Superstore.com AMA Pro Racing WMX Championship kicked off at the Hangtown Motocross Classic and reigning champion, Jessica Patterson, claimed the overall victory with 1-1 moto scores. She walked away in Moto 1 but had to earn it in the second outing as Honda Racing’s Ashley Fiolek and KTM’s Stephanie Laier pushed her to the checkers following an early crash. Fiolek and Laier rounded out the podium with Tarah Geiger and Jacquelin Strong in fourth and fifth overall, respectively.
The morning qualifying painted a slightly different picture with Fiolek fastest in both timed sessions. She was as much as two seconds faster than Patterson who secured second gate pick as the runner-up qualifier. Former World WMX champion, Laier, was third fastest. Behind them was Geiger and Vicki Golden to crack the top-five, though both women were three seconds or more off the lead pace.
In Moto 1, Fiolek rocketed to a massive jump off the gate but her momentum carried her wide into the first left-hand corner. Patterson showed her race craft by slipping underneath and getting credit for the $250 Motorcycle-Superstore.com Holeshot Award. From that point forward she stretched her lead on each of the seven laps. There was little any of the other women could do as the YZ250F marched away with its red #1 plate.
Ashley Fiolek (67) and Stephanie Laier (55) battled for the win in Moto 2 before Patterson came storming back.
Moto 2 looked to be the same thing as JP$ took control roughly halfway down the start straight and collected another $250 Motorcycle-Superstore.com bonus. But just about the time spectators were ready to settle in for another trouncing, Patterson crashed in a right-hand corner. Laier inherited the lead and ripped off the first three laps trying to run and hide. Fiolek was right there to keep her honest. Patterson dropped to deep in the pack but was back within the lead group well before the halfway mark. She passed both riders on one lap to take the lead on Lap 4 and hold it until the final flag.
Much like in qualifying practice, Golden seemed poised to have a better session in the second outing but ran into trouble – or rather, it ran into her. Another woman bumped her on one of the downhill doubles and she crashed heavily. Shaking it off, the young Californian remounted and was almost immediately on the ground again after having a different rider clip her rear wheel. Bruised, shaken and facing a track that had been shredded by the 250 and 450 men’s classes all day, Golden had to pull out rather than take a third spill. She finished 13th overall with 5-34 moto scores. Mariana Balbi used the opportunity to run higher in the order and scored fourth after posting 13th in the first moto. Veteran racer Geiger put in an impressive performance on her #3 Honda to claim seventh which was good enough for fourth overall.
2011 Motorcycle-Superstore.com WMX Hangtown Results:
1. Jessica Patterson (Yamaha) 1-1
2. Ashley Fiolek (Honda) 2-2
3. Stephanie Laier (KTM) 3-3
4. Tarah Geiger (Honda) 4-7
5. Jacqueline Strong (KTM) 7-5
6. Tatum Sik (Yamaha) 8-6
7. Mariana Balbi (Yamaha) 13-4
8. Kasie Creson (Honda) 10-8
9. Sayaka Kaneshiro (Suzuki) 9-10
10. Elizabeth Bash (KTM) 14-9
11. Marissa Markelon (Yamaha) 12-12
12. Kacy Martinez (KTM) 11-13
13. Vicki Golden (Kawasaki) 5-34
14. Sara Price (Kawasaki) 16-11
15. Alexah Pearson (KTM) 6-30
2011 Motorcycle-Superstore.com WMX Championship Points:
1. Jessica Patterson, 50
2. Ashley Fiolek, 44
3. Stephanie Laier, 40
4. Tarah Geiger, 32
5. Jacqueline Strong, 30
6. Tatum Sik, 28
7. Mariana Balbi, 26
8. Kasie Creson, 24
9. Sayaka Kaneshiro, 23
10. Elizabeth Bash, 19