Millville AMA Pro Motocross Insider 2011

July 18, 2011
By JC Hilderbrand and Matt Davidson
Chad Reed - Millville 2011
Whether it’s the new hair or just plain luck, TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed survived a horrific crash at Millville and still leads the series by six points.
Chad Reed - Millville 2011

There’s one thing that everyone is talking about from this past weekend’s race at Millville, Minnesota – Chad Reed’s crash. It’s safe to say that this was one of the scarier wipeouts we’ve seen in a while. This is one that’s going to be a part of highlight reels for years to come.

After winning the opening moto and slipping into the lead quickly to start the first lap of Moto 2, Reed’s TwoTwo Motorsports Honda CRF450R deflected on the face of a large tabletop, immediately separating him from the bike and sending them flying off the side of the track. The Australian had plenty of opportunity to contemplate the effects this would have on his championship lead as he rolled up the windows for a long time before landing on the side of the jump, sliding down the grassy slope. Just 10 feet to the left and he would have flat-landed, and 10 feet to the right he would have had a harder touch-down as well as a full pack of 450 riders jumping right at him. The durable Aussie checked out with the medical staff, remounted his Honda and joined the race again in dead last. He would ride his way up to 14th by the end of the moto.

“I hit some bumps and the front wheel just went out from under me,” said Reed. “The next thing I know, I’m flying through the air. I’m just happy to still be here. It’s all about the championship. I wasn’t about to lay down and let these guys gain 25 points, so I just went out there and rode my best and took my 14th. It’s always going to be a fight, and now it’s definitely going to be that way. I’m excited for the rest of the races.”

Reed is one tough bastard. The guy has taken his share of criticism for skipping the outdoors in the past and never proving himself as a “true” champion of motocross. Winning the 2009 title helped ease that bad rap, but the 2010 season was plagued with poor relations with his Kawasaki bike and team members. This year he’s back again and has been showing every fan and hater that he’s as gritty as the next man. Anyone who doubts his resolve to perform for his family, team, sponsors and fans is a blathering idiot. Adrenaline is an amazing thing. It’s even more amazing when combined and injected into a man with a big heart and bigger balls. Reed, you are the man.

Ryan Villopoto
Ryan Villopoto: “I didn’t feel like I rode my best in the first moto and wanted to go out and do better in the second moto. Getting the holeshot is a good way to start and I did feel better overall. Now that the points are closer, it’s going to be an exciting season.”

Later Saturday night, Reed posted this comment on his twitter account: “Thanks for all the comments guys. I certainly learnt I can’t fly, but I tried today! What goes up must come down….Glad to be okay after that one. Big thanks to all the fans, you kept me going today.”

SPEED channel cameras had a great view of the whole thing from both the front and rear angles (check out this blog to see it), but it was Ryan Villopoto who saw it the clearest. RV was right on Reed’s tail when the #22 launched into orbit. He gave his KX450F some fuel and took off in an attempt to win the moto. Hometown favorite Ryan Dungey pulled out all his local knowledge and made an aggressive pass into the lead to win the moto and the overall. It was great to see out of the Minnesota native, who in recent weeks has lacked the aggression needed to rake in moto victories.

“Obviously, being here at Millville and having the hometown crowd is great,” said Dungey. “It’s always a treat to be back here because I love the track and the fans are great. I grew up with a lot of people who came out today, so that was an extra bonus. I’m glad to get another win for the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team and this is a good step in the right direction for the Championship.”

We even predicted that the 450 class was ripe for a big DNF, but Reed’s unbelievable courage took a 25-point loss and minimized it to retain his championship lead. Villopoto climbed to within six points of the Aussie and Dungey is only a single point behind.
Aside from Reed’s scary antics, Honda’s Trey Canard pulled one hell of a return to racing since fracturing his femur near the end of the Supercross season. Posting 5-3 moto scores at Millville to take third overall during his debut ride in the premier MX class, you can bet Canard is going to be a key spoiler for the championship this season. Though he’s well out of the title picture at this point, the 20-year-old seemed to pick up where he left off by putting in consistent laps against the best names in the sport. Look for Canard to pull off his first 450 motocross win over the next few rounds.

Ryan Dungey
Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey made his most aggressive pass of the season to clench the overall victory ahead of Ryan Villopoto. 

In the 250s it was another big day for the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team. Although Scotsman Deal Wilson took back to back podiums, he has to be getting upset after failing to claim the overall yet again. This time it was teammate Tyla Rattray who stole Wilson’s thunder in the second moto, the South African taking his third win of the season to bump Blake Baggett out of the top-two in the championship.

“It was definitely a good day for me,” Rattray said. “Having Dean (Wilson) there in the second moto made it tough. I just tried to focus on my lap times and stick to my plan. It’s still a long season, and a lot of points are available. But it’s going to come down to the wire.”

Behind Kawasaki’s obvious dominance, Yamaha riders put up some road blocks for team green during the Spring Creek National. DNA Shred Stix Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham had the holeshot in both motos with teammate Ryan Sipes also battling for top spots early on. Though they faded in the coming laps, the blue riders presented a surprise to many who saw Honda riders Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac as Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s greatest threats.

The day was anything but forgiving for Barcia who continued crashing out of motos, this time breaking his nose. The 19-year-old did, however, display some grit by returning for the second moto and finishing sixth.

Tyla Rattray
Tyla Rattray: “Putting together two decent finishes is always the goal and it worked to our favor today, especially with the points gap tightening up. It’s nice to feel like I can get right back in it.”

“I was doing really well,” Barcia said. “I fought through the pack but towards the middle of the race I bobbled a little, crashed and smashed my face, breaking my nose. I came back to the pits and the guys had my bike broken down but I just said let’s do this.”

Barcia’s teammate Tomac also couldn’t finish the first moto of the day after having to pull off track with just two laps remaining after experiencing a physical ailment. Overall it was a difficult day for Honda riders as the team started the second half of the season without a single rider on the podium.

“I wasn’t riding very well today, I think I was in fifth to start,” said Tomac. “Throughout the race the heat really started to get to me and I felt really weird. I needed to save myself and not put my life at risk so I pulled off the track with only a few laps left. I felt much better in the second moto with the cloud coverage so that helped. Hopefully I’ll have much more energy next weekend.”

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