It's a war zone out there, Josh Grant! No, it's not a flak jacket, rather a cooling vest to help the JGR racer stay cool before motos.
The second round of the 2010 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is in the books after a Saturday of inspired rides and heat-induced drama. Riders dug deep in the loamy dirt of Freestone County Raceway and pushed themselves to the limit in 95-degree heat and 91% humidity. Just spectating in those conditions was difficult, let alone racing 35-minute motos at full-tilt. Now that we’ve rehydrated, let’s get into the Monday insider.
Of course the heat was the big story this weekend, and the most commonly heard statement all day Saturday was, “how do they do it?” Every racer prepares differently for a day of racing in the brutal Texas heat. Most guys started hydrating days before race day, and tried to get acclimated to the heat by getting to Texas early. On the start line various types of cooling neck wraps and even vests were donned right until the 30-second board was raised, but it really came down to conditioning in the end. The riders in the best shape rose to the top when the checkers flew.
Privateer Kyle Regal was ready for the heat; he’s a Texas native and is familiar with the sauna-like conditions. He began to train for Freestone weeks in advance at his practice track just down the road in Kemp, Texas. Road biking, mountain biking and riding motos out in the heat was key for the Number-41 rider, and it paid off with a third overall for the day.
Kyle Regal's preparation for Freestone paid off with a second-place finish in Moto 2 and a third overall.
“I just tried to get out in the heat. I knew it was going to be really, really hot,” said Regal. “I saw a lot of guys running camelbacks; I personally didn’t. You’ve got to prepare for this at least a couple of months out.”
Chad Reed left Texas still holding the red background on his number 1 plate. The current champ loved the conditions and said Freestone was a “man’s track.” After the first moto Reed called out to the track crew to not re-prep the track, and let it get rough as possible. At the post race press conference, Two-Two said that the heat wasn’t that bad, and was just like any other day at his home in Florida.
“I don’t live in Florida to enjoy the humidity. All the hard work and motos at home aren’t for nothing,” said Reed.
Coming back from a less than stellar first round, Ryan Dungey silenced the critics running away with both motos for a perfect 1-1 day. In both motos the Rockstar rider chased down Brett Metcalfe, and then pulled away from the pack. Although Dungey looked warm after each moto, he could have gone longer. I caught up with Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s team manager, Roger DeCoster in the airport on the way home, and he said the 2010 SX champ had plenty of go left in the tank. As long as they can get the bike set-up dialed in Dungey will be vying for the win.
Andrew Short had some bad luck before Moto 1. Electrical problems with his Red Bull Honda keep him from starting.
One Texan that would rather soon forget this weekend would be Red Bull Honda’s Andrew Short. Shorty started out the day with some very fast laps in practice, just being edged out by Mike Alessi’s KTM 350 SX-F for the top time. After that things went haywire, literally. Right before the first moto Short’s CR experienced electrical trouble, keeping him from lining up for the gate drop. With things sorted out on his Honda, the Texas native redeemed himself with a sixth-place in the second moto.
In the 250cc class everyone was wondering if it would be the Rookie or the Frenchman at the end of the day. When the gate dropped for Moto 1 Eli Tomac snagged the holeshot and started putting distance on the field, while Christophe Pourcel worked his way up from fourth. Pourcel would end up taking the win as Tomac faded in the Texas sun. Moto 2 was a carbon copy for the Number-243 Honda pilot, while “Superman” Pourcel fell down and was way back in 13th. The Frenchman charged all the way up to fifth at the end, while Tomac faded back to 11th. So Pourcel leaves as the sole owner of the red number plate after a first-place overall, while Tomac holds onto second. It will be interesting to see if the cooler temps next weekend will allow the rookie to stay up at the front.
What a weekend for Dean Wilson. In the first moto the Canadian Pro Circuit rider made moves on the competition, working his way into third from a 15th-place start. Knowing he could pull off his first overall, Wilson charged to the front in Moto 2, and it looked like no one could catch him. Then on the last lap he slowed down on the final stretch and let his
Dean Wilson's nice guy demeanor cost him an overall win in Texas, when he let his teamate past thinking he was a lap down.
teammate Tyla Rattray go by not realizing he was in second. As Rattray crossed the line pumping his fist, Wilson knew he had just given up the win. Throwing his hands up in disbelief allowed Broc Tickle to shoot past just before the line, throwing away his first overall victory of his career. Although emotional at first the rookie regrouped and handled himself with grace as he explained that he thought Rattray was a lap down. He had misread the pitboard and thought he had a huge lead, and wanted to help Rattray pick up more points by giving him another lap. It was a tough lesson for Wilson to learn, but you can bet he will always race to the checkered flag for the rest of his racing days.