Tyla Rattray continued to perform well this season by taking the second overall victory for Kawasaki in the Lites class.
The 250 division faced difficult conditions at Freestone for the second round of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross
Championship. Rising above it all was Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray
, who claimed the overall victory ahead of teammate Dean Wilson and DNA Shred Stix Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham.
Geico Honda’s Justin Barcia fought his way out front down the starting straight for the holeshot. In typical fashion for Bam Bam, however, he was hard on the brakes entering the first corner and went over the bars. Barcia’s crash resulted in KTM
’s Marvin Musquin plowing into him, leaving the KTM rider bruised and battered. Also going down in the first turn was Suzuki’s Martin Davalos, who suffered the same fate in Moto 2 during the season opener at Hangtown. Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett
emerged from the chaos with an open track in front of him, followed by Wilson, Kilbarger Racing’s Nico Izzi and Rattray. The start was also rough on Suzuki City’s Malcolm Stewart, who was down in 18th in the opening lap. Freestone’s sand-ridden track proved difficult for the 450s, but it caused havoc in the Lites class with numerous riders having mechanical troubles. One such rider was 2011 West Coast Lites Champion, Broc Tickle, who had more troubles in Round 2 after his ninth overall result at Hangtown.
Just when it appeared Baggett had things in hand, he tossed the win away with a crash. After struggling to restart his bike, Baggett dropped back to 13th as Wilson jumped into the lead. Shortly after, Rattray got around Izzi to give Kawasaki the top two spots in the order. The South African stayed with Wilson for much of the race, but the Scotsman was putting in a terrific ride out front. There was also great racing outside the top-10 involving Travis Baker, Cole Seely
KTM rider Marvin Musquin was taken out at Freestone when he collided with Justin Barcia at the start of the first moto.
and Darryn Durham, while Barcia continued making up for his early mistake by moving up to 15th. With less than half the moto remaining, DNA Shred Stix Yamaha’s Gareth Swanepoel kept an impressive pace to pass Izzi for fourth.
Wilson continued to push his lead further in the final half of the race. Rattray was provided little opportunity to close the gap on the leader, and Wilson eventually claimed the win by an eight-second margin over the South African. Baker suffered a mechanical failure and failed to finish the race, as did Tickle. Cunningham rounded out the podium, with Swanepoel and Tomac finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Barcia managed to redeem himself in the second moto by grabbing the lead and putting distance between himself and Cunningham. Running behind the two frontrunners in the final moto was Rattray, Izzi, Tomac, Wilson, Seely, Tickle and Davalos. Stewart had an early mistake and was forced out along with Izzi. Meanwhile, Rattray continued to perform well under the extreme heat and ran past Cunningham for second in the early half of the race. Wilson also managed a pass, getting by Tomac for fourth as Tickle followed shortly after with a pass on Seely for sixth. Determined not to let the leader get away, Rattray chiseled away at Barcia’s 12-second lead, eventually passing the Honda
Wilson continued his charge toward the front with a pass on Cunningham to move into the final podium position. Shortly after Swanepoel encountered misfortune and was forced to call it a day prematurely. With the white flag out and a seven-second lead on Barcia, Rattray seized his first victory of the season – grabbing the overall in the process. Wilson wrapped up his day in Texas in second overall after finishing the final moto is third. Despite losing to Rattray in the final moto, Barcia improved dramatically from his first three motos of the season, finishing fourth overall.
Dean Wilson earned second overall with 1-3 moto scores.
"The track was really rough and it was also hot and windy," said Rattray. "I feel like my conditioning pushed me to the front. I've been working hard (off the track). This is the best I've ever felt, and the most physically fit I've been in my entire racing career. The weather didn't make it easy on any of us. I'm looking forward to a weekend off and getting ready for the next round."
250 Motocross Freestone Results:
1. Tyla Rattray (Kawasaki) 2-1
2. Dean Wilson (Kawasaki) 1-3
3. Kyle Cunningham (Yamaha) 3-4
4. Justin Barcia (Honda) 9-2
5. Eli Tomac (Honda) 5-6
6. Martin Davalos (Suzuki) 10-7
7. Matt Lemoine (KTM) 8-11
8. Cole Seely (Honda) 14-8
9. Blake Baggett (Kawasaki) 7-16
10. Gannon Audette (Yamaha) 12-12
11. Gareth Swanepoel (Yamaha) 4-28
12. Broc Tickle (Kawasaki) 39-5
Kawasaki's Blake Baggett tossed the win away in the first moto after crashing and struggling to restart his bike.
13. Lance Vincent (Honda) 16-10
14. Austin Howell (Suzuki) 18-9
15. Nico Izzi (Honda) 6-29
250 Motocross Championship Points:
1. Dean Wilson, 90
2. Tyla Rattray, 85
3. Eli Tomac, 69
4. Blake Baggett, 66
5. Kyle Cunningham, 64
6. Justin Barcia, 52
7. Gareth Swanepoel, 46
8. Martin Davalos, 44
9. Cole Seely, 42
10. Broc Tickle, 38