Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey got his 2014 Motocross title campaign off to a solid start, with a Mr. Consistency securing a 3-1 result at the Glen Helen season opener. Dungey bested his factory KTM teammate Ken Roczen on the final lap of Moto2. Meanwhile, the star in the opening 450 moto was Yamaha rider Josh Grant, who surprised everyone with his victory on the YZ450F.
It was a dogfight to the finish but JGRMX’s Grant held on to take the first 450 moto win of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Glen Helen. Red Bull KTM’s Roczen, Grant’s relentless pursuer, crossed the line just behind the Yamaha ace for second-place. Roczen’s teammate, Dungey, rounded out the podium.
Grant was on fire from the start in front of his home Southern California crowd, scoring the holeshot and early lead. He proceeded to build a mulit-second gap on the field through the opening lap as riders behind battled for position. Grant’s teammate, Phil Nicoletti, who is substituting for the injured Justin Brayton, also got an impressive start and slotted into second-place followed by Roczen and Dungey. Nicoletti was able to defend against Roczen for the first five minutes of the moto, but eventually the German found his opening and made the pass. Dungey followed soon after, as did a number of others as Nicoletti dropped outside the top-10. Nico’s brief stint in the runner-up spot was a boon to Grant though, allowing him to stretch an even bigger gap on the competition.
Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia moved into fourth as Nicoletti dropped back, followed by Monster Energy Kawsaki’s Brett Metcalfe, who replaces Ryan Villlopoto this year, and Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart. Stewart dispatched Metcalfe early on and proceeded to wage a spirited battle with Barcia. Bam Bam put up a good fight but Stewart got the advantage when he was able to dive hard to the inside and cut off Barcia’s line, giving the Honda ace a little love tap in the process.
Barcia’s teammate Trey Canard, meanwhile, was making up significant ground and found himself at the back of the Stewart/Barcia battle. With 10 minutes remaining Canard managed to pass both riders and looked strong enough to close the gap on Dungey, who remained steady in third. Stewart regained on Canard, however, and started hounding the Oklahoma native. At this point they were coming into lappers and Canard was forced to tap the brake in order to avoid a collision. Stewart, though, was flying and didn’t catch Canard’s move in time and ran into the Honda’s rear tire, taking both to the ground. It took a while for both to get their machines upright and ready, but they were able to rejoin and finish in sixth (Stewart) and seventh (Canard).
Elsewhere in the top-10, Barcia was forced to pull out of the race while running in fourth due to a mechanical issue. BTO Sports’ Andrew Short was left stranded in the middle of the track soon after with a technical issue as well.
Out front, Grant’s run to the checkers came under attack during the final laps as Roczen closed in on the Yamama. The final laps proved to be exhilarating as both riders pushed to the limits battling for the win. In the last corners Roczen was well within striking range but Grant kept up a strong defense and was able to come across the line in first.
Dungey held easily for third followed by Metcalfe in fourth and RCH Racing Suzuki’s Weston Peick in fifth. Peick started the moto outside the top-10 but pushed his way up the field and benefitted from the misfortunes of others in his debut with the team owned by the GOAT, Ricky Carmichael. Troy Lee Designs’ Malcolm Stewart scored eighth ahead of TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed and Metcalfe’s teammate, Jake Weimer, in ninth and 10th, respectively.
Dungey walked away with the Moto 2 win after prevailing in a final lap battle with Roczen, who finished a close second. Canard avoided incident and rounded out the podium.
Roczen and Dungey flew off the start, with the German scoring the holeshot slightly ahead of his teammate. The two KTM riders maintained position at the head of the pack for the duration, with Roczen leading for all but the final corners of the race. Dungey charged hard late in the contest, catching Roczen on the final lap. With just a few corners remaining Dungey powered to the inside of Roczen and pushed him wide on the exit. The 2012 Nationals champion defended through the final corners to take the checkers and the overall win at Glen Helen.
Canard slipped into third-place early on, getting ahead of Barcia in the opening minutes, and was able to hold to the finish. Barcia remained steady in fourth to the end followed by Metcalfe in fifth and Stewart in sixth. Weimer improved to finish seventh in Moto 2, followed by Malcom Stewart in eighth, Peick’s teammate, Ivan Tedesco, in ninth and Reed in 10th.
Overall, Dungey earned the top-step by a single point over Roczen. Canard’s 7-3 result earned him third for the day while Metcalfe’s 4-5 put him in fourth overall. Grant, who got swallowed off the start and then suffered a crash mid-race in Moto 2, battled back to finish 15th. The Yamaha rider’s 1-15 finish earns him fifth for the round.
Glen Helen 450 Motocross Overall Results 2014
1. Ryan Dungey (KTM) 3-1
2. Ken Roczen (KTM) 2-2
3. Trey Canard (Honda) 7-3
4. Brett Metcalfe (Kawasaki) 4-5
5. Josh Grant (Yamaha) 1-15
6. James Stewart (Suzuki) 6-6
7. Malcolm Stewart (Honda) 8-8
8. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki) 10-7
9. Weston Peick (Suzuki) 5-13
10. Chad Reed (Kawasaki) 9-10
11. Ivan Tedesco (Suzuki) 13-9
12. Phil Nicoletti (Yamaha) 11-11
13. Justin Barcia (Honda) 34-4
14. Kyle Chisholm (Yamaha) 15-14
15. Ben Lamay (Yamaha) 20-12
AMA Motocross 450 Championship Points 2014
1. Ryan Dungey, 45
2. Ken Roczen, 44
3. Trey Canard, 34
4. Brett Metcalfe, 34
5. Josh Grant, 31
6. James Stewart, 30
7. Malcolm Stewart, 26
8. Jake Weimer, 25
9. Weston Peick, 24
10. Chad Reed, 23