Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel did everything in his power to claim the 250 class championship by going 1-1 and earning maximum points, but it wasn’t enough as he finished the season second in the standings.
In the 450 class Canidae/Motosport/Kawasaki’s Tommy Hahn made it a Kawasaki sweep of the overall wins by finishing 1-4 and earning his first career motocross win. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Moss went 10-2 for fourth overall and Timmy Ferry went 12-7 to finish eighth overall. Jake Weimer went 4-8 and finished fifth overall in the 250 class with his teammate Austin Stroupe finishing seventh overall. Ryan Morais made his first start of the season and finished 15th overall. Tyla Rattray was injured during practice and only competed in the first moto.
Hahn has been close to getting his first-career win as of late and at Steel City he put together two great motos to finish on top of the box. Hahn battled for the lead in the first moto and then late in the race he pulled away. In the second moto, Hahn rode a fast pace and stayed in the top five to secure the overall victory.
"After I won the first moto today I came into moto two with an open mind and let it end up where it ended up," said Hahn. "I concentrated on getting a good start and just went from there. I wasn’t going to let a bad second moto happen again. It’s happened too much in the past. So I just wanted to go ride as hard as I could for 30 minutes."
Pourcel entered the final round of the season facing a 17-point deficit in the championship standings and he knew he would have to win both motos and hope for the best to have a chance at the championship. The Frenchman did his job, going 1-1 and taking the overall win, but it wasn’t enough to claim the title.
"I just tried to do the best I could today," said Pourcel. "After what happened in Southwick, I needed some luck to win the championship. We raced hard in the first moto and that was fun. I think it was a good season."
Hahn wasn’t the only Kawasaki rider who scored a career best finish as Moss claimed his first top five with a fourth place result. The Australian started the day off on the right foot, posting the fastest lap in timed qualifying. Moss was not only battling the riders on the track, but also a sickness that kept him from riding during the week.
"The day was up and down for me," said Moss. "It was good to finish on a high for the year. Overall we had a good weekend. I’m pretty pumped to get my best result again. This weekend was demanding on my body because I’ve been sick all week. I haven’t been able to ride and I was up most of the night coughing."
Weimer rode another strong race to earn one more top-five finish. It wasn’t without some drama as he overcame a fall in the second moto to still go 4-8 and score a top-five.
"I got pretty good starts in both motos," said Weimer. "I made a couple of small mistakes that kept me off the podium. In the second moto I went down and did my best to get back to the front."
Ferry rode his strongest moto of the year at Steel City, overcoming a mid-pack start and finishing seventh in the second moto. An injured heel all season has dogged Ferry and as he continued to heal, his results showed the progress.
"Today was a pretty good way to finish the season," said Ferry. "I’m pretty worn out right now, so I know I left everything out there on the track. I felt good in the second moto. My starts weren’t great because I’m still not confident in the first half of the first lap. After that it was good. I passed a lot of guys and made a strong charge."
Top of the Box
Hahn’s win displayed the strength of the Canidae/Motosport/Kawasaki team as he showed he had the speed all year to run up front. After the strong first moto, Hahn knew exactly what he had to do to secure his first win.
"It is awesome to get my first win," said Hahn. "The Canidae/Motosport/Kawasaki team has been great this year. I knew I could do it. I just had to put two motos together. I was doing the math in my head during the second moto and I knew when Ivan (Tedesco) got by me I would still get the overall win so I didn’t try and force anything."
Rattray had a tough day at Steel City as he was injured during the first practice. The South African rider made a valiant showing in the first moto and he decided to sit out the second moto.
"I went down in the practice and one of the guys behind me didn’t see the flagger," said Rattray. "He hit me straight in my knee. It’s just bruised, but I’m going to get it checked out just to be sure. After last weekend I was really looking forward to racing again."
Morais’ return didn’t go exactly as planned, but he was happy to score a seventh place finish in the first moto.
"The first moto went really good," said Morais. "I was really nervous going to the line, and it was nice to go out there and do what I knew I could do. I rode as hard as I could the whole moto and got a good finish. In the second moto I got cross-jumped and stalled the bike. Right as I went to take off, someone t-boned me and ripped my bike out from underneath me. I started hanging it out trying to make up the positions and crashed again. I wish I could have had more races this season. It is a bummer to only do one race."
All season long, Pourcel preached a plan of consistency as he worked to earn his second championship of 2009. Though he came up one spot short, Pourcel put together a great season on his Kawasaki KX250F.
"All season long I tried to avoid taking big risks because I didn’t want to crash," said Pourcel. "I was leading the championship for most of the series. I was thinking I could come to the last race with a good advantage in the points, but that didn’t happen."
Hard to Swallow
Moss looked to be making a run at the Moto 2 win, as he caught up to the leader Justin Brayton late in the race. A little bit of bad luck took the wind out of Moss’ sails when a rock became lodged in his throat and he had to slow down and settle for second.
"I caught up to Brayton pretty quick," said Moss. "I think he made a mistake and I tried to get by him. I followed him in one of the lines and got a rock in my mouth. It surprised me and I accidentally swallowed it. The rock got stuck in my throat so I had to slow down while I was coughing. I knew I wanted to keep second place so I just settled back into my pace."
One Race to Go
2009 proved to be a breakout year for Weimer as he claimed six wins between supercross and motocross and rode consistently throughout the season to earn a spot on Team USA at the Motocross of Nations.
"I’ve had a really good year," said Weimer. "I got three wins in Supercross and three overall wins during the Nationals so I definitely can’t complain about that. Now I’m going to Italy with Team USA for the Motocross of Nations. I am happy with the season and now I’m going to relax a little bit and get ready for Italy."
Rattray really liked the layout at Steel City and thought if he wasn’t injured in practice, he could have gotten a good result to end the season.
"The track was really good," said Rattray. "It was probably one of the best of the year. There were good ruts and they did a good job watering it. It was really an awesome track. I just wish I could have gone out a raced the second moto."