After hitting the pause button for a nice weekend off, the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship returns to Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota.
It's a hometown race for 450 Class points leader Ryan Dungey, and it also marks the return of a legendary hero, Kevin Windham. Here are ten things to watch for at the Rockstar Energy Spring Creek National.
1.) The Whoop Monster! John and Greta Martin's Spring Creek MX Park is a beautiful circuit with deep, loamy soil and lots of steep hills. It's also home to the longest set of whoops in all of motocross (at least outside of the sandy Netherlands). The Millville Whoops number in the dozens, and they are guarded by the only official mascot in motocross, the Millville Whoop Monster (sorry, Moto Clown). Look and listen for him alongside the track, because he's always ringing bells, banging cymbals, blowing whistles....
2.) Home-Court Advantage. As mention above, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey is headed home to Minnesota, the Land of 10,000 Lakes, as well as a track he goes extremely fast on. Last year Dungey went 1-1 in the 250 Class on his way to that title. He's on a five-race winning streak right now and will be very tough to beat at home.
3.) Vacation's Over. After sitting out most of last summer and all of this summer so far, supercross-only Kevin Windham is back in a big way. K-Dub will take the controls of Davi Millsaps' Honda Red Bull Racing CRF450R for the rest of the summer while "The Duke" continues to heal from his big crash in Maryland. Windham says he's much more ready this time, and he plans on being a contender for the win.
4.) More on Returns. Windham isn't the only man back this weekend, as VMS Yamaha rider Ivan Tedesco will make his series debut after getting hurt at the same supercross that cost Ryan Villopoto a shot at the title, as well as Rockstar Suzuki rider Tommy Hahn, who suffered a terrible "turf toe" when he buckled his foot last month. And even Tommy Searle, the near-winner of the very first 250 moto of the series back in May, is finally back this weekend on his Jagermeister KTM.
5.) Can Reed Find His Speed? Last year, Chad Reed was as dominant in Minnesota as Dungey was, taking both 450 moto wins on his way to the title. But after winning the opener of this title defense, the Monster Energy Kawasaki factory pilot has had a tough time finding his fastest gear. It's allowed Dungey to open a sizable lead in the points, putting his #1 plate at risk. He's got six races to get back out front, and there's no time to waste.
6.) The Sixth Winner. Meanwhile, in the 250 Class, we've seen five winners in six races, with only series points leader Christophe Pourcel winning twice on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki. There are some very fast young men in this class who have yet to earn a win this summer: GEICO Powersports Honda's Justin Barcia and Blake Wharton, Pourcel's teammate Jake Weimer, KTM's back-from-injury Tommy Searle, DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha's Brock Tickle, Nico Izzi, and Martin Davalos.... All of these guys have the speed to win-they just haven't been able to put it all together.
7.) Green vs. Red. The 250 Class has broken down to a gang fight between the GEICO Powersports Hondas (Trey Canard, Justin Barcia, Eli Tomac, Blake Wharton) and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasakis (Pourcel, Weimer, Dean Wilson, Tyla Rattray) for every position. If the winner this weekend isn't one of these very capable riders, it will be considered an upset.
8.) Girl Fight! The boys won't be the only ones battling this weekend, as Honda Red Bull Racing's Ashley Fiolek will be trying to build on the momentum of her first win this season (at RedBud) over DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha's Jessica Patterson. The Millville track should be extremely rough for the girls, which really doesn't mean any advantage for either these two. But the very long start could favor the smaller, lighter Fiolek.
9.) French Disconnect. If Christophe Pourcel didn't look comfortable on one track last year, it was Spring Creek. The Frenchman finished second to Dungey but just didn't seem to be his usual smooth self. He also got a fine for being late to the riders' meeting last year, so Millville kind of owes him one!
10.) The Holy Schmit. The Spring Creek National was also the home race for the late, great Donny Schmit, a two-time world motocross champion who passed away fifteen years ago due to a rare blood disorder. There's a huge jump on the track named for this Minnesota motocross icon, and fans still say his name with pride and respect. Donny was a badass, and so is this track!
You can watch the webcast of the first two motos of the Rockstar Energy Spring Creek National tomorrow , beginning just before noon Central Time, followed by next-day coverage on SPEED.