Following the final off-week of the 2010 racing season, the world's best mx riders of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship return to action this weekend for American motocross' lone sand race, the Rockstar Energy Southwick National from Moto-X 338 in Southwick, Mass.
The legendary motocross event serves as the 10th round of the 12-race championship and will kick-off a three-week sprint to the finish.
Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey will look to make history on Saturday with the opportunity to clinch the 450 Class title.
At the previous round from Unadilla, Dungey raced to his eighth consecutive victory, overcoming the return to San Manuel Yamaha's James Stewart and a threat from World Grand Prix competitor Clement Desalle.
In the 250 Class, GEICO Powersports Honda's Trey Canard continued to dominate the second half of the season with his fourth straight win.
While points leader Christophe Pourcel found misfortune at Unadilla aboard his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, Canard capitalized and closed to within striking distance of the championship lead.
Additionally, the MotorcycleUSA.com Women's Motocross Championship also returns to the track after a midseason break.
The nation's fastest females, led by points leader and DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha rider Jessica Patterson, begin their final three-race push towards crowning a champion.
Ryan Dungey can clinch the 450 Class title at Southwick.
Courtesy Steve Cox/Racer X
450 Motocross Class
After Unadilla and the announcement of Team USA for the Motocross of Nations, Ryan Dungey has been doing exactly what he always does: train, practice, and focus on the next stop of the championship.
Dungey is currently 111 points ahead of Honda Red Bull Racing's Andrew Short and he could wrap up the title early, capping off what is becoming the most successful rookie season in history.
Dungey is looking forward to the challenge of Southwick and its sandy track while taking another step toward earning the 450 Class title.
Honda Red Bull Racing:
With three races remaining, Andrew Short is looking to maintain his hold on the runner-up spot in the championship standing.
After being selected to his first Motocross of Nations at Unadilla, Short's confidence is stronger than ever as he will look to carry the momentum into Colorado.
Despite a seventh-place effort last year at Moto-X 338, Short is ready to turn things around and finish the season strong.
Kevin Windham had an up and down day at Unadilla. After a tough fall in the opening moto, he bounced back to finish just of the Moto 2 podium in fourth. He hasn't competed at Southwick since 2007, and at that event, he brought home a 10th-place result.
GEICO Powersports Honda:
With the season drawing to a close, Brett Metcalfe knows he needs to land on the overall podium the way he did at Unadilla for the remainder of the season in order to have a chance at overcoming Short in the standings.
His consistent and impressive rookie season has been overshadowed by Dungey's success, but Metcalfe has asserted himself as a title contender in the premier class. He has also achieved success in the 250 Class at Southwick and will look to carry it over on Saturday.
After a ninth-place finish at Unadilla, Josh Grant remains fourth in the 450 Class standings and looks to be a lock to post a top-five finish in the championship.
Grant hasn't competed at Southwick since 2007 when he was in the 250 Class. That season, he posted a fifth-place result.
For the first time this season, Justin Brayton edged out his teammate in the overall results, but just barely. Brayton's eighth-place result was a sign of his recent turnaround and he will hope to keep the momentum going as the series hits the sand.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda:
Ben Townley bounced back from a tough outing at Washougal to finish sixth at Unadilla. His result allowed him to close in on Grant for fourth spot in the standings in which he sits just 11 points out.
Like Grant, Townley hasn't competed at Moto-X 338 since 2007 as a member of the 250 Class. However, he walked away victorious after that race and hopes it can translate into success on Saturday.
A pair of 13th-place efforts landed Mike Alessi in 14th overall at Unadilla. Like many of his peers, Alessi hasn't competed at Southwick since 2007.
That season he finished fifth and will see if his 350cc machine can become an advantage in the sand this weekend.
Monster Energy Kawasaki:
Nick Wey is looking to get back into top 10 as the series heads to the sand track at Southwick. Wey has had a strong second half of 2010 and has posted three top 10's this season and knows he can get up there again.
"I've been working hard during the off week," said Wey. "There are only three races left this season and I want to get as many good finishes as I can."
Rockstar Energy Suzuki:
Tommy Hahn was solid at Unadilla, finishing 10th overall. The upcoming races are strong tracks for Hahn and last season, he finished fourth at Southwick. In his professional debut, Loretta Lynn's graduate Austin Howell finished a respectable 18th in the sport's elite division and could be in store for a bright future.
250 Motocross Class
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki:
Christophe Pourcel continues to lead the 250 Class championship standings despite running not finishing the first moto last weekend.
He rebounded to take a come-from-behind win in Moto 2. Last year the Frenchman experienced misfortune at Southwick and will look to overcome that this weekend.
"Last race was tough for me," said Pourcel. "But I was able to get back and win the second moto. My goal is the championship and I'm still in position to take the title so everything is good right now."
Sitting third in the points is rookie Dean Wilson. The 18-year-old earned his fifth podium result of the season at Unadilla and is looking forward to racing at Southwick for the first time.
"I hear the sand at Southwick is sick," said Wilson. "I can't wait to ride there. This season has been good and I know I can get another podium this week."
Another rider looking forward to Southwick is Tyla Rattray. The South African rider likes the track in Massachusetts but his attention is going to be split as he awaits the birth of his first child.
"Southwick is an amazing track," said Rattray. "I really am looking forward to racing there, but I might be a little distracted this week. My first child is due anytime now and that is even more exciting."
GEICO Powersports Honda:
All eyes will be on Trey Canard as the 250 Class hits the track this weekend. His recent dominance had created a new landscape in the championship and after being selected to represent Team USA at the Motocross of Nations, his motivation to continue to win is even greater.
Canard's teammates at GEICO Powersports Honda also had strong showings at Unadilla. Justin Barcia, Blake Wharton and Eli Tomac all finished inside the top six overall and the entire team will look to keep up the strong, well rounded performances at Moto-X 338.
WMX Motocross Class
While Jessica Patterson leads the way in the WMX Class, Honda Red Bull Racing's Ashley Fiolek will be looking to claim her second win of the 2010 season and close in on her rival for the championship lead.
The pair has put on several exciting battles throughout the season and that trend will surely continue at Southwick. Should either encounter trouble, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda's Tarah Gieger, MotoConcepts Yamaha's Vicki Golden and Monster Energy Kawasaki's Sara Price will surely be there to capitalize.