AMA Motocross: Thunder Valley Preview

2011 AMA Motocross

When Chad Reed began his privately-funded mission aboard the Two-Two Motorsports Honda CRF450R, some believed in top performance, others didn’t. But his second-place overall finish in Supercross proved he has what it takes.

And so far in the 2011 AMA Motocross Championship, Reed continues to dominate, winning three of four MX rounds as the series heads into Thunder Valley MX Park in Lakewood, Colo., this weekend for the Toyota Trucks National.

With his performances, Reed leads the AMA Motocross Championship with 183 points after four of 12 rounds. Fifteen points behind is the only other rider to win an overall round this Motocross season, the 2011 AMA Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto aboard the Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F.

In third a short ways back with 155 points is the reigning AMA Motocross Champion, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey.

These three MX riders finished on the podium at both motos in last weekend’s round in Budds Creek. Reed and Villopoto both shared a win and third-place finish, but because Reed won the second moto, he got the overall win. Dungey, meanwhile, finished second in both motos.

Although Reed leads into Thunder Valley, he has never won there; both Villopoto and Dungey have been victories there.

In the 250cc AMA Motocross Class, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team of Tyla Rattray, Dean Wilson and Blake Baggett are the only ones to win so far this season: Rattray has two wins, and Wilson and Baggett have two apiece. With his consistent podium 250 Motocross finishes, Rattray currently leads with 174 points, four ahead of Wilson; Baggett is in third, 30 points behind Rattray.

Since becoming part of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship in 2005, Thunder Valley MX Park has become one of the most anticipated stops on the entire schedule. As the lone national event in the Rocky Mountain region, fans come in droves from throughout the Midwest for the chance to watch the world’s best riders in action. With its mile-high elevation and sprawling layout, Thunder Valley presents one of the most unique challenges for both the riders and their teams. The thin mountain air robs bikes of power while also testing a rider’s endurance. It is a one-of-a-kind combination that is only found at Thunder Valley and each year, it is a storyline in the outcome of the race.

Last year at Thunder Valley, Dungey broke through for his first-career win at the facility, posting 2-1 moto scores. In the 250 Class, then-Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Christophe Pourcel swept the day’s motos for his second overall victory of the 2010 season.

The Toyota Trucks Thunder Valley National gets underway at 10:30 a.m. EDT Saturday with practice and qualifying. Opening ceremonies begin at 2:30 p.m. EDT with motos kicking off at 3 p.m. EDT.

2011 AMA Motocross: 450 Class Championship Standings (after four of 12 rounds)

  1. Chad Reed, Kurri Kurri, Australia, Honda – 183
  2. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 168
  3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki – 155
  4. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha – 130
  5. Brett Metcalfe, Mannum, Australia, Suzuki – 118
  6. Kevin Windham, Baton Rouge, La., Honda – 112
  7. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki – 93
  8. Ricky Dietrich, Snohomish, Wash., Yamaha – 92
  9. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 76
  10. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM – 75

250 AMA Motocross Class Championship Standings

  1. Tyla Rattray, Durban, South Africa, Kawasaki – 174
  2. Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Kawasaki – 170
  3. Blake Baggett, Redlands, Calif., Kawasaki – 144
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda – 136
  5. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda – 116
  6. Kyle Cunningham, Irving, Texas, Yamaha – 114
  7. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki – 99
  8. Gareth Swanepoel, Johannesburg, South Africa, Yamaha – 91
  9. Martin Davalos, Quito, Ecuador, Suzuki – 75
  10. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda – 72