Thor’s Blake Baggett Puts the No. 1 Back on Top of the Podium

The road back from injury has been a long one for Thor’s Blake Baggett, but the defending 250 Class Champion proved at Round 5 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship that he hasn’t lost his speed, capturing his first overall victory of the season at Budds Creek. While still working his way back from a wrist injury he suffered in Monster Energy Supercross, Baggett made his presence felt during the first moto, pushing his way through the pack to claim his first checkered flag of the season. He backed up that winning ride with an impressive runner-up effort in Moto 2.

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Thor’s Ryan Villopoto picked up where he left off at the previous round by collecting another moto win to start the day in Southern Maryland. The 450 Class points leader had to come through the pack during the second moto, ultimately giving him 1-2 moto results for second overall. Villopoto didn’t lose any valuable championship points at Budds Creek and enters the halfway point next weekend with a 16-point advantage in the 450 Class standings.

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Marvin Musquin carried a two-race win streak into Budds Creek and led most of the opening 250 Class moto before being challenged by Baggett. Musquin worked hard during a grueling second moto to finish seventh, and his 2-7 moto score landed him on the overall podium for the third time this season. Musquin sits third in the 250 Class standings, 21 points out of first.

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n addition to Thor’s Baggett and Musquin leading laps at Budds Creek, Darryn Durham also established his place at the front of the field during the second 250 Class moto. Durham jumped out to a great start and held off his competition for 10 solid laps before finishing the race third. His combined moto scores of 13-3 placed him seventh overall, giving Durham his best finish of the season.

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It was looking to be another solid day for Josh Grant after qualifying fourth in morning practice, but the first moto found him playing catch up after a first turn crash. Despite the adversity, Grant was able to put in an impressive ride from 22nd to 14th. Grant started the second moto with a decent jump, but was pushed outside the top 20 when he hit his chest on the handlebars. After regrouping, Grant charged to 11th to finish 13th overall.

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Tyla Rattray carried some momentum from his podium finish at the previous round and was impressive during the opening laps of the first moto. Unfortunately Rattray took a spill in the late stages of the moto and was forced to call it a day.

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Rookie 250 Class rider Justin Hill enjoyed a nice showing at Budds Creek. He grabbed two solid starts in both motos and finished with the day matching his season-best finish of 10th overall following 10-10 moto results.

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After taking a month to recuperate from an illness he suffered in May, Adam Cianciarulo made his professional debut at Budds Creek. Cianciarulo used much of his first round as a learning experience in the extremely talented 250 Class. Cianciarulo got a taste of the front in the first moto as he jumped out to fourth on the start. He would eventually finish the day with 14-17 moto scores for 16th overall, while also taking away lessons learned for the next round.

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Martin Davalos was feeling under the weather at Budds Creek and made the tough decision to sit out of the afternoon motos in the 250 Class after trying to practice in the morning. He hopes to get back to 100 percent over the week and come fully prepared for Round 6 next weekend.

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The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series will hit the halfway point next weekend with the riders making their annual visit to New England. Round 6 will be hosted at Moto-X 338 in Southwick, Mass., known for its sandy conditions. It will also mark the final pro motocross national at the facility after 35 years of competition.

Photos: Simon Cudby

Thor Riders Fill Out GNCC Podium with Russell and Forsberg Emerging Victorious

Thor’s Kailub Russell backed up his win at the seventh round of the GNCC season with another impressive ride at Round 8 in Masontown, W. Va. Russell had his work cut out for him as he headed into the woods close to last off the start, but he was able to gain control of the race by end of the first lap. After seven grueling laps on the muddy, technical track Russell came across the finish over three minutes ahead of second place. Russell’s new win-streak and consistency throughout the season has helped place him second in the championship standings, just five points out of the lead.

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The rider Russell is chasing in the points is teammate and fellow Thor MX rider Charlie Mullins, who put up a fight on the final lap of the race to come away with a podium finish in third. Mullins’ four wins and three additional podium finishes so far this season have kept him out front in the championship chase.

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Thor’s XC2 rider Grant Baylor made it to the podium for the sixth time this season, but it didn’t come easy. Baylor came around the first lap in seventh place and continued to charge over the course of the three-hour race to finish in the runner-up spot. Baylor currently leads the XC2 class standings and has a 14-point lead over second.

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Women’s class rider Maria Forsberg collected her fifth win of the season during the morning races, helping her to move back atop the standings into a tie for first. In addition to capturing the huge win in her class, Forsberg also earned her best overall result of the season in third.

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The next GNCC will also take place in West Virginia at the resort community of Snowshoe from June 29-30, 2013.Photos: digitaloffroad.com

PAULIN VICTORIOUS IN MAGGIORA

Thor’s Gautier Paulin has claimed a sensational victory at round 9 of the FIM Motocross World championship held on the historical Maggiora circuit in Italy.   The Factory Kawasaki racer, went head to head with reigning world champion, Antonio Cairoli, andcame out on top in an epic final moto battle in front of almost 40.000 spectators.    THOR’s Alessandro Lupino had the Italian crowd cheering him on as he claimed another solid podium result.

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Paulin started his Italian GP off with a bang as he cruised to victory in Saturday’s MX qualification race.  David Philippaerts was having his best qualification race of the season on board his 1986 David Bailey – Maggiora Honda replica machine but then went down hard, much to the dismay of his home crowd.

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Philippaerts would dig deep to ride the first MX1 moto on Sunday with a suspected broken nose but another crash sidelined the Italianformer MX1 world champ.

The tricky hillside circuit witnessed an exciting first MX1 moto as Paulin had to come through the pack after being ousted out in the first turn.  Belgian, Clement Desalle, took advantage of a good start and took the victory while Paulin put in a last minute charge to catch second place man, Ken Dedycker, but he could not break the Belgian giant and had to settle for 3rd.   Fellow THOR team-mate Jeremy Van Horebeek  was holding his own for most of the moto until he let Cairoli by after occupying 4th place.

The final MX1 moto would be one for the history books as Gautier Paulin grabbed the hole-shot and put a quick 3 second gap between his Factory Kawasaki and the rest of the pack.  Cheered on by an electric crowd,  Cairoli got two breaks when Van Horebeek and Dedycker let him by and he managed to close down Paulin’s advantage.   With 3 laps remaining, Paulin changed his lines to defend the Italian’s attack and with one lap to go he pushed hard to break his nemesis and take an emotional victory which had the Frenchman holding back his tears on the podium.

Alesandro Lupino was the outright crowd favourite in the MX2 class and after 6th place in moto 1 the Italian youngster was determined to give the crowd their monies worth.   Lupino charged through the pack in the final outing and with every position he made up, a roar would echo throughout theMaggiora hills.  Lupino made his last move on Russian, Alexander Tonkov with two laps to go and the crowd erupted to cheer him to the finish line in 2nd place.   Christophe Charlier lost out on his starts scoring a 5-6 result and was disappointed to have missed out on a podium opportunity.

With the series now passing the halfway point,  MX1 and MX2 riders will have a short week off  before 3 tough GP’s back to back will take the championship to Sweden, Lativa and Finland.

Images: CDS + Bavo

Thor’s Ryan Villopoto and Marvin Musquin Emerge Victorious at High Point

A stacked field of riders lined up for the fourth round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa., but it was Thor’s Ryan Villopoto and Marvin Musquin who walked away with the biggest trophies of the day. Villopoto scored his third 1-1 moto sweep of the season in the 450 Class, while Musquin captured his first-career moto victory on U.S. soil en route to securing his second straight overall win.

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Several days of rain leading up to the event resulted in tricky track conditions for the riders, transitioning from a muddy morning to faster, dry conditions in the afternoon. The 450 Class started the day with Villopoto quickly opening a multi-second lead on the opening lap. By the end of Moto 1, Villopoto stretched his lead to nearly 17 seconds. In Moto 2, Villopoto was more tactical in his approach after a fourth-place start, but eventually slipped by his competitors on Lap 7 and went on to win by a margin of 9.6 seconds.

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Musquin’s path to back-to-back overall victories was a matter of consistency and determination. After scoring a well-deserved second place in Moto 1, the Frenchman led the second moto wire-to-wire despite pressure late in the moto from his teammate. With his experience and confidence growing, Musquin is proving to be a threat for the 250 Class title.

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Villopoto was accompanied on the 450 Class podium by fellow Thor rider Tyla Rattray, who put forth his best ride of the season in third overall. Rattray shot out to two great starts and finished strong with 4-4 moto results, which placed him third when the final scores were tallied.

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Reigning 250 Class Champion Blake Baggett continued his resurgence at the High Point National with a solid fifth-place effort overall. He showed his ability to charge through the pack in the opening moto, finishing fourth, and provided a similar push in the second moto to end up eighth.

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450 Class rider Josh Grant rode to his best finish of the season in eighth overall. Grant continued to show improvement with a solid fifth-place charge in in the opening moto and then picked up the Moto 2 holeshot. It looked as if Grant was on his way to another great finish, but after twisting his ankle in a rut on Lap 8, he lost some ground to the field. Despite the pain, Grant regrouped and pushed his way back inside the top 10 to finish the moto in eighth.

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Martin Davalos and rookie Justin Hill collected 12th and 13th, respectively, after making their way through the pack in each moto. Hometown rider Darryn Durham, who is still gaining strength following an opening round leg injury, posted one of his best moto finishes of the season with an eighth in Moto 1, but after misfortune in Moto 2, a DNF placed Durham 14th overall.

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Thor riders will get a weekend break before heading to Budds Creek Raceway in Mechanicsville, Md. for the fifth round of the series on June 22.

Photos: Simon Cudby

Thor’s Marvin Musquin Picks Up His First 250MX Win of the Season

Thor’s Marvin Musquin had been riding consistent all year, and on Saturday that consistency helped him win the overall 250MX race at Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tenn. Fellow Thor rider Blake Baggett’s pass for third late in Moto 2 helped Musquin, who was sporting the easy-to-spot Phase Vented Warp Yellow kit, secure his second career 250MX overall victory with 2-2 moto scores. After three completed rounds, Musquin sits third in the championship standings.

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Blake Baggett also put together two consistent moto scores of 3-3, giving him enough points to finish fourth overall. Even though he’s not back to 100 percent, the reigning 250MX champ showed a bit of the late-race charge that he’s known for and continued to look stronger in the hot race conditions.

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In the 450MX class, Villopoto collected his fifth-straight moto victory with the Moto 1 win. The second moto started out on the right note with Villopoto in the lead, but went down during the opening lap and remounting in 16th. He put on a charge with over 30 minutes to use in his bid to the front, eventually coming away with a fourth-place finish. His 1-4 moto scores still placed him on the podium in third overall and maintained the points lead by a double digit margin.

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Josh Grant’s day started well as he posted the fastest time in both practice sessions and earned the top qualifier award. He got out to a mid-pack start in the opening moto and worked his way through the pack to finish with his best result of the season in seventh.

450MX rider Tyla Rattray also had a good first moto finishing 11th. On the short and narrow first turn of Moto 2, Rattray was caught up in a pile up and his bike was damaged enough to end his day earlier than expected. He finished 17th overall.

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The 250MX riders faced the hottest moto of the day during Moto 2, but that didn’t stop Martin Davalos from posting a great eighth-place finish. His combined 13-8 scores placed him just outside the top 10 in 11th.

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Rookie Justin Hill also had a better second moto, finishing 14th overall with a 16-14. Returning from a week off to help his injured leg strengthen, Thor’s Darryn Durham put in a heart-felt effort despite the painful injury and scored 17th overall with a 14-17.

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The series will head to High Point Raceway in Mt. Morris, Pa. this Saturday for its fourth round before getting a well-deserved weekend break.

Photos: Simon Cudby