Ryan Villopoto Captures Fourth Moto Sweep of the Year

Not only did Ryan Villopoto make a statement with his 1-1 moto sweep at RedBud in Buchanan, Mich., he benefitted from mistakes made by his closest rival in the chase for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Villopoto bounced back from a two-round hiatus from the top of the 450 Class podium and walked out of Round 7 with a massive 42-point lead in the championship standings.

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Thanks to past success at previous visits to the Red Bud National, Thor’s Josh Grant came into the seventh round more confident than ever. He started the day on fire, getting out to the holeshot in the opening moto and leading the first three laps. Once Grant settled in, he maintained a solid pace to come across the finish in third. Grant almost repeated his start from Moto 1 and set himself up for another good race. When the scores were tallied, Grant’s 3-5 moto scores were enough to stand on the overall podium for the first time this season in third.

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In the stacked 250 Class, starts have become important component of race strategy. Marvin Musquin proved once again that he was able to make it happen out of the gate and ran up near the front of the field all afternoon. His consistent 3-4 moto scores nearly landed him on the podium, but the Frenchman happily took fourth overall. Musquin’s performance at RedBud also moved him into third in the championship standings.

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It’s been an up and down year for defending 250 Class Champion Blake Baggett, but he continued to show his resilience at the RedBud National. In the first moto, Baggett made a good push to the front after starting outside the top 20, eventually finishing inside the top 10 in eighth. In the second moto, Baggett was running well and finished 10th to secure ninth overall.

In just his third professional race, Adam Cianciarulo continued to adapt to brand new circuits and the heightened pace of professional competition. Despite the learning curve, Cianciarulo continued to impress at RedBud. His opening moto had him finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th, while a great come-from-behind ride in Moto 2 saw him go from 38th to 15th. His 11-15 moto scores placed him 12th overall.

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Another rider showing determination was veteran Darryn Durham. His opening moto was a fight until the end where Durham came back from a crash to score 18th. He picked it up in the second moto, finishing 13th to place 14th overall.

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Like his teammate Cianciarulo, Justin Hill is another rookie learning the ropes of the 250 Class. After having to retire early in the opening moto with a bike issue, Hill was ready for redemption in the second moto. With the last gate pick in Moto 2 that forced him to start way outside, Hill came around the first lap in 23rd and went to work. He made his way all the way up to 14th, finishing the day 18th overall.

Two riders that were absent from the starting gate on Saturday were Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders Tyla Rattray and Martin Davalos. Rattray suffered a crash during practice that ultimately forced him to forego competition. Davalos has been recovering from an illness that has kept him out of the past three rounds, but is expected to return at Round 8 in two weeks.

The riders get a weekend off before heading to the beautiful Pacific Northwest for the annual stop at Washougal MX Park in Washougal, Wash., just outside Portland, Ore.

Photos: Simon Cudby

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Kailub Russell and Grant Baylor Take Home Wins at Snowshoe GNCC

GNCC competitors Kailub Russell and Grant Baylor also collected wins in their respective classes at the legendary Snowshoe round in West Virginia. XC1 rider Russell needed half of the race to recover from an early crash, but he eventually caught race leader and teammate Charlie Mullins to take his third-straight win. Mullins held on for second and still leads the overall points standings.

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XC2 class rider Baylor started up front, but had a battle on his hands as rival Jason Thomas took over the lead after the second lap. For several laps, the two riders checked in less than a second apart, but Baylor’s pass on the last lap allowed him to come across the finish line with his third win of the season. He now has a 19-point lead in the XC2 class standings.

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Taylor Robert and Maria Forsberg Earn Gold at X Games Munich

The rain in Munich, Germany postponed the Enduro X races at the third stop of the Global X Games, but that didn’t seem to faze Thor’s Taylor Robert and Maria Forsberg. Although he has qualified for all five Enduro X finals in X Games history, Robert had never collected a piece of hardware until Sunday when he led the majority of the 10-lap race and found himself on top of the podium with a gold medal. Robert looked smooth and in control after he passed fellow Thor rider Mike Brown for the lead on the third lap, and never looked back.

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Women’s Enduro X favorite Forsberg had not been able to collect a gold medal so far this X Games season, but that changed with her solid ride in Germany. She remained close to the leader in the opening laps and made the winning pass stick at the halfway point of the race. Her latest medal at X Games Munich brings Forsberg’s tally up to three gold medals and two silver medals.

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X Games Barcelona winner Brown grabbed the holeshot in the Men’s Enduro X final and after battling the highly technical course and talented field of riders, he brought home a fifth-place finish.gold_rule_630

Thor’s Ryan Villopoto Retains Double Digit Points Lead at Series’ Halfway Point

Ryan Villopoto was a man on a mission at the final Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series event to be held at Moto-X 338 in Southwick, Mass. After going down in the first turn of Moto 1 and experiencing even more trouble on the opening lap, Villopoto crossed the line in 30th after the first complete lap. Despite the track’s ever-changing sandy conditions, Villopoto battled through the field and into the top five, ultimately finishing in fourth, just 3 seconds behind the moto winner.

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Villopoto put the first moto behind him and set his signs on rebounding in Moto 2,  jumping out to a great start and never letting off through the opening corners. Villopoto took the early lead and continued to put time between he and the the field, eventually coming across the finish with a margin-of-victory of 14.5 seconds. With six of 12 races in the books, Villopoto holds on to the coveted red plate by 12 points.

While on a break from the Canadian Motocross Nationals, Thor rider Brett Metcalfe made a guest appearance at Southwick, the venue where he claimed his first career 450 Class overall win. In both motos, Metcalfe found himself up front, finishing just off the overall podium in fourth with 5-6 moto scores.

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Over the past few years, Tyla Rattray has collected a pair of 250 Class overall victories and a moto win in the 450 Class at Southwick, making him a favorite at the sand track. While he wasn’t racing for the lead on Saturday, Rattray used his sand skills to help him come from behind in both motos to score sixth overall, despite starts outside the top 25 in each moto.

Rounding out Thor’s 450 Class effort was Josh Grant. While getting decent starts, Grant had to overcome a crash in both motos, but still finished 10th overall with 13-11 results.

Blake Baggett’s day started off well following an impressive second-place finish in the first 250 Class moto. He got out to a mid-pack start in the second moto and was able to work his way up to eighth, securing fourth overall.

In just his second professional race, Adam Cianciarulo was able to make improvements from his debut and score an overall finish inside the top 10. His good starts and quick learning curve put him ninth overall with 9-12 moto scores.

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Coming through the pack seemed to be a pattern for several of Thor’s 250 Class riders, but they all made their rides count. Marvin Musquin made his way through the pack in Moto 1, coming from 24th all the way up to 10th en route to eighth overall. Justin Hill, who finished 11th overall, went from 28th to 14th in the first moto, and 18th to 10th in Moto 2.

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Hill’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Darryn Durham got caught up in first turn pileups in each moto, but still grabbed 13th overall. Durham went from 30th on the first lap of Moto 1 to an impressive 11th, and in Moto 2 moved up from 28th to 14th.

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Round 7 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take the riders to the infamous Red Bud National in Buchanan, Mich. to celebrate Fourth of July weekend.

Photos: Simon Cudby

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

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

Thor’s Ryan Villopoto Rolls On at Thunder Valley

Villopoto picked up where he left off with another 1-1 overall victory Round 2 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Thunder Valley Raceway in Lakewood, Colo. With his perfect scores so far this season, Villopoto has already racked up a 12 point lead in the 450MX championship standings.

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Putting in another good result was Tyla Rattray with a 7-10 for eighth overall. His Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Dean Wilson improved on his previous finish to end up 10th overall with an 11-9 moto result.

After bad luck in both motos at Hangtown, Thor’s Josh Grant was able to bounce back for a solid eighth in the opening moto at Thunder Valley. After getting a good start in Moto 2, Grant had to pull in for goggles after the first lap. He came around 34th on the next lap and quickly made up ground, eventually finishing 18th for 12th overall.

In the 250MX class, Marvin Musquin once again showed his consistency as he finished fourth overall with a 4-4 moto result. Reigning class champion Blake Baggett, still getting back to 100 percent, had to come through the pack in Moto 1 and finished the day fifth overall with a 9-5.

Martin Davalos looked good all day and posted a 7-10 result for seventh overall. Rookie Justin Hill nearly matched his previous race result with 12th overall.

After attempting to ride practice, Darryn Durham decided it was best to sit out the race in Colorado to let his injured leg heal up and looks to return next week. He injured his leg during the second moto at Hangtown.

The series continues its eastern journey and will make its first-ever stop at Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tenn. on Saturday.

Thor’s Caselli, Mullins, and Baylor Bring Home Wins

Thor’s Kurt Caselli, Charlie Mullins, and Grant Baylor all found the top of the podium over the weekend, bringing home wins at the National Hare and Hound and GNCC races.

Starting the weekend off was Caselli, who collected his fifth-consecutive win at Round 7 of the National Hare and Hound in Jericho, Utah. Caselli holds over a 30-point lead heading into a two-month break for the series. Teammate Ivan Ramirez seemed to find his way through the Utah desert just fine, leading for over half the race before scoring his second podium finish of the year in second.

Closing out the weekend on Sunday, Thor’s GNCC stars lined up the sixth round of the series in Springville, Ind. For the fourth time this season, Mullins grabbed the XC1 class win, with teammate Kailub Russell finishing second. Mullins now leads Russell in the championship by 19 points with a lot of racing still left during the 13 round series.

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In the XC2 class, 16-year-old Grant Baylor broke through for his first victory of the season, making him one of two riders to score a pro division victory at such a young age. After proving his speed with several podium finishes, Baylor captured a much deserved win and closed the gap to the points leader where he sits only seven points behind first.

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