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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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