1.) Youth is Served: Eli Tomac’s astonishing win in his first AMA professional motocross race was one for the ages. No rider in the sport’s history has ever debuted as well. While others like James Stewart and Jean-Michel Bayle did win their first AMA Motocross races, they had previous professional experience. Tomac was a pure rookie on his GEICO Powersports CRF250 Honda, and the 17-year-old showed his mettle by actually going faster in the second moto than the first. Good genes? Absolutely—both of his parents were professional mountain-bike racers. But he also has great form, and he’s on the right team for his career to take off.
2.) Don’t Count Chad Out: After the worst AMA Supercross tour of his life, Chad Reed rebounded with a win in the 450 Class, carrying the #1 plate with the strength and confidence we’ve all grown used to seeing from the Australian. He’s a new dad now, and he’s in a contract year with the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. Reed needed a win badly to start his summer off right, and at Hangtown, that’s exactly what he got.
3.) The Rougher, the Better: The men and women involved in the Dirt Diggers North Motorcycle Club went all-out on improving the racetrack for Hangtown, and all of the new topsoil hauled in roughened up and took its toll on the riders, but not in a cruel way. There were few big crashes at Hangtown, and one race even needed a red-flagged restart after two riders lay there in a tangled mass. But everyone got up, everyone got on with it, and the racing was incredible.
4.) Less Can Be More: When word started leaking out a few years back that KTM was planning on rolling out a 350cc motorcycle to compete against the muscular 450s of the other brands, it was controversial to say the least. The bigger the engine, the tougher it can be to maintain and control for most riders, but how do you make up for the loss of sheer power? Mike Alessi proved that it’s possible by going 3-1 in the AMA Motocross debut of KTM’s sleek new 350, and he looked incredible comfortable in the second moto as he raced away with the win.
5.) The Frenchman is Still Connected: Christophe Pourcel may have lost the 250 Class overall at Hangtown, but he looked smoother and more comfortable than anyone else, including the race winner Eli Tomac. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider was everyone’s favorite for the title before the series started, and there’s no reason to write him off now—he’s still technically tied in points with Tomac for the win, which means both will wear red plates at the next round, the Flagstar Bank National at Freestone in Texas.
6.) The Duke is Back: Or at least the Honda Red Bull Racing team hopes. Davi “Duke” Millsaps’ solid 3-2 scores in the 450 Class marked a great outing for the often-underachieving superstar. He was on the pace in both motos, and he didn’t fade at all. With a little bit of confidence and some consistency, Millsaps can still be a title contender.
7.) The Talent is Global: Reed, who hails from Australia, won the 450 Class, and five different nations were represented in the top ten in the 250 Class. And Dean Wilson’s third-place finish in the second 250 Class moto marked a change of fortunes for our neighbors to the north: Wilson could someday join the likes of Ross Pederson and Jean-Sebastien Roy as Canada’s all-time best.
8.) Ashley is Not Invincible: While much of the attention was going to the men at the Rockstar Energy Hangtown National, WMX fans had to be very impressed with the dominant performances of Jessica Patterson of the DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha team, who swept both motos while defending two-time Ashley Fiolek struggled to 3-2 moto (at least a struggle for her usual results) after a crash
9.) Dungey is Not Done. One of the bigger stories was actually mid-pack for much of the day. Rockstar Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey, the recently crowned AMA Supercross Champion, could not get it going in the first 450 Class moto and struggled to a tenth-place finish. He only made it up to sixth the second time out, but at least he was moving forward in the pack when the race ended. He’s got ten more days to sort things out before the Flagstar Bank National in Texas. That’s where we will probably see the real Ryan Dungey—the one who won the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship in the 250 Class last year.
10.) Four Motos, Four Winners: At the end of the day, the best part about the 42nd Annual Hangtown Classic was the fact that four different riders emerged victorious in the 450/250 Class motos, and it could very easily have been four other guys: Tommy Searle or Trey Canard in the 250 Class, Millsaps or Josh Grant in the 450s. That’s the kind of racing action the fans want to see when they come out for the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship!