The 33rd Annual Peterson CAT Washougal National, held on July 20, was the eighth round of the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, leaving only four rounds remaining on this season's calendar. Thus far in this year's outdoor series the weather has cooperated and the conditions at this stop continued that trend and could not have been better - warm, dry and sunny all weekend long - providing the perfect environment for world-class racing.
Nearly every competitor was optimistic of a good performance due to this, and this was quickly demonstrated as riders who went out for their initial practices were immediately quick. Given the very few points earning possibilities left, they were quite content with having only the track, the competition and themselves with which to contend. Just ride smart and ride fast.
This round is what passes for the home round for most of the MotoSport.com family, and attendance was essentially mandatory for us. We love racing, we live for it, and it was finally here in our backyard.
Of course, we were cheering for all of the MotoSport.com supported riders. At the Washougal National, the Rockstar Energy Racing team fielded Ryan Sipes in the 450 Class and Jason Anderson in 250MX. Sipes arrived in Washington looking ready to improve his luck and move up after having to push through a near heroic comeback from misfortune in his first race at the previous round. Anderson would need even more of the same considering the improbable issue with a spoke-flattened tire he had in the same dirt two weeks back; he recovered there, but he would need to avoid anything like it here.
On the other hand, MotoSport.com sponsored rider Nick Wey managed to bring home some much needed points at the last stop. Wey started out a bit slow, but largely made up for it in his 450MX race finishes and advanced in the overall. Derek Anderson, also running in the 450 Class and backed by MotoSport.com, did not earn any points last round, but he did improve all throughout the event. Anderson arrived in Washington, after having the two-week break to practice, ready to continue this upward trend and start earning more points in order to climb the chart.
At the Washougal National, the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Racing Motocross Championship provided for us fans the unpredictability with which we are accustomed. Even when conditions are ideal, the results can be all over the map. While you are here, let's take a look back at the action faced by all the talented riders supported by MotoSport.com.
Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki
Following the Rockstar Energy Racing team through the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship has been a test of nerves and frustration. The team's riders are more than capable of riding at this level, but it seems that lady luck may have gone for take-out. Ryan Sipes again started the weekend looking very good, but then ran into issues keeping his ride upright which cost him potential high finishes. Jason Anderson faced a similar hard-luck problem in his first race, relegating him down the order. Fortunately for the 250MX rider, he managed to right himself and come back with a much better finish his second time out. It was yet another round of uphill battles, and the Rockstar Energy Racing team did their best to overcome the odds and perform at their best.
The debut of Ryan Sipes in the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Racing 450MX Championship has been maddening for the Rockstar Energy Racing rider. His many great performances have been tempered by what may be called misfortune and simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Last week at the RedBud National, he had a weird and uncharacteristic run-in with the eventual race winner which put him a position where he had to work twice as hard just to cross the finish in 12th. Would he have a better ride at the Washougal National? Unfortunately, no. In Qualifying Practice, Sipes started with a decent pace, though. In his first session, he ran laps only a slight distance from the front and pulled in the 10th best lap. The second trip out was much like the first, and Sipes again finished the session in 10th giving him a fairly good gate selection for his first Moto.
When the gates dropped on that race, Sipes jumped off the line and began to move forward. He passed several of the higher placed riders and seemed to be on his way to at least securing a top-five finish. During this charge, however, he ran right into a hole on the track and lost the front wheel. Once he was up and running, he could not make up all of the ground he lost in the fall, but was working towards the top. Sipes finished Moto 1 in 14th position, so it could have been much worse. In the second Moto, Sipes was looking to make up for the first race error. However, once it was under way, he found himself involved in an early race pile-up and on the ground again. It cost him dearly and led to slower laps. By the time he made it to the Finish, he passed the checkered flag in 33rd, not what Sipes was after. The two combined results let Sipes leave Washougal with an overall 16th place and only 7 points for the trip. On the Championship standing chart, Sipes now holds 16th position with a total of 118 points, two slots down on where he was after the RedBud National. Ryan Sipes has the speed, has the skill, and has the mount to compete, but the widely varied issues he continues to encounter on-track are putting a damper on his ability to bring home high finishes and the all-important Championship points he needs. Next week he will take on the Spring Creek National in Millville, Minnesota. If he can keep the rubber on the track, he should be able to make these results a distant memory.
Looking at the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Racing 250MX Championship now, we come to Rockstar Energy Racing's Jason Anderson. Coming into the Peterson CAT Washougal National with some momentum from an impressive second race comeback at the RedBud National, Anderson looked to be in great shape. Yes, due in part to the strange first race issue at that stop, the Championship crown is out of reach now, but a racer never stops racing. Qualifying Practice started out well for Anderson, he was able to circulate the track with the 5th quickest time in his first session. The second session was just about as good for Anderson; he ran slightly slower lap times, but did again grab 5th. One rider improved enough to relegate Anderson to 6th overall, though even this was a great gate selection for the first Moto.
At the gate drop, he pulled away well and the race seemed to be starting perfectly. That is until he was cut off early, leaving him a bit far down in the order. Then, during his attempt to make up the lost ground, he lost his drive in the sand and fell. Though he remounted and continued to put effort into moving forward, the riders in front of him were doggedly slow and the best finish he could muster was 11th - not bad, and better than last week's first Moto, but not where Anderson should be. Though he started a bit further back, the second Moto was a better experience. Anderson's Moto 2 start itself was not as good as his first race, but he did get himself in the top half in the first lap. He immediately started passing riders, turning quicker and quicker laps. By the end of the race, Anderson moved up to where he started the race and then surpassed it. When the checkered flag fell on the 250MX Moto 2, Anderson was in 5th place - a much better finish and earning more points. In the overall results from Washougal, he was credited with 7th place and picked up 26 points for the day's work. This pair of results now has Jason Anderson holding down the same slot he had after the last round, 6th place, but with 202 total points for the year. He only has 37 points keeping him out of the top-five. Anderson has proven time and again that he can stay with the best in his class, now we have to wait until next week at the Spring Creek National to see if he can keep up his momentum and finally overcome the bad luck which seems to be following his team like a lost dog.
There are signs of hope for the Rockstar Energy Racing team after the results they achieved at the 33rd Annual Peterson CAT Washougal National. Even though both of their currently healthy riders faced tough challenges this past weekend, both can leave with lessons learned and a positive outlook on the next round. Those next races will be held on July 27th in Millville, Minnesota, at the Spring Creek National. The Rockstar Energy Racing team has their work cut out for them again. Ryan Sipes needs to stay upright, and Jason Anderson needs to get out front quick at the start, for both of them to bring in the results of which we all know they are capable. Make sure you tune in next week as Rockstar Energy Racing always brings the show.
MotoSport.com and Mafia Moto Crew's Nick Wey finished up the RedBud National with the best results we have seen from him so far in the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. There he earned points in both races and advanced two spots on the overall 450MX Championship leader board. It was a good trip. Arriving at the Peterson CAT Washougal National, Wey had momentum on his side and was looking to repeat or improve on those earlier finishes. In the first session of Qualifying Practice, though, it appeared that task would be a difficult one. His first trip out could only net Wey the 25th quickest time. He had to gain some speed if he was to move anywhere, and he did that, making for a better second run. At the end of Qualifying Practice, Wey managed to come away with 21st best lap overall, thus setting him for a Moto 1 start right in the middle of everyone.
At the start, Wey pulled away with the same group he was slotted with and so was about mid-pack after the first lap. With a steady diet of consistent lap times, he wasn't able to advance much during the race, but he held off challengers throughout. At the Finish, Wey ran past the checkered flag in 20th place, just inside the points and setting up a slightly better beginning for the second race. When the gates dropped on Moto 2, he got away well and was in the same middle slot he had in the first race. But, when going through the whoops for the first lap, he took a hard nosedive and went down ending his race in nasty fashion. Wey was thus given a DNF for the event and received no points. After the results were brought together, Nick Wey ended the Washougal National with an overall 23rd place and 1 precious Championship point to add to his total. Those 28 points have Wey sitting in 26th on the 450MX Championship chart, one step down from last round but only one point away from where he was. When the Spring Creek National is held in a few days, Nick Wey will not be racing. The injuries he sustained in his second Moto crash will keep him out of the running for at least the next two rounds. Thus, we may not see Wey again until the series makes its way to Utah for the Utah National. We all hope that Wey heals up quickly so that we can all watch him race again very soon!
Derek Anderson, MotoSport.com supported rider fighting it out in the 450MX Class of the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, arrived at the Peterson CAT Washougal National in 28th overall. At the last round, the RedBud National, Anderson dropped somewhat in his performance compared to the round before and yet did not lose his place in the rankings. Part of this was due to what he had accomplished two rounds back, taking his highest finish thus far this season. However, to move up, he would have to do better at Washougal. In his first session of Qualifying Practice, he showed signs of achieving that. Anderson had the 22nd quickest lap in his first trip out, a good start on the day. The second session was slightly down on the first, though, and this consigned him to a Qualifying position in 25th overall for the first Moto.
When the gates dropped on that first race, Anderson pulled out in fair shape and was riding well with the middle group. As he began to gain more speed during the race, he picked up a few places and advanced. When he came around the final turn and went past the Finish, he had achieved 21st. This set him up for a better Moto 2 start. The second race was not to be a repeat of the first, though it looked like it would be. The gates dropped on Moto 2 and Anderson again had a good start and found himself mid-pack after the first lap. Also, similar to Moto 1, his lap times steadily improved in those first few go-rounds. However, this progress was halted after lap 6 and all Anderson could do was defend his position, which he did. At the flag, he crossed the Finish with 22nd. Unfortunately for Anderson, both of these results were just outside the points paying slots and he earned a big "goose-egg" for all of his hard work. In the end, he was credited with an overall 25th place finish at the Washougal National. Yet again, the weekend did not have much of an effect on his overall standings in the 2013 450MX Championship and Derek Anderson continues to sit in 28th overall with 13 total points. To move up one place he needs to double that. He can do it, as we have seen, but will he? Well, the next round - the Spring Creek National scheduled for July 27th - is only a few days away, so tune in and find out!