Those dastardly two-week breaks are finally over. But, the long miserable one starts at the end of the month.
Until then, the final three weeks of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series take over August beginning Saturday at the famed Unadilla Motocross in New Berlin, NY.
It's unlikely, though possible through a series of unfortunate events, that Ryan Dungey lifts the 2015 Championship trophy at the end of the day. He holds a massive 69 point lead over Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen, who are tied with 331 points. Barcia is climbing the points board fast but he's got little to no chance of catching Dungey. Roczen, the defending Champion, continues to not only lose ground in the title hunt but also for the runner-up spot.
When Roczen last won, he grabbed the tie-breaker over Dungey at High Point, two months ago. Barcia was in fourth-place, three points from fifth-place and 37 points from Roczen in second. What a difference a mud round makes as Barcia turned his season around at Budds Creek and has finished first or second in every Moto since.
Barring any season-ending accidents and/or a surge by Blake Baggett the Championship podium is a done deal it's just a matter of where Barcia and Roczen stand. If Roczen can muster his mid-season surge when he finished first or second in four out of five Motos, he can take back his spot in second place.
However, while Trey Canard did not impact as many thought he would in his first time on the bike this season at Washougal, the first race jitters should be over and he just might finish off this season like he did last year, winning four of the last five Motos. Canard was running in fifth-place in Moto 1 at Washougal when a crash took him out and he settled for a Top 10.
Fredrik Noren fills in for Cole Seely on Team Honda for the rest of the year
Fredrik Noren gets back under the Team Honda tent as Cole Seely, who underwent shoulder surgery, is out for the rest of the season. This time around though, Noren gets to ride as a MotoSport sponsor and is looking for his fourth-straight seventh-overall and to beat that career high fifth-place in Moto 2 at Spring Creek. Might he throw a wrench into the points race?
"I think now if he's not in the top seven, each time, whenever he's running eighth or ninth it's going to give him that little extra push," said Guy Cooper, team manager for the MotoSport.com/GPI/Honda team. "Each time it's going to give him more confidence. There's a lot of mental (toughness) out there where you are supposed to be."
Cooper said Noren has the starts down and is predictably up front every race. Tommy Hahn is not as predictable since he either gets a good start or a bad start. Cooper said Hahn is capable for consistent Top 10s and he's ready to go at Unadilla under the MotoSport tent. Hahn got two straight Top 10 overalls at Budds Creek and RedBud.
Tommy Hahn needs solid starts to get into the Top 10
Who knows what's going to happen for the 250 class. The two top riders have the Top 2 positions locked it's just a matter of who takes the Championship. Defending Champion Jeremy Martin isn't making a repeat easy after a fifth overall at Washougal washed away his 19 point lead entering the round. Musquin returned in fine form after a few rough outings and took second but tied in points with winner Cooper Webb.
Speaking of Webb, forget the Motocross tracks, he's the biggest obstacle for M&M since he returned at Budds Creek after a Round 1 injury. Webb has two straight overall wins and placed first or second place in five of the last eight Motos. Webb missed nine Motos this year but is already in 10th place for points thanks to some stellar riding. Just imagine the 250 title race if he hadn't got hurt!
Joey Savatgy, Alex Martin and Jessy Plessinger have a nice battle going on for fourth-place and are within distance of Zach Osborne who's holding on to third.
Kyle Peters is consistent but not where he wants to be
MotoSport rider Kyle Peters is still looking for a Top 10 overall and it's the starts that hurt him. Like Hahn, Cooper said Peters either gets a stellar start or stuck back around 30th forcing him to work his way up front. Peters has scored points in every Moto this year except one, when he ran out of gas in Moto 2 at Hangtown.
Japanese rider Toshiki Tomita returns and impressed at Washougal in his first race of the season in the United States. Tomita placed 17th and 12th for 14th overall.
Toshiki Tomita impressed his first time out at Washougal
Guess what's on national TV? Live? Motocross! The regular, cable and satellite free, NBC channel broadcasts Moto 2 of the 450 class at 4 p.m. (EST). Check out the schedule for all the channels.
Gates drop on Moto 1 at 1 p.m. (EST) Saturday at Unadilla. Buy tickets online.
2015 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ryan Dungey (400)
- Justin Barcia (331)
- Ken Roczen (331)
- Blake Baggett (275)
- Christophe Pourcel (247)
- Jason Anderson (242)
- Broc Tickle (226)
- Phillip Nicoletti (209)
- Weston Peick (198)
- Fredrik Noren (187) - MotoSport rider
250 Class Standings
- Jeremy Martin (375)
- Marvin Musquin (371)
- Zach Osborne (259)
- Joey Savatgy (240)
- Alex Martin (233)
- Jessy Nelson (233)
- Aaron Plessinger (203)
- Shane McElrath (181)
- Adam Cianciarulo (178)
- Cooper Webb (174)