Author: Brent Stallo
Looking forward to RedBud is like looking forward to your birthday, Christmas and the birth of your first baby all wrapped up into one. It's the mid-way point of the season and without doubt one of the most sought after tracks in the world. Home of the infamous Larocco's leap, RedBud hosts not only some of the best racing year in and year out, but some of the most hardcore motocross fans as well. Before we get started we'd like to start this thing off right with a good ole' REEEEEEEEDBUUUUUUUUD!
Ryan Dungey reeled off his much needed first win of the season at Round 5 in Colorado last week and the big question heading into RedBud is, can he do it again? Dungey has proven to be the guy that is always there, always in the mix. Unlike RV and Reed, who both seem to have magnificent speed one moto and then fall off the next, Dungey has used his unwavering speed to keep himself in title contention. However, much like Supercross, Dungey is still caught reflecting on a 25 point hit earlier in the season at Freestone.
Despite placing third at Thunder Valley Chad Reed (223) still sits in the drivers seat with Ryan Villopoto (215) and Ryan Dungey (202) nipping at his heels. From a media perspective we're staying unbiased on the subject, but hope the three continue to keep things tight following the half way point.
Outside the title hunt there's a ton of action going down as riders continue to fight for position down the home stretch. Windham is officially "all in" for the remainder of the season and is picking up speed with every passing weekend. He currently sits fourth in points with Millsaps only three points down in fifth. Millsaps had an unlucky first moto crash in Colorado and will be back in the hunt for his first podium finish at RedBud.
Millsaps isn't alone in his hunt for Windham. Suzuki's Brett Metcalfe currently finds himself only one point behind Millsaps after some very consistent race finishes over the last few weeks. Metty can smell blood in the air and he'll be one to watch out for at RedBud.
Another rider under heavy pressure is Ricky Dietrich. He still sits seventh in points with 109, but a tough second moto allowed Andrew Short to pull within seven points of Dietrich. Add to that the pressure of Jake Weimer being only two points behind Short and Christian Crain only being three points down from Weimer and you've got one heck of a great points battle on your hands.
And if the 450 battle isn't enough to keep you on the edge of your seat the Lites class is shaping up quite nicely as well. The Pro Circuit trio of Wilson, Rattray and Baggett have taken 10 straight moto wins this season and are showing no signs of letting up for RedBud, though the GEICO boys may have other plans in mind.
While one team has dominated the series, the points battle is refreshingly close. Wilson (214) regained the Red Plate after giving it up to his teammate Tyla Rattray (206) following High Point. Blake Baggett (194), however, seems to be the man to beat when he can keep it on two wheels. The three are in a deadlock race for the title and we expect that will remain the case until the checkered flag waves at Pala.
Outside the top three it's a toss up. Eli Tomac (176) is in a comfortable fourth place position after a podium ride in Colorado and despite illness Justin Barcia (137) is keeping the rev limiter high in fifth. But that's where things begin to get interesting. Kyle Cunningham (127) is only 10 points back from Barcia and despite scoring zero points in the first moto at Thunder Valley has shown great speed this season. Not far behind him is the fourth Pro Circuit rider, Broc Tickle (113). Tickle has had some up and down luck so far this season but we'd be lying if we didn't say he had the speed to win a few motos before the series expires.
In tow behind Tickle are a host of young, hungry athletes. Gareth Swanepoel (106), Darryn Durham (94) and Cole Seely (89) round out the top 10 in points and all have shown top five speed this year.
RedBud has proven to be the great divider in years past and we expect much of the same this season. We'll end this blog the same way we started it with a shout out to the one of the best tracks in the business....REEEEEDBUUUUUUD!!!
Once again, be sure and check back on Monday for a full race report and photo gallery.