Thunder Valley National is what's on tap this weekend in Colorado as the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series brings Round 3 to a regular stop for Outdoors since 2005 in the city of Lakewood.
It's also the home state of Eli Tomac.
So is he a lock for Saturday? He's pretty much a lock anywhere at this point having won the first four Motos of the season by a wide margin though if not for Ryan Dungey stalling twice in Moto 1 at Glen Helen, who was leading until his engine conked out the first time, perhaps things would be different.
But they're not. Tomac is riding perfectly and so far, a perfect season. He won at Thunder Valley two years ago en route to the 250 Championship. Last year, he was injured in his first season on the big bikes but there's no reason to believe he won't bring his winning formula on Saturday especially in front of friends and family.
Dungey though, talks like he's still ironing out some kinks for the Outdoor chase which if stalling mid-race is any evidence, he's correct. Don't expect another engine fail but a reigning Supercross Champion hungry to close the already 19 point hole he faces to bookend 2015 with another title.
"The bike wanted to shut off in the first Moto and it kept getting worse and worse before it eventually did," he said. "In the second Moto we just wanted to focus on a good finish, so I got a good start and just followed Eli. We made up some ground from last week and we'll keep working at it."
Fast approaching is the defending Champion Ken Roczen who seemed close to missing the entire season when he announced a stress fracture in his spine kept him bedridden in the days leading up to Round 1. It sure looked that way for Moto 1 at Hangtown but since then, whatever pain regime his doctors dreamed up seems to be working. He jumped six spots after a fourth-place overall at Glen Helen which included third in Moto 2.
In third place is Weston Peick who showed why he probably won't stay there for long at Glen Helen unless his cat-like skills that prevented him from a face plant continue all season long. His near miraculous save might have saved his season but he's prone to crashing and injuries and he'll need all the quick reflexes he can get if he wants to remain a contender in the Championship run.
Behind the frontrunners is a crop of strong riders who can compete for the podium every week starting with Justin Barcia who went (2-4) in Round 2 for second overall, tying a career best. Philip Nicoletti had a rough go of it in Moto 2 but took third in Moto 1. Veteran Chad Reed showed he's still a threat with a (4-8) day for sixth overall and Blake Baggett who took seventh overall is just three points back from Peick. Jason Anderson, who took third overall in Round 1 took fifth in Moto 2 at Glen Helen but a collision with Roczen on Lap 1 in Moto 1 ended any chance of reaching the podium.
Tommy Hahn takes the MotoSport.com banner by himself on Saturday in the 450 class
The MotoSport.com/GPI/Honda team lost Fredrik Noren for a few rounds as he fills in for Trey Canard on the HRC Honda team so holding up the banner by himself is Tommy Hahn, the veteran rider who tied his brother Wil in points for Round 2 and is in 15th place in the point standings.
The 250 class isn't so cut and dry even though Marvin Musquin swept Glen Helen and has started the season with three wins and a second-place finish. Defending Champion Jeremy Martin who took the overall in Round 1 and had an engine starting problem in Moto 1, got into the race after the gates dropped and passed 19 riders to finish a remarkable fifth and then crashed in Moto 2 that sent him to the back and he passed 24 riders to finish sixth. Like Dungey, don't expect starting problems to follow Martin to Thunder Valley and with his speed and riding brilliance he and Musquin should go bar-to-bar for the rest of the season.
Rounding out the third spot is Jeremy's brother Alex who took second in Moto 2 for a fifth overall. The always in the hunt Joey Savatgy, took third in Moto 1 and is in fourth-place in the standings.
Some big news in the series came last week when reigning Supercross 250 West Champion Cooper Webb announced he's a no go until at least Budds Creek. He took third in Moto 1 at Hangtown but tore two ligaments and sprained his ankle in the second Moto. His Championship hopes are gone but if he returns healthy he could throw a wrench into whoever leads the pack at the end of June.
Kyle Peters got back into the Top 10 at Glen Helen, expect similar results at Thunder Valley
Kyle Peters, who rides for the MotoSport.com/GPI/Honda team, took ninth at Glen Helen which included a seventh-place Moto 1 finish. Peters rode consistently in the Top 10 for Supercross and he should post similar results for Motocross as long as his fuel tank remains full.
Gates drop for Moto 1 at 12 p.m. (PST) on Saturday. Buy tickets online or watch live on MAV TV for the first Motos and NBCSN for the second Motos. Even better, check out the track map:
2015 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Eli Tomac (100)
- Ryan Dungey (81)
- Weston Peick (64)
- Blake Baggett (61)
- Justin Barcia (58)
- Ken Roczen (51)
- Jason Anderson (50)
- Christophe Pourcel (48)
- Chad Reed (46)
- Broc Tickle (43)
250 Class Standings
- Marvin Musquin (97)
- Jeremy Martin (78)
- Alex Martin (65)
- Joey Savatgy (58)
- Justin Hill (52)
- Chris Alldredge (49)
- Jessy Nelson (46)
- Matt Bisceglia (45)
- Shane McElrath (44)
- Adam Cianciarulo (42)
Written By: AndrewT