Held on July 27 in Millville, Minnesota, the Spring Creek National was the ninth round of the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Only three more stops remain this year. The weather at this venue was something different than competitors have experienced thus far; the skies were cloudy and the temperatures cool, making for shivering bodies and cold hands. The track, too, was not the usual Spring Creek experience. Normally heavily rutted, the surface this year was flatter but covered in bumps. It made for an eventful day of racing.
With so few chances to earn points remaining, most riders will be giving these last few rounds special focus and may push beyond what they have all season. This can - and often does - lead to interesting results and a larger share of crashes. The Spring Creek National had its share of both, as you will see.
With so many riders injured, the MotoSport.com sponsored entries were limited to just three on the track. For the Rockstar Energy Racing team, 450MX Class rookie Ryan Sipes made the trip, but ran into a serious problem here. His teammate, 250MX Class rider Jason Anderson, had a far better time in the dirt and ended the day with the best finish he has seen so far in 2013. Both of their teammates, 250MX Class competitors Dominic "Nico" Izzi, and Blake Wharton, remain injured and there is no report of their return as of yet.
Derek Anderson, the other MotoSport.com supported 450MX Class rider who made the scene, experienced what looked like two sides of the same coin. His first and second races at Spring Creek ended with nearly opposite results - one ended early, the other ended well. Rider Nick Wey, also in the 450MX Class, continues to recover from the injuries he suffered at the previous stop and may not return for another three weeks.
Attrition has brought down many of the professional riders MotoSport.com puts its support behind, so we will only have a short update for the Spring Creek National. To say the competition is hard on the body is understatement; it is a dangerous sport. We at MotoSport.com wish a speedy recovery to all those who we cheer on, and we hope to have more news concerning them soon. Until then, sit back and have a look at round 9 of the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, the Spring Creek National:
Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki
The 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship has been a true test of endurance for the Rockstar Energy Racing team. With only two of the four team riders still participating in the series, they are at half strength. The Spring Creek National began well enough for the team, but the day brought the extremes of racing - a rider lost to a crash and one scoring the highest position yet this year. Ryan Sipes was the unfortunate victim of the Spring Creek track, but Jason Anderson thrived and landed a spot on the podium; mixed results for the Rockstar Energy team yet again. As we all know, though, this team is a well-run professional crew, and they put every effort into providing the best results they can...and the season is not over.
If luck were money, Rockstar Energy Racing's rookie 450MX rider Ryan Sipes would probably be almost broke. It seems that he has encountered nearly every misfortune a rider in the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship can experience. That is an exaggeration, to be fair, but after what has happened to him so far, it is not much of one. Last week, in the dirt of the Washougal National, he started out well enough by finishing in the top-fifteen, but his second race handed him a 33rd. It is safe to say that Sipes was not happy with that. Thus, when he arrived at the Spring Creek National, he wanted to make up some ground on the competition. Sipes quickly established this by riding the 5th quickest lap in his first session of Qualifying Practice. His second run in Qualifying was slightly slower, only netting him the 9th best lap, but his first time was short enough to secure him 5th overall and thus 5th gate selection for the first Moto. Unfortunately, it was in this first race of the day where things went pear-shaped fast. When the gates dropped on the first race of the day, Sipes did not get the best start, but he was firmly in the top half by the end of the first lap. As the laps wore on, his times went down and he was incrementally quicker each time around. Then came lap 8. Sipes had made it to as high as 7th in the order when he entered a rough, rolling section of track. He ended up sideways, and in an attempt to right himself with the throttle WFO, he swapped ends and went down very hard. The crash broke both his neck brace and his helmet. Obviously, this ruled out Moto 2 for Sipes and his day was done at that point.
The unhappy result of this was finishing up at Spring Creek with no points. Fortunately, though, he did not lose his position on the overall 2013 AMA Pro 450MX Championship standings and is still ranked 16th, but with only 118 points. As for Sipes returning in two weeks time for the Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York, we will all have to wait for an update. For the ultra-competitive riders like Sipes, Spring Creek was not a good trip. However, Ryan Sipes is a professional, and we expect to see him back at the top when he is again ready to race!
Jason Anderson, riding for the Rockstar Energy Racing team in the 250MX Class, has had his ups and downs throughout the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship like his teammates. Fortunately for him, most of his experiences this season have been of the positive variety. Anderson has held 6th overall in his class for the last two rounds. At the last stop, the Washougal National, Anderson secured an overall finish of 7th thanks to 11 - 5 Moto finishes. However, if he is to move up the chart, his ride at the Spring Creek National would need to be one of those better results. Anderson's first Qualifying Practice session indicated that he had what he needed to do this. When that first outing wrapped up, he had the 6th best lap. The second session was more of the same, and Anderson managed to walk away from Qualifying with the 6th gate selection for the day's first Moto.
When the gates dropped on the first race, Anderson had a stellar start, and pulled away from the line with the lead group going into the first corner. Much of the race witnessed Anderson going quicker and quicker as he passed riders and then held off challengers. Towards the end of the 18 lap event, Anderson found himself almost alone in 3rd place. This allowed him to finish there and take that last step on the podium - his best finish so far in the 2013 outdoor season. Of course, this also slotted him for the 3rd gate choice in the second race, a good place to begin a race. Anderson's second race began much the same as the first. Though his start was not as aggressive, he did get out just behind the fastest riders.
Moto 2 was a bit rougher, and Anderson had to ride even harder to make up the few slots he lost at the start and to hold off any usurpers. When the checkered flag finally came down, Anderson crossed the Finish with 5th place. The combined finishes gave Anderson an overall 3rd place for his trip to Spring Creek and netted him 36 points. Jason Anderson remains in 6th overall in the 2013 AMA Pro 250MX Championship standings with 238 points, just 23 points shy of top-five. With momentum like that and his impressive upwards trend, when Anderson makes the trip to the Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York, in two weeks, he should continue to ride at the top of the charts!
It is hard to know how many riders will be riding for the Rockstar Energy Racing team at the next round of the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. The team lost Nico Izzi in June at the High Point National for the rest of the season. 250MX rider Blake Wharton is out indefinitely with no word on his return after a terrible fall in July at the RedBud National. And, now, Ryan Sipes may or may not be out as well (no update was available when this was written). Fortunately for the team and its fans, Jason Anderson is in great health and is experiencing improving results - so, there is hope. The next round will be in about two weeks at the Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York, and is scheduled for August 10th. The Rockstar Energy Racing crew will be there and ready; hopefully, they will have more than one rider to support when the first practice begins!
At the Washougal National, round eight of the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, MotoSport.com supported rider Derek Anderson just missed out on earning points towards the AMA Pro 450MX Championship. He finished one place out of the points in his first race and two slots out in his second attempt. At least it did not slide him down on the overall chart. At the Spring Creek National, Anderson was looking forward to making up some ground and bringing in some points for all of his effort. After the first session of Qualifying Practice, it did not look like he would achieve his goal. Anderson ended that outing with only the 30th quickest lap. The second session was a little better and Anderson wound up in 27th when it was done. As it is the best single lap time which counts, and some riders did better in different sessions, he landed the 32nd gate choice for the day's first Moto. Starting in the lower half of the order in the first race made the start difficult.
Once the gates dropped, though, Anderson was away. In the first few laps, he found the running tricky as he was battling with other riders and the track, but he was moving up. Staring lap 7, though, and things went from hard to worse. Anderson went down and that ended his race. He was credited with 6 laps and 38th place. His first Moto issue forced Anderson to begin the second race near the back with the 38th selection. This would be a different experience. At the gate drop, Anderson wound up moving up a few slots right away. After a good start like that, he used this inertia to creep forward bit by bit. After overtaking one rider after another, he began to move closer to the points-paying positions. However, with the track now rutted in and even worse than it was in the first race, Anderson simply could not gain any more on the field. When the checkered flag fell on Moto 2, he had progressed all the way from the back to finish in 24th position. Unfortunately, no points are found that far down, so Anderson again left this round empty-handed. He was credited with 27th overall at Spring Creek and now rests in 29th overall with 13 points. He lost one position, but is only one point away from returning there. With so few rounds remaining for 2013, Derek Anderson has an uphill battle in front of him; it is not the impossible, but he will have to work very hard when he arrives at the Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York, on August 10th.