Author: Brent Stallo
Budds Creek needs no introduction. Any track that earns the honor of hosting the Motocross of Nations is and forever will be revered as one of the greatest tracks in America. And as such, has produced some of the greatest racing the world has ever seen. Needless to say Round 4 of the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championships fit the bill.
We've beat the fact that Ryan Villopoto has never lost a race at Budds Creek into the ground last week, but seeing as it's a feat unmatched by any other rider, it was a fact worthy of overexposure. Especially seeing as next year we won't be able to use it any longer. For by now you've heard the RV didn't win Budds Creek. He came close, but was unable to match Chad Reed's dominance in the second moto after working him over like a raw steak in moto 1. RV may have lost the overall, but he didn't lose any ground to Reed. The two tied in points for the weekend and remain 15 points apart; with Dungey moving into the number three spot past Davi Millsaps.
So now the table has been set. As we see it, for the remainder of the 2011 series we'll be serving up a main course of Reed vs. Villopoto vs. Dungey. Sure, there will be times when others attempt to join the party, but there is little doubt that the title bout will come down to these three.
Don't think that just because the top three have begun to separate themselves that we're only paying attention to them. Oh no. There are 37 other riders on the gate fighting for their livelihood each and every week, and as hardcore moto fans we follow every inch of the series.
So what else is important? Who else has caught our eye over the last four rounds? And is there anyone that still has a shot at pulling off some magic?
We all know Mike Alessi is capable of pulling holeshots and leading for the first portion of the race. He's done it four times in four races this season and we imagine he'll do it two more times in Colorado next weekend. The question is, will he find the fitness and mental focus to pull out a win? He certainly could, but he'll need to cut out some of the small mid-moto mistakes if he wants to. He's already as high as 11th in points after only completing two races, and should be well inside the top 10 following Thunder Valley. Alessi is riding high right now, but is it as high as he'd like to be?
Davi Millsaps slipped a bit over the weekend. After two solid back to back races in Freestone and High Point, Millsaps was betting on a podium at Budds Creek... literally. Before the moto he bet an interim teammate, Les Smith that if he didn't get a podium at Budds then he would shave a his hair into a mowhawk. Well, we hope he like punk music because Millsaps was only able to muster a seventh overall after some bad starts. He's capable of a few more podiums this year for sure, but if he wants to keep pace with the leader board, he'll need to bust one out next weekend in Colorado.
Top 10 Breakdown
1. Chad Reed (183)- Listed
2. Ryan Villopoto (168) - Listed
3. Ryan Dungey (155) - Listed
4. Davi Millsaps (130) - Listed
5. Brett Metcalfe (118) - Metty sits a solid fifth in points now that K-Dub is taking off the rest of the summer and he's not too far off of Millsaps in fourth, 12 pts to be exact. However, Metty wants more out this season. He wants podiums and he won't stop fighting until he figures out how to get them.
6. Kevin Windham - (112) K-Dub went out with a valiant effort at Budds Creek. He will be missed.
7. Jake Weimer (93) - Weimer didn't have his best finish at Budds but he was able to salvage points. His 10-7 moto scores were enough for 8th overall, but much like Metty, this kid wants podiums. Look for him to shine inside the top five in Colorado. He likes the elevation.
8. Ricky Dietrich (92) - After laying wood in the first two rounds, Dietrich is starting to show slight signs of weakness. He finished 11th in Maryland and will need to land a top 10 in Colorado if he wants to fend off Christian Craig and Andrew Short for much longer.
9. Christian Craig (76) - Craig didn't do anything spectacular at Budds Creek, but he did manage to earn some valuable points that kept him in the top 10.
10. Andrew Short (75) - Shorty looked solid in Maryland. He wasn't getting the starts he got last year on the 450, but this dude is fit. He pushed to the end of every moto and had his best finish of his career. Look for him to capitalize at home in Colorado next week.
Hold onto your hats, take a seat and brace yourself for a big surprise. Are you ready? Are you absolutely sure? Okay, here it is. Pro Circuit finished on the top two spots on the podium at Budds Creek. We know, huge surprise, right?
The day belonged to Tyla Rattray and Dean Wilson as both extended their lead in the points chase. Wilson took to the lead early in the second moto and never looked back. Rattray kept him honest, but was unable to close the gap set by Wilson early. The second moto saw another PC rider, Blake Baggett press Gannon Audette for the lead early, but an early crash left Baggett working his way up from the back of the pack. And with Wilson also getting a poor start, Rattray took early advantage and worked himself into the lead. He would later be pressured by Justin Barica, who put on an inspiring ride despite having mono, but a late moto sprint by Rattray was enough to give him the overall and extend his points lead over Wilson by four.
The PC train continued to roll through Maryland and has showed no signs of stopping on its way to Colorado. The GEICO boys have worked effortlessly to derail them, but have yet to find the right receipt. Will Colorado be the end of the line for the boys in green or will someone finally step up and take the top step on the podium?
Top 10 Breakdown
1. Tyla Rattray (174) - Listed
2. Dean Wilson (170) - Listed
3. Blake Baggett (144) Baggett may have been one of the fastest on the track, but bad starts and crashes only allowed him to finish 7th on the weekend. He lost valuable points to his teammates.
4. Eli Tomac (136) - Tomac looked solid to finish fourth on the weekend with 5-5 moto scores. Tomac wants to win, and in time we believe he will.
5. Justin Barcia (116) - Despite overcoming mono, Barcia put in his best ride of the season with a podium. He moved into fifth in points ahead of Cunningham as well. Let's hope we get to see more of this in Colorado.
6. Kyle Cunningham (114) - KC ran solid in the first moto in fourth, but a 15th in moto two left him on the outside looking in. He finished the day in eighth and relinquished his top five position in points to Barcia.
7. Broc Tickle (99) - Tickle's luck didn't fare much better. A podium ride in moto 1 had people talking but a slip in the second moto with a ninth was only good enough for fifth overall. Still, a solid ride out of the #20.
8. Gareth Swanepoel (91) - We knew this dude would roll on the east coast. His second moto fourth was as solid as we've seen. He finished 9-4 for sixth overall.
9. Martin Davalos (75) - Rockstar Energy Suzuki/MotoSport's Davalos showed consistency with 10-10 moto scores for ninth overall.
10. Cole Seely (72) - Needless to say Seely didn't have a great day. He finished 17-25 for 19th overall.