NEW BERLIN, N.Y. - The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, hosted its annual stop from Central New York on Saturday, with the 10th round of the season from Unadilla. Continuing his dominance of the 450 Class field, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., captured his second career title with two rounds remaining by sweeping the day’s motos for his eighth consecutive victory. In the 250 Class, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin, of France, broke through for his first career win on U.S. soil.
BTO Sports/Palmetto Suzuki’s Michael Byrne, of Australia, and Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., battled for the early lead in the opening 450 Class moto, with Stewart taking the spot on the second lap. However, the following lap, Stewart crashed out of the lead, dropping to the tail end of the field and allowing Byrne to reassume the position. The same lap, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, of Rupert, Idaho, passed Byrne but went down moments later, unable to finish the race.
Byrne paced the field for the next seven laps and opened a multi-second advantage, only to experience misfortune of his own and suffer an injury that ultimately forced him out of the moto. In Byrne’s absence, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle, of Holly, Mich., took over the lead with Dungey, who also fell in the early stages of the moto, assuming second.
Tickle fended off Dungey for four laps, but the KTM rider made his move with two laps remaining to take a hard-fought moto win, battling his way forward from 10th place. Dungey’s closest championship rival, MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi, of Victorville, Calif., also suffered from misfortune in the moto, completing only four laps before pulling off with a DNF, which put Dungey is position to claim the title.
In Moto 2, Dungey capitalized on a good start, slotting himself into third place early behind Team Chaparral Honda’s Andrew Short, of Smithville, Texas, and Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s Davi Millsaps, of Cairo, Ga. Dungey wasted little time in moving forward, passing both of his competitors to move into the lead by the third lap. Once out front, Dungey never looked back and brought home his 22nd career premier class win, tying him with Ricky Johnson for third on the all-time wins list.
“It was a pretty amazing day,” said Dungey. “To be honest, I knew we could wrap (the championship) up today, but my focus was putting on a solid performance and moving forward. Mike (Alessi) has been riding well, but unfortunately there was a DNF. In the second moto, I just wanted to put in a solid ride and wrap up this championship. It’s amazing to see everything that’s gone in to making this moment happen. It’s pretty special.”
Dungey’s championship is a historic one for KTM, marking the Austrian brand’s first title in the 450 Class.
“I knew we had the right people behind us and if anyone could do it, (Team Manager Roger DeCoster) and this team could,” added Dungey. “We struggled at times, but as a team we worked it out and were able to overcome it. It took a lot of effort from everyone here and overseas. We had a god opening round and just kept making progress. I committed everything and winning a championship is paying that due. I hope this is the first of many more.”
Tickle posted a career-best runner-up finish (2-4), while Short rounded out the podium in third (4-3).
In the 250 Class, GEICO Honda’s Zach Bell, of Cairo, Ga., positioned himself at the front of the field of the opening moto and led the first two laps before giving way to Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen, of Germany. Once out front, Roczen pulled away from the field and claimed his first moto win since moving to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship this season.
In Moto 2, GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, of Monroe, N.Y., took advantage of the holeshot to open an early lead and rebound from a seventh-place finish in the first moto. Behind him, fellow GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac, of Cortez, Colo., and Musquin began to assert themselves at the front of the field.
Tomac eventually closed in on Barcia and passed his teammate on Lap 8, pulling away for the moto win. Musquin solidified himself in third through the remainder of the moto and the consistency was enough to award the former two-time World Motocross Champion the overall win.
“This is my best result here,” said Musquin. “I was finding good lines, and this track is really about technique. I (also) got two good starts. In the first moto, I was happy to follow Kenny (Roczen) and in the second moto I was determined to get a good start because I haven’t been doing that this year. I kept thinking about the overall, because I knew Tomac and Barcia had trouble (in Moto 1). With Kenny and Ryan (Dungey) winning as well, it was a good day for KTM. “
Tomac (6-1) and Roczen (1-6) finished with identical moto results, tying for second overall, but Tomac claimed the spot by virtue of the second-moto tiebreaker.
Points leader Blake Baggett, of Grand Terrace, Calif., finished fifth overall aboard his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki but still maintains possession of the 250 Class lead, 24 points over Barcia.
After a break in the action next weekend, the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will return with the 11th of 12 rounds this season in Pennsylvania. The Steel City National from Delmont’s Steel City Raceway will host the world’s best riders on Saturday, September 1, beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern.