Round two of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship series rolled through Wortham, Texas for the Freestone National on Saturday, and Ashley Fiolek took home the WMX win with impressive 1-2 moto scores in the blistering hot temps.
In the men’s divisions, young Christian Craig had a banner day as he led the first half of 450 moto one, and in the 250 class, championship hopeful Marvin Musquin had a day he’d rather forget.
Here’s how all the action shook down in Texas…
Women’s Motocross Championship Series
When the dust settled and the smoke cleared on Saturday afternoon in Texas, Fiolek was ecstatic to take over the WMX championship points lead, but her day wasn’t without its hard knocks early on.
A back injury suffered during a gnarly practice get-off left Ashley and crew wondering if she’d be able to compete come race time. Determined to shake off the morning crash and improve on her second-place finish at the Hangtown series opener, Fiolek regrouped and came out swinging when the gates dropped for WMX moto one.
After rocketing down the long Freestone start-straight to grab the holeshot, Fiolek immediately sprinted out to a comfortable lead to assert herself early in the moto. With series rival Jessica Patterson scrambling to move forward after a mediocre start, Ashley looked to have things well in control up front.
“This morning definitely didn’t start the way that I had hoped, but I’m very thankful that I’m healthy and was able to compete." -Fiolek
With the win all but in her hands, Fiolek uncharacteristically stalled her bike on lap seven of eight, allowing Patterson to close the gap and actually run into the back of her rear knobby. Both riders went down briefly, but Ashley was able to remount quickly to hold onto the lead.
At the checkers, Fiolek motored in for a comfortable win over Mariana Balbi in second, and Patterson, who had difficulty restarting her machine after the incident, crossed the line in the 13th spot. Rounding out the podium in moto one, Red Bull-backed TLD Honda’s Tarah Gieger cruised in for a comfortable third-place finish after starting just outside the top-five.
Racing Smart for the Win
In moto two, Fiolek once again got a great jump out of the gate to capture the holeshot and early lead, but she was overtaken by Patterson on lap number two. With the track brutally rough and continuing to deteriorate under the hot Texas skies, Ashley played it safe and backed it down a notch, knowing full well that a second-place finish in the moto was more than enough to take the overall win.
“I’m so happy to get the win here in Texas,” Ashley happily commented after the race. “This morning definitely didn’t start the way that I had hoped, but I’m very thankful that I’m healthy and was able to compete. I can’t thank everyone on my team enough for all of the hard work and support today!”
Behind Patterson and Fiolek at the checkers, Gieger once again rode strong for a third-place finish, resulting in a hard-earned second overall for the day.
The WMX series will return for round three on June 25th in Lakewood, Colorado.
Craig Turns Heads in the 450 Class
When the gates dropped for 450 Moto 1, premier-class rookie Christian Craig grabbed the holeshot to snatch the early lead. Though most spectators and industry insiders on-hand expected Craig to quickly make way for the class powerhouses, the talented and determined Honda pilot dropped the hammer, leading the first eight laps (nearly 20 minutes) of the moto.
Eventually displaced by the likes of Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey, Craig hung tough in the third spot for another few laps before dropping to fifth by moto’s end. With a half-dozen or more factory superstars finishing behind him, Craig was stoked with the result.
“I started to tighten up when I saw Reed getting close, but that felt really great to lead so many laps." -Craig
“That was so much fun,” Christian commented with a smile after the race. “I started to tighten up when I saw Reed getting close, but that felt really great to lead so many laps. It’s hot and rough out there, so hopefully I saved some energy for the second moto.”
After starting just outside the top-ten in Moto 2, Craig rode a smart and consistent race on the rough Freestone circuit to finish in the eighth spot. His 5-8 moto scores combined for a solid seventh overall on the day.
Two spots behind Craig in the overall results, Red Bull KTM’s Andrew Short had a tough day in his adopted home state of Texas, though he dug deep to reduce the potential points damage. A first-lap crash in Moto 1 led to an impressive charge from 40th to 15th place, and he continued riding tough in Moto 2 to score a sixth-place finish, salvaging a respectable ninth place overall on the day.
Bad Break for Musquin
In the 250 class, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin proved to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as the first moto got underway in Texas. While battling for the lead early on lap one, reigning MX2 World Champion Musquin was closing in on leader Justin Barcia when Barcia went down hard, sending his bike into the air.
With nowhere to go, Musquin plowed into Barcia’s machine, smacking his head into the rear wheel and breaking his thumb in the process. Musquin sat out the remainder of the event, and it is currently unknown when he will be returning to the series.
Meanwhile, Red Bull-backed TLD Honda’s Cole Seely battled to 14-8 moto finishes for eighth overall in the 250 class.
After a weekend break, the AMA Pro Motocross series will return for the famed High Point National on June 11th.