Hurricane Irene brought only the trailing edge of her fury to the sands of Southwick, Massachusetts over the weekend for the tenth round of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship series (round 6 of the WMX series), but still managed to wreak havoc on the Moto-X 338 circuit.
Expected to unleash the torrents toward the end of the race day, Irene’s teasing rains during practice led to progressively stronger and wetter downpours, and despite the soupy, chaotic conditions, Red Bull’s Ashley Fiolek prevailed to take her third overall win of the series.
WMX Back In Action
After a five-week break in their racing schedule, the ladies of the WMX rejoined the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Southwick to run the sixth of eight rounds of their series. Entering the day with an eight-point lead in the championship points chase over series rival Jessica Paterson, Red Bull’s Ashley Fiolek was hoping to further extend her cushion on the track generally dominated by sand specialists, and did exactly that after impressive 1-2 moto finishes and resulting overall win.
When the gates dropped for Moto #1, Fiolek piloted her factory Honda straight to the front of the pack, and went on to lay down seven near-perfect laps en route to a seemingly easy win.
Behind Fiolek, Red Bull teammate Tarah Gieger crossed the line just a couple seconds back on her TLD Honda, solidifying a strong second-place finish -- her best moto result of the series thus far.
With Hurricane Irene now well into her tirade, Moto #2 went off under rain-soaked skies and muddy track conditions, and Fiolek once again pointed her Red Bull-backed Honda toward the front of the pack. Unable to match the pace of Patterson early on, Fiolek wisely took the conservative approach with the championship on her mind, and backed it down a notch to cruise in for a drama-free second-place finish.
With her 1-2 moto scores good for first overall on the day, Fiolek was absolutely ecstatic to grab another win while extending her championship points lead to 30.
“Moto two was crazy,” Ashley commented from the podium. “Those were some of the most challenging conditions I’ve ever raced in. My hat’s off to Jessica [Patterson]… She rode really well today. She was unable to score any points in the first moto, and I hate to see the championship possibly come down to that, but I’m also really happy to be leaving here with a larger points lead. We still have four more motos to go, though, so anything can happen!”
A fifth-place finish in Moto #2 was all Gieger needed to wrap up second overall honors behind Fiolek in the brutal Southwick conditions.
Alessi Battles to Fifth Overall
After steadily improving his results and making positive strides in the championship points standings, veteran Red Bull KTM rider Andrew Short’s season was unfortunately cut short after suffering from two fractured elbows (yes, plural) in a practice crash last week.
With Shorty now sidelined for the remainder of the 2011 outdoor series, teammate Mike Alessi became the lone 450 pilot in the Red Bull KTM camp to represent this weekend at Southwick, and he did so with a gritty fifth-place overall effort.
Though far from an easy day, Alessi proved that Irene couldn’t intimidate him, as he got the day going by grabbing the moto one holeshot before eventually settling in for a solid fourth-place finish.
Moto number two would throw Alessi a curve ball as the track conditions continued to deteriorate, however. The usually stable sand rider went over the bars and off the side of the track in an extremely muddy and rutted downhill section, but was able to remount to secure a sixth-place finish, good for fifth in the overall standings.
With just two stops left on the 2011 championship tour, teams will hose the sand and mud out off their machinery and head south to the Steel City National in Delmont, Pennsylvania for round number 11 next weekend.
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