New Berlin, New York, hosted the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series on Saturday afternoon for the Red Bull Unadilla National, and near-perfect racing conditions set the stage for what turned out to be a historic day for the Red Bull KTM team.
First to take center stage, Ryan Dungey was absolutely masterful en route to another perfect 1-1 performance, but this particular victory was better than most, as it supplied the points needed to lock up the 450 championship with two rounds of action still to go. Not only was this Dungey’s second outdoor national title in the 450 class, it marked the first-ever AMA Pro Motocross 450 Championship for the Red Bull KTM squad.
With over 40 years of hosting world-class motocross races to its credit, Unadilla is among the most historic and recognized venues on earth, making it the perfect stage for team Red Bull KTM to celebrate their incredible milestone.
As if Dungey’s championship wasn’t quite enough, the Red Bull KTM 250-class duo of Marvin Musquin and Ken Roczen helped to rack up more firsts for the Austrian-based manufacturer, as Roczen started the day with a moto win (his first in American Motocross) before finishing third overall, and Musquin later wrapped up his first-ever overall victory with impressive 2-3 moto performances.
In addition to Dungey’s championship falling into place at Unadilla, the series had more to celebrate at the event as Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart returned to racing after sitting out the last three rounds of action due to the lingering effects of his wrist injury.
One of only four riders to claim victory at Unadilla in both classes (250 and 450), Stewart’s return was no doubt a highly anticipated one, but unfortunately more bad luck would strike the former national champ as crashes in both motos would eventually lead to a dislocated finger and a DNF in moto two.
A day filled with extreme highs and extreme lows (depending on who you were cheering for), the 2012 Red Bull Unadilla National did not disappoint in the drama department, and in the end it was the Red Bull KTM crew who had the most to celebrate.
450 Class Moto One
In what turned out to be one of the most chaotic races of the year, moto one of the 450 class featured five lead changes from four different leaders before all was said and done. First in line was Michael Byrne, who nailed a great start to control things early, but James Stewart blew by to grab the lead at the beginning of lap two.
Looking fast and strong in his return ride, JS7 immediately began gapping the field but midway through lap three had an unfortunate mishap that left him laying on the Unadilla soil in the blink of an eye. After taking time to gather himself and get his bike straightened out, Stewart rejoined the race in 38th place, a solid minute behind the leaders.
Re-inheriting the top spot thanks to Stewart’s crash, Byrne proceeded to lead the next eight laps before having problems of his own, at which point Broc Tickle took over. Tickle rode tough while maintaining the lead for the next four laps, but with Ryan Dungey stalking his rear fender, he would eventually drop back to second late in the moto.
Dungey’s hard work and determination paid off after battling back from a poor start that left him sitting outside the top 10 early on. He led the pack for the final two laps around the Unadilla circuit to take yet another impressive moto win.
With 13 laps to go after dusting himself off and rejoining the race, Stewart fought his way back through the pack, eventually making his way past 29 riders before finishing in a very respectable ninth place.
450 Class Moto Two
The second and final 450 moto of the day kicked off with great starts from all the key players, as Andrew Short, Davi Millsaps, Dungey, Mike Alessi and Stewart battled for position inside the top five. With the championship on the line, Dungey made a move for the lead to assert himself first, but Alessi and Stewart made quick moves of their own to round out the top three.
With the three riders already opening up a sizeable gap over the rest of the field by lap five, the stage was set for an epic lead battle. As luck would have it however, Stewart’s run toward a moto win was once again cut short as he hit the Unadilla soil for the second time of the day. A dislocated finger prevented him from remounting, and just like that JS7’s return to MX was derailed.
Though only needing to score 15 points to clinch the title at Unadilla, Dungey went on to take the moto win (and 25 points) ahead of Alessi, and the hard-working Red Bull KTM crew swarmed the podium to congratulate their newly-crowned 450 National Champion.
“This has been an amazing day,” Dungey commented after the race. “To be honest, I knew we could wrap up the championship today, but my focus was on putting in a solid performance and winning motos. Mike [Alessi] has been riding really well, but unfortunately for him that first-moto DNF allowed us to lock this thing up early.
“It’s amazing to be a part of this historic moment for Red Bull KTM, and I couldn’t be more proud and appreciative of our guys for all their hard work.”
|450 MOTO 1 RESULTS||450 MOTO 2 RESULTS||OVERALL RESULTS|
|1.||Ryan Dungey||1.||Ryan Dungey||1.||Ryan Dungey|
|2.||Broc Tickle||2.||Mike Alessi||2.||Broc Tickle|
|3.||Davi Millsaps||3.||Andrew Short||3.||Andrew Short|
|4.||Andrew Short||4.||Broc Tickle||4.||Davi Millsaps|
|5.||Josh Grant||5.||Davi Millsaps||5.||Josh Grant|
|6.||Nico Izzi||6.||Josh Grant||6.||Nico Izzi|
|7.||Phil Nicoletti||7.||Kyle Chisholm||7.||Tyla Rattray|
|8.||Tyla Rattray||8.||Nico Izzi||8.||Phil Nicoletti|
|9.||James Stewart||9.||Tyla Rattray||9.||Kyle Chisholm|
|10.||Robert Kiniry||10.||Justin Brayton||10.||Mike Alessi|
250 Class Moto One
When the gates dropped for the first 250 moto of the day, Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin jumped out to great starts and concluded lap one in the fourth and fifth-place spots, respectively. Pushing hard early on, Roczen moved his way into the lead on lap three and just one lap later Musquin put passes on Blake Baggett and Justin Bogle to take over the second spot.
Unchallenged for the remainder of the moto, the KTM duo led the pack of hungry 250 riders around the famed Unadilla circuit for the next 12 laps to earn their best finishes of the series thus far. Roczen’s moto win was the first of his young career here in the States, and the Red Bull KTM team erupted in celebration as their riders took the checkers in the top two spots.
250 Class Moto Two
Justin Barcia and Zach Bell secured the top two positions early on in 250 moto two, with Musquin sitting close behind in third. By lap six, a hard-charging Eli Tomac had moved his way into second behind teammate Barcia, but Musquin was still in the hunt as he ripped around the rough Unadilla circuit comfortably in third.
Just before the midway point, Tomac, who was setting some of the quickest lap times of the day, motored passed Barcia to take the lead, and from there the top-three running order of Tomac, Barcia and Musquin would hold up until the finish. Musquin’s third-place ride in moto two was all he needed to score his first overall victory in American Motocross, and the former two-time world champion was elated to finally have the monkey off his back.
“This is my best result in the U.S.,” Musquin happily declared from the podium. “I found some good lines today, and this track is really all about technique, which I generally excel at. I got good starts in both motos today, and that is always key. With Kenny [Roczen] and Ryan [Dungey] winning as well, this is a great day for the Red Bull KTM team.”
Behind Musquin, Roczen battled back from a rough moto-two start to finish in sixth, which proved good enough for third-place overall honors for the day.
Leaving round number 10 at Unadilla with a National championship, two overall victories and a third-place overall podium finish, few can argue that the Red Bull KTM team has officially made their mark on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series.
|250 MOTO 1 RESULTS||250 MOTO 2 RESULTS||OVERALL RESULTS|
|1.||Ken Roczen||1.||Eli Tomac||1.||Marvin Musquin|
|2.||Marvin Musquin||2.||Justin Barcia||2.||Eli Tomac|
|3.||Blake Baggett||3.||Marvin Musquin||3.||Ken Roczen|
|4.||Blake Wharton||4.||Justin Bogle||4.||Justin Barcia|
|5.||Jason Anderson||5.||Blake Baggett||5.||Blake Baggett|
|6.||Eli Tomac||6.||Ken Roczen||6.||Justin Bogle|
|7.||Justin Barcia||7.||Martin Davalos||7.||Wil Hahn|
|8.||Zach Bell||8.||Wil Hahn||8.||Jason Anderson|
|9.||Wil Hahn||9.||Jessy Nelson||9.||Martin Davalos|
|10.||Malcom Stewart||10.||Ryan Sipes||10.||Jessy Nelson|
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- More photos from Unadilla
- Interview: Ryan Dungey on his first season with KTM
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