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News, Notes from 2018 Thunder Valley - Motocross

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Thunder Valley Motocross Lakewood, CO Thunder Valley Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship

Straight 450 Class moto wins to start the season for Eli Tomac. It’s the best start to the season for a 450 rider since Ken Roczen won five of the first six motos in 2016. Roczen went on to win 11 of the first 12 motos that year.

2008

The last time a premier-class rider began the season with six straight moto wins. James Stewart went on to claim a perfect 24-0 record that year.

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Different moto winners through six motos in the 250 Class.

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Motos raced by Justin Cooper before capturing his first career 250 moto win. The Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider won the first 250 Class moto at Thunder Valley on Saturday.

Justin Cooper has a moto win 10 months into his pro career.
Justin Cooper has a moto win 10 months into his pro career. Jeff Kardas

Straight 250 Class top-five moto finishes for GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin to begin the year. He’s the only 250 rider this year to finish inside the top five in every moto.

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450 riders who have finished inside the top five in every moto this season; Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin are the only riders with six top five moto finishes.

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Riders in the 250 Class who have led laps this year. Jeremy Martin, Aaron Plessinger, Alex Martin, Zach Osborne, Justin Cooper, and Joey Savatgy have all led multiple laps. 

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Average start for Blake Baggett through six motos—the worst among the top ten in 450 points. 

Baggett was better than he was at the first two rounds, but not quite as good as Tomac or Roczen.
Baggett was better than he was at the first two rounds, but not quite as good as Tomac or Roczen. Rich Shepherd

Different countries represented in points-paying positions in the 450 Class at Thunder Valley. Riders from Germany (Ken Roczen), France (Marvin Musquin), Venezuela (Lorenzo Locurcio), New Zealand (Cody Cooper), Japan (Toshiki Tomita), Mexico (Felix Lopez), Zambia (Bradley Lionnet), and the United States scored points on Saturday.

Quotes from Around the Paddock

“It was definitely a tough day for me. I struggled, even though I felt like I rode good here last year. It’s always a unique one here with the altitude and trying to work on the bike, but the team did a great job and I felt better and better every single time I was going out there, so that’s a positive. Unfortunately, I never got a great start and I found myself both motos behind the top three—and even top four—and charged through the motos but missed a little bit of speed today. Unfortunately, it was only enough for two fourth positions, so definitely not what I want, but that’s the way it is right now and we’ll move forward to hopefully have a better feeling on different tracks.”

Weston Peick | 7-7 for seventh in 450 Class

“Thunder Valley didn’t go as planned. I struggled to find a flow around the track in both motos. I’ve never been able to get the results I feel that I should be getting at that track. It had a lot of medium-sized bumps that wrecked my injured hand. I can do better than 7-7 for seventh overall. I did learn where we can make some changes with the Suzuki RM-Z450 that will help me late in the motos. We should be looking a lot better for High Point. I’ll ride a little bit less this week leading up to the weekend off, and then I’m traveling to JGRMX in North Carolina, where I’ll stay for a month and do quite a bit of testing.”

Alex Ray | 12-35 for 15th in 450 Class

“I had some good moments today. I qualified 11th, which is awesome, and I got a pretty good start in the first moto. The restart actually helped me out and I got 12th in the first moto, which I figured was awesome. In the second moto, I got a good start again, but unfortunately had a mishap where my brake lever got bent under my bike, so I started a lap down. All in all, I didn’t quit, and I’m moving forward into High Point feeling good." 

Sending it! After scoring his first career point at Glen Helen with an 18th-place finish, Ray put in another personal best with 15th overall at Thunder Valley.
Sending it! After scoring his first career point at Glen Helen with an 18th-place finish, Ray put in another personal best with 15th overall at Thunder Valley. Jeff Kardas

“It was an up-and-down day, to say the least. We had a lot of good speed, which is encouraging when you look to the rounds ahead, but we really should have at least been on the overall podium today. It’s racing, and everyone has their bad luck at some point. Mine came today. I’m just hoping we can put this in the past and start putting the team on top of the box.” You can read more about Savatgy's day here.

Injuries 

Defending 250 champion Zach Osborne entered Thunder Valley with a thumb injury sustained prior to Glen Helen—which he made worse with a crash in practice—then hurt his shoulder in the brutal 250 crash on the start of the second moto. “I got hit from behind from the outside, and it lifted my arm up kind of under my armpit and my shoulder—I just felt it clunk out,” he told Steve Matthes regarding the second-moto crash. “I got it back in pretty quick, but it took me a minute to kind of wrap my head around it all and get my bike straightened up and get going.”

Osborne had this to say about his thumb: “It’s been tough because my thumb changes my grip so much that any time I really commit to going fast, it ends up not good. I had another crash this week. My thumb has to get better before I do something else. Now I’ve got the shoulder, and I’m going to get it checked out this week and just make sure that we don’t need to take any action or whatever. If that’s the case, then start plugging away to claw back some points.” 

You can read the entire interview here

Osborne finished outside the top ten for the first time since 2016 on Saturday.
Osborne finished outside the top ten for the first time since 2016 on Saturday. Rich Shepherd

Kyle Chisholm had a brutal crash in the first 450 moto after he made a mistake and swapped up the hill—eventually the bike just took off without him. Chisholm suffered a concussion, but with the week off, he hopes to return at round four at High Point.

“This definitely wasn't the plan in Colorado,” he wrote on Twitter. “I felt good all day, was moving up inside top 10 but made a mistake & swapped up this hill. All good besides my head. Hope 2 be back at high point if I'm cleared 2 ride.”

You can check out some photos of the crash sequence below:

Yes, the 450 Class doesn’t have the depth of previous years at the moment. With an injury report that lists the likes of Jason Anderson, Justin Bogle, Christian Craig, Kyle Cunningham, Josh Grant, Fredrik Noren, Cole Seely, Cooper Webb, and Dean Wilson—not to mention the suspended Broc Tickle—the depth of the class is going to suffer. But don’t let that take away from some great privateer efforts in the 450 Class on Saturday. Privateers Dylan Merriam, Brandon Scharer, Lorenzo Locurcio, Cade Autenrieth, and Cody Cooper occupied ninth-14th in the 450 overall at Thunder Valley. Solid results all the way around.

Welcome Back, Derek Anderson

You may remember Derek Anderson from the popular web series Driven to Ride. Produced by MotoSport, the series was a reality-based documentary that followed Colorado natives Tucker Saye and Anderson as they traveled the country racing the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Anderson was featured in a similar series the following year backed by MSR called Man vs. Moto. A back injury eventually forced Anderson to retire from racing full-time, but he returned to his home race Saturday and put in impressive 18-21 moto scores to finish 21st overall in the 450 Class. It was Anderson’s first race since Thunder Valley in 2015. Not bad for a guy coming off the couch.

“So pumped on the lakewood National! Qualified 23rd and went 18-21 for 21oa in the motos,” he wrote on Instagram. “Happy with that since I basically just came off the couch! The bike was workin awesome. @racetechinc had the suspension working perfect and @sunent had that stock motor rippin! Had 15th in the second moto with a few laps left and the #ironbull couldn’t hang on no more and dumped er in a corner. Thank you to my fans and supporters also thanks to all my friends and family that came out for the race! Red Bud?”

This was just brutal. Luckily everyone walked away relatively unscathed. 

Kenny is just a good interview.

Yeah, yeah, this doesn’t have squat to do with Thunder Valley, but whatever, we need to enjoy Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli for a moment.