MECHANICSVILLE, Md. – official release — Simon Cudby photo — In the shadow of the nation’s capitol, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, celebrated 25 years of competition in Southern Maryland on Saturday with the annual GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National from Budds Creek MX Park.
The budding 450 Class rivalry between the Red Bull KTM duo of Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen continued with Dungey gaining the advantage for just the second time this season, winning for the third straight year at Budds Creek. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett duplicated the achievement of his premier class counterpart, winning for the third consecutive season at the facility with his third victory of the summer.
In his third race back from an injury that kept him out for the early portion of the season, Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s Justin Brayton grabbed his first Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season in the opening 450 Class moto. Brayton was closely followed by a large contingent of competitors, led by Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard and Dungey. Brayton maintained the lead on the opening lap with a hard-charging Dungey on his rear fender, but while that battle took shape Canard took advantage of an opportunity to slip by Dungey and then set his sights on Brayton.
Canard soon made the pass to take over the lead on the opening lap and proceeded to open a small gap over the field. As that happened, Dungey lost another spot on the track while fighting to get around Brayton, this time to his teammate Roczen. With no riders separating himself and the leader, Roczen set his sights on Canard and chipped away at the deficit, eventually taking control of the moto on lap four.
Dungey, meanwhile, made the pass on Brayton and was able to close the gap on Canard to eventually take control of second.
With the KTM duo asserting themselves out front and pulling away, Canard fell into the clutches of GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac with the pair battling throughout the remaining stages of the moto. Out front, Dungey was able to close to within a second of his teammate as they approached lappers near the end, but Roczen held him off for the win. Canard withstood the challenge of Tomac for third, with Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart coming on strong to finish fifth.
After closing in on his teammate at the end of the first moto, Dungey aimed to seize the opportunity in Moto 2 and did just that by racing to the Motosport.com Holeshot Award. The clear track allowed Dungey to set a torrid pace in the early stages and open a comfortable margin over the field. With Dungey pulling away, Roczen needed to work his way into second and after slotting himself in third on the opening lap, he passed Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s Josh Grant for second and looked to try and close the gap on his teammate.
Dungey never looked back and went on to post his most dominant ride of the season with a wire-to-wire victory. The former two-time series champion had led just nine laps coming into Budds Creek, but nearly tripled his season total by leading all 17 laps of Moto 2. Roczen followed in second, but had to fend off a major threat from Tomac in the closing laps.
The Red Bull KTM duo posted identical moto scores once again but Dungey’s second-moto triumph awarded him the tiebreaker. Roczen’s streak of finishing on the podium in every moto this season continued.
“It was tough after that first moto, but I got back, cooled down and was feeling good,” said Dungey, who moved into third on the all-time total career wins list. “I thought this [the second moto] was my moment. I got a good start, which that was way, way key and just allowed me to ride my laps. It’s good to get this win; it’s been since round one. This is a good step.”
“We all have our days. I’m just happy to finish second and keep the points lead the same,” said Roczen. “That’s all I can ask for. I just wasn’t feeling it in that second moto and it’s time to put that behind me. It’s all about preparation during the week, so I’m going to go back and get stronger.”
Tomac’s hard charge to close out the final moto helped him steal third overall (4-3) from Canard, who posted identical 3-4 moto scores. Soaring Eagle/RCH Racing Suzuki’s Weston Peick finished fifth (6-5).
Roczen’s lead over Dungey in the 450 Class standings remains at 26 points. Canard sits third, 63 points behind. With three consecutive overall podiums in his first three career starts in the premier class, Tomac has already moved into 11th.