A Bumpy Washougal for Points Leaders
There seemed to be a bit of a weak spot in the armor of both the 250 and 450 points leaders at Washougal Motocross Park. Both Ryan Dungey and Blake Baggett showed slight weakness on the slippery and rather rocky track, while Baggett took more of a hit than Dungey.
Starting with the 450 class, Dungey was finally witness to another rider crossing the finish line first as Mike Alessi broke Dungey's 10 moto win-streak he started back at Thunder Valley. The normal scenario usually consists of Alessi capturing the holeshot and Dungey sitting back for a few laps before he passes, eventually gapping the field by a comfortable 30 seconds. Not on Saturday. Dungey was persistent, while Alessi protection of his lines by any means necessary, making him look more like a semi-truck than a motorcycle.
In the end, Alessi was only able to pull it together for one moto and Dungey was right back out there winning by a margin that reminds us why he's on his way to motocross championship number two. To Alessi's credit, he has been the most consistent rider behind Dungey all season and has developed a comfortable lead over third place in the points standings. We have a two-weekend break to see if he can come back at Southwick and challenge the seemly-unshaken Dungey.
Moving to the 250 class, this is where the series is getting its money's worth. Like we said before, Dungey wasn't the only one to falter a bit at Washougal. Baggett showed a bit of his inconsistency from last year, creating fear for his fans that he had gone back to his old ways. The first moto proved he doesn't always have the El Chupacabra in him, a ride similar to his Moto 2 finish at High Point Raceway. But unlike at High Point, Justin Barcia - currently second in points - took full advantage of Baggett's struggles and brought the points margin into the single digits after the first moto. The question then was would Baggett falter again in Moto 2.
He didn't. Baggett was going so fast in Moto 2, it seemed inevitable that he would pass Barcia for the lead. Baggett's speed down some very sketchy parts of the course gave him the edge he needed to pass Barcia, and reclaim a double digit points lead in the championship standings (now 11 points). What was also impressive about Baggett's Moto 2 ride was that he didn't seem to get frustrated about being behind Barcia for several laps. He kept his composure, which seemed to elude him in Moto 1. While Baggett gained some valuable points in that second moto, there is no denying that giving up of seven points at Washougal was a hard pill to swallow.
Along with Baggett and Barcia putting on a show at the front in Moto 2, Marvin Musquin was showing off his speed in Moto 1. After earning another fastest qualifier award, he used that speed to lead a good portion of the first moto. Unfortunately, he was unable to hold off the Geico Honda boys and finished third, eventually finishing fourth overall. Ken Roczen seemed a bit disappointed at the end of the day and it doesn't seem he's put his finger on how to run at the front with the likes of Baggett and Barcia. The world champ heads home to Germany for a much needed break and we all hope he comes back at Southwick - a “GP style” track - well rested for a big weekend.
The break is not only going to benefit the disappointed Roczen, but is going to help those riders with injuries make their comeback. Southwick could be the possible return of both James Stewart and Davi Millsaps, which could be just what the 450 class needs at this point in the season. See you after the break.