The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series roared into the scenic surroundings of New Berlin, New York for round 10 of the exciting and action packed series. Known as one of the most captivating and exciting race tracks in the country Unadilla MX offered fans one of the most exciting mud races to date. With looming storms all over the northeast, everyone waited in anticipation of a "mudder" where the world's best would duke it out on an extremely treacherous racetrack. All of the riders and teams prepped for the oncoming challenges of the day expecting the worst and hoping for the best.
In the first round of practice sessions the rain held off and allowed for the best riders in the world to rise to the top of the timing sheet. Early on in the morning the track was rather deep with a loamy and soft composition which soon gave way to ruts and monstrous braking bumps. Hoards of fans lined the fences of the historic track before qualifying to get a snap shot of their favorite riders. Unadilla is known for its famous obstacles like the sky shot, a huge 100+ ft. table top jump that riders everywhere call the best jump for showing off to fans, and a section called "screw you", a near vertical downhill that transitions into an uphill only suited for the toughest riders out there.
In the premier 450 group Christian Craig, Cooper Webb, Eli Tomac, and Blake Bagget all got some early fast laps out of the way in the first qualifying session. It was Christian Craig who got his Honda HRC ride out to the top spot of qualifying with 2:06.915 just ahead of the Yamalube Yamaha ride of Cooper Webb. On a track like Unadilla it was key for the top guys to get comfortable on the track as early as possible. The New York track often proves tricky and deceiving for many riders and gaining a good feel for it makes all the difference later on in the day. In the 250 qualifying sessions it was Joey Savagty who got the top nod with a 2:07.657 over Adam Cianciarulo. It was almost unanimous that the track was in prime condition and was shaping up nicely for the races.
The entire venue was in a buzz by the time the gate fell for the first 250 class moto. Rookie rider and new TCE athlete Jon "Jon-Jon" Ames was excited to test his skills on a new track and debut his new Savij Racing Yamaha YZ-250F. The holeshot went to Adam Cianciarulo who led a 2-4 second lead over Joey Savagty in second. The two carved out some great lines and put on a riding clinic to the cheering fan's delight. Jon Ames rode strong and battled with newly turned pro rider Joey Crown for most of the moto. Ames looked to be jelling very well with the very fast and new Yamaha. Part way through the moto the race got a shake up as race leader Adam Cianciarulo went down in the right hand corner after the finish line jump. This left the door wide open for Joey Savagty to sneak in and take the checkered flag. Jeremy Martin worked his way up to the second spot on the podium with red plate holder Zach Osbourne rallying from mid pack to take the final podium in the 250 class. Early race leader Cianciarulo rode on for a 5th place finish following his small, but costly mistake. Rookie Jon Ames rode a very hard fought moto losing only a few spots and finally crossing the line in 20th. Not a bad ride for the rookie on an all new bike and unfamiliar track.
In the 450 race it was Red Bull KTM rider Marvin Musquin who shot out to a somewhat early lead after 450 Rookie and RCH Yoshimura Suzuki rider Matt Bisceglia grabbed the coveted holeshot. The rest of the field filed in trying their best to keep the Bisceglia and team mate Justin Bogle in their sights. TCE rider Henry Miller was anxious to lock down a great result and carry his momentum forward to the end of the season. As the riders rounded the first lap it was Marvin Musquin who was making some serious moves through the pack. He quickly passed Bagget and made his way past Bogle and Bisceglia with precision and sought to take the lead with a sizable gap. Partway through the moto the Unadilla valley grew dark with ominous cloud coverage and to the die hard moto-fan's delight heavy rains flooded the track.
The 450 riders were forced to ride cautiously and work on keeping their goggles and controls free of mud as best they could. In the muddy and flooded conditions Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM rider Blake Bagget set charge and chased down Marvin Musquin giving him all he could handle in the waning stage of the race. Despite the huge efforts put forth by Bagget, Musquin was able to keep him at bay. Privateer hero Henry Miller battled through the top 15 in the muddy mess. Even with the slippery and grueling conditions, Henry managed to stay calm and smooth. To everyones surprise the race was cut short once lightning struck and riders quickly exited the track. When the checkers fell it was Musquin, Bagget, and Cole Seely rounding out the podium. Henry Miller was able to grab 14th on his Triggr Racing tuned YZ450F.
Between motos two big storm fronts rolled in delaying the motos and wreaking havoc in the pits as high winds threatened to rip tents apart and even displaced banners and signs all over the track. Riders and teams struggled to get the bikes washed and prepped as the delays extended longer and longer. Once the lightning warning passed the 250 riders were allowed to start the race with a 20 minute moto plus 1 lap. When the gates dropped it was Jeremy Martin who shot out to the early lead with new Pro Rookie and Horizon Award Winner Justin Cooper and team mate RJ Hampshire in tow. The rain created an absolute war zone for the riders to contend with and standing water on the track reached up to 2.5 ft deep. Bikes were expiring all over the track and by the end of the race Martin had a several second lead over Justin Cooper. Dylan Ferrandis managed to grab a 3rd in the final moto. Rookie rider Jon Ames rode strong in the storm and managed a 25th for a 24th overall ride. Ames is sure to improve as the series moves on and he gets more comfortable on his new team.
The second 450 moto was another clean sweep for Marvin Musquin as he managed to get out front early once again and laid waste to the field. The heavier yet more powerful bikes appeared to be getting the best of some riders and many mistakes were made by riders of all calibers. Henry Miller managed to stay out of trouble and rode as smart as possible hoping to maintain a top 15 finish. By the end of the race it was Muquin, followed by 450 Rookies Husqvarna rider Martin Davalos and factory Yamaha rider Cooper Webb. Needless to say many were left scratching their heads about 450 points leader Eli Tomac’s less than impressive ride.
As for the TCE riders both Henry Miller and Jon Ames rode well, leaving nothing on the table. Both guys delivered smart riders and faired well in less than ideal situations. Henry was pleased with his riding and was eager to talk about the race with fans who were shadowing him and his team all day long. Henry gave away more cool products than young Ben could carry. The event rolls into Budds Creek for round 11 of the series in Mechanicsville, Maryland. Be sure to tune in and catch a glimpse of the TCE riders as they work on capping off the season with great results. For more information on showing your favorite riders and getting behind the scenes, be sure to reserve your spot and make some stellar connections!