With six rounds down and six more to go, the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its annual stop in Maryland for the GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National. The 25th annual stop at the legendary facility presented the toughest weather conditions to date in 2014, providing an opportunity for some new riders to emerge at the forefront of the 250 and 450 Classes. In the end, each division's leading title contender outlasted his respective points leader to put the momentum in their favor heading into the second half of the season.
Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett each made their return to the top of the podium and earned their third consecutive victory at Budds Creek.
With a legacy highlighted by his raw, world-class speed, Team Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart surprisingly landed his first Oakley Bomb Award of the 2014 season at Budds Creek with a time of 1:57.748. Stewart acknowledged the challenge that lied ahead on the difficult, rutted track, but was happy to be back amongst the top riders in the 450 Class with hopes of continuing that dominance into the motos. Following Stewart's time was Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen with a time of 1:58.217, once again establishing himself at the forefront of the division.
For the sixth time in seven rounds this season, the fastest rider in the 250 Class was Valli Motorsports Yamaha's Christophe Pourcel, who held the distinction of being the only 250cc rider to break the 2:00 minute mark with a time of 1:59.331. Pourcel praised the track, referencing the good prep and the nice day that was on hand for racing. Watching his lap times on the timer mounted on his handlebars, Pourcel was able to monitor his progress and capture the Oakley Bomb Award on his last lap of qualifying. Behind him was Rockstar Energy Racing's Jason Anderson who put in a great time of 2:00.105 and parlayed that effort to earn his first career win in Moto 1.
The Motosport.com Holeshot Award is brand new to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross this season and it awards $500 to the rider who gets the holeshot of each moto - in both the 450 Class and 250 Class - at every round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. A total of $2,000 will be up for grabs at each event between the two classes, thanks to Motosport.com.
At Budds Creek, it was a pack of Yamaha's that raced to the front of the pack and around the first turn of the opening 450 Class moto. When the gate dropped, all three Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX riders were at the forefront, with the Justin Brayton taking the Motosport.com Holeshot Award for the first time this season ahead of his teammates Josh Grant and Phil Nicoletti. However, Brayton was unable to maintain the pace of the lead pack, ultimately finishing 14th. In Moto 2, Yamahas were once again first to the turn, but Dungey found a way to sneak up the inside and got a great drive up the hill to earn his fourth Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season. The two-time series champion never looked back, going wire-to-wire to earn his second overall victory of the season.
In the 250 Class, Pourcel got the jump off the gate, leading the pack around the first turn, but it was GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle on the inside lane who powered up the hill past Pourcel to take the Motosport.com Holeshot Award in Moto 1, ultimately finishing fourth. In Moto 2, Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha's Jeremy Martin fought hard using the inside lane to get in front of a first turn pile up that caused multiple riders to go down. Powering up the hill, Martin secured his fourth Motosport.com Holeshot Award and began to pull away from the rest of the riders. Baggett later caught Martin, who settled for second overall on the day with 2-2 results.
The RC Hard Charger Award is entering its sixth season in 2014. Named after Ricky Carmichael, the most winning motocross rider of all time, the award recognizes the one competitor at each of the 12 rounds of the championship who overtakes the highest number of his fellow racers in any of the four championship motos between the 250 and 450 Classes.The award is a testament to "The Greatest of All Time" or "The GOAT" and his never-give-up attitude over the span of a career that warranted 10 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross titles and 102 wins - two feats that will likely never be duplicated. All recipients of the RC Hard Charger Award are given a custom-designed trophy.
After getting caught up in a first turn incident caused by Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Dean Wilson put his head down in the second 250 Class moto to claw his way forward from a 37th starting spot to finish 16th, passing 21 riders along the way. Although Wilson did not go down after the first turn pileup, the bike was in need of attention from his team in the mechanics area. Wilson sat nearly one minute behind the leaders and 10 seconds back of the first rider ahead of him once he returned to action. Other honorable mentions go to Musquin, who went from 34th to 14th after his second moto crash and Soaring Eagle/RCH Racing Suzuki's Ivan Tedesco, who came from dead last in the first 450 Class moto to go from 38th to 19th. Additionally, privateer Chris Proscelle was impressive, climbing from 39th to 20th in the second 450 Class moto.