View From The Infield: Colorado Vibes

We got all conditions on Saturday, from mud to rapidly hardening hardpack. You have to expect the unexpected at Thunder Valley.

View From The Infield: Colorado Vibes

Thunder Valley has been part of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series for years, and is always fun to visit. It also lived up to its name this year. Taking a look out of the press tent before moto one, it quickly became apparent that there was weather on the way.

Ziggy giving Hunter Lawrence some encouragement before he heads to the gate for moto one. Hunter ended the day with a 10-7 score.

Kai Aiello was stuck in limbo before the first 250 moto. You can usually spot the alternates, as they wait uncomfortably to see if someone doesn't show up and they make it in. While he didn't make it in for the first one, we like that the rules allow for a full gate in moto two. He did get in that one, and scored a 34th, along with some experience.

Bring on the color guard.

It was cool to see these guys cruise up through the valley during opening ceremonies.

You could tell that there was a little semi-frantic activity around the gate before the start of moto one. One of the springs in the gate mechanism broke, and after the flinchgate storyline at Fox Raceway (where the gate jiggled before dropping in the second 250 moto), the crew scrambled to make sure all was good here...along with an extra test drop to make sure.

How's this for a Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha team photo? All four of their guys were up front early on.

RJ Hampshire was the fast qualifier in the 250 class, and led a trio of laps early in 250 moto one.

Among the 250s, Justin Cooper has been the master of the first moto this season. He took over the lead after getting by RJ Hampshire, and right about this point those dark clouds started spitting big fat raindrops...and we started to hear the rumble of thunder.

The policy for race stoppage? Lightning within two miles. While we don't love seeing motos end short, we also get the need for safety.

Zach Osborne pointing out a lone spectator way up on the ridgetop overlooking Thunder Valley.

Zach grabbed the holeshot in moto one. The riders had to scramble a bit to do mud prep (mostly for their helmets and goggles), before they got to the line.

Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing has been happy with Dean Ferris, and they're working to try and secure his services for the full summer. If they get things dialed, he'll stay in place when Aaron Plessinger returns to action.

Eli Tomac had vision troubles to start the moto, and had to make a quick pit stop. He hovered around tenth before the stop, and was able to charge back to fifth after picking up a fresh pair of goggles.

While it was a little sloppy early in the moto, the conditions weren't terrible for the 450 guys after the rain. The ruts, though, were plenty deep.

It was cool to see Cooper Webb snag a third in moto one. Folks we've talked to in the pits expect him to improve throughout the summer, and be a factor late in the season.

Adam Cianciarulo looked (and checked the rut) for about six different spots on the gate for the start of moto two.

Justin Cooper was ready for action. He's really hungry for his first overall win.

Justin Cooper snagged the holeshot, and once again had all his teammates in close proximity.

Expect a war between Cianciarulo and Cooper all summer long.

With the altitude and reduced power, the 250 guys really had to stretch to make it over this double. Adam got a little sideways later in the moto and went off the track. With no good options for reentry, cut over to the other side of the track, rolled over the banners, and reentered behind Justin. That led to much discussion at the official's rig after the race.Justin also led the first six laps before a caved-in rut caused a crash. He spent the rest of the moto chasing (and closing), but couldn't catch him.

Colt Nichols had a tough first moto (he had to toss his goggles, among other things), but came back with a strong fourth in moto two.

This rutted downhill and off-camber made an interesting spot. Chase Sexton slipped back to seventh in this moto, while Michael Mosiman moved up to third

Dylan Ferrandis just missed the podium this week with a 3-4 score.

Was Michael Mosiman pumped about scoring his first podium? Oh yeah.

Grand Marshal Andrew Short handed off the winner's trophy to Adam Cianciarulo.

Blake Baggett (and Cooper Webb to the inside of him) nailed the start for the second 450 moto.

Ken Roczen led early on after taking the lead from Cooper Webb, but from lap ten on it was all Eli Tomac. That's what the hometown crowd came to see.

Zach Osborne (2-4), and Jason Anderson (4-5) battling it out in moto two. If the altitude affected Jason like it has in the past, it didn't really show.

Marvin Musquin was a bit off his game in moto one, but came back with a strong third in moto two.

Ken Roczen didn't let Eli Tomac get too far out of sight, and kept the pressure on.

Joey Savatgy's day didn't go quite how he'd have liked. But how about these ruts late in the day?

Justin Barcia wasn't feeling well (particularly in the first moto), but he was a bit racier in moto two, and made this pass on Blake Baggett for sixth.

With this moto win, Eli has now won four of the six motos so far.

While he still might not be 100 percent, this version of Ken Roczen is miles ahead of where he was at the beginning of last year's outdoor season.

From one Colorado native to another. It was good to see Andrew Short hand off the trophy to Eli Tomac.

Ken Roczen grabbed the overall and retakes the red plate, while Eli ended up second, and is only two points behind Ken. Zach Osborne nabbed his first-ever 450 outdoor podium.

After the races, both the Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha and Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki teams made their pitch for their particular riders, which meant much milling around for everyone while we awaited an answer. In the end, the results remained the same, with Adam Cianciarulo taking the 250 overall.


GuyB 6/3/2019 8:06 AM

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