MECHANICHSVILLE, MD (Aug. 20, 2016) – After a bounce-back weekend at the Unadilla National seven days earlier, the GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda team came into the GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National, round 11 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship, primed for more. The team riders showed speed, but bad luck struck when both RJ Hampshire and Jordon Smith were eliminated with bike problems while fighting for top-five positions in the first moto.
Neither rider finished the first moto, leading to bad gate picks and tough races in moto two. Hampshire ended up 17th overall with 35-9 moto scores, and Smith was a disappointing 32nd overall with 38-23 scores. Meanwhile rookie Tristan Charboneau had a mixed day with 15-13 scores, but led the team overall with a 15th-place finish.
“My times from practices put me in 10th for gate pick. I was happy about it,” said Charboneau. “First moto, I got caught up on the start when Cooper Webb went down and made my way back to 15th. Second moto I almost pulled the holeshot, came around the corner third or fourth, ran up there as long as I could, but the heat got to me and I just dropped like a rock. I fell back to 13th place; really disappointed in myself about that. I just need to be more prepared.”
Hampshire was fifth overall at the previous race and might have matched that finish if not for first-moto bike problems.
“Riding was the best it’s been all season,” said Hampshire. “Practice went well. First moto had a bunch of contact in the first turn. [I] came out outside of the top 20, but I was gaining speed throughout the moto. Worked my way all the way up to seventh with (Arnaud) Tonus right there and we ran into some problems with the bike with only four laps to go. Ended up not being able to finish.
“Second moto I had an awful gate pick so it was going to be tough to get a start. This time I came around outside of the top 30, once again put in a decent charge and got up to ninth. Still taking the positives out of the weekend. My team worked their butts off for me to go out and get the best result possible, and whenever my results haven’t been the best we are going to try new things to make our bike better and hopefully the results follow. This weekend my bike was the best it’s been all year! We will have it figured out for Ironman next weekend. I’m shooting for my season best to finish out the season.”
Smith ran in third in the early stages of the first moto before bobbling and losing a few spots. It was a positive sign that was washed out when the bike let go.
“Day started out pretty good; had two solid practices and was feeling pretty good for the motos,” said Smith. “My GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda got me off to a really good start in the first moto and I was running in third, then dropped back to sixth before my bike let go for that moto. I had to go back and let the guys do their job to get it back together and back out there for moto two. I didn’t have an ideal gate pick for moto two so I didn’t come out with a good start. Was moving my way back through the pack until I got tangled up with a rider I was trying to pass. So from there my day was pretty much over. All we can do is regroup and try to get some good results at the last round of the season.”
Just one regular-season round remains in 2016, with this weekend’s Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Ind.; however the GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda team will participate in a variety of events throughout the off-season.