MOUNT MORRIS, Pa. (June 13) – Christian Craig bounced back in a big way, leading the GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda 250cc team with a seventh-place finish at the High Point National Pro Motocross race on Saturday at High Point Raceway.
Battling an illness last week in Tennessee, Craig finished 35th overall. But he was back on pace at High Point from the first time he hit the track, qualifying fifth. He then finished eighth in the first moto and seventh in the second.
“Big-time redemption,” Craig said. “Going in, I knew I had to put in some results. Last week, I want to forget about. It obviously wasn’t me riding out there. I don’t want to make excuses, but I was really sick, and I was really depleted that day. I wanted to move on from that and wanted to better myself.”
He did that, nearly matching his performance in his first race serving as a replacement for the injured Justin Bogle, when he was fifth overall in Denver.
“I had a good qualifying (effort),” Craig said. “I just wanted to put in two solid motos and ended up going 8-7. It’s not my best, and obviously I want to be up there with the (top) guys, but I am still working on race-pace fitness. Everything is coming along, and every day, I’m building. Every weekend is all about improving.”
That’s Smith’s attitude, too, as the rookie improved from the first moto to the second. He’s still battling “arm-pump,” where he tenses his arms too much for them to be effective, but he rode better in the second moto.
“I’m still struggling with arm-pump in the first moto,” said Smith, who was 16th in the first moto in High Point. “But it’s better in the second motos, and that’s when I can ride like I know how. It was a good day; I think we made some improvements, and we’ll get ’em in Budds Creek.”
Bisceglia is looking forward to Budds Creek, the next race on the AMA Pro Motocross schedule, after battling physical problems in High Point. He reached his goal of surviving the first lap of each moto and raced in the top four in the second moto for several laps.
But he had to race in survival mode.
“It was pretty painful,” Bisceglia said. “I’m definitely glad I have a week to recover now. I got just as good a start in the second moto as I did the first. I ran in the top three or four the first half of the moto, and I felt really good. Then I started getting really hot. I just survived today. I’m glad I have a week off to recover for Budds Creek.”
Hampshire is thankful for the time off, too, as a crash in the second moto left him a little banged up.
“I had a decent start and was seventh,” Hampshire said. “I came to a high-speed section near the finish, and I came together with (Shane) McElrath in the air. I hit pretty hard, and I’m banged up, but nothing too bad. We’ll get ready for Budds Creek.”
Hampshire was seventh in the first moto, battling for a podium spot for most of the race.
“I pushed pretty hard for 25 minutes and was still in third,” Hampshire said. “I ran second, ran third, but I ended up fading a little bit toward the end, but it was a good stepping stone for me. I got to see the (leaders’) pace, so I’ve got to keep building and don’t let one crash halt it.”
The Budds Creek National takes place June 27 in Mechanicsville, Md. Catch the second motos on NBCSN beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET.