DENVER (May 27) – The GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda 250cc team already knew they would face a test of mile-high altitude at this Saturday’s Thunder Valley National Pro Motocross race. Now they hear wet weather could present even more problems. But neither hurdle will affect their preparation or desire at the third of 12 rounds in the outdoor series.
Matt Bisceglia, who sits eighth in the 250 outdoor standings, actually welcomes the chance of rain.
“I am excited for a mud race,” Bisceglia said. “It should really shake things up. It would be fun if we get some rain and a mud race. You have to look at it as a fun element that you just have to go ride in.”
Rain is in the forecast for Friday, which would mean a wet, muddy track for the riders Saturday. There is only a 10 percent chance of rain Saturday, but the track could already be soaked.
A muddy track is not the only concern for the 250 riders, as the Denver elevation presents challenges to even the most physically fit riders. But Bisceglia isn’t worried.
“I have no concerns about racing at elevation,” Bisceglia said. “I’m healthy and my fitness is good, so I’m not worried about the elevation at all. You feel it, for sure, but I’m ready.”
Teammate R.J. Hampshire, 11th in the standings after two races, knows the thinner air is different from where he usually trains, but he also is ready for the challenge.
“Where I am from in Florida I am pretty much below sea level, so I’m not trying to focus on the weather or high elevation of Denver,” Hampshire said. “It’s going to be tough, but I’m just trying to block it out, do my own thing, race the motos and be strong overall.”
Hampshire had a fifth-place finish in the first moto last weekend at Glen Helen and hopes to build on that result.
“It’s round three already, so I’m excited and I want to do my best,” Hampshire said. “I have been feeling really good this week training and getting ready for Denver. I’m still in southern California putting in some work with the team and trying to perfect my bike. (Team manager) Mike LaRocco has been helping me make changes to my bike.
“We have a big test day on Thursday before we fly out. My bike is riding great; I’m just trying to get comfortable with it. I think once I am comfortable with the bike my results should come around.”
Rookie Jordon Smith believes he, too, can show improvement in Denver. He was 17th in the outdoor opener at Hangtown before finishing 13th in Glen Helen.
“I feel really good going into Denver,” Smith said. “I have learned a lot these past two rounds, so I’m feeling pretty confident coming into this weekend, and I am going to try to break that top 10.
“I have raced at elevation a few times. It definitely tests everyone’s fitness level more than just a regular moto. I feel like my fitness is really good, so we will see how it goes this weekend.
“We have made some changes to the bike, so I think it will run really good this weekend. My goal for Denver is to put two really solid motos together, and two top-10 moto finishes would be ideal.”
As announced Tuesday, Christian Craig will also be a part of the GEICO 250 team this weekend as a replacement for the injured Justin Bogle.
Catch the second motos live on NBCSN Saturday, May 30 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. ET.