Sacramento, California (May 21, 2016) – With a deep field of contenders in both the 250 and 450 classes of AMA Pro Motocross, every rider at the Hangtown season opener simply wanted to test their speed and preparation without specific expectations for results. In that aspect the GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda team can be happy as several riders logged better rides than the overall results sheet indicates.
It starts with Jordon Smith, who logged a career-best second in the first moto of the year in 250MX and looked set for a podium finish overall while running fourth early in moto two. Unfortunately, he was taken down due to an aggressive pass from rider Alex Martin. He ended up 16th, with 2-16 scores relegating him to seventh for the day.
“My day went pretty good overall. I can only take positive away from it,” said Smith. “Made some changes to my bike after practice—those guys killed it and the bike was great. Got a good start in the first moto, got up there and ran second the whole race. I felt good. Had another good one going in the second moto, and I ended up getting taken out. I just sort of struggled from there and finished 16th. I was running up front in both motos, had good starts and showed I had the speed, so I can just build on that.”
It looked like RJ Hampshire would have a great day too, after a strong fifth in the first moto. A minor crash in moto two turned into a bad situation, though, as he was trapped under his bike.
“Weekend didn’t end too good but I’m taking positives from it,” said Hampshire, who went 5-38 for 15th overall. “Solid first moto, ran fifth pretty much the whole time. Second moto I made some quick passes and ended up going down; my arm got stuck in the bike. That pretty much ended my moto. But I showed good speed and have a lot of positives to take out of the weekend, so hopefully we can improve the results.”
Rookie Tristan Charboneau made his much-anticipated professional debut at Hangtown and showed he’s ready, taking an impressive sixth in moto one. A 14th in moto two gave him ninth overall.
“Had a great first moto, went out and got a great start and followed the leaders around for awhile,” said Charboneau. “I got sixth, and I tried to throw a few passes in there, but a rookie guy doesn’t really know how to make those passes yet! Second moto I had a terrible start and crashed, but they red flagged it and had a restart because someone was down. But I got another bad start, and had to work my way up to 14th. Made a lot of progress today and I think I’ll be alright going forward.”
Christian Craig suffered setbacks in both motos, and his 15-8 for 12th overall doesn’t show his capabilities. He passed 25 riders during a comeback charge in the first moto. “Started off the day ninth in qualifying. I want to be up there so that wasn’t my best, for sure,” he said. “I went into the motos confident, but I fell in the third corner of the first moto. Started dead last and worked my way up to 15th. Second moto I started mid-pack and just tried to go forward. I got to seventh and went down. Had to just ride it out and I got eighth. Not my best—I’m looking for a lot more. Next weekend I need to get a better result and I’m confident I can get it.”
Hangtown has been a house of horrors for Justin Bogle, who this year manned the GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda CRF450R in the 450MX class. Last year, he was run into by another rider in a crash that left him injured. The track dealt more lumps this time, and he was happy to escape healthy enough to race round two.
“Started off the day not so good; had a pretty hard crash in practice. Man!” said Bogle, who finished 12th overall with 12-11 finishes. “Came back and got ready, got a great start in the first moto and ran up front for a couple of laps. I started having some issues. I bumped my head in practice and I was having some trouble with that; things were getting a little blurry and stuff. Salvaged a 12th, and the second moto was kind of the same situation — got a good start and salvaged an 11th. But still a decent day because I was able to get out of Hangtown somewhat healthy — at least I’m able to race next weekend. This actually hasn’t happened for me out of Hangtown ever — I’ve never scored points here in both motos. So all in all, I’ll take it.”
The team heads down to Southern California for the Glen Helen National this weekend.