Traxxas’ Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team joined the AMA Pro Motocross Championship in its first visit to the Southeast since 1997 with the inaugural Tennessee National. Muddy Creek Raceway, located near the Tennessee and Virginia border, was the sight of the new event and a massive crowd turned out to cheer on the world’s best riders on what instantly became one of the most challenging tracks in the championship. With a total of five riders represented in the 450 and 250 classes, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki squad fought all afternoon long to achieve solid results.
Rattray Hit with Misfortune
Following back-to-back top-10 finishes to start the season, Tyla Rattray was in search of continued success in Tennessee. The veteran rider started the day off with a solid effort in the opening moto, finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th place. In Moto 2, Rattray was one of many riders involved in an incident in the first turn and as a result was unable to continue, ultimately finishing in 38th place. Due to the misfortune he experienced in the final moto, Rattray finished 17th overall.
“It’s definitely a tough way to end things, but that’s racing sometimes,” said Rattray. “I felt good after the first moto and I was looking to improve on it, but we couldn’t continue once everything cleared up from the crash. We’ve had a good start to the season and the Kawasaki KX450F keeps getting better so it’s tough to have that bad luck, but we’ll move on and get ready for next weekend.”
Despite the hard luck, Rattray maintained control of seventh in the 450 Class standings.
Baggett Leads Pro Circuit Riders with Double Podiums
Blake Baggett didn’t have the day he was hoping for at the previous stop in Colorado and as a result, was eager to get back on the podium at Muddy Creek. Despite getting mid-pack starts in each moto, Baggett battled his way to the front and showed why he is the defending 250 Class Champion. Baggett’s trademark ability to find different fast lines on the track worked in his favor and he posted a pair of third-place results. However, even though he finished on the podium in each moto, Baggett landed fourth overall but still left with confidence.
“It’s not very often that you go 3-3 and finish fourth overall, but that’s how the points play out I guess,” said Baggett. “It’s a little frustrating but we rode really well today and I’m pumped on that. We’re getting better each week and my Kawasaki KX250F is a really fast. All I need is a couple good starts and we’ll be right there for the win.”
Baggett maintained control of fourth in the 250 Class championship and sits six points out of third.
Davalos Narrowly Misses the Top 10
Martin Davalos posted an impressive pair of motos in Colorado to claim his first top-10 finish of the season one week ago and he maintained that momentum in Tennessee. Davalos was in the thick of the hunt for a spot inside the top 10 during the opening moto, but ultimately settled for 13th. In Moto 2, Davalos pushed his Kawasaki KX250F through the rough conditions of Muddy Creek to gain four spots on his first moto result for eighth. The 13-8 moto scores left Davalos just one point outside the top 10 in 11th.
“I wish I had a couple more spots to gain from that first moto, but I’m happy with how things went in Moto 2,” said Davalos. “The track just got more and more rough, but the KX250F was dialed and it’s a nice boost of confidence to finish strong. We’ll take that, learn from it, and try to come out stronger next week.”
Davalos gained one spot in the standings and now sits in 12th place, just two points from 11th and six points from the top 10.
Hill Shows Resiliency
Justin Hill had his work cut out for him to start the day at Muddy Creek, crossing the line in 34th place in the opening moto. Despite that, the rookie began his climb through the field and overcame the rough conditions on the track to pass 18 riders and finish in 16th place. In Moto 2, Hill took advantage of a better start to stay consistent and finish 14th, ultimately landing him 14th overall.
“We’re learning every week,” said Hill. “Things are bound to get tough here and there, but I’m really able to learn what it takes to succeed by going through all of it. I know I have the speed to be a consistent top 10 guy, but we’ll continue to work on things during the week and try to come out stronger every round.”
Hill sits 14th in the championship and is just 10 points from breaking into the top 10.
Durham Battles Through Pain to Post Solid Day
Darryn Durham is still in recovery from an injury he suffered at the opening round of the championship. After the injury forced him to miss last weekend’s race in Colorado, Durham was determined to get back on track in Tennessee and did just that. Even though he isn’t at his best, Durham secured solid results in each moto to gain valuable points and confidence in being able to ride through the pain. Durham’s 14-17 moto results placed him 17th overall.
“It feels great to get a couple motos under me,” said Durham. “I’ve been sore since getting hurt and it makes it tough to ride at the level I’m used to, but each week things get better. I really wanted to prove to myself that I can get through it, especially after missing out last weekend, so I’m just pumped to grab some points and look ahead to next weekend.”
Durham currently sits 16th in the 250 Class standings.
Looking Ahead - High Point
The AMA Pro Motocross Championship heads to High Point Raceway next weekend for its annual visit to Pennsylvania. The renowned venue serves as the home race for Darryn Durham and has been the sight of a lot of success for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki. The riders will look to grab strong results before heading into the first off weekend of the season.
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