Round two of the Lucas Oil Motocross Nationals visited Prarie City OHV Park in NorCal for the Dirt Digger’s Hangtown Motocross Classic last weekend, and what a day of racing it was! Between the Lawrence brothers racing through the flu, to Jason Anderson winning his first 450 National, there was so much to see and learn. If you didn’t get to the races, here’s a little bit of what we saw throughout the day. Enjoy!
Round two of the Lucas Oil Motocross Nationals headed to NorCal last weekend to Prarie City OHV Park for the Dirt Diggers' Hangtown Motocross Classic. Fair weather greeted the racers and fans, and the racing on the track was excellent!
The Hangtown Classic track was not prepped as deep as we have seen in the past, leaving the traditionally hard-packed track looking more like itself. Though some nice ruts did develop, much of the course was choppy and chattery.
The Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers were incorporated in the opening ceremonies, as usual. Yeehaw!
Hangtown, apparently, has Hill People, too.
One of the biggest storylines of the weekend was the success of the Lawrence brothers, in spite of both of them suffering from terrible cases of the flu - NOT COVID - the Australians maintained their normal spots at the front of the 250 class field.
The red plate will remain on the defending 250 champion's bike! Check out the extra vents drilled into the side panel of Lawrence's bike to allow the CRF250R to breathe outdoors.
Of the brothers, Jett was obviously more miserable as he was not his normally cheerful self throughout the entire day's program. Word has it that both were throwing up throughout the day, which would make it even tougher to stay well hydrated and perform at their best.
Jett's second-moto win secured the overall for the Honda HRC rider. Lawrence moved into second early on in the final moto and ran down holeshot artist Justin Cooper and tok control of the lead when Cooper took a brief off-track excursion. Once in the point position, Lawrence rode just hard enough to maintain a small lead, which he did until the checkered flag.
A small tip over in the first moto cost Hunter Lawrence a couple of positions as he dropped as far back as sixth before clawing his way back to fourth by the checkered flag. A massive charge in the second race - made even more impressive by his poor health - saw him rin down Justin Cooper for second in the closing stages of the moto, even though the pass would not improve his overall position.
Hunter's smooth, tall-gear riding style was a perfect match for the rough Hangtown track. In addition to conserving valuable energy, Lawrence was able to keep his suspension working nicely in the Norcal chop.
Check out Hunter Lawrences cool aluminum starting blocks, made by Baghouse Industrial in Corona Ca, Baghouse is a leading sheet metal fabricator owned by Chad Smart, and the title sponsor of the SoCal mountain bike race team captained by Johnny O'Mara.
How ill was Jett feeling? We snapped this shot in the post-race cool-down area. No smiles, even after earning his second win of the series.
Johnny O'Mara has been training the Lawrence brothers for a couple of years now, and his work is paying dividends. We asked him what the numbers were that scribbled on the back of his hand. While we were expecting heart rate or V02 max numbers, O'SHow simply replied, "The practice and moto start times." Haha!
O'Mara did his best to cool Jett down right after the race, pouring water on his rider and shoveling ice down the back of his jersey...
Hunter was markedly more energetic on. the podium and the cheers he drew from the crowd were deafening. We're looking forward to seeing more brother vs. brother battles this season!
Monster Energy/Star Racing's Justin Cooper made huge gains between the series opener at Fox Raceway and Hangtown. JCoop holeshot both motos and finished second and third for second overall and his first podium of the year
A great battle between Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac developed in the opening 450-class moto. Roczen held tough and never allowed Tomac to get close enough to make a bid for third.
No word yet whether Shane McElrath will join the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team for the entire National series, but wed expect him to stay with no definite timeline on when either Dean Wilson or Malcolm Stewart will return to action.
McElrath made his 450 National debut at Fox Raceway and was impressive with 10th overall. He was a bit off the pace at Hangtown, going 12-14 for 14th overall.
Great battles were to be found everywhere in the pack, but we were especially interested in the one between Antonio Cairoli and Ryan Dungey. The Red Bull KTM teammates swapped 7-6 and 6-7 moto scores, with the Italian coming out on top for sixth overall.
Initially, pre-series rumors had both Dungey and Cairoli only racing the first two MX Nationals for fun. Dungey was the first to break the news that he was in for the entire series, and now it looks as if Cairoli is entertaining the same. "Let go two more," he wrote on his Instagram on Sunday. We were told that the team and Cairoli will meet during the break after High Point to discuss the rest of the summer. We did, however, overhear Cairoli asking about living and training in Florida...
Roczen admitted that he had an off day at Hangtown with a few close calls. 4-3 for fourth overall, Roczen still holds second in the championship standings and says that he and the team will go to work this week to find more comfort in his race settings.
Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha's Christian Craig is proving to be a serious contender in the 450 class. The Western Regional 250 Supercross Champion backed up his third at Fox Raceway with a solid fifth at Hangtown. We asked him what it feels like to chase down and pass guys like Dungey and Cairoli, and he replied that while it seemed surreal at Fox Raceway, he's confident that he belongs at the front of the 450 pack now.
Yeah, that's the look of a guy who doesn't know he just won his first 450 National!
Anderson had a funny story after the race. "I crossed the finish line in third and knew I would be on the podium. My pit board said, 'You did it!' but I thought that meant I made the podium. But people were going nuts so I stopped and asked one of the flaggers if I had won. He said yeah and I was like, 'sick!'"
Anderson's mechanic Jason "Rango" Montoya gets his first sip of National champagne. We doubt it will be his last.
It's been exciting to see Broc Tickle's transition from racer to Kawasaki team test rider and Jason Anderson's trainer. Tickle told us recently that he hopes to get on the starting line this year so he can hold onto his permanent number 20.
This week's Team Fried release is gonna be a good one!
Chase Sexton continued to impress at Hangtown. After sweeping both motos at the series kickoff, Sexton was strong and steady with a pair of seconds, the first behind Jason Anderson and the second behind Eli Tomac. Sexton looks smooth and in complete control, with no signs of riding out of his comfort zone.
"I felt like I was really close to having two more moto wins, but they both zapped me at the end with four or five laps to go," said Sexton. "But I felt good. Two hard charges and two good rides. I'm happy with second today."
Like Lawrence's, the red plate will remain on. Chase Sexton's Honda!
For people wondering what the spacey eyewear Sexton was wearing on the podium, they were the Oakley Kato, a performance sunglass that is mostly used for cycling thanks to its aerodynamic shape.
Eli Tomac's second-moto win...a sign of things to come? Tomac told us that his knee is better and only prevents him from squeezing the bike as tightly as he would like. As the series wears on and his knee gains strength, we're willing to bet that we see a lot more of ET3 winning.
Watching Eli Tomac pot the power to the ground on a National track is simply amazing. It's no secret that Tomac likes to have a lot of power and that he modulates the delivery of that power not with the throttle, but with the clutch. We've said it before....this summer might be your last chance to watch Tomac in action outdoors, as he is definitely Supercross only for 2023.
"This week was certainly better than last week where I went backward into the pack," Tomac told us. "We did some work last week and made some progress, and I was able to put on a hard charge this week and feel comfortable. This track gets really technical, and it was fun to go out there and battle with Chase (Sexton) for that moto win. Once I got him I was surprised at how he was able to latch onto me and we had a barnburner right until the end."
NorCal hero Brandon Ray parted ways with the PRMX Team that he contested Supercross with because he desired to stay racing in the United States rather than head to Canada for the summer. BRay showed up at Hangtown aboard a Husqvarna fielded by Blood Money and The Bud Builders.
Also moving from the PRMX team to the Blood Money/Bud Builders team is privateer hero Justin Rodbell, who told us that he had never ridden a Husky before lining up for the National.
In his Husqvarna debut, Rodbell went 20-27 for 22nd overall. Points, man. Points.
The SGD Unlimited rig was at Hangtown but there were no racers. We hope to see the squad back together soon!
We turned to UrbanDictionary.com for help with Jo Shimoda's butt patch.
This is a catch-all word to express something that's really good, pleasant, cool, etc. It can be used to describe a fancy new car, a 5-star hotel, fine looking butt, delicious food, anything really.
"Man this tropical resort do be bussin, they literally have everything!"
"Yo do you see that ass over there?"
"Yeee, that ass is bussin"
"Grandma's baked mac n cheese is hella bussin"
Shimoda had some exceptionally fast laps at Hangtown. In fact, the PC rider looked well on his way to winning the second moto as he raced through the pack, but a small tip over kept him from achieving the finish that his pace deserved. Expect some wins from Jo Show in 2022.
Man, we're feeling old. We asked Jo Shimoda about the shoes that we saw him take delivery of. "They are from Mr. Nice Cream, and they look cool!" he said. As best we can tell, Mr. Nice Cream is a gourmet ice cream vendor that sells merch and art? Decide for yourself at mrnicecreamla.com haha!
Seth Hammaker went 6-8 for seventh overall at Hangtown. The Monter Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki has plenty of speed, and we expect to see him on the podium shortly.
Hammaker also had a cool custom butt patch from the crew at Fox Racing. We couldn't help but chuckle, recalling a few years ago when Jeremy Martin mispronounced Hammaker as Haymaker when giving us a How Was Your Weekend quote.
Twisted Tea/Yoshimura/HEP/Suzuki Factory Racing rider Justin Bogle had an Ohlins steering stabilizer mounted to the front of his Suzuki RM-Z450. We're betting that it helped on the fast, rough, downhill in the middle of the Hangtown track!
Both Brandon Hartranft and Justin Bogle had days that they'd rather forget in NorCal. While Hartranft struggled with arm pump and put together performances good enough for 17th overall, Bogle crashed out of moto one and did not line up for moto two.
Bogle, sadly, will not be back for the remainder of the MX Nationals. We texted him to see if he was hurt after his moto one crash. "I'm not hurt," he replied. "But the team and I collectively decided that I should take a step back and take some time to evaluate things. It's very unlikely that I will be back for any outdoors as of now." It looks to us like Bogle has struggled to get comfortable on the Suzuki RM-Z450 chassis, which is. the same now as when he rode for the RCH Suzuki team in 2017. Even then, Bogle tod us that the chassis was ill-handling and tough to set up...
Our SoCal neighbor Joshua Verize turned in 15-13 scores for 12th overall in the 250 class. Racing as a privateer with support from Husqvarna, we'd hope that he would be considered as a fill-in for RJ Hampshire, who suffered some scary injuries at Hangtown and is sidelined for a few weeks.
We stopped by to check in with our test rider Rich Taylor. Owner of EKS Brand goggles, RT is also dad to Richard Taylor, one of the Rock River Yamaha racers.
Taylor was just outside of the points in the 450 class, but is looking forward to Thunder Valley, where he has scored in the past. From the looks of his front fender, LST has picked up support from Logan Kawnow's "outside industry" sponsor! If you don't know, look it up.... Support those who support the sport. Haha!
The BBMX team was on had at Hangtown with Freddie Noren and Benny Bloss, who finished 12th and 16th respectively, aboard their privateer KTMs.
The camera-loving Davi Millsaps is helping the BBMX team in an as-of-te unspecified capacity. Millsaps is Bloss' trainer, but he also seems to be helping with some of the team's managerial durties. "I hate to see any team ever leave the sport," he said. "So I am doing anything I can to help. Ask me again next week what my position is."
Bloss was not happy with his performances at Hangtown and seemed to struggle with setup on his KTM 450 SX-F, but he didn't seem too stressed in the pits...
We've heard stories about the team buying Bloss and Noren their gear at AEO Powersports, as the team has not yet secured a gear sponsor.
Noren, meanwhile, looked a bit more comfortable on his new ride than Bloss. The likable Swede went 14-10 at Hangtown.
A look at the BBMX machines. Many of the team sponsors have remained on board from the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC days earlier in the year.
We asked Club MX Yamaha's Alex Martin if Nationals were tougher on a 450 than Supercross. "No way," he said. "Supercross was way gnarlier with all the rhythm sections and tricky sections. Either way the 450 is a big bike to hold on to but I am having fun!"
What was Alex Martin taking video of?
...teammate Garrett Marchbanks doing some male modeling in the Leatt shoulder brace. We asked Marchbanks if he could feel any added support, of if it was more of a placebo. It totally works," he said. "Last weekend I got too far back on the bike and it should have made my shoulder pop, but the brace kept it in. I like it!"
Shoulder brace, mullet, powerful 450? Garrett Marchbanks has it made in the shade.
We love checking out the cool parts used in the Nationals. For some reason, a bike equipped with an oil cooler just looks extra trick, right?
The mood is high in the Club MX pits.
Brandon Sharer missed the points at Hangtown, finishing 28th in the 250 class. Better days lie ahead for the Californian as the series wears on.
Marchbanks finished 11th overall at Hangtown aboard his Club MX Yamaha. We asked him if it was nice to race in the 450 class, where power is never in question, and he said, "Its nice for sure, but I have a lot to prove and accomplish in the 250 Supercross class still. But it is nice to not be at a size disadvantage in the Nationals. The power is definitely never lacking!"
Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/Gas Gas rider Pierce Brown celebrated his 20th birthday the day before Hangtown. A big crash in moto one forced him to pull off, but he rebounded with a strong 10th in moto two. Aigoo!
The Troy Lee/Red Bull/Gas Gas team mounts its GoPro Hero 10 Black cameras inside the front numberplate. This yields a unique perspective, for sure, but with the brutal roost encountered in a National MX moto, we were told that almost every time the bike takes to the track, the glass lens cover comes back broken.
Larger and longer radiators, plus an electronic fan, keep the Gassers running cool.
Michael Mosiman is one of several racers who use a mouthguard to protect his teeth and against a jaw-clacking concussion.
Levi Kitchen had a solid weekend at Hangtown, going 6-6 for sixth overall. "My speed is sweet, but my starts are not," he wrote on his Instagram.
We spotted these strange contraptions on Kitchen's Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha. Steg Pegz are bolted onto each side of the bike and are designed to help the rider grip the bike better with his boots and legs. "I feel like I can almost lift the rear of the bike with them," Kitchen told us. Interesting!
Kitchen, at speed
We asked Monster Energy/Star RacingYamaha team trainer Gareth Swanepoel how he is adapting to the team's cross-country move to Florida. "It's ok," he said. "But I can tell you that it would not be as easy a transition if I didn't have kids! They make it easy to be anywhere. I do miss mountain biking, though!"
A top 10 finish for rookie pro Nick Romano at Hangtown! That's a good reason to smile.
The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider went 10-9 in the motos and broke into the top 10 in what was only his second race as a pro. Great job, NIck!
Motocross Action editor Josh Mosiman will throw his hat into the ring at a few 450 MX Nationals this year. At Hangtown, the older brother of Gas Gas rider Michael Mosiman finished 30th overall aboard the MXA KX450 test bike. World's fastest magazine editor?
Our very own Chase Curtis shadowed Red Bull KTM's Maximus Vohland at his hometown race for an upcoming Fox Feature video. You'll enjoy the bits with his mechanic mic'dup! Stay tuned.
During the morning practice sessions, Ken Roczen and Christian Craig elected to let the field go so that they could execute their practice starts in peace.
Big Sexy Brandon Hartranft finished 17th overall and was not happy at all with his performances. "My bike is too fast and it makes me pump up," he said. Expect to see BHart c loser to the top 10 in short order.
SoCal privateer Ryan Surratt raced the first two 450 Nationals aboard his suspension tuner's personal Yamaha YZ450F. At Hangtown, the Stapes Suspension entry went 18-18 for 18th overall. Will we see Surratt in Denver? "We'll see..." is all he'd say.
Joey Savatgy made his return debut with the Monster Energy Kawasaki team at Hangtown and finished ninth overall. "I just wanted to get some time on the bike and testing done," he said. "The team and I decided to skip Fox Raceway, but I felt prepared well enough coming into Hangtown. I didn't feel great, but it's a good starting point."
Smooth and steady, Ryan Dungey's 6-7 for seventh is more impressive than it reads on paper. With six years of retirement under his belt, RD says that he is only at 85% speed right now. Look elsewhere on the site for a full interview video with Dung!
Is there anything nastier than putting on a sweaty helmet? The Lawrence brothers keep their Alpinestars SM10 helmets fresh with a couple of portable fans.
The same fans are used over at the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rig, where Stilez Robertson and Jalek Swoll also like to dry out their sweaty gloves in between riding sessions.
Jalek Swoll has been riding with a banged-up shoulder and a big crash at the start of the second moto didn't help at all. In moto one, however, he was absolutely flying and ran second for much of the first moto before settling into ninth. Better days ahead!
Swoll consulted with the team after his big moto two crash on the opening lap. He eventually returned to the pits and was scored 40th in the moto.
An 11-7 scorecard for Stilez Robertson earned him ninth overall.
It's awesome having Antonio Cairoli in the United States. The nine-time World Champion announced that he will race at least two more MX Nationals, and is considering even more. Meetings are set after the High Point National. Fingers crossed!
We noticed a digital display cut into the handlebar pad of Antonio Cairoli's bike. The Italian likes to know what gear his bike is in at a glance,
We liked the custom touch on the tip of Cairoli's front brake lever.
Watching Cairoli in action is a treat as he has a smooth, fluid style that is distinctive against the techniques of many of his Stateside rivals.
We joked with Richard Sterling about the crazy turn of events in his life over the past several months. Last year, he found himself without a job after Talking Boy's FXR Chaparral team closed its doors, and now he is a factory Red Bull KTM mechanic for a nine-time World Champion!
Maximus Vohland and his trademark Acerbis handguards were easy to spot on the track at Hangtown. The local boy was fifth overall with two solid motos.
Will the 2022 MX Nationals be one last hurrah for Ryan Dungey? We're betting that we see the number 5 at Anaheim One 2023...
Again, Dungey made it clear in our post-race interview that the 2022 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition is the best outdoor platform he's ever raced on. Look elsewhere on the site for the O'Neal Checking in with Ryan Dungey interview!
What a year it's been for Jason Montoya! In addition to celebrating seven 450 Supercross wins with his rider Jason Anderson, "Rango" now has a MX National win, too!
Our buddy Tyson Johnson had a scary crash at Hangtown. Get well soon, Chicken Little!
We asked Chris Loredo what it's like transitioning from Malcolm Stewart to RJ Hampshire in one season. "It's a lot more serious and intense with RJ," he joked. "I have to calm him down and remind him that he doesn't need to try to win every race by 10 seconds." Hamshire had a scary crash in the first moto in which he landed on a trackside haybale stake. The object skewered him in the armpit and cut his lung. Hampshire underwent surgery to repair the damage and spent a couple of days in the hospital. Stay tuned for more as news becomes available.
Spotted in the infield: Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha team owner Bobby Regan. This guy does a lot for our sport!
Pierce Brown, at speed.
With his long-time rider Marvin Musquin done with his Supercross 2022 contract, Frankie Latham is on hand at the races in a different capacity. "I'm doing what Ryan Morais did, helping with the team's organization," he said. We asked him if he would take on a new racer if Musquin doesn't return to the team, and Latham replied that his desire would be to work in house at the race shop with less travel.
The Alpinestars crew has these battery-powered pressure washers to clean up racers' boots in between riding sessions.
Rain actually began to fall right before the first moto of the day. We saw a couple of the goggle guys start t scramble, but in the end it was only a light sprinkle that posed no problems for riders or their vision.
Garret Steinke was proud to show off his new signature State of Ethos jersey. "I'm known as the weed guy, but the mushrooms on the jersey represent my appreciation for hallucinogens, too," he joked.
Of course, Stank Dog kept the two-stroke dream alive with his screaming Husqvarna TC125.
We asked Derek Drake what was playing in his headphones on the line before the first 250 moto. "Some good ole Alice in Chains!" he said.
Michael Mosiman's day included the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The high? Scoring his first career 250 National moto win when he ran down Justin Cooper to win in front of his hometown crowd!
While the low would be crashing out and bending his bars too badly to continue on the first lap of the second moto. We're excited to see what Mosiman can do the rest of the summer!
Wil Hahn, at speed.
Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha's Justin Cooper grabbed two commanding holeshots in the 250 class.
Jalek Swoll at speed in 250 moto one.
This is the moment when Michael Mosiman overtook Justin Cooper by using the jumpier right line down the sp;it downhill section. Local knowledge!
Congrats on your first moto win, Mosi!
Joey Savatgy is another rider who protects his teeth and guards against concussions with a custom mouthguard.
We asked Chase Sexton what was playing on his AirPods on the starting line. "A crazy mixture of stuff," he said. "My playlist makes no sense at all!"
Whatever it was, it certainly pumped him up for the start! Just when it looked as if Anderson might have the edge, Sexton opened his throttle even more and snagged credit for the 450 moto one holeshot.
We asked Joey Savatgy what he was listening to on the starting line. "It's a secret!" was his reply. Hmmm...Brittney?
We like the back of Antonio Cairoli's helmet, which commemorates all of his nine World Championships. A legend, indeed!
Have you ever tried to ride with earplugs? Eli Tomac has worn them forever, stating that it helps him concentrate. This is the first time we've noticed Ken Roczen with them...
Kenny's butt patch...
A nod to his European roots: Ken Roczen has a laundry drying rack outside of his motor home.
Aaron Plessinger is still waiting to get back up to speed following the broken arm he suffered during the Supercross series. Still, the likable Red Bull KTM rider is always great for a good post-race interview.
Plessinger's mechanic Jade Dungey preps his rider's starting gate with precision, with no gaps in the traction at all.
We'll miss ya, Captain.
We always hear how important it is to ride on the balls of your feet... Jason Anderson offers a demonstration of using all of the body's natural suspension.
Josh Gilbert had a scary crash at the start of the first 450 moto. After swapping out on the rough, fast downhill, he crashed through the trackside banners and into a metal stake on the side of the track. One of the riders who wears a Leatt neck brace, Gilbert should thank his lucky stars as the brace seemed to protect his neck from coming into contact with the bar. Check the slow-motion video of the crash out on the Vital MX Instagram...it's scary!
This off-camber section looked quite treacherous for the normal guy, but riders like Chase Sexton ripped through it as if it were flat. We wonder if the track had been prepped deeper, if ruts in this section would have made it tougher or easier
Justin Barcia finished 10th overall at Hangtown...a position that seems uncharacteristic for him especially after a great Supercross series.
How close was the last lap of the opening 450 moto? After surrendering the lead to Jason Anderson, Chase Sexton latched onto the Kawasaki rider like a bulldog and hounded him to the very end. This is the last straight before the finish line jump.
Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.