Vital MX Perspective: Altitude Sickness

The thin air at Thunder Valley MX in Lakewood, CO, made for some unusually good racing, artfully blended with unexpected results.

Vital MX Perspective: Altitude Sickness

Jason Anderson's past struggles with the elevation at Thunder Valley MX have been well-documented. He seemed to manage it well this time around, by managing his effort during the morning warm-up, and some between-moto oxygen. But for our money, the real altitude sickness this time around was the racing itself.

The quality of the racing, particularly in the first 250 moto, was stellar. There was a freight train of riders in close contact at the front of the pack, and every one of them was giving it their all. Alex Martin grabbed the first moto win, and afterwards, said he found something in the setup of the KTM that he really likes. It showed.

In the 450 class, it was more about the surprises. Justin Bogle took the first 450 moto (his first moto win in either class). Blake Baggett caught fire and put on a blistering ride through the pack in the first moto, and then backed it up with a win in the second moto...passing Eli Tomac in the process.

Afterwards, some folks questioned if the reduced horsepower actually made for better racing. But one thing is for sure, we can't wait to come back next year for another round of altitude siiiickness.

As if losing maybe 25% of their usual horsepower to the altitude wasn't enough, Thunder Valley features an uphill start straight, that makes it even tougher on the riders. Even a bunch of the 450s will start in first, and riders have to keep their shifter busy on the way up the hill. 250 point leader, Zach Osborne (right), had a bit of an off weekend, with an 8-5 score. Remember the sore throat that he mentioned at Glen Helen? It turned into something else during the week, and it kept him off the bike. He was having coughing fits right up until the time the gate dropped.

2thefront: Pretty good salvage job by Osborne while sick. Probably not the best week to be sick other than having an off week coming up.

Jeremy Martin was in contention for the overall win this week, finishing second and third in his motos. He couldn't quite get to Joey Savatgy in the second moto, which would have given him the win, but he's looking much-improved over the last couple of weeks.

Alex Martin went wire-to-wire in the first 250 moto, scoring a win. He backed it up with a fourth the second time around.

agn5009: Excellent race! Awesome job by Alex to hold off the pressure. Much respect to all of them guys fighting for the win.

Austin Forkner was upset after finishing with a 2-3 score, and still getting fourth overall. In the first moto, the top five were all spaced about this far apart, and they were all flying.

Sandwarrior752: Awesome charge by Forkner! Battle for the lead.

Martin Davalos scored a holeshot at the start of the first 450 moto, but crashed later in the lap. He did finish tenth on the day, with a 10-11 score.

Justin Barcia started third, and was sixth at the end of moto one. Eli Tomac ran as high as third before slipping to seventh, and we heard rumblings about the return of arm pump. But one thing's for sure about Thunder Valley; if you're not comfortable with the ruts, you're going to wrestle with the bike all day.

Kampy: Anyone else see Tomac just ride about 30 yards with his front and back wheels in 2 different ruts?!

Marvin Musquin working past Dean Wilson on his way to a fouth in moto one. That's impressive, considering how deep he was in the field after the start. He was mid-pack at the end of lap one.

Who'd have picked Justin Bogle for a moto win before the gate dropped in Colorado? He'd have been a longshot for sure, but changing up his training program, nutrition, and moving to Florida to train at the GOAT Farm seems to be paying big dividends.

Motocross83: Bogle looks like he's barely trying, up on the pegs, flowing etc - probably the right technique round here.

After the race Jason Anderson said his 2-6 third overall felt like a win. He's struggled with both the altitude and the track, but seemed to master both of them this time around.

Blake Baggett was 26th at the end of lap one, and put on an amazing charge that took him all the way to third at moto's end, passing the two riders ahead of him here; Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin

The top guys in the 250 class are all riding close to the same speed, so it often comes down to starts. Joey Savatgy scored the holeshot to start the second moto, and Aaron Plessinger went by him to lead the first three laps.

Unfortunately for Aaron Plessinger, he went down after leading the first three laps. It was in a blind landing area, and he used some exceptional hurdler skills as he quickly scrambled over the banners and off the track. Unfortunately, where his bike was laying was pretty much the race line, and riders weren't doing much to slow down, as well as the flaggers not giving the riders any guidance on where they should go. A visibly frustrated Plessinger tried to intervene, as rider after rider came through at nearly full speed. Josiah Hempen was the only rider to hit it and go down, and it didn't get pummeled as bad as Austin Stroupe's bike did years ago in nearly the same spot. There's quite a discussion on this going on in the Vital MX Forum, and hopefully all the stakeholders can come up with some solutions to help prevent something like this from happening again.

Watching Joey Savatgy and Alex Martin going at it was moto poetry. Both of them left everything on the track, finishing 1-2 in the second moto.

NV825: Great day of racing to watch while I worked from home. Both the 250 motos were incredible.

After a bad weekend at Glen Helen, this was an awesome way to rebound. Considering the points hits he took early in the season, it's almost surprising to see Joey Savatgy in fourth in the championship standings, and only 26 points down. Moto wins help.

Spat24: Just think - if Savatgy wins the championship, he gets a single digit number, so we could have JS7 racing again next year!

Broc Tickle's day was a little odd, with a fire in the RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing pit that threatened to seriously damage the team's bikes and gear. Fortunately, it was quickly contained. Justin Bogle's win in moto one helped to boost morale. Broc Tickle's holeshot in moto two was also a bright spot. Broc's 8-8 netted him eighth overall.

Blake Baggett and Eli Tomac quickly worked past Broc Tickle, and began a battle of their own. Blake had the advantage here, but Eli took over the lead, and stayed up front for the first seven laps. After that, Blake took over, nabbing the win.

jake424k: Anybody on here saying there is no depth to the 450 field this year obviously hasn't watched a single second of this madness we call outdoor motocross. WE HAVE 5 DIFFERENT MOTO WINNERS OUT OF 6 MOTOS. Open your damn eyes people, just saying. I hope it continues like this.

Marvin Musquin's 4-3 score was good for second overall, and also added to his championship points lead, which is now at 17.

Everyone was wrestling with the deep, nasty, and slick ruts in the second moto. Justin Bogle demonstrates. After his first moto win (where he used up all his adrenaline), he said he was a little bit flat in the second moto. A ninth combined with the win gave him fourth overall.

USMCMXer: The track has ridic ruts, but you cannot deny it is making for great battles.

Dean Wilson went 9-7 for seventh overall.

There was quite a battle with this trio late in the second 450 moto. They finished like you see, with Cooper Webb fourth, Josh Grant fifth, and Jason Anderson sixth.

Boom. Blake Baggett's 3-1 score nabbed him his first 450 moto win, and overall. It also gave the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS their first win at the top level. That's an all-around good day.

ocscottie: Who on the fantasy had Bogle and Baggett winning? No one.
Show More Comment(s) / Leave a Comment