10 Things to Watch: UnadillaFriday, August 9, 2013 | 1:15 PM
By Aaron Hansel, Chase Stallo and Jason Thomas
With its flowing design, high speeds and natural terrain, Unadilla has been called the most “Euro-like” track on the entire schedule of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The reputation has been backed up by good showings from GP riders too. Marvin Musquin took his first overall victory there last year, while Ken Roczen took his first moto win in America on the same day. Just a few years before that, it was GP moonlighter Clement Desalle who had a standout performance by going 2-2 for second overall at Unadilla. Will we see brilliance this weekend from former GP guys like Roczen, Musquin, Zach Osborne or Tyla Rattray? – Aaron Hansel
Because it immediately follows the Red Bull Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s, the Built Ford Tough Unadilla National is often the site where amateurs make their professional motocross debuts. This year, we’ll see Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Honda’s Shane McElrath, GEICO Honda’s Matt Bisceglia and Luke Renzland make the transition from amateur to pro. McElrath, who dominated the first moto of the Amateur All-Stars race at the 2012 Monster Energy Cup, is still feeling the effects of a shoulder injury suffered at Monster Energy Mammoth Motocross. Even so, he secured a pair of second overalls at Loretta’s in the 250 A and Open Pro Sport classes. Bisceglia also had a fantastic weekend, winning five of his six motos to take secure both the 250 A and Open Pro Sport National Championships. How will these hot amateur prospects do in the deep waters of the pro ranks at Unadilla? - Hansel
Matt Bisceglia, the 2013 Horizon Award winner, will make his debut at Unadilla.
Roby Koy photo
Two in a Row
At the Red Bull Spring Creek National we saw Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart take the first National win of the season. Sure, he had a little help in the form of some troubles that befell the Ryans, but he’s also been steadily improving as the season’s progressed. We’ve seen Stewart turn wins into streaks before. Can he make it two in a row this Saturday at one of his least favorite tracks on the circuit? - Hansel
Speaking of great rides, Team Muscle Milk Honda’s Trey Canard put in a pair of them at the Red Bull Spring Creek National, battling hard with James Stewart in both motos to end up second overall via 2-2 moto scores. Thinking he’d won the overall after edging Stewart in the second moto, Canard even let loose with some big fist pumps over the finish line. Regardless, it was still the best day Canard’s ever had on a 450 at the Nationals. Will he match, or even better it, at Unadilla? - Hansel
Sitting fifteenth in points, JGR Toyota Yamaha’s Justin Brayton hasn’t been having a stellar season. However, the smile was back on his face last weekend at the X Games after stealing gold from Josh Hill at the last second in Moto X Racing. Admittedly, the tight confines of the Staples Center are nothing like any of the huge National tracks of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, but the feeling of winning a big race, regardless of venue, is always motivating. Will Brayton build on his recent X Games success this weekend at Unadilla? – Hansel
Can Barcia make a run at the top spot?
Simon Cudby photo
Top Ten Supremacy
With three rounds remaining in the 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship—and both title races on the brink of irrelevancy—its time to start looking deeper in the standings in search of points battles. The battle for a spot inside the top ten in the 250 Class is beginning to heat up. With just one point separating veteran Cole Seely (Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda) from the rookie duo of Cooper Webb (MyPlash/Star Racing Yamaha) and Justin Hill (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki), the last thee rounds will be a race to the finish for these three combatants. Webb has tailed off a bit since his dazzling early run, while Hill is beginning to find his footing. Seely has been consistent all season and has the experience card to play. Can Webb hold serve (currently 10th) at Unadilla? – Chase Stallo
Justin Barcia made his 450 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross debut at Unadilla back in 2011. The panic revving, wild child pestered the Ryans all day en route to a surprising third place overall finish. Barcia has since tamed down his style, but the track plays into the likings of the New Yorker (by way of New Jersey). James Stewart became the only 450 moto, and overall, winner not named Ryan at Millville. Is it Barcia’s turn to play spoiler back where his 450 career began? - Stallo
A Year Later
Michael Byrne was on his way to his first ever moto win in the 450 Class just a year ago when disaster struck the likable Australian. With over a 10 second lead, Byrner swapped in a very rutted section of the course, jamming his leg into the Unadilla terra firma. The result was a devastating broken leg that has seen him struggle to return to form. One of the elder statesman of the series now, will he use the confidence from returning to his favorite track or will the haunting memory of last year play the starring role? – Jason Thomas
Anderson hopes to land on the podium for a second straight race at Unadilla.
Simon Cudby photo
Wil Hahn is running away with the Motorcycle-Superstore Holeshot Award points chase. He has been up front in almost every start since his return to action six weeks ago but has had a tougher time staying up there as of late. He has even admitted to not being quite sure as to why but if he can get that figured out, his starts will put him in a great position to battle for those elusive podium spots. Look for the 2013 East Region Supercross Champion to put the puzzle together sooner than later. - JT
Jason Anderson scored the first podium of his career at Spring Creek. As one of the brightest amateurs to come out in recent years, most would have guessed he would have been a podium contender long before now. Fortunately for Jason and Rockstar Energy Racing, he is now realizing the potential seen in him years ago. Surely he gained oodles of confidence standing on the podium just two Saturdays ago but the key will be to keep the ball rolling. With so many great riders vying for three spots, it’s not an easy task. - JT
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