HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (July 5, 2015) – Red Bud Track and Trail in Buchanan, Mich. is known for two things, first, hosting the national on the July fourth weekend each year, and second, LaRocco’s Leap, the biggest jump on the circuit. Round seven of the 2015 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship was held at the historic track, which has held a round of the series since 1974. The first motos aired live on MAVTV, and the second 450 Class moto was live on the NBC network.
Justin Barcia holeshot the first moto with Phillip Nicoletti and Weston Peick also in the top-five. After one lap it was Barcia first, Nicoletti third, and Peick fourth. On lap four Peick passed Nicoletti and moved into third, Nicoletti was shuffled back to six while Barcia remained the leader. The next lap Peick was relegated to fourth. On lap seven Barcia relinquished the lead but raced the new leader with determination. Peick was still fourth, and Nicoletti sixth. Nicoletti cross-rutted a corner on lap 10 causing him to fall, he restarted in 13th position. At the checkers Barcia was second just behind the leader, Peick was fifth and Nicoletti 12th.
MAVTV’s Georgia Lindsey spoke with Barcia on the podium, “What an awesome start to that race, not only did you lead at the start and halfway through that moto but you stayed with Ryan Dungey and caught him back at the end, your fitness is great and really we are going to see some more race wins from you,” said Lindsey. Barcia replied, “Yeah for sure, I have been working super hard, feeling good, the whole AutoTrader Toyota Yamaha team is killing it, my whole team is killing it, I’m pumped, starts are there, speed is there, just need a little more in the middle part of the moto and I’ll be good to go, so I will be shooting for that win the next moto.”
The second moto was broadcast live on NBC, and FRAM, the official filtration provider to the AutoTrader/Toyota/Yamaha Team shot a special feature on “LaRocco’s Leap Done Right” that aired during the live telecast and featured Justin Barcia, Weston Peick, Phillip Nicoletti, and Ben Schiermeyer (Barcia’s tuner) all talking about jumping the huge uphill triple. The jump is named after former professional racer Mike LaRocco, who was the first to make the leap in 1992. The jump has been extended since then and riders have to travel 125 feet in the air to safely land on the downside ramp and are 37 feet high from the edge of the takeoff ramp during the jump. In addition to providing interesting insights to the viewers the feature also provided nearly two minutes of excellent exposure for the team sponsors on NBC.
When the gate dropped for the second moto it was once again Barcia leading the field with Nicoletti sixth and Peick eighth in the early laps. Barcia set a fast pace at the front and had the series points leader, Ryan Dungey just behind him exactly as it had been in the first moto. At the halfway mark Barcia was still leading thrilling the huge on-site crowd and television audience holding off the charging Dungey who was trying everything he could to pass him for what would be the overall victory for the day. The two front-runners had separated themselves from the pack making it a two-man race. Meanwhile, Peick had advanced to sixth, and Nicoletti was in 11th. As the laps wound down the intensely focused Barcia would not be denied and took the checkers winning the moto and claiming his second consecutive overall victory (in motocross a two – one finish earns the overall as the improving rider is awarded the victory over a rider who finishes one – two). Peick was sixth, and Nicoletti 11th in the second moto. Peick’s five – six scores earned him fifth overall and Nicoletti’s 12 – 11 results were good for 12th overall. Barcia, Peick, and Nicoletti are in third, eighth, and ninth in series points respectively with five rounds remaining.
Georgia Lindsey now with an NBC microphone interviewed Barcia after his win and second consecutive overall victory saying, “with the overall 450 win huge congratulations Justin Barcia. After a weekend we had a wet race you got the overall there that did not matter, it was not just the weather it was your true strong riding, how do you feel?” “Me and my team killed it today. I’m so happy, the whole AutoTrader Toyota Yamaha team, Coy, Coach, Jeremy (team manager), Ben (tuner), all the motocross suspension guys, I know I’ll forget some people, mom and dad, girlfriend, just everybody, it was amazing I feel like I finally made it in that spot and it’s going to be a long series we are fighting back in points. I can’t thank all my sponsors enough, Monster Energy, Alpinestars, GT, Shimano, just everybody thanks for sticking behind me guys I appreciate it,” said an emotional Barcia.
After a weekend off, the next round of the series will be held at Spring Creek Motocross Park in Millville, Minn. on July 18. The first moto will air live at 2:00 p.m. (EST) on MAVTV, and the second moto will be broadcast at 11:00 p.m. (EST) on NBCSN.