HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. — After an exciting opening day, the action continued on Wednesday at the 40th running of the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, as another 23 motos took to the track.
By the conclusion of another full slate of racing that essentially lasted from sunup to sundown, all 36 classes had at least completed one moto to officially begin the journey to crown an AMA National Champion in each.
The rising stars of 250 Pro Sport were back at it again on Wednesday with the second of three motos. A rare post-race penalization saw Bar X/Chaparral/ECSTAR/Suzuki Racing’s Preston Kilroy get awarded the victory, while Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Levi Kitchen, the penalized rider, entered Moto 2 in search of minimizing the damage.
The second gate drop of the week saw AEO Powersports GASGAS’ Austin Black put himself out front initially with the STACYC Holeshot, but it was Phoenix Racing Honda’s Hunter Yoder who assumed the early lead ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Jett Reynolds and Kitchen, while Kilroy found himself outside the top 10.
Yoder maintained his hold of the lead through the conclusion of the opening lap, but then came under fire from Reynolds, who had Kitchen right on his rear fender. As he looked for a way around, Reynolds tucked the front tire of his Kawasaki and went down. He remounted just outside the top 10. Back up front, Kitchen took advantage of his second-place positioning to challenge Yoder for the lead. The Honda rider made a slight bobble to stall his momentum, which allowed Kitchen to easily move into the lead and bring Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Chance Hymas along into second.
Kitchen continued to lead the way and started to put some distance on the field midway through the moto. That left Hymas and EBR Performance/bLU cRU Yamaha’s Kaeden Amerine to do battle for second. Amerine got the upper hand initially, but a persistent Hymas bided his time and fought back to reclaim the position.
Out front, Kitchen stayed clear of any drama and took his second checkered flag in as many days, this time clear of any penalties. Hymas followed in second, with Amerine third. Reynolds recovered from his early misfortune to finish fourth, while Kilroy salvaged fifth.
The excitement was palpable as the same riders that put on a show in 250 Pro Sport made their return to the track for the opening moto of Open Pro Sport later in the afternoon. Based on his performances in the other class, Kitchen was the favorite as the field lined up for the first time, but his rivals were eager to make their own statement.
As the field stormed through the first turn to start Moto 1 it was NSA/bLU cRU Yamaha’s Luca Marsalisi who came away with the STACYC Holeshot, followed by Crow Hill Moto KTM’s Robbie Marshall. Yoder and Kilroy were the best of the high-profile group of riders, with Hymas seventh and Amerine in eighth. Both Kitchen and Reynolds endured through poor starts and were buried deep in the top 20.
Sensing an opportunity, Kilroy went to work. He passed Yoder for third and then put in a charge to get around both Marshall and Marsalisi on the same lap to seize control of the moto. Kilroy’s early attack ultimately proved to be the difference maker in the moto because Hymas was on an equally impressive charge forward. The Kawasaki rider worked his way into the top three after just a few laps and kept Kilroy in his sights, while Marsalisi hung tough behind them in third.
As the leaders started to settle in up front, Kitchen was relentless in his attempt to overcome the bad start. He gained five spots after the first lap and broke into the top 10 on the ensuing lap. From there, he methodically marched his way to the front and closed in on the rear fender of Marsalisi just past the halfway point. Once he caught the early race leader, Kitchen made quick work of his fellow Yamaha rider and took over third. However, he was simply too far back from the leaders to do anymore.
Kilroy managed a multi-second lead for the majority of the moto to earn a moto win on the track for the first time this week. Hymas followed in a strong second, while Kitchen was nothing short of impressive in his ride up to third. Amerine finished fourth, while Marsalisi held on for fifth. Reynolds found difficulty overcoming his tough start and finished a distant 14th, likely dashing any hopes he had of contending for the title.
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