HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. — With the first wave of racing complete for all 36 classes, the attention shifted on Thursday to second moto action at the 40th running of the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.
Twenty-three classes saw the second gate drop of the week, in what is arguably the most critical juncture for racers in their quest to capture a championship.
Given how the opening moto of Open Pro Sport played out, Thursday’s second moto was destined to bring the excitement and set the stage for a dramatic, winner-take-all final moto.
The stacked field of talent converged into the first turn to begin Moto 2 and as they navigated through the corner it was JMS Performance Yamaha’s Jace Kessler who captured the STACYC Holeshot over Bar X/Chaparral/ECSTAR/Suzuki Racing’s Preston Kilroy, whose exceptional starts this week continued.
Kilroy wasted little time in jumping into the early lead and built a gap on the opening lap, only to tip over in a rut and lose multiple spots. That moved Kessler back out front as Kilroy remounted in fifth.
Further behind them, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Levi Kitchen was forced to overcome a mid-pack start and showed some grit in his ability to break into the top 10 by the end of the opening lap.
The next rider to take his turn up front was LSR Racing KTM’s Branden Walther, who made the pass on Kessler. Walther’s time in the lead wasn’t long, however, as Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Chance Hymas was on a determined path to the lead.
Once out front, Hymas asserted his control of the moto and led the way until the late stages of the race when Kitchen’s hard charge brought him to the rear fender of the Kawasaki.
Once he got within striking distance Kitchen went on the attack and made quick work of Hymas to seize control of the moto in the waning minutes.
From there he quickly distanced himself from the field and charged home to earn the moto win ahead of Hymas, followed by Kilroy in third, which duplicated the same three podium riders from Moto 1, albeit in a slightly different order.
After a dominant performance in the opening moto, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Nick Romano had all eyes on him entering Moto 2 as the favorite to repeat his efforts from opening day.
When the gate dropped on the second moto Romano shot out like a rocket and carried bike lengths over the field as he took the STACYC Holeshot. The clear track meant trouble for the likes of NSA/bLU cRU Yamaha’s Gage Linville and Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Gavin Towers, who needed to keep touch with Romano. Fortunately for Linville he followed Romano to the front, which allowed the Yamaha duo to check out as Towers was forced to fight forward from a start deep in the top 10.
After just a couple laps Romano and Linville were more than five seconds clear of the rest of the field.
Romano was never challenged over the second half of the moto and put together a near-perfect wire-to-wire win that put him in control of the overall classification. Linville finished second, followed by Towers in an exact duplication of Tuesday’s podium.
Through two days of racing across two different classes, it was clear that Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Evan Ferry had both the speed and confidence to carry the bullseye on his back as the rider to beat in 125cc B/C. However, he entered the second moto on Thursday chasing KTM Orange Brigade’s Mark Fineis, who won the opening moto.
As the field exited the first turn to being Moto 2 it was Triangle Cycles/bLU cRU Yamaha’s Logan Best who came away with the STACYC Holeshot ahead of VPE KTM’s Bryce Shelly. Both Fineis and Ferry had a little work to do, with Fineis starting fourth and Ferry sixth.
Best led the way through the first couple laps as Shelly gave pursuit, but Ferry was eager to get into the mix. The Husqvarna rider needed just two laps to find his way to the head of the pack and effectively took control of the moto from there. With his main rival out front, Fineis answered the call and clawed his way into second.
Ferry was in a class of his own in this moto and opened up a double-digit lead in the closing laps. He earned his second moto win of the week and rebounded from his Moto 1 heartbreak, with Fineis in second and Shelly in third.
These two budding rivals met again in the second moto of Schoolboy 1, where Ferry entered as the first moto winner. As the gate dropped on the second moto the field emerged out of the first turn it was Fineis who came away with the STACYC Holeshot and the early lead. Ferry slotted into fourth and went to work to try and track down Fineis.
Thanks to a clear track and the motivation to bounce back from a 19th-place finish on Wednesday, Fineis successfully managed a multi-second over Ferry, who fought his way into second just a few laps in. Despite his best efforts, Ferry couldn’t close the deficit as Fineis enjoyed a wire-to-wire win, followed by Ferry in second and EBR Performance Yamaha’s Collin Allen in third.
With finishes of first and second through the first two motos, Ferry enjoys a comfortable advantage in the Schoolboy 1 overall standings over KTM rider Ivan Aldama Jr.
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