The Star Valli Yamaha Rockstar Metal Mulisha team took on the opening round of the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship series at Hangtown over the weekend. Kyle Cunningham was the top finisher in the super-competitive 250 class. Cunningham turned in a strong performance, notching two top-10 moto results â€“ a ninth and an eighth â€“ to finish the day in seventh overall.
â€œI didnâ€™t get a good start in the first moto, but I rode a decent race. In the second moto, I was feeling good, but I caught my foot in a rut and I struggled through the last half of the race. We got two top-10 finishes and weâ€™re still in the hunt with a lot of races to go. Now we go to Texas, which is where I live, and itâ€™s going to be a hot one. The track is pretty difficult too, so it should make for some good racing.â€ – Cunningham.
Star Valli Yamaha teammate Gareth Swanepoel returned to racing this weekend after missing the final few rounds of Supercross due to illness. Trying to get back into his groove, Swanepoel struggled but then rallied; the South African finished 12th and 15th in his motos to take 14th overall.
â€œToday was OK but I kept crashing in practice. In the first moto, my start was decent and I managed to hang on for 12th. In the second moto, my start was not so good and I was 15th. It was disappointing, but Iâ€™ve only been back on the bike for two weeks, so I canâ€™t expect too much. I just tried to limit the damage and will build from this for Texas.â€ – Swanepoel
Finally, Star Valli Yamahaâ€™s Kyle Peters started out strong in the first moto and was dicing with the frontrunners. Within a few laps, however, the rookie lost several spots but still held on for 11th. In the second moto, he had some issues and finished 30th. Overall, Peters finished 17th.
In the premier 450 class, Star Valli Yamahaâ€™s Nico Izzi enjoyed a noteworthy debut, capturing an impressive 10th-place finish overall, thanks to well-earned 11th- and 10th-place moto results.
â€œHangtown was a little rough on me. I rode well, but I went down in both motos. In the first, I went down on the first lap but I rode hard and came back to 11th. In the second moto, I was in seventh but I went off the track and got T-boned trying to come back and went down again. But I ended up 10th, so I know Iâ€™ve got the speed. I just need to be a little smarter. Texas is going to be tough, weâ€™ll have to prepare ourselves and come out with our guns loaded and hope for the best. Thatâ€™s all you can do.â€ – Izzi
Star Valli Yamaha teammate Bobby Kiniry put in a solid performance in the 450 class, turning in consistent laps on the daunting Hangtown track. Kiniry finished 12th in the first moto and 13th in the second to take 12th overall for the day.
â€œIâ€™ve never really had a good result at Hangtown. But the Rockstar Yamaha got me through the day. I got terrible starts, but I worked my way up, and stayed strong and put myself in contention for top-10 points. I got out safe and learned some things about my bike and about myself. I know Iâ€™m strong and Iâ€™m looking forward to Texas. I believe I can be in the top five and thatâ€™s what weâ€™re shooting for. The hotter and rougher and gnarlier it is, the better I do. Iâ€™ve shown that throughout the years, and Iâ€™ve got the results to back that up.â€ – Kiniry
Star Valli Yamahaâ€™s Ryan Sipes moved up to the 450 class at Hangtown, and realized he needed to lift his game to be competitive. Sipes had some issues in the first moto and finished 25th, but he redoubled his efforts in the second moto to finish 15th. Combined, these results were good for 18th overall.
â€œHangtown was a rough weekend for me. Practice didnâ€™t go well and I just couldnâ€™t get going, so that gave me a bad gate pick. In the first moto, I kind of hit a wall, mentally. I just couldnâ€™t get going. In the second moto, I rode pretty well, and I came through the pack after a terrible start. Iâ€™ve definitely got a few things to work on. Texas will be hot but Iâ€™ll be ready for it, itâ€™ll be good.â€ – Sipes