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Jo Shimoda Makes History with First Pro Motocross Overall Win at RedBud

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Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda Makes History with First Pro Motocross Overall Win at RedBud

July 2, 2022 | RedBud MX | Buchanan, Mich.

Foothill Ranch, Calif. (July 3, 2022) – The AMA Pro Motocross Championship headed north to Buchanan, Michigan for Round 5, ‘America’s National’ at the iconic RedBud MX. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Jo Shimoda proved himself to be a fan favorite by animating the notoriously lively crowd with 1-3 moto scores en route to carving his name in the history books as the first Japanese rider to earn an AMA Pro Motocross overall win. Fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Seth Hammaker overcame second moto adversity for 11th overall (5-15), while Ryder DiFrancesco scored 14-12 for 13th overall in his Pro Motocross debut. In the 450 Class, Jason Anderson secured fourth overall (7-4) and Joey Savatgy finished sixth overall after a personal best third place in Moto 1 (3-9).

The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team quickly set the tone for the day as all three riders charged through the opening qualification sessions. Shimoda was clearly in tune with both track and machine as he logged the fastest lap (2:03.742) of the 250 Class to claim his first pole qualification. Meanwhile, Hammaker ranked ninth with a 2:06.226 and DiFrancesco showed his readiness to compete with the Pro Motocross elite by qualifying 11th (2:06.297).

At the start of 250 Moto 1, the rising Team Green star DiFrancesco was narrowly edged out for the holeshot with both of his teammates close in flank. A push of the front end in Turn 2, however, placed DiFrancesco on the ground and shuffled him to the bottom of the running order; the young rider had his work cut out for him in the race ahead. Meanwhile, Shimoda and Hammaker established themselves inside the top five with decisive moves on the opening lap. Shimoda raised the intensity to a fever pitch as he swiftly became the driving force in a three-way battle for the lead position. The No.30 KX™250 rider kept his main championship rivals under heavy pressure for the lion’s share of the race until he finally took command of the top spot with six laps remaining. Shimoda held true to form by maintaining his pace through the finish to claim his first moto win with more than a 20-second margin over second place. Hammaker logged consistent laps to hold onto a fifth-place finish while DiFrancesco turned heads with an impressive race from 32nd on the opening lap to 14th at the checkered flag.

The second 250 Class moto hosted green at the front again when DiFrancesco grabbed his first Pro Motocross holeshot in just his second start. A quick pass by Hammaker in the opening section of Lap 1 allowed the No.47 rider to take control of the lead from DiFrancesco before he lost traction accelerating out of Turn 4 and crashed. Further back, Shimoda found himself in 25th at the end of the first lap after a non-optimal start was worsened by a collision with another rider. DiFrancesco persisted with his sights on the leaders as the rookie held his own in the top five for more than half the race. While DiFrancesco gained vital experience at the front of the field, the crowd’s attention turned to Shimoda who was racing his way back into overall contention. The roars of the crowd followed Shimoda around the track while he passed multiple riders per lap, using creative line selection and relentlessly carrying his momentum through the pack. Despite his early race adversity, Shimoda clawed his way up to a heroic third place position to secure his first career overall win and made his mark in the history books as the first Japanese rider to grace the top step of the AMA Pro Motocross podium. After visiting the mechanic’s area to regroup from his crash, Hammaker made his way to 15th to salvage 11th overall (5-15) on the day and DiFrancesco finished the race with a respectable 12th place finish for 13th overall (14-12).

“In the first moto, I started up front and had a fast pace going as I pressured the Lawrence brothers for the top-two positions. I was able to make a good pass into the lead and finished strong for the moto win. In Moto 2, my start wasn’t great and then I got caught up with some riders on the first lap which put me outside the top 20. I pushed hard the whole race to fight my way to third and earned my first overall victory. I had to race really hard in both motos, and it paid off for a great day.”
– Jo Shimoda

“I made it a little tougher on myself than I needed to today but, my starts are improving and I just need to clean up a few things. In Moto 1, I had a pretty steady race all the way through to come away with a fifth but, I was looking to better that and get into the podium battle in Moto 2. Unfortunately, I lost traction at the bottom of the hill and fell just after passing into the lead so, I had to race forward from the back of the pack. It’s frustrating of course but, I will keep putting myself up there in the mix and keep improving to iron out those small mistakes.”
– Seth Hammaker

“I had a great start in the first moto but, a crash in the second corner put me way down the running order. I raced forward and made a bunch of passes to finish 14th. In Moto 2, I grabbed the holeshot which felt awesome, and I did my best to keep pace with the leaders for as long as I could. My goal for the day was to do exactly what I did for the first half of that second moto, I matched the speed of the guys at the front for as long as I could before getting tight and settling back a bit. I’m looking forward to Millville where I’ll try my best to stay up there even longer.”
– Ryder DiFrancesco



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The RedBud National featured the second reverse moto schedule of the season which meant a smoother track and higher speeds for the 450 Class qualifying sessions as they took to the course first. Never shying away from a high speeds, the Monster Energy Kawasaki duo of Anderson and Savatgy put the power of their KX™450SR machines on display by qualifying at the front in both timed sessions. When qualification concluded, Anderson had the second-fastest lap of the morning (2:03.505) and Savatgy was hot on his tail with the third-best lap time (2:03.698).

In 450 Class Moto 1, Savatgy was narrowly beaten out for the holeshot as he jockeyed for position with several of the top championship contenders. At the completion of Lap 1, Savatgy had taken a firm hold on second place with his pace in lockstep with the race leader. Unfortunately, Anderson was collected in a first turn crash and the No.21 KX™450SR rider crossed the green flag in 31st position. As the race progressed, Savatgy fortified his spot at the front by extending a gap over the riders behind and keeping in close tow of the rider out front. Unphased by the pressure of battling among several premier class champions while maintaining a smooth intensity to his speed, Savatgy held onto second place until Lap 14 when he was overtaken. A brief battle ensued when Savatgy launched himself back into second by skying out Larocco’s Leap but, he soon settled into third for the final laps of the moto. Savatgy crossed the checkered in third to secure his first 450 Class podium result and proved his recent progress with the Monster Energy Kawasaki team is affirming his place among the best in the world. Not to be overshadowed, Anderson thrilled fans as he charged through the field for the full 30-minute plus two lap race, passing over 25 riders, to secure eighth place at the finish.

The second 450 Class moto saw both Monster Energy Kawasaki KX™450SR riders emerge from Turn 1 inside the top-10. Anderson looked to fight toward a podium position as he moved forward from fifth on the opening lap to take control of fourth on Lap 4. A brief crash in the turn prior to the mechanic’s area, however, set the New Mexican back to eighth place and forced him to race his way up the running order again. A benefactor of Anderson’s crash, Savatgy moved into contention for the overall podium as he pressed forward to sixth by Lap 5. Savatgy continued to push himself forward until a swap through the sand turn after Larocco’s Leap caused him to crash and drop to ninth place on Lap 6. Anderson quickly found his form again as he maneuvered through the competition to reach fifth place by the checkered flag; his 7-5 moto scores earned him fourth overall. Savatgy finished out Moto 2 in ninth to earn sixth overall (3-9) and, more importantly, proved himself as a legitimate podium contender.

“Minor crashes in each moto cost me valuable time and positions early so, I felt like I was playing catch up all day. My speed was solid, and the bike felt great but, a couple of miscues are all it takes to put the podium out of reach. Overall, I made a lot of passes out there and managed to salvage a fourth overall so, we’ll just keep moving forward with the goal of getting another win here soon.”
– Jason Anderson

“It’s been almost four years since the last time I was on the podium and there have been plenty of highs and lows along the way. Finally getting myself back up on the box in the first moto felt amazing. Thank you to the Monster Energy Kawasaki team for this opportunity to be racing and improving each weekend. I was set back a bit overall by the crash in Moto 2 but, we took major steps in the right direction today and look forward to more progress ahead.”
– Joey Savatgy

Totally amazing: Veteran, cancer survivor reunited with stolen motorcycle

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Procopio describes the moment of seeing his motorcycle again as “totally amazing.” That same night he went down to the speedway and raced it.

‘Totally amazing’: Vietnam veteran, cancer survivor reunited with stolen motorcycle after 3 years
from https://www.cincinnati.com by Quinlan Bentley

On Friday nights, the Lawrenceburg Motorcycle Speedway comes alive. The smell of exhaust fills the air and bleachers vibrate from the deafening roar of motors revving, as motorcyclists of all ages line up to compete in a high-adrenaline, high-risk race around a smooth dirt track.

These are the nights that James Procopio lives for. The 74-year-old Vietnam War veteran started racing motorcycles in his 20s, but had to give it up after family and life got in the way.

Procopio says he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011 and needed surgery to remove his intestines. He returned to the race track about four years ago after receiving his final chemotherapy treatment.

“I came down here one night, said, ‘Man, I sure miss that,’ and from that night on I put a bike together and started racing,” Procopio told The Enquirer, sitting in the back of a pickup truck on a cold, dark November night, the orange glow of a portable heater at his feet, while waiting for his turn to race.

Procopio worked for two years fixing up a red, white and blue 1980 Honda XR 500 to get it in racing form. But he was only able to race the bike once before it was stolen, along with his pickup truck, from his apartment in Mount Healthy.

The truck was recovered not long after it was stolen but the bike was gone.

“Every spare dime went into that bike,” he said.

Working out of his garage on old and vintage motorbikes, Procopio is somewhat of a local legend. He got his first job when he was 13 working on bicycles and motorbikes at Bishop’s Bicycle Shop in Silverton, where he stayed until he was drafted into the Army at age 19.

It was through his part-time mechanic work that Procopio met Ben Groh, who’s since become a good friend and racing partner. In the past three years since Procopio’s bike was stolen, Groh said he had been working to track down the missing bike on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

“It’s popped up here and there for the past three years,” Groh said. “I’ve seen it come and go and I’ve been close to getting it and it slipped through the cracks.”

Groh’s brother spotted the bike at a local body shop, and he along with Rick Brun, another close friend of Procopio’s and fellow racer, were able to set up an undercover buy with Cincinnati police and retrieve the bike. It was returned to Procopio early last month.

Procopio describes the moment of seeing his motorcycle again as “totally amazing.” That same night he went down to the speedway and raced it.

Those who compete in flat track racing, in which racers drive on a dirt track with only rear brakes and must slide into each turn, describe it as more of a way of life than a sport.

“A lot of people don’t really understand it fully until you try it,” Groh told The Enquirer.

“It’s kind of like surfing: One good wave will call you back the rest of your life,” Brun said.

For Procopio, after surviving two heart attacks, two strokes and cancer, it’s become a source of relief.

“I’m in pain probably 24/7,” he said. “When I’m out there, I don’t feel a thing. Just everything goes away.”

The last race of the season in Lawrenceburg was held Nov. 5.

But Procopio says he’s going to keep racing “as long as I can.”

Six Ways to Sunday Racing

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One Rider’s Unique Racing Project
by Kyle Smith from Hagerty.com

I dreamt up the idea of racing six different disciplines on one machine about a year ago. Registered for all events in the Novice category, participating in events will encompass six racing disciplines in motorsports.

The final push: Six Ways to Sunday racing begins this week.

Click Here to Read this Fascinating Photo Feature on Race Preparation on Bikernet.

Join the Cantina for more – Subscribe Today.

https://www.bikernet.com/pages/custom/subscription.aspx

Fritchie Classic motorcycle race to return to fairgrounds July 4

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by Mary Grace Keller from https://www.fredericknewspost.com

The 100th Anniversary of Barbara Fritchie Classic

There’s a short list of factors that can prevent the country’s oldest continuous dirt track motorcycle race — the Great Depression, World War II, rain and most recently, COVID-19.

But not this year.

The Barbara Fritchie Classic will return to the Frederick Fairgrounds July 4 after the pandemic led to its cancellation in 2020. This year will mark 100 years of tradition at the location since the series started in 1922, according to race organizer Richard Riley.

“The race is on,” he said.

The event will look a little different from years past. The plan is to limit the grandstands to 1,500 spectators (half capacity), COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place, visitors will notice extra cleaning throughout the event, and hand sanitizer will abound.

Riley isn’t worried about reducing the capacity in the grandstands, since they usually see 1,500 to 1,800 spectators, and many of them stand around the racetrack’s fence.

“It’s just good dusty fun,” Riley said.

New this year, the event will offer a STACYC exhibition for youngsters competing on electric bikes. More details are to come, but Riley said the event will probably be geared toward kids ages 4 to 6.

“The kids got to get out,” he said. “They can’t stay in the house all day.”

He also hopes to display restored vintage racing bikes from the era of the first race.

Riley’s been involved in the race in some way since 1977 and first attended in 1968. For decades of his life, the Fritchie Classic has been synonymous with celebrating Independence Day.

Last Fourth of July, Riley found himself staring at the empty fairgrounds. He nearly cried when he had to cancel the event.

“I just looked in there. Everything was locked down,” he recalled. “It would have been strange for me not to go to the Frederick Fairgrounds on the Fourth of July.”

The decision did not come easily.

“I was forced to make a decision that I don’t regret,” Riley told the News-Post in June 2020. “But it’s not something I wanted to make. It was nothing that I would have told you I would have done six months or longer ago.”

One of the competitors looking forward to kicking the dust up at the fairgrounds is 2018 winner Cory Texter of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

“[I’m] looking forward to going back,” Texter said.

He won the main event Expert/Pro Twins race at the 97th running of the Barbara Fritchie Classic. His sister, Shayna, is also a past winner but in the 450cc Pro Sport race in 2008.

“Because it’s so technical, I seem to do really well there,” Cory Texter said. “It’s one of the biggest non-national races we do.”

The history of the half-mile track itself is a draw to competitors. Riley said they’ve had racers from all over the U.S. as well as other countries.

“There’s a tremendous amount of tradition,” Riley said. “I promised I’d get it to 100.”

Richard Riley invites those interested in attending the Fritchie Classic to visit barbarafritchieclassic.com for more information and to buy tickets in the future.

Tickets will also be available at Fredericktown Yamaha, which can be reached at 301-663-8333.