Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green Takes Home Four Championships from Mammoth2012-07-03 18:01
After a week of exciting racing at the longest running motocross event in America, Monster Energy Mammoth Motocross came to a close with Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Dillan Epstein winning the 450 Pro championship. Earlier in the week saw Team Green’s Austin Forkner and Garrett Marchbanks take home championships in the 85 Open and 85 6-11 classes, respectively. Brandy Richards came out swinging in the Women’s Amateur class and destroyed the competition to claim the championship. Over the week, Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green took home a total of 18 podium finishes including four championships.
Finishing Off On Top
Big bike racing kicked off on Friday with the Open classes, which would mark the first of three days of competition. Epstein was riding both the KX™250F and the KX™450F and therefore raced all three days. After a rough start in the Open Pro class on Friday, Epstein was looking to bounce back in the 250 Pro class on Saturday. A crash in the first moto forced him to have to come through the pack eventually finishing the day fourth overall. Sunday marked the last day of racing and featured the 450 classes. Epstein won his division and ripped the holeshot in the 450 Pro main on his KX450F. He briefly lost the lead, but then regained it and looked to have checked out from the field. Just one lap later, he tipped over in the back section of the track and found himself in a four-way battle for first. With lap times nearly three seconds a lap faster, Epstein reclaimed the lead and put a nice cushion between himself and second place. Epstein took the checkered flag despite having to ride the last lap with a flat rear tire.
“I started the weekend with some bad starts and some bad luck,” said Epstein. “In 250 Pro, a rock broke the clutch cable guide, so I rode the whole race with no clutch, but I was able to take third in the second moto. Sunday I was able to get my starts dialed and came through to win the 450 Pro championship. I really like riding both the KX250F and KX450F so it doesn’t bother me to jump from one bike to the other. I’m going to increase my training program over the next few weeks and look to come out of Loretta’s with a few championships.”
Pushing Through the Pain
Richards arrived on Monday for mini practice and was looking to battle with the boys in the Supermini class. Unfortunately, a crash early in the day would leave her in a sling and unable to compete on her KX™100. Richards rested up for the rest of the week and still wanted to give it a shot on her KX250F in the Women’s Amateur class. She went out first moto and took the win, but had some pressure. In the second moto Richards got out front early and checked out, winning by 29 seconds.
“I was a little nervous and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to race at all,” said Richards. “I was icing my shoulder and taking ibuprofen to keep the swelling down so I could get the win. This track gets so rough, but it was much easier for me to ride my KX250F compared to my Supermini. I’m looking forward to healing up and getting ready for Loretta’s.
Adding to the List
Forkner was a dominating force at the amateur nationals earlier this year, but after riding practice he was a bit skeptical about where he would finish. Being from back east, Forkner prefers nice loamy tracks with deep ruts. Mammoth is the opposite of his preference, with a very hard base that builds up sand berms in the corners. On the first day of mini racing, he finished the day with third in the 85 12-13 class and second in the 85 Open class after grabbing the holeshot on his KX™85. Wednesday was another full day of racing and Forkner knew he would have to win if he wanted to get himself a big bear. He finished fifth in his division and was able to grab the holeshot in the 85 Open main to come away with the win; a championship on the day and the overall 85 Open championship.
“This was my first time coming to Mammoth,” said Forkner. “It took me the first couple days to get used to the track, but once I got used to it I started getting on the podium. After I got the holeshot, I knew this track was tough to pass on so I rode smart and took all the good lines and took the win. This track was really tough, so I’m looking forward to Loretta’s, which is more my style.”
Marchbanks may be only 10 years old, but you would never know it by the way he rides his KX85. Marchbanks rode the 85 6-11 and 85 Open classes in Mammoth and started off with a second-place finish in the 85 6-11 class on the first day of racing. On day two, Marchbanks was ripping and started by winning not only his 85 6-11 division, but won his 85 Open division against riders up to three years older than him. In the 85 6-11 main, he got a good start up the hill and came around in second. Marchbanks made a quick move on the leader to take the lead, and rode away with win and championship.
“The first day the track was nice and rough and I almost won it,” said Marchbanks. “I made a small mistake and went down before the downhill. On the second day I won both my divisions and had a good battle for the lead and was able to pull away. I wasn’t quite on my A-game on the first day, but got it together and took the win and the overall.”
On the Podium
In addition to earning four championships, Team Green riders were able to finish on the podium on every model KX™. During the mini days, Carson Mumford took second in the 65 9-11 class aboard his KX™65, Carter Halpain finished third on his KX85 in the 86 6-11 class and Mark Worth rode his KX100 to finish second in the Supermini class. For the big bikes, Thomas Covington and Nick Gaines rode their KX250s to podium finishes, with Covington finishing third in Schoolboy and Gaines finishing second in 250 Intermediate.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green has been around for more than 30 years in amateur motocross racing and has little competition when it comes to trackside support. Over the week of racing, close to every Kawasaki in attendance came over to the Team Green pit, either in need of emergency parts, assistance or just to ask for guidance. Even riders that didn’t ride Kawasaki’s came by looking for help from the best. With Mammoth Lakes being at close to 8000 feet above sea level, every bike needed to be tuned to run properly, which also meant they needed to be returned to their original settings afterwards. A steady line of riders was consistent each day and by the end of the week, Team Green technicians had taken care of each and every rider.
“Mammoth can be an exhausting event,” said Ryan Holliday, Team Green Supervisor. “Our crew is up early every day and assisting a huge amount of Kawasaki riders all week. It’s very rewarding to interact with so many customers during our time in Mammoth. One the track, I was encouraged by what I saw as we head to Loretta Lynn’s in a few weeks. Despite some mistakes, we’re confident that everyone is on the right track moving forward.”
Monster Energy Mammoth Motocross
Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
June 26 – July 1, 2012
Dillan Epstein – 450 Pro
Brandy Richards – Women’s Amateur
Austin Forkner – 85 Open
Garrett Marchbanks – 85 6-11
Carson Mumford – 65 9-11
Mark Worth - Supermini
Nick Gaines – 250 Intermediate
Shelby Ward – Women’s Amateur
Carter Halpain - 85 6-11
Austin Forkner – 85 12-13
Adam Cianciarulo – Supermini
Thomas Covington – Schoolboy
Paul Perebijnos – Plus 25
Blake Savage – Open Pro
Brandan Leith – 250 Intermediate
Cal Johnson – 250 Junior
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