After Round 9 of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series in Washougal, Washington, most riders enjoyed their final weekend off from racing before hitting the final three rounds of the season. For Ronnie Stewart, however, he made the trek from West Coast to East Coast a bit earlier in order to ride in his home state of New Jersey. Cheyenne Harmon spent the week training in his home state of Texas and the two riders converged in New Berlin, New York for Round 10 of the Pro Motocross series at the storied Unadilla MX. As the longest continuously running Pro Motocross facility in the United States, Unadilla has earned the accolades of being one of the most renowned and beloved motocross facilities in the country. With memorable sections like the “Gravity Cavity”, “Screw U” and the Unadilla Sky Shot, it’s no wonder that Unadilla MX is one of the most anticipated events in the series each year. This year, spectators were bestowed with great racing in every condition imaginable. What started out as an incredibly well prepped and extremely fast track in practice, morphed in to the muddiest slop fest that we’ve seen in recent years. By the end of the day, riders were not only racing each other, but the treacherous conditions as well.
Round 10 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series brought with it exceptional conditions in practice, along with a list of 80 riders who attempted to qualify in the 450 class. With only 36 direct transfer spots available and 40 riders in each of the qualifying sessions, a mistake-free and fast hot lap would be imperative in order to qualify for the afternoon motos at Unadilla. At only his second race back since his injury at High Point, Cheyenne Harmon is working diligently at rebuilding his physical strength and mental focus in order to resume racing at his highest ability. His valiant effort led him to earning a qualifying position of 43rd. Teammate Ronnie Stewart was able to log a time of 2:12.444 and a qualifying position of 17th – less than six seconds off top qualifier Christian Craig. Stewart’s 17th place in qualifying afforded him some extra rest time before the motos, whereas Harmon would have an opportunity to get some more laps on the track during the 450 Consolation Race. With 38 riders on the gate for the LCQ and only four laps of racing, a good start paired with some good luck would be your best chance at that golden ticket transfer position. Harmon launched off the gate, but found himself in the middle of the pack at the first turn – and with only four laps to make moves, the task at hand becomes exponentially more challenging. Cheyenne fought a hard battle the entire race and his lap times were easily on par with the leaders, but ultimately finished the consolation race in 11th and would have to skip the motos this week.
Seventeen was the lucky number of the day for the #606 of Ronnie Stewart. During Moto 1, the track went from prepped and fast to the start of the absolute mud fest in a matter of moments. About 20 minutes into the Moto, it started to rain, and then pour, and then hail – rapidly changing the track conditions. As riders ran out of tear-offs and lightning quickly entered the immediate vicinity of the racetrack, the race was Red-Flagged and scored at 25:48.545 into the race in the interest of safety for both the riders and spectators alike. But the ever-evolving conditions didn’t stop Stewart from logging a 17th place finish in the first Moto 1. After Moto 1 began the waiting game as conditions went from bad to sunny to worse and back again. In moto, we know that almost nothing will stop a race – that exception being lightning in close proximity to the track. By the time the electrical portion of the storm had passed and the torrential rains subsided, nearly two and half hours had passed before the 250 class even got to line up for Moto 2. This weather pattern gave way to an unusual extended period of rest for the 450 riders before their second moto, which proved to be beneficial for many, including Stewart. As the gate dropped on Moto 2, Ronnie launched into a 9th place start on a motocross track, practically turned jet-ski course. Where the sloppiest sludge mudder proved to be a force to be reckoned with for some riders, Stewart managed to remain consistent throughout the entire moto. He would finish Moto 2, also in 17th place for an 18th place finish overall – matching his season-best finish that was earned at High Point during Round 4 of the series.
It’s hard to believe, but the season is rapidly drawing to a close with only two round of racing remaining. MicroBilt PRBC Yoshimura Suzuki looks forward to putting our best effort forward in order to finish out the season strong! Join us as we head to Mechanicsville, Maryland for racing just outside of our Nation’s Capital at Budds Creek.
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