JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Racing and Twisted Tea H.E.P. Motorsports Suzuki Riders Deliver at Loretta Lynn's National II
The JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Racing and Twisted Tea H.E.P. Motorsports teams attacked the muddy track at the Loretta Lynn's National II where JGR’s Alex Martin and his Suzuki RM-Z250 won the second moto and nabbed an overall podium finish. Max Anstie brought home a podium finish in moto two on his H.E.P.-tuned Suzuki RM-Z450 and both Joey Savatgy and Fredrik Noren put a JGR Suzuki RM-Z450 inside the top five in moto one and inside the top ten in moto two at the second round of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series. Additionally, Suzuki riders led the most laps of any manufacturer, leading 26 laps over the four motos on Saturday.
Alex Martin rounded the first turn of moto one in the lead ahead of 39 other racers. The deep mud bit him early, sending him down while leading and back to 23rd position. Undaunted, A-Mart got up and charged to a very impressive seventh place moto finish. In moto two Martin again used the superior power of his RM-Z250 to grab the holeshot and establish himself as the uncontested leader within a few turns. He put the hammer down and led every lap, pulling a massive gap on the field before taking the checkers over a minute ahead of second. The strong day gave Martin an overall podium position and boosted him to third place in the series points standings.
"To be honest I was just kinda’ in my own little world out there," Martin said to the TV cameras fresh off his race win. "It seems like every moto at Loretta's so far, these last two weekends, I've crashed every moto. Like last weekend, twice in the first moto, once in the second moto. And then that first moto [today] I crashed; I had the holeshot and then I crashed like three times, still finished seventh. I've been feeling really good coming in and the JGR Yoshimura bike has been on point, it's just up to me to keep it on two wheels."
"We did some testing this week up in Charlotte with the team," A-Mart added after the race day had wrapped up, "and I feel the results reflect the changes made. I'm very excited to grab a moto win and come away with a third overall on the day. We're looking forward to keeping the momentum going heading into Indiana."
Max Anstie made a big splash on the wet track when he jumped into the lead and ran away from the pack in the second 450 moto. In just his second race after returning to the US from contesting the World MXGP series, "Mad Max" put his Suzuki across the holeshot stripe first and pulled away from there, amassing a 5.2 second lead after the race's midpoint. The deeply-rutted track played against the Brit in the final minutes when a lapped rider crashed and held up Anstie long enough to relinquish the lead; he kept the Suzuki on the moto's podium in only his fourth 450cc moto in US racing.
"I'm really happy to get a third in moto two after leading most of the way and earning a fifth overall in our second race of the season." Max was already looking ahead, "My team has done a great job to deal with the tough conditions and with the bike's set-up. I’m looking forward to a new track next week and to keep building from here.”
Fredrik Noren had an incredible race in moto one, turning a great start into a second-place position. Noren remained within striking distance of the lead until a small mistake on lap three dropped him back to seventh. From there "Fast Freddie" put on a charge back toward the front; his RM-Z450 took him as high as third place in the closing laps, eventually landing him a moto finish of a fourth place at the checkered flag.
"I'm pumped with my first moto. I got a great start and had my career-best moto so that felt really great." Noren commented. "In the second moto I had a crash at the start but I got going good after that and made a lot of passes quickly. Unfortunately I had some issues due to the track conditions but I felt like we went in a good direction this weekend and have something to build off for sure, so I’m happy about that. I want to give a massive thank you to everyone on the team!"
Joey Savatgy's second race back in 2020 started rough with a first moto that disappointed after a fifth place in timed qualifying, just 1.025 seconds off the top lap time. The young racer knew he had the speed, so even after only a mediocre start in the second moto "Versace" laid down strong lap times and pushed past riders amid the mud and axle-grabbing ruts. While another Suzuki rider led the moto, “Versace” went to work to close in. It took just five minutes to get into the top ten; from there Savatgy picked off more riders and wrapped up his day with a seventh place moto two finish.
"It was a tough weekend for me." Savatgy said regarding his results not reflecting his speed. "My riding in timed practice was a step in the right direction speed-wise but overall I'm still far from where I’d like to be."
"It was great to see the [JGR] team have some success yesterday. We made some changes during the week and were happy to see it pay off." JGRMX Team Manager Jeremy Albrecht reflected. "We had good starts again, and each rider had a good moto. Each guy also had a tough moto but we're proud of them all with the brutal conditions. Freddie had his career best finish in moto one with a fourth and Alex with the moto two win was really great! Next week should be even better. It's nice to see all the Suzuki bikes running in the front."
"I'm very proud of each crew member and the effort collectively put forward to get Max on the podium," said H.E.P. Motorsports' Team Manager Dustin Pipes. "The conditions were tough with the rain but everyone put their head down and kept working. This was a big step for the team and for Max to get on the podium in only his second race back from a torn Achilles is a huge accomplishment; I look forward to seeing his continued progression."
Round three of the nine-round summer series drops the gate in Crawfordsville, Indiana next weekend with the Ironman National. The JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Racing and Twisted Tea H.E.P. Motorsports teams and other top racers aboard Suzuki RM-Z450s and RM-Z250s look forward to more strong rides, more podium finishes, and more great MX battles as the schedule winds its way across the US in the most thrilling race series of the summer.
Please visit suzukicycles.com/racing, jgrmxraceteam.com, and hepmotorsports.com for more team news.
Photos by Brown Dog Wilson
About Suzuki: Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (SMAI) distributes Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Outboard Motors and Automotive Parts and Accessories via an extensive dealer network throughout 49 states. Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide manufacturer of Motorcycles, ATVs, Scooters, Automobiles, Outboard Motors and related products. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has business relations with 201 countries/regions. For more information, visit www.suzuki.com.
About JGRMX: Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross (JGRMX), based in Huntersville, NC, was founded in 2007 by Coy Gibbs, son of NFL Hall of Fame head coach and multi-time NASCAR Championship winning team owner Joe Gibbs. JGRMX competes in both the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series as well as the Monster Energy Supercross series with support from Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. aboard Suzuki RM-Z250 and RM-Z450 race machines.
About Yoshimura R&D of America: Yoshimura is “The Leader in Performance” and has been for 65 years. With unmatched skills, knowledge, and passion for racing, Yoshimura is on the forefront of the aftermarket. Yoshimura exhaust systems are race bred and feature the same legendary performance, fit, and quality that has been their trademark for six decades. To learn more about Yoshimura and view their wide variety of performance products, visit www.yoshimura-rd.com.