For round three of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, the Honda Red Riders headed just a few miles outside of Denver, CO to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains for the 10th annual Thunder Valley National. Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard piloted his CRF450R to 3-4 marks for fourth overall, while Muscle Milk-backed GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle raced to a career-best Pro Motocross finish of second.

450 Race

Canard kicked off the day with the quickest qualifying time in practice, giving him first gate pick heading into the opening race. Soon after a top-five start in the first moto, Canard moved into third and found himself in a four-rider battle for the lead positions. Amid the heated fight, a mistake caused Canard to fall to fourth but he was able to reclaim third by the end of the 30-minute plus two-lap race. In moto two, he pulled the holeshot and led the opening laps until falling back to fourth. His 3-4 results landed him just shy of the overall podium.

"I'm pretty frustrated with how the day ended up,” said Canard. “My start wasn't great in the first moto but was still able to finish third. I got a really good jump in the second moto and was able to pull the holeshot. It was good to get out front and lead for a little bit but I wasn't very comfortable on the bike and just fell off the pace. We made a little change in between races and it didn't end up as well as we had hoped. I'm bummed because I got such a good start and hoped I could hang on to it, but I'm leaving healthy and with points."

Teammate Justin Barcia did not compete at this past weekend’s race due to a foot and ankle injury. American Honda will release more information as it becomes available.

250 Race

Muscle Milk-supported GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle was impressive, battling his way to the podium in both motos. He claimed  second-overall with 3-2 results. In moto one, Bogle ran in second for several laps before a mistake caused him to drop to fourth. He countered and was able to regain a position, taking the checkered in third. In the second moto, Bogle was fifth after two laps but charged his way into second on lap 11, which is where he finished.

“It was a successful day and it definitely feels like a win,” stated Bogle. “First moto, I got a really good start. I was out front but went down, so I went back to fourth and finished the first moto in third. I felt good in the second moto, got another great start out of the gate and finished in second behind (Blake) Baggett. This is the best finish so far of my career in motocross, so it was a great day.”

Fellow Muscle Milk-sponsored GEICO Honda riders Matt Bisceglia and Zach Bell barely missed the top 10, finishing 11th and 13th overall.

Troy Lee Designs/ Lucas Oil/Honda’s Jessy Nelson surprised everyone by launching his CRF250R off the line to the holeshot and early lead in moto one. He gapped the field for the first 20 minutes of the race but a mistake sent him off the track, causing him to lose a couple positions. He reclaimed second by the checkered flag, scoring a career-best finish. With a ninth in moto two, Nelson wrapped up fourth overall, while teammate Cole Seely landed himself in ninth overall with a pair of eighth-place finishes.

The Focus: Challenges of the Colorado Elevation

The Thunder Valley National presents some unique performance challenges for both riders and machines with its elevation of 6,100 feet above sea level. With higher altitudes the air pressure is lower, meaning fewer oxygen molecules are present in the air. At higher elevations the engine feels relatively sluggish, down on horsepower and performance. To help counteract this loss, teams can tune the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) on a bike with digital fuel injection. The ability to easily change engine mapping to adjust the fuel mixture and ignition timing to accommodate varying conditions is a huge benefit. For riders, the lack of oxygen proves similar challenges with both heart rate and respiratory rate increasing as altitude increases. Acclimatization and fitness are key to rider performance at higher elevation.

450 Class Overall Results
1. Ken Roczen 2-1
2. James Stewart 1-3
3. Ryan Dungey 4-2
4. Trey Canard (Honda) 3-4
5. Josh Grant 5-6
6. Brett Metcalfe 9-5
7. Malcolm Stewart (Honda) 7-8
8. Andrew Short 6-9
9. Weston Peick 10-7
10. Jake Weimer 8-12

450 Class Championship Points (after 3 of 12 rounds)
1. Ken Roczen 141
2. Ryan Dungey 129
3. James Stewart 111
4. Trey Canard 110
5. Brett Metcalf 89
6. Malcolm Stewart 78
7. Weston Peick 77
8. Josh Grant 74
9. Jake Weimer 74
10. Chad Reed 61

250 Class Overall Results
1. Blake Baggett 4-1
2. Justin Bogle (Honda) 3-2
3. Jeremy Martin 1-6
4. Jessy Nelson (Honda) 2-9
5. Marvin Musquin 7-4
6. Jason Anderson 5-5
7. Christopher Pourcel 11-3
8. Cooper Webb 9-7
9. Cole Seely (Honda) 8-8
10. Justin Hill 4-6

250 Class Championship Points (after 3 of 12 rounds)
1. Jeremy Martin 140
2. Cooper Webb 114
3. Christopher Pourcel 93
4. Blake Baggett 91
5. Justin Bogle 90
6. Jessy Nelson 85
7. Marvin Musquin 82
8. Jason Anderson 81
9. Justin Hill 65
10. Matt Bisceglia 63