Welcome to our brand new web-exclusive weekly column: Transmoto's Around The Grounds with Sam Hall, presented by One Industries.
Ryan Dungey, take a bow. AMA riders must know they've got a solid grasp on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship when it takes a mid-race pit-stop for the opposition to catch up. That's exactly what happened to Dungey at the weekend's Moto-X 338 round. And the result? He still took the overall!
Grabbing a comfortable win from MotoConcepts Suzuki's Mike Alessi in the opening moto, Dungey ran into trouble in the second race of the day when he lost control of his bike on lap six. The Red Bull KTM rider soon recovered to catch and pass Alessi for the lead, building a 10-second buffer mid-way through the moto. However, the early falter would come back to bite Dungey. Soon after taking the lead, he realised that fuel had been lost during the crash and that he risked running dry before race end.
The championship leader took the gamble to return to the pits on lap 13, before re-emerging in second behind Monster Energy Kawasaki's Tyla Rattray. Dungey made progress on Rattray, but was unable to pass him in the sands of Southwick for the moto win. Nevertheless, by virtue of his 1-2 finish, Dungey claimed the overall, with Alessi second.
The result bolsters Dungey's position in the 450 standings, albeit in a star-depleted line-up. The 22-year-old now sits at 85 points over Alessi, giving him the potential to capture the title at the next round.
In the 250 class, Blake Baggett extended his championship lead with a tight overall win (3-1 finishes). Geico Honda's Eli Tomac took out race one by 12 seconds and would have likely done the same if not for a crash late in the second moto, finishing third. He drew level with Baggett on points for the day, but ultimately lost out to the Kawasaki rider on the second moto tie-breaker. Meanwhile, Ken Roczen rounded out the podium in third.
Baggett's lead in the championship now sits at 24 points over GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia.
Who said back-flipping was the be all and end all of freestyle motocross? Ever since Carey Hart's iconic rotation at the Gravity Games in 2000, the benchmark of the sport has become what a rider can perform whilst hanging upside-down. But French rider Thomas Pagès proved last weekend that it's still possible to turn heads without a single backflip variation, clinching round five of the X-Fighters Championship in Munich.
Pagès executed a new flatspin 540 flair, and a number of volt body varials, to win the round ahead of New Zealand's Levi Sherwood. The result sets up a dramatic finish to the championship finale in Sydney on October 6, with Sherwood and Pagès now sit tied in the battle for first.
It was a massive change of fortunes for Pagès. He went into Munich in fourth place overall, having never won a round on the X-Fighters championship. After qualifying in fourth place on Friday, he beat Sherwood, Japanese rider Eigo Sato and defending champion Dany Torres to land a spot in the final.
AMA Motocross Championship Round 10: August 18-19, Unadilla
FIM World Motocross Championship Round 13: August 16-19, Britain
MX Nationals Round 9: August 19, Moree, NSW
Watagan Trail Bike Rally: August 18-19