The TPJ Racing team traveled to the Pacific North West for the 9th round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Washougal MX Park.
Freestyle Motocross rider Beau Bamburg played the National Anthem and mid-way through his performance two McDonnell Douglas F/A-18’s did a flyby. That iconic sound of freedom combined with the roar of the crowd was one great way to start the races. Watch the Beau’s video here.
For the first time this season every single TPJ Racing team rider qualified for the main moto’s of the day. In the 450MX class we had John Short #57, Dylan Merriam #86 and Carson Tickle #596; and in the 250MC class we had Jimmy Weeks #700 and Mason Wharton #767 representing the team.
John Short was presented with the Deltran Battery Tender RC Hard Charger award for his performance at Millville, MN during the early morning rider’s meeting. Short, who has only been back for the past few rounds, has continued to impress with his top qualifying and overall scores. Washougal was no different, Short qualified 25th overall; and went on to secure a 14th and 18th place finish putting him 17th overall for the day. Short gained 10 vital points for his performance.
Dylan Merriam arrived at Washougal ready to turn his bad luck around; and he did just that. He looked super-fast and confident on his Yamaha YZ450F during qualifying where he finished 22nd. Moving into the day’s moto’s Merriam continued to gain momentum and crossed the checkered flag in 22nd and 23rd in Moto 1 and Moto 2 respectively. Merriam finished the day in 25th place overall in the 450MX class, no additional points were gained but he was happy to have a solid day of racing.
Carson Tickle has been riding well all season, gaining speed and positions each weekend. This week, Tickle had two back of the pack starts but was able to put his head down and navigate through the field to secure a 32nd and 25th place finish in the motos. Tickle finished out the day 30th overall, and looks forward to heading back East to Unadilla after a much needed weekend off.
Jimmy Weeks, the 18th year old from Florida has proven he has what it takes to compete at the professional level in the stacked 250MX class. Weeks qualified 30th overall for the day, and was ready to add some more points by his name by the time the day was done. In Moto 1, Weeks came off the gate in 32nd then worked his way through the pack, picking off one rider at a time to finish in 22nd. Moto 2 was a repeat performance as he again secured a 22nd place finish. Weeks rounded out the day in 23rd overall; no points were gained but lessons were learned and he will take the weekend off to practice, practice, practice so he’ll be ready for Unadilla.
Mason Wharton had the local boy advantage at Washougal, meaning he had plenty of family and friends on hand to cheer him on. Wharton made a few appearances on local news outlets Friday during the press day ride, something we always enjoy seeing at the privateer level. On Saturday, Mason was able to qualify 31st overall in the 250MX class locking down a spot for himself on the starting line come gate drop time. A nearly last place start in Moto 1 meant Wharton had to battle his way through the pack and dig deep to fight for 30 minutes plus two laps to ultimately finish in 30th place. He finished moto 2 in 27th, placing him 30th overall for the day, a season best finish so far.
Heading into a much needed weekend off the TPJ Racing team knows they have one key area to address: STARTS. In all facets of racing starts are important, but even more so when you are battling 40 of the world’s fastest racers on brutal tracks for 30 long minutes plus two laps; twice in one day. We know each of our rider’s has what it takes to be in the top 20, and getting a front of the pack start is a huge advantage to making that happen.
Thank you to Fly Racing for the continued support, and for allowing us to take part in the 2019 racewear launch at Washougal. We love the new line, and look forward to many more years working together.
Thank you to Karcher Pressure Washers for the awesome wash station tent, allowing us to keep our bikes looking fresh for each practice and moto.
Lucas Oil, Boyce Excavating, Carl’s Cycle Sales, AllClear ID, Engine Ice, DSC Construction, Cometic Gaskets, Vertex, Hot Cams, Rekluse, Scott, Acerbis, Motool, Yoshimura, Mika, Magik Graphics, Galfer, Cylinder works, Bolt, MotoSeat, Pirelli Tires, Tokyo Mods, VP Racing Fuel, No Toil, and California Coast Plumbers, inc
See you all in two weeks at Unadilla for round 10.
Photos by: BrownDog Wilson (unless otherwise noted)
Words by: Kendra Keene