The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team made their annual stop to the only sand circuit on the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Fielding three riders on the all-new Suzuki RM-Z450, the team came into Massachusetts with a head of steam. Justin Bogle returned from injury and made an immediate impact in the 450 class, scoring both holeshots and running with the front-runners. Teammate Weston Peick overcame a first-turn crash in the second moto to earn a top-ten finish. He has finished inside the top-ten at every National in 2018. Justin Hill looked primed and ready to make a statement in only his third 450 National. Unfortunately, Hill was collected up in a first-turn crash in the first moto. Nevertheless, he gritted it out and completed the moto, despite a deep cut in his arm. In the 250 class, hometown hero Jimmy Decotis nearly pulled the holeshot in the opening moto on his RM-Z250 and worked to match the pace of the front-runners in his second race back from injury.
Weston Peick continues to impress on the all-new Suzuki RM-Z450. The Menifee, California resident has the heart of a warrior, evidenced by his charge through the pack in the second moto. Collected in a massive first-turn pile-up, Peick put his head down and rocketed past nearly three-quarters of the field. His efforts netted a 10th place finish–his sixth top-ten in the series. Peick is sixth in the point standings.
The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team expected Justin Bogle to make his return at this weekend’s RedBud National. It was a pleasant surprise when the National-winning Bogle came back earlier than previously thought to race at Southwick. The Cushing, Oklahoma native used lightning-fast reflexes and the speedy Suzuki RM-Z450 to nail both holeshots. However, mistakes and ring rust slowed his charge. Bogle’s 18-20 moto scores netted him 23rd overall, and he vows to only improve from here.
Justin Hill spent this past week preparing for Southwick by riding at several sand tracks in the North Carolina area. Unfortunately, there was no way that the 450 stand-out could prepare for the melee that occurred in the first turn of the opening moto at Southwick. Hill suffered a deep cut in his right arm, but still managed to finish the race. After receiving medical attention following the moto, it was determined that Hill should be evaluated at a local hospital. We will provide an update on his condition when it becomes available.
Jimmy Decotis had the Southwick National circled on his calendar months ago. The Massachusetts native was determined to race his hometown National. The RM-Z250 rider achieved his goal, and did more than that by running in second place during the opening moto. Fans hung over the fences yelling Decotis’ nickname, “The Rippa,” while Jimmy styled at the front for several laps. A series of crashes slowed his progress, but that’s to be expected for his second race back from a serious spinal injury. Decotis was caught up in a first-turn crash in the second moto. The impact caused a mechanical issue that could not be overcome and Decotis had to retire from the race.
Weston Peick [450 Class, 9-11 for 10th Place] – “Southwick was tough. I got off to a rough start. On Friday, I crashed hard during press day and hurt my shoulder. I was going into Saturday banged up. In the first practice, we made some changes in order to find a good setup for the sand. We went one direction, but I struggled with it in the first moto. I got tangled in the first turn, but made some passes and settled into a groove. We made some suspension changes for the second moto, and that was better. I went down in the first turn and came through the pack pretty quickly, but then I collided with a rider while passing for 10th. I had to dig deep, and I came back to 11th. Overall, it was a bad weekend, but I played it safe and salvaged some points.”
Justin Bogle [450 Class, 18-20 for 23rd Place] – “My starts were awesome. Pretty much everything else beside that was far off. Fortunately, I got the first race out of the way. I felt good in the first half of the motos, but Southwick was hot and gnarly. I’m adjusting to racing again, because it has been so long since I’ve seen a gate drop. It was a shock to the system. Southwick wasn’t one of my best days, but I do know that there’s a lot more, so I’m not too worried about it. Things will come here soon.”
Justin Hill [450 Class, 21-DNS for 40th Place] – “I felt like a fish out of water in the sand. I could have pulled it together and had a really good start in the first moto. I’m fairly certain someone ran me over. That’s why I fell over. I was third when that happened. A foot peg caught me. I really couldn’t feel my arm immediately after the impact. I got on the bike and pushed, but my arm was still numb. It was determined that I should seek additional medical advice after I pulled off the track, so I went to the emergency room and had bad lacerations. The doctors did some nerve tests. That’s why I sat out the second moto. I’m not sure how I pushed through the first moto! It must have been adrenaline. It’s one of those things. If there’s anything I can take from the weekend, it’s crazy what can be accomplished without understanding what’s really going on. I got a few stitches, and those will come out this week.”
Jimmy Decotis [250 Class, 20-35 for 21st Place] – “It was fun being involved with press day. I was able to go home and see some family, and also visit some of the spots I like to eat at. Everything was going smoothly. I qualified 13th in timed practice, and I didn’t care too much about my position because I was feeling good. In the first moto, I really wanted to get the start. I had a good jump out the gate, and my Suzuki laid down the horsepower in the sandy start. I came around in third and moved into second. Then I rode tight and let the pressure of that event get to me. I wasn’t hitting my marks. I ended up crashing about halfway through the moto, so that set me back. I ended up 20th. I had a good jump in the second moto, but someone ended up tucking their front end and crashing into me. I fell and somehow managed to get my boot caught in the engine. When I pulled my foot out my boot pulled off a radiator hose. My bike was pouring coolant for half of the moto, but then it finally gave up. It was a freak thing.”
Jeremy Albrecht [Team Manager] – “Southwick was a tough race. The heat index was very high, and the track itself made the conditions extremely challenging. I continue to be impressed by Weston Peick. He had a big crash during press day, but he dug deep and came away with another top ten. It was nice to see Bogle racing. His starts were dialed, but he’s not used to that pace. The intensity will come. As for Hill, he suffered from a case of bad luck. The speed was there, but that’s how these things go.”
“Jimmy Decotis was excited to race Southwick. It’s incredible that he was even able to race after breaking his back during the Supercross series. Jimmy had the ability to finish on the box, but these things take time. Overall, I like what I’m seeing from our riders. It’s only a matter of time.”