Weston Peick – 450 Class – 9-8 for 8th Place.
Enzo Lopes – 250 Class – 14-40 for 17th Place.
Justin Hill – 450 Class – 39-DNS for 44th Place.
The Autotrader/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing Team traveled to the famed Unadilla circuit in New Berlin, New York for round 10 of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at the weekend and Mother Nature unleashed her fury, with a massive rainstorm creating a deluge for the racers.
But the muddy conditions didn’t slow Weston Peick, who scored another top-10 finish aboard his Suzuki RM-Z450. Team-mate Justin Hill was racing with a tender knee, but looked great in practice. However, he re-injured his knee in the first moto and had to call it an early day. In the 250 ranks, Enzo Lopes looked comfortable in the messy conditions, the Brazilian almost matching his career-best moto finish in the opening race. However, he was unable to contest the second moto.
Rain, sleet, snow or sunny skies apparently won’t affect the outcome for Peick, who gives it his all regardless of the weather. The 27-year-old is a force to be reckoned with. Slogging through the muck of Unadilla, the Southern California native remained consistent in powering his Suzuki inside the top 10. His 9-8 moto scores for eighth overall stretched his top-10 streak to 10 – one in each event so far this season. In fact, he is one of only six 450 riders to score points in every single moto and Peick sits firmly in sixth place overall with two rounds remaining.
It was a miracle that Hill was able to line up for Unadilla: The Yoncalla, Oregon rider sustained a knee injury during the second moto at Washougal two weeks ago when he went off course and hit a tree, but he pushed aside the pain and looked for another breakout ride on the Suzuki RM-Z450. He qualified eighth and gated well in the first moto. Then, without warning, he caught his injured knee in a rut and had to retire for the day. Hill hopes to race the Budds Creek National and currently sits 11th in the overall standings.
Lopes was looking forward to his first full-blown mud race. The rookie cut his teeth riding in slick conditions in his home country of Brazil and he looked great on the historic track, making passes and cutting lines in sections even the most aggressive riders would dare not take. Unfortunately, a first lap crash in the first moto out him in the midst of the pack. He dug deep and finished 14th but was unable to race the second moto after a bike malfunction, which will be diagnosed and rectified this week.
Weston Peick [450 Class, 9-8 for 8th Place]:
“Unadilla reminded me of the second moto at Unadilla last year where we got a ton of rain and it was very challenging. I tried my best and got out of there pretty happy, considering that I don’t have a lot of experience in those types of conditions. I’m sixth in the points standings, and I like Budds Creek, so I’m excited to do the press day and get more track time in.”
Enzo Lopes [250 Class, 14-40 for 17th Place]:
“It was gnarly. In the first practice, I didn’t feel the best. We headed out for qualifying and I felt good. It kept raining harder and harder. As soon as we got on the gate for the first moto it was a complete mud fest. I had a good start, but before the ‘Skyshot’ I ended up crashing. My helmet was so heavy that I could barely see and breathe! Between the motos we had an issue with the bike, and I couldn’t race the second moto. That’s how it goes sometimes. We will come back stronger for Budds Creek this next weekend.”
Justin Hill [450 Class, 39-DNF for 44th Place]:
“I felt good in qualifying. Unfortunately, I caught my previously injured leg in a rut in the first moto and that was it. I had to sit out the rest of the day. My goal is to work hard this week to get the swelling out of my knee and line up for Budds Creek. I have to give a big ‘Thank you’ to my team!”
Jeremy Albrecht [Team Manager]:
“Between the rain in Unadilla and the Seattle Supercross, along with snow at the Indianapolis and Minneapolis Supercross rounds, Mother Nature hasn’t been kind to us this year. Still, we’re making headway and proving ourselves. Weston Peick continues to show that he’s not going to give up, even though his wrist is bothering him. Justin Hill worked hard to get better during the break, but then he stuck his leg in a rut in the first moto and tweaked it. Hopefully, he will be ready for Budds Creek. Enzo Lopes had a solid ride in the first moto. There was a small bike problem that we’re going to fix this week so that it doesn’t happen again. Rain races are always crazy, and this weekend wasn’t any different!”
The Autotrader/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing Team will head to the Budds Creek National in Mechanicsville, Maryland for the penultimate round of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday, August 18th.
Words and images courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office