Morning Espresso: 5 Things You MIGHT See at Thunder Valley

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Call it predictions, foreshadowing, heck, call it talk out of my rear end but here’s five things you just might see at Thunder Valley.


It may very well be used as a crutch by the racing broadcast for the entire five-plus hours of coverage this weekend and for good reason. Thunder Valley Raceway is located about 40 minutes away from downtown Denver. Competing in the Mile High City is not for the faint of heart–literally. Lack of oxygen is detrimental to athletes to depend on their cardiovascular endurance to separate themselves late in the motos. Riders and machines alike will be in the same boat and rest assured that even the Lawrence brothers will be sucking wind towards the white flag. The unavoidable truth that Thunder Valley’s elevation just may be the biggest obstacle on the track is something that looms in the minds of every rider and mechanic. This weekend, you might see the altitude be a major factor in deciding who takes home some hardware.

Bad Ass Trophies

On a lighter note, Thunder Valley’s trophies serve as that bit of extra incentive to hold that podium pace as the clock ticks out on moto 2. Over the years, podium finishers at Thunder Valley have headed back to the truck with some of the most unique trophies in the sport while helping this national achieve underrated status on the AMA Pro Motocross circuit. If you tune in this weekend, you might see some sick trophies being handed out.

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The Ruts are Gonna be Nuts

Word on the street is that Thunder Valley has been getting pounded with rain for weeks now leaving the track’s soil saturated. I’m sure those racing won’t complain much about having some firm lines to hit on a racing surface notorious for being as off camber as any featured on the AMA Pro Motocross Championship. With all the moisture in the soil, you just might see a scenario where a racer is committed to a line and that rut will serve as restrictive confines for more than a couple corners. Watch for line selection to be key when it comes to navigating through lapped traffic. Speaking of which, dollar to donuts, there will be a large number of riders in both classes doing a lap down. A slot car style track is expected this week and as 40 athletes play follow the leader and in turn produce big gaps throughout the pack.

“It was tough to pass out there” “The track got pretty one lined.”

The funny thing about the intensity of pro motocross is that it can cause tunnel vision for some of the most creative racers in the world. With the expectation of deep ruts that can link entire sections, making progress after a bad start will prove challenging for all who find themselves buried at the green flag. Especially so for guys like Tom Vialle who will be racing at Thunder Valley for the first time. The combination of deep ruts and shortness of breath might hinder the Frenchmen (and many others) to struggle to make passed.

First Turn Madness

The first corner at a motocross race is always a picture of intensity and mayhem so having the start on this list is a bit redundant, but I haven’t finished my point so stick with me here. Like Millville’s Spring Creek Raceway, Thunder Valley features a right hand first turn. Why is that important? Well, when 40 of the fastest racers on the planet charger into a corner at once without the ability to tough the back brake, carnage is bound to ensue. A tight right hander leading to an immediate drop off is a recipe of disaster, so racers best proceed with some caution. Then again, number four this list tells you that getting a good start in this race is maybe more important than any other track on the circuit. So I guess, crank the knob to 11 and cross your fingers because being cautious will not get you the start you’re looking for at Thunder Valley.

As a recap, expect riders and machines alike to be sucking wind as soon as they arrive in Colorado. Even though these guys likely care about the bonus money, the trophies will be pretty neat. The corners will look like someone took a comb to them cutting grooves that will dictate how the track races from the first gate drop. If you manage to avoid a first turn pile up, you still might have your work cut out for you if you don’t see much daylight once get past the announcer’s tour on lap one.

At least we’re not racing here at night like we did in 2007 and 2008!

Main image: KTM Images

Written by BigMxRadio

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