Cooper and the team went to work between rounds this past week, and the hard work paid off with a well-earned podium finish. The day started perfectly for the New Yorker who was the fastest qualifier, leading to a great gate pick. It then translated to a holeshot in moto one with the No. 32 leading the field around the tough Hangtown circuit. He maintained the lead for the first five laps before moving into second, where he held on to the end of the race. When the gate dropped for the second moto, it was Cooper’s Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing YZ250F out front once again - making the team four for four in holeshots this season. Although a small mistake on the opening lap shuffled him to second, he charged the entire moto and eventually finished third, giving him second overall.
Coming off an up and down ride at Pala, Kitchen was determined to improve at Hangtown, qualifying sixth during the morning sessions. He didn’t get the start he was looking for in the opening moto and found himself in 15th. Once Kitchen got into a flow with the track, he put on a hard charge to the front, making it up to a well-ridden sixth. A better start of ninth in the second moto helped him find his groove earlier in the race, charging forward to sixth, giving him sixth overall.
It was a day of good riding for the young rookie Romano, who qualified 12th. His impressive starts continued at Hangtown, with the 17-year-old getting out to fifth in the first moto. He moved around the leaderboard throughout the race and came across the finish in 10th. After another good start in Moto 2, Romano was in the mix with the front runners. He did his best to hold off pressure from behind, riding solid in the top four for the first five laps and ultimately finishing ninth for 10th overall.
Thrasher overcame some adversity at Hangtown and showcased a fighting spirit throughout the day. In the first moto, the Tennessee rider started outside the top-15, making it up to 14th by the end of the race. It was an uphill battle in the second moto after a crash had Thrasher back in 29th at the start. He never gave up and made it back up to 14th, landing him 13th overall.
Leblanc showed improvement throughout the day as he lined up for only the second professional race of his career. He also started outside the top 15 and did his best to move forward but ultimately ended the race in 18th. Learning every time he hits the track, LeBlanc got a better start in the second moto in 10th. He rode strong throughout the race and finished 12th, which scored him 14th overall.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team starts the trek east with Round 3, stopping in Lakewood, Colorado, at Thunder Valley MX Park on Saturday, June 11.