Riders were met with punishing conditions with temperatures in the triple digits in Pala, California. Cooper came out to the line sporting his Motocross of Nations graphics that he’ll be using in a few weeks as the MX2 rider for Team USA. He started the day second in qualifying and ready for a good day. As the gate dropped for a shortened Moto 1 of 25 minutes plus two laps, Cooper found himself up with the front runners and settling into fourth. He held the spot for four laps before moving back to fifth. The New Yorker maintained a good pace and kept fourth in his sights and then made the pass on Lap 10. With third out of touch, he conserved energy in the extreme heat, but then a mistake at the front brought him within reach of third, and he took the final podium spot on the last lap. Cooper was fired up for the second moto and pulled out his ninth holeshot of the season. He moved into second on Lap 2, and fell back to third a few laps later but was able to hold on to the position and go 3-3 on the day to close out the season with another podium finish.
Thrasher entered the final round at Fox Raceway coming off one of his best rides of the season. He was hoping to keep up the momentum and started it off with a fourth-place finish in qualifying. Unfortunately, he would have an uphill battle after his Moto 1 start saw him come around the first lap in 20th. He was trying to quickly make his way through the pack and was up to 15th in just a few laps, but was unable to make up much more time on the riders in front of him and settled for 14th. The second moto nearly mirrored the first moto, with Thrasher coming around the first lap in 21st. This time he was able to get up to 14th by the third lap and continued to climb up the order. As others struggled with the heat, Thrasher was continually putting in fast laps, and by the end of the shortened moto, he made it up to eighth, placing him ninth overall.
Following his rollercoaster day last weekend at Ironman Raceway during his professional debut, Deegan was looking to bounce back and break the top 10 at his home track. Despite the challenging conditions, he had a good qualifying, earning the eighth spot and a good gate pick. Deegan didn’t get the start he was looking for and was near teammate Thrasher in the top 20 on the opening lap. The young rider was steady as he made his passes in the opening laps, moving into 16th by Lap 6 where he would ultimately finish. Deegan enjoyed a much better start in Moto 2 in 13th and would find a good pace that saw him claim 10th - his best finish and a personal goal accomplished.
Leblanc got a good start in the opening moto and was battling in the top five before getting shuffled to seventh on the first lap. He tried to maintain the speed in the brutal heat but moved down the leaderboard and finished the race in 19th. Leblanc had his starts dialed and again found himself in the top five in Moto 2, but a crash early in the race had him withdrawing from the moto. His 19-24 awarded him 21st overall for the day.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 team will be getting ready over the next few weeks as they support Cooper and his efforts as the MX2 rider at the Motocross of Nations at RedBud MX on September 23 - 25.