Long choppy ruts challenge racers at Unadilla

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper took the 250MX Moto 1 win in front of the home crowd at yesterday’s Unadilla National but ultimately finished second overall after a tough second moto in fourth. His clutch performance in the challenging conditions at the iconic track in New Berlin, New York, kept his place atop the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250 class standings. Jeremy Martin finished third overall with a 3-2 result. The team’s up-and-coming riders, Levi Kitchen and Jarrett Frye had a good outing, ending the day eighth and ninth overall, respectively.

Once again, Cooper set the pace early and earned fastest qualifier honors for the sixth time in eight tries this season and then backed that up with another holeshot in the first moto. His championship rival quickly moved into second and stalked him for the first half of the race, but the points leader kept cool under pressure. The New Yorker increased the intensity and set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 7 to start to build a gap. He continued to pull away to stand on the podium’s top step in front of the home crowd.

Cooper got another great start in Moto 2, taking an impressive eighth holeshot of the season. It quickly turned into a three-rider battle with his teammate and rival in tow. Martin passed him first, and then he was immediately under pressure from the other rider. The New Yorker struggled to find his flow in the challenging conditions and was ultimately shuffled to fourth, where he managed his race to secure second overall and keep the red plate with a four-point lead.

Martin also had two good starts in the runner-up spot but was shuffled to third early in the first moto. He worked to close the gap on the front runners and set his fastest lap of the race on Lap 4, but he lost some time as the pair up front increased the pace. Managing some arm pump issues, he went on to finish comfortably in third in the tricky conditions. In the second moto, Martin claimed the lead on Lap 2 and started to pull away, but he was reeled back in by the competition and passed on the same outside line that the rider used to pass Cooper earlier. The Minnesotan kept pushing but ultimately had to settle for second, securing the final spot on the overall podium and making a 16-point gain in the standings to move to just one point behind the rider in third.

Fresh off of his stellar performance at last week’s 40th annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s, the young Kitchen had a good outing in the professional ranks. He continued to make progress throughout the day and came back from a bad start in the first moto, working his way from outside the top 20 to 12th. The 2021 Nicky Hayden AMA Motocross Horizon Award Winner had a much better start in Moto 2 inside the top 10 and advanced to fifth in the race’s second half. He ultimately crossed the line seventh for his best moto result in the class and his best overall finish in eighth.

It was a similar story for his fellow young teammate, Frye, who also made improvements throughout the day on a very technical, challenging track. He fought his way back from outside of the top 20 in the first moto to finish 13th . In Moto 2, the Maryland rider was ahead of Kitchen in eighth, where he ultimately finished, scoring his best result of the season — eighth in the moto and ninth overall.

Next up for the Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing team is Frye’s home race — the Budds Creek National in Mechanicsville, Maryland, Round 9 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on August 21.

Seth Rarick

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing 250 Team Manager


“We had a solid day at Unadilla and got two out of the three spots on the podium. Unfortunately, we came up just short of the top stop, but we kept the red plate. We’re going to keep working to stay up front in this final stretch of the championship.

“Jarrett and Levi had great days as well. They mirrored each other somewhat in both motos, with both getting bad starts in Moto 1, but they kept moving forward throughout the race. The two of them got a better start to Moto 2, and they ran well inside the top 10 the entire time. I’m happy with the day, and we look to keep moving forward.”


Justin Cooper

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing

“The track was very difficult all day with the long choppy ruts. I had a really good first moto, but I was really fighting the bike in the second moto. I lost my flow pretty early, and once you lose your flow on this track, it’s pretty dangerous. I’m glad to be out of here safe, and we’ll keep coming out swinging and going for this championship.”

Jeremy Martin

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing

“I was very excited to race Unadilla since my last race there was in 2017. It was definitely a really technical race track this year, with minimal track prep. I got arm pump really bad in the first moto but held on for third. The bike and I were better for Moto 2, but I just couldn’t quite get the job done.”

Levi Kitchen

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing

“I’m pretty happy with how the motos went after how bad qualifying was. That track is very unique and technical! My first goal as a pro was to check a top-10 finish off of the list, so to get eighth overall was awesome. We look to keep building on that next weekend.”

Jarett Frye

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing

“It was a better weekend of racing for me. The track was gnarly, but I had some fun and was able to get ninth overall. I’m looking forward to my hometown race next weekend at Budds Creek!”

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