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ASK THE MXPERTS: HOW FAST ARE THE WOMEN AT THE AMA NATIONALS?

September 3, 2010
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Dear MXA,

I saw on a chat room today that the women, most notably Jessica Patterson, were only 5 seconds off the men’s time at Southwick.  I have seen the women race at the Nationals and there is no way they are even close to the men’s time. What’s the truth?

Southwick is not a good place to make comparisons from timed qualifying…as Andrew Short found out. The first practice sessions are on a smooth track and the later session are on a rough track. The lap times drop off to the tune of 15 seconds between timed qualifiers. It makes more sense to compare the AMA 250 second moto to the Women’s second moto?since they are held back-to-back on the same basic track.

In the second 250 moto Justin Barcia’s fastest lap was 2:05.4. Jessica Patterson did a 2:18.7 (and Jessica was the only women to get below 2:20). It is true that Jessica had a faster lap time than four men (Preston Mull, Kyle Gills, Dakota Tedder and Corey Pennington).

For comparison, Jessica’s timed qualifying lap was a 2:10.5. Smooth track or rough track, she would not have made the 40-man field in either the 250 or 450 classes with that time. She was ten seconds off the time of the top 40 in the 450s and five seconds off the top 40 in the 250 class. She would have qualified 81st (out of 83) in the 450 class and 66th (out of 80) in the 250 class.

But this is all apples and oranges?she is the fastest American women, and doesn’t race against the men?and until she signs up for an AMA 250 National (and runs the same timed qualifiers as the men), there is no way of knowing if she could make the field or not (unless we are talking about the Brazilian Grand Prix). So, let’s wait for that day and then make a judgment.

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