Luckily, here is only one Pala National this year, which means that the September finale is no longer on the schedule, leaving only the May rounds (which was held in pleasant 72 degree weather —a big change from the last time the Nationals came to Pala and it was 105 degrees). The racing in the 250 class was the best of the day, as they had a full contingent of factory talent on hand—including Hunter Lawrence, Haiden Deegan, R.J. Hampshire, Tom Vialle, Justin Cooper, Max Vohland, Jo Shimoda, Michael Mosiman, Levi Kitchen and Carson Mumford. Hunter Lawrence took the overall with a 3-1 score in front of Haiden Deegan’s 6-2. But, the most surprising score of the day was that R. J Hampshire got a third overall with an unheard of 1-11 day.

The 450 class saw some good battles, but the long ruts, poorly designed first turn combo, uninspiring track and seriously depleted 450 Factory field left the fans wanting more. There were lots of man-on-man duels in both 450 motos, just not many passes on the one-line track. The best of the duels was a 20-minute long two-man battle between Chase Sexton and eventual winner Jett Lawrence.  But their duel did not include any bar banging between the two Honda stars, just two guy circulating the track with no serious moves being made.

Worst of all, the AMA put in a 30-minute break at Half time for what seemed like a half-baked Half-time show for the TV audience. It left TV viewers wondering why they’d want to watch the first motos that just ended 5 minutes earlier being hashed over again. Plus, the paying spectators didn’t like having to sit in a field with nothing to see in the middle of the day. The AMA might want to try a 10-minute half-time break—or forget it all together.



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