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Ups and Downs for Triumph at Thunder Valley Pro Motocross

Ups and Downs for Triumph at Thunder Valley Pro Motocross

Triumph Racing takes plenty of points and promise into the next round of the 2024 AMA Pro Motocross series with racers Jalek Swoll and Joey Savatgy finishing sixth and 12th overall at a challenging round three in Thunder Valley, Colorado aboard their TF 250-X machines.

The Lakewood venue in a state famous for its incredible landscapes provides the riders with a track that has hugely challenging climbs and drops. The debut at this demanding destination for the all-new Triumph TF 250-X would also throw in other obstacles, thanks to its high altitude setting and rapidly changeable conditions.

Having not ridden the previous day’s press day, the two Triumph Racing riders eased their way into qualifying, with Savatgy in ninth and Swoll in 13th in the first session. The duo were two of the few riders to go faster in second qualifying, placing second and third in that session, respectively. This was enough to earn the sixth gate pick for Joey and eighth for Jalek.

With a change to normal proceedings, the 450 class raced before the 250s and cut the track up ahead of the first moto. Both riders got a good jump when the gate dropped, with the #33 of Swoll finding a gap at the first turn to slot in with the leading pack. Just behind, teammate Savatgy on the #17 machine was left with nowhere to go when a rider crashed in front of him, remounting just inside the top 30. With Swoll sitting strong in fourth, Savatgy unfortunately went down again on the third lap trying to make up ground, giving himself even more work to do from 37th.

For Swoll it not only turned out to be largely a lonely race but also a frustrating one. After holding fourth for most of the moto, coming into the last 10 minutes Levi Kitchen made a move on #33. Still lapping at a consistently fast pace, Jo Shimoda was pressing hard and putting Jalek under pressure, but in return the Triumph rider was doing the same to Chance Hymas. On what would be a dramatic close to the moto, Jalek would slip off while fighting for fourth, but recovered to seventh at the flag. For Joey, it would be a herculean effort to see him place 17th.

With a light sprinkling of rain, the track conditions had become incredibly slippery before the second moto. Swoll – on the very inside gate position – was once again sharp when it came to the start, taking sixth into the first corner before soon powering up to fourth position. Joey’s choice of gate pick would give him a big challenge to break the top 10, but the former 250 race winner was more than up to the challenge.

Having settled into a strong fourth position, Swoll was able to take advantage of a fall from Kitchen to slot into third, although he soon became embroiled in epic battles with both Tom Vialle and Shimoda, which would dominate the coverage from the moto. Showing once again that both he and the Triumph TF 250-X have podium pace, it would ultimately be a fifth place finish for Swoll to take sixth overall on the day.

Demonstrating his class and what could have been if not battling through the field, Savatgy was able to get a hard-earned eighth place finish to take 12th overall and gain some valuable points.

Jalek Swoll #33

“We’re inching closer and closer to where I know we should be. We didn’t know what to expect coming here with the bike being all-new, but the Triumph TF 250-X delivered and passed the first test of what we knew would be a hard start to the outdoor season. I’m looking forward to heading back east and getting some bigger points on the board.”

Joey Savatgy #17

“Honestly, I’m just frustrated, disappointed and a bit spun out. My speed is good. My fitness is good. I just can’t get off the gate and there’s just too many good guys in the line-up for me to be starting back where I am. I’ve always been a good starter in my career and my Triumph TF 250-X feels good – that’s not holding me back. It’s when I get away mid pack, I spend so much time passing people and then it’s hard to get into a rhythm. I know I have the speed, I just need to be able to showcase it. Believe me, the work won’t stop until I’m where I should be.”

Bobby Hewitt – Triumph Racing Team Principal (US):

“It’s hard to duplicate conditions like we had here on our practice tracks, and while we improved in some areas, we also found work to do in others. But with a new project like this, it is to be expected and the riders we have more than step up to the challenge. Jalek rode really well again and we just have to work a little on his line selection when he’s out riding on his own in a moto. For Joey, he just needs a little luck as he clearly has the pace to challenge up front with Jalek. I’m excited for after High Point when we will have all the info and data we need to go into the following part of the season much stronger. But as usual, the team appreciates all the support from Triumph and the fans.”

Words and Images by Triumph Racing