Race report: Red Bud US National – Tomac does the double!
The 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, reached its halfway point with the Rockford Fosgate RedBud National, which continued its famed 4th of July tradition with riders adorned in red, white, and blue colors in honor of America’s Independence Day at RedBud MX. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac put in a dominant performance at the sixth round of the championship, sweeping both motos for his third 450 Class victory of the season and regaining possession of the championship lead. In the 250 Class, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne claimed his third win of the season, and his first since the second round.
As the gate dropped for the opening 450 Class moto, it was Team Honda HRC’s Christian Craig who emerged with his third Motosport.com Holeshot of the season with RCH/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing rider Justin Bogle and Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin in tow. Musquin and RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM’s Blake Baggett, who entered the weekend as the points leader, were bar-to-bar as they made the pass stick on Bogle for the second and third positions, respectively. Baggett got a good drive and dove to the inside of Musquin, however, a small bobble would allow the Frenchman to slip back by for control of third. Craig, Musquin, and Baggett controlled the top three spots at the completion of the opening lap.
While Craig continued to lead the star-studded field with his effortless riding style, Musquin and Baggett remained in a heated battle for the final podium positions. Tomac was on a mission and began to slice his way through traffic and close in on Baggett for third. The race for the lead began to intensify on Lap 3 as Musquin began to apply heavy pressure on Craig and eventually made the pass stick to take over the top spot. Tomac was relentless as he muscled his way past Baggett for third, and then continued his way to the front with a pass on Craig for second. Tomac’s move seemed to motivate Baggett as he followed him through by making the pass on Craig for third on the fourth lap.
Despite Musquin riding well out front, Tomac slowly started to diminish the gap and had his sights set on the KTM rider. As Tomac closed to within just a few bike lengths, Musquin started to protect his lines as an attempt to fend him off, however, Tomac proved to be too strong and overtook the race leader on Lap 5. Baggett started to find his speed and reel in Musquin on Lap 10 and eventually positioned himself into third with an aggressive pass on Lap 12 for second.
As the race began winding down to its final laps, Tomac’s lead began to shrink as Baggett closed to within a couple seconds. With just one lap remaining, Tomac held a one second advantage over Baggett, but he would set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap to hold on for his fifth moto win of the season. Baggett used a brilliant ride to finish second, just 1.4 seconds behind Tomac, while Musquin held onto third.
Baggett launched out of the gate and powered his KTM down the sweeping left hand start straight to capture his first Motosport.com Holeshot of the year to start Moto 2, followed by Autotrader/Monster Energy/Suzuki/JGRMX rider Justin Barcia and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson. As the leaders approached the second turn, Barcia grabbed a handful of throttle and dove to the inside of Baggett to take the lead. Anderson went to the inside of Baggett coming down one of the tracks hills and the riders lines connected, causing contact that sent Baggett to the ground. When the field blitzed by the finish at the end of the opening lap it was Barcia, Anderson, and Tomac, while Baggett was shown in 35th place.
At the front of the field, Barcia and Anderson engaged in an intense battle, crossing lines and swapping positions in the bid for the lead. Barcia was able to keep his composure and hold onto the number one position. On Lap 4, the battle out front continued to get closer as Barcia, Anderson, and Tomac were separated by less than two seconds. Just one lap later, Tomac pulled alongside Anderson and successfully made the pass for second.
Barcia, a former winner at RedBud in 2015, rode impressive as Tomac began to nip at the Suzuki rider’s heels. With Tomac stalking his every move, Barcia pulled out every defensive maneuver he had in an attempt to keep the first moto winner behind him. On Lap 7, Barcia lost traction and went down, allowing Tomac to take over the lead and moving Anderson and Peick into podium contention. Musquin began moving his way closer to the front and eventually made the move on Peick for third on Lap 10.
When the checkered flag waved, Tomac used a dominant performance to win by 15.7 seconds for his sixth moto win of the season, and his third in a row. Anderson charged hard the entire race to finish second, followed by Musquin in third. Baggett put in a strong come-from-behind performance to finish 10th.
The 1-1 effort by Tomac propelled him to his eighth career 450 Class win. Anderson’s (4-2) was good enough for second overall on the day, while Musquin (3-3) completed the overall podium in third. Baggett finished just off the podium in fourth (2-10).
“This is so awesome, the day could not have gone any better,” said Tomac. “I didn’t want to rush anything in the second moto as the pace was already pretty fast and gnarly. There was a lot of roost and tear offs being pulled, so I just wanted to do my best to be smart. I took my time and slowly chipped away at the lead and eventually opened up a gap. It feels good to have a clean race and grab another win.”
Tomac’s win returned him to the championship points lead for the first time since the season opener at Hangtown, and already signifies the third change atop the 450 Class standings this season. Tomac now holds a 13-point advantage over Baggett, while Anderson continues to control third, 25-points out of the lead.
“Things have been going good, we’re close, and I’m happy overall,” said Anderson. “We still need to find a little bit more speed though. The carnage on the start in the first moto caught me and I was forced to come through the pack and deal with some of the slower riders. I was able to come through the pack pretty well and make the most of the situation that we were dealt.”
In the first 250 Class moto, GEICO Honda rider Jeremy Martin emerged with his fourth Motosport.com Holeshot award of the season, followed by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner and Osborne. As Martin quickly set the pace at the front of the field, Osborne wasted no time making the move on Forkner for second, while Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Alex Martin was in hot pursuit and also found his way past Forkner to take control of third. At the completion of the opening lap it was Jeremy Martin, Osborne, and Alex Martin who led the 40-rider field.
Jeremy Martin and Osborne maintained a blistering pace out front, setting nearly identical lap times as they played cat-and-mouse on the small gap that separated them. On Lap 4, the lead trio of Martin, Osborne, and Alex Martin began to distance themselves from the rest of the field, each with their sights set on the number-one position. Jeremy Martin soon started to feel the pressure of Osborne, who was hot on the rear fender of the race leader, and searching for a way around on Lap 6. Martin was able to answer Osborne’s charge and emerge with a small cushion.
The smaller displacement 250 Class witnessed most riders struggling to launch the famous “LaRocco’s Leap,” but Jeremy Martin was one of the few riders able to consistently clear the massive uphill step up, which helped him keep Osborne at bay. On Lap 16, Martin and Osborne were the closest they had been to one another all race long, as Osborne used every inch of the track to find a passing spot. Shortly after latching onto the back of Martin’s Honda, Osborne lost valuable time as he encountered lapped traffic.
Martin maintained his gap during the final laps of the race to win his third moto of the season by 4.6 seconds over his championship rival Osborne. Alex Martin used an inspiring ride to keep the lead duo in sight the majority of the race and rounded out the podium in third, just 2.3 seconds behind Osborne.
In Moto 2, Jeremy Martin repeated with his class-leading fifth Motosport.com Holeshot of the season by edging out his brother, Alex, and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Mitchell Harrison. However, disaster struck Jeremy Martin as he washed the front tire entering turn one and handed the lead over to his brother. As the talented field of riders circulated the opening lap, Alex Martin led Harrison, and Cycle Trader/Rock River Yamaha’s Luke Renzland, while Jeremy Martin had already clawed his way up to 21st after remounting nearly dead last.
Alex Martin instantly found himself being pressured by Harrison, who started to show a wheel in an attempt to take control of the lead. On Lap 1, Harrison was able to make the pass stick on Martin, and the crowd erupted in cheers for the Michigan-native out front. Harrison’s lead would be short lived as Martin was quick to strike back and retake the position. Martin then put his head down and began to open a small cushion with Harrison and Renzland in second and third, respectively. Osborne, who started the race just inside of the top 10, was beginning to find hot lines as he overtook Renzland for third on Lap 8.
As Martin looked to breakthrough with his second moto win of the season, he made a costly mistake entering the sand rollers on Lap 10 and found himself on the ground, ultimately allowing Harrison to inherit the race lead. Martin lost just one spot and remounted in second, however, Osborne was within striking distance and quickly passed to move into the runner-up spot, shuffling Martin back to third. On Lap 13, Osborne was lurking behind Harrison and made a spectacular pass to take over the lead. The final stage of the 30-minute-plus-two-lap moto was an all-out battle as the top three of Osborne, Harrison, and Martin were within mere seconds of each other.
Osborne took the checkered flag less than one second ahead of Harrison for his fifth moto win of the season. Harrison put in a superb ride for the runner-up spot, capturing his first career moto podium, while Alex Martin landed on the final step of the podium in third, just 1.9 seconds behind race winner Osborne.
The 2-1 moto scores guided Osborne to his fourth career victory, and his third of the 2017 season. Alex Martin’s consistency placed him second overall on the day (3-3), while Jeremy Martin (1-8) overcame adversity in the second moto to finish third overall.
“The crowd at RedBud is definitely next level,” said Osborne. “The first moto I started just behind Jeremy [Martin], and we kind of went back and forth the whole moto. It sucked to lose it, but it was nice to at least be on the lead pace. It wasn’t a huge deal as we still scored good points. I never jumped LaRocco’s Leap all day and felt like I was able to make up for it in other sections of the track.”
For the second consecutive week, Osborne further extended his championship points lead, which now sits at 38-points over Alex Martin. Osborne comfortably holds onto the red plate with more than a full moto lead to spare. Jeremy Martin’s third overall was good enough to maintain third in the standings, just seven points behind his brother.
“I love coming here to RedBud, it’s definitely one of my favorite events of the year and I always enjoy racing here,” said Alex Martin. “The first moto we were all so close and evenly matched that it made it extremely tough. The second moto was a bit of a bummer as I had the lead when I crashed. I think I had a good chance for the overall win today if I could have limited that one mistake.”
The 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will return to action next Saturday, July 8, for the seventh round of the season at The Wick 338 in Southwick, Massachusetts. First motos of the Red Bull Southwick National can be seen live on MAVTV at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET. The second 450 Class moto will air live on NBC at 12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 p.m. ET, while the second 250 Class moto will air via tape delay on NBC Sports Network at 9:30 p.m. PT / 12:30 a.m. ET.
Words and pics: MX Sports
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
Rockford Fosgate RedBud National
RedBud MX – Buchanan, Michigan
July 1, 2017
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (1-1)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna (4-2)
- Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM (3-3)
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (2-10)
- Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Suzuki (7-6)
- Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki (10-5)
- Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., (6-9)
- Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki (9-7)
- Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Husqvarna (8-8)
- Weston Peick, Menifee, Calif., Suzuki (14-4)
450 Class Championship Standings
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 241
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 228
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna – 216
- Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM – 201
- Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki – 163
- Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Husqvarna – 163
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki – 146
- Weston Peick, Menifee, Calif., Suzuki – 137
- Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki – 133
- Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda – 132
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (2-1)
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM (3-3)
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (1-8)
- Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha (7-2)
- Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha (5-4)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (6-11)
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (4-14)
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM (9-9)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, IL., Honda (12-7)
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (11-10)
250 Class Championship Standings
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 254
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM – 216
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 209
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 190
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 184
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 168
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 165
- Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha – 152
- Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha – 147
- Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha – 144