Cody Cooper 11-15 in 450s | Hayden Mellross 22-15 in 250s
Eli Tomac took the 450 class win at Muddy Creek with his 1-3 result, narrowly edging out Justin Barcia who took second in both motos and proving consistency was key, with just a single point separating the two after the final moto.
Eli Tomac – P1 Overall
“It was a successful day and we’re happy to be taking some points home with us,” said Tomac. “The goal is to get a good start so we’re out front and I was able to do that in Moto 1. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the start we wanted in Moto 2 so I really had to battle to make some passes. It feels great to leave here with the overall win and we’re going to keep working hard every week.”
Marvin Musquin took the second moto win but a fifth place in the first ensured Tomac extended his championship lead to 32.
“It was a big bummer to go down in the first lap of Moto 1. I clipped someone’s rear wheel and couldn’t avoid it and crashed – it’s frustrating. I’ve been feeling really good, training really hard and working really hard with the team and it’s been paying off. I fight hard in the second moto and I knew that all I needed to do is get a good start, fight for it and not go down, so that’s what I did and I was able to control the race until the end. [It’s] one more moto win, still not what I want but that’s all I had today. I’m really happy, it’s not too bad for the championship even if we lose some points, it’s still a podium and we keep on working hard.”
New Zealand’s Cody Cooper sits ninth in the 450 rankings after taking 11th and 15th results from the two motos.
Eli Tomac (1:51.405) topped his rival Marvin Musquin (1:52.034) by about a half second in qualifying session No. 2. Qualifying in third was Justin Barcia (1:53.159), who had actually been the top rider in the morning’s first qualifying session. However, lap times in that earlier session were slower overall due to some rain that hit Tennessee in the morning.
Cody Cooper qualified 19th with a 1:59.062.
450 Qualifying Times
Eli Tomac, 1:51.405
Marvin Musquin, 1:52.034
Justin Barcia, 1:53.159
Blake Baggett, 1:53.431
Justin Hill, 1:53.900
450 Moto 1
Though Eli Tomac hasn’t traditionally been known as a great starter, he’s been turning things around recently. That continued at Muddy Creek as he got another strong start but was edged out for the Moto 1 holeshot by Ken Roczen. Meanwhile Marvin Musquin was involved in a crash on the first lap and ended up around 20th.
While Tomac spent the first few laps stalking Roczen, Justin Barcia made a few passes to work his way up to third and close in on the lead pack. About 10 minutes into the moto, Tomac found a line that carried him past Roczen into the lead and enabled him to open up a slight gap. Less than two minutes later, Barcia also got around Roczen to take second place.
Over the next few laps, Tomac was able to turn some fast times and put some more distance between himself and Barcia. By the time there were eight minutes left on the countdown clock, Tomac’s lead had already grown to over 10 seconds.
The top three (Tomac, Barcia, Roczen) remained unchanged over the remainder of the moto, and Blake Baggett took fourth place. Behind them, Musquin had been making moves throughout the moto. After his first-lap incident, the Frenchman made a number of passes to get up to fifth place and salvage some points.
450 Moto 1 Results
Justin Barcia +7.941s
Ken Roczen +17.734
Blake Baggett +19.425
Marvin Musquin +21.643
Weston Peick +54.055
Phil Nicoletti +57.386
Justin Hill +59.468
Benny Bloss +1:23.895
Henry Miller +1:36.185
…20. Cody Cooper +17 laps +11.007
450 Moto 2
Ken Roczen grabbed his second holeshot of the day with Justin Barcia and Marvin Musquin next in line. This time though, Tomac was nowhere to be seen near the front of the group – he started around 20th and would have his work cut out for him.
With Tomac out of the picture (at least for the time being), the 450 Class’s other premier riders had a prime opportunity to capture a moto win. On the opening lap, it was Barcia taking advantage by passing Roczen for the lead. Musquin soon got around Roczen as well to move into second place. Musquin then set his sights on Barcia and was able to pass him about eight minutes into the race.
While Musquin, Barcia and Roczen continued to run in the top three spots, Tomac continued his charge through the field. By getting around Blake Baggett and Weston Peick, the Kawasaki rider moved himself into fourth with a little over 10 minutes remaining on the countdown clock. That left Tomac with more than enough time to reel in Roczen and make a pass for third place — a pass which moved Tomac into position for the day’s overall victory.
At that point, Tomac had some time left to go after Barcia, but the battle never materialized. Tomac backed off in the closing laps and settled for third place.
Barcia (2-2) took second place in the moto and second overall for the day (his best result since 2016), while Musquin (5-1) wrapped up the Moto 2 victory and third place overall.
But for the fifth straight round, Tomac was the overall victor. He also extended his points lead and will take a 32-point lead into round six at Southwick which will mark the halfway points of AMA Pro Motocross season 2018.
450 Moto 2 Results
Justin Barcia +3.538
Eli Tomac +13.256
Ken Roczen +21.187
Blake Baggett +30.106
Weston Peick +35.094
Justin Hill +36.546
Benny Bloss +1:06.549
Phil Nicoletti +1:25.636
Kyle Cunningham +1:34.500
…11. Cody Cooper +1:40.644
450 Overall Results
Eli Tomac (1-3)
Justin Barcia (2-2)
Marvin Musquin (5-1)
Ken Roczen (3-4)
Blake Baggett (4-5)
Weston Peick (6-6)
Justin Hill (8-7)
Phil Nicoletti (7-9)
Benny Bloss (9-8)
Kyle Cunningham (11-10)
…15. Cody Cooper (20-11)
450 Point Standings
Eli Tomac, 242
Marvin Musquin, 210
Justin Barcia, 184
Ken Roczen, 169
Blake Baggett, 164
Weston Peick, 148
Benny Bloss, 126
Phil Nicoletti, 118
Cody Cooper, 80
Jason Anderson, 73
It may have been Justin Cooper who dominated qualifying, but the 250 class saw Shane McElrath rewarded for his consistency with a 3-2 result earning him the round win.
Justin Cooper ended the morning as 250 top qualifier and had the first gate pick for the opening moto. Cooper’s top lap time in the second session (1:52.503) was almost two-seconds ahead of the next rider, Shane McElrath (1:54.318).
Hayden Mellross had the 24th quickest time in qualifying with 2:01.469.
250 Qualifying Times
Justin Cooper, 1:52.503
Shane McElrath, 1:54.318
Jeremy Martin, 1:54.495
Joey Savatgy, 1:54.495
Chase Sexton, 1:55.059
Dylan Ferrandis, 1:55.542
Alex Martin, 1:55.955
Jordon Smith, 1:55.961
Aaron Plessinger, 1:55.977
Austin Forkner, 1:56.123
250 Moto 1
Aaron Plessinger grabbed the holeshot by a decent margin but made an unforced error on the opening lap of the race and went down. As Plessinger remounted outside the top 10, his three main championship rivals took advantage of his misfortune — Alex and Jeremy Martin moved into the top two spots, and Justin Cooper settled into fourth behind RJ Hampshire.
Cooper was able to ascend into the top three after a mistake from Hampshire that came about five minutes into the race. Hampshire then dropped another spot to Shane McElrath, who had entered the race as the No. 2 qualifier, and fell back to fifth place.
Up front, the Martin brothers battled for the lead until a mistake by Alex allowed Jeremy to close in and ultimately wrest away the top spot. Although Alex kept the deficit manageable for a while, it all came unraveled shortly past the midway point. That’s when Alex crashed on a jump and struggled to get back to the bike and get it going again. That incident shuffled Alex back to 11th and gave Jeremy a lot more breathing room out front.
Jeremy went on to win the moto by several seconds, while Cooper, McElrath, Hampshire and Austin Forkner (2nd-5th) were all beneficiaries of Alex’s crash.
After his first-lap crash, Plessinger was able to claw his way back into the top 10 by making a few passes but had to settle for ninth place. He entered the day with a 20-point lead over Jeremy Martin in the championship standings, but he lost 13 points to Martin in just this moto alone. The red plate has changed hands after each round of the season so far, and it’s in danger of happening again if Plessinger doesn’t turn things around in Moto 2.
As for Alex Martin, he actually lost a spot to Dylan Ferrandis after his crash and finished 12th. This moto also featured the return of Star Yamaha rider Colt Nichols, who hadn’t raced since March, and he delivered a solid 10th-place result.
After a disappointing turn of events in Moto 1, Alex Martin bounced back in Moto 2 by taking the holeshot ahead of teammate Sean Cantrell and Dylan Ferrandis. After the first lap, it was all Yamaha and KTM riders in the top five with A-Mart, Ferrandis, Jordon Smith, Aaron Plessinger and Cantrell making up the top five.
But the big story of the race’s opening lap was Jeremy Martin. The Moto 1 winner collided with Justin Cooper while in the air and went down. The GEICO Honda rider, who was clearly in pain while on the ground, was carted off and did not return to the race.
The incident was a blow to Cooper as well, who found himself back in 39th after the crash with Martin. Cooper only recovered to finish 28th and earn no points.
With all the chaos reigning down in each moto, the battle for the overall win was dealt a major shake-up. So much so that Alex Martin, even with a 12th-place finish in Moto 1, was temporarily in position to take the overall just by winning Moto 2. However Ferrandis wasn’t content to let Martin just ride away with the victory, and the Frenchman was able to keep the gap close throughout most of the race.
And then, more chaos. With two laps to go, Alex Martin crashed again. So with that, Ferrandis moved into the lead (and went on to win the race) while Martin remounted in second place.
Meanwhile, Shane McElrath was on a tear. After working his way into the top five, McElrath made passes on Plessinger and Chase Sexton to move into third. Then he was able to catch Alex Martin thanks to the earlier crash. With a late pass, McElrath moved into second place and became the overall winner with 3-2 moto results.
It’s the first victory of McElrath’s 250MX career and just the third time he’s finished on the overall podium. For the day, he finished seven points ahead of Ferrandis (11-1) and 11 points ahead of Sexton (8-4).
“I don’t know what to say, that was my best ride ever. It was nice to start out with a podium this morning and keep it going. We’ve been working so hard to get the bike dialed in and it’s crazy the difference it makes when everything is working well.”
As for the championship race, it ended up not looking too much different than it did at the beginning of the day. Plessinger will hold on to the red plate and now has a 23-point lead over Jeremy Martin, though Jeremy’s health moving forward is now a concern. Alex Martin (29 points back) and Cooper (41 points back) remain third and fourth, respectively, in the 250MX standings despite their up-and-down days.
Aussie Hayden Mellross improved on his Moto 1 results to take 15th and is 30th in the championship standings witn a tally of 39-points.
250 Moto 2 Results
Shane McElrath +2.358
Alex Martin +3.789
Chase Sexton +6.759
Aaron Plessinger +9.702
Jordon Smith +11.743
Joey Savatgy +12.357
Cameron McAdoo +44.433
Austin Forkner +48.938
Michael Mosiman +50.777
…15. Hayden Mellross +1:39.637
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