Ken Roczen underlines 2016 AMA MX dominance with Ironman double
Thick mud and the deepest ruts of the season covered the track for the Round 12 finale at the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Racers rode as hard at the last round of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship as they did at the opening round.
Ken Roczen came out of the gate and around the first corner to earn the holeshot in the moto 1, and Justin Barcia came out right on his tail where he held strong for second with Phil Nicoletti not far off behind in third.
After the opening laps Roczen did his best to make distance between him and the rest of the racers, but Barcia would stick with him. Barcia is known for his enjoyment of tracks covered in mud and has been looking for the right track and opportunity to pull off an overall all season long.
Nicoletti would settle back closer to the set of riders behind him. 450 class rookie Marvin Musquin and professional status rookie Benny Bloss rounded out the Top-5. Bloss and Musquin would exchange positions a number of times within the first five minutes.
Musquin would emerge ahead of both Bloss and eventually Nicoletti to earn third. Bloss would fall victim to Musquin’s pass and within a few short laps see Eli Tomac emerge and overtake him as well
Next in the pack lineup was Jason Anderson who had been sidelined since Round four prior to racing at Ironman. Anderson finding seventh place after the first 10 minutes of racing showed promise for his return and opportunity for a strong finish on his day and season.
In two minutes Anderson would make two passes to get around both Nicoletti and Bloss, but Nicoletti would hold on with him to keep him engaged for another couple of laps.
Tomac would keep his momentum moving forward following his passes to Bloss and Nicoletti. Tomac would find himself within bike lengths of Musquin to make for a battle that lasted through a series of turns and ultimately series of laps. The two racers would get neck-and-neck to find themselves in an all out dragrace style battle across a straightaway. Then Tomac would find the line to set him up for a long outside around a bend to leave Musquin fighting through deep, inside ruts and ultimately falling behind.
A few laps later, however, Musquin would find a gift as he came out from around a corner to see Tomac down and picking up his bike after slipping out in another deep rut wreck.
The Tomac and Musquin exchange would happen again after the drop of the two-lap marker was flown. Tomac was simply riding with more of an aggressive style over the course of a few laps while Musquin looked like he was trying to ride smooth rather than ride fast. Tomac would square up to leave a corner and drag past Musquin for the third place spot.
The moto would finish with Roczen 10 seconds ahead of Barcia in second.
Following bike troubles just before the gate dropped for moto 2, Andrew Short found the holeshot to start the final moto of his professional career perfectly. Barcia and Roczen were right behind Short but quickly made their ways around him. Barcia took the lead, but Roczen kept on him and took the front before the first lap was over.
Musquin, Anderson and Nicoletti rounded out the Top-5 in front of Tomac, Matt Bisceglia and Weston Peick. The front eight would see no change for the first eight minutes of the moto until Tomac made move around Nicoletti despite Nicoletti’s solid efforts to hold him back.
Five more minutes of pushing forward, Tomac moved his way ahead of Anderson to place himself into fourth. Clearly showing he was hungry for more, Tomac was hauling around every inch of the track and found himself closing in on Musquin quickly and made incredibly fast work of him for third.
With only five minutes left in the moto Barcia found himself pulling his bike out of the mud after crashing while exiting a corner. Barcia had to scramble to get back on his bike, and then to kick it back to life after a short stall. With Tomac closing in, Barcia started his bike and quickly made moves to hold onto second place before Tomac could take it away.
The rest of the racers stayed steady through the remainder of the moto with no change to the Top-5 order. Roczen finished 1-1 on the day to cap off his already Champion Title season, while Barcia and Tomac rounded off the podium behind him. The season was over.
“I was a little ways back on the start but made my way up to third pretty quickly,” said Tomac. “After I made the pass, I made a mistake and had to start all over again. Luckily I was able to reel him in and make the pass, but the track was really tough. The lines and the ruts were changing every lap, they were really deep and it was hard just keeping your feet on the pegs. Most of the problems from the day stem from my starts, otherwise I feel I rode how I should have.”
450 CLASS RESULTS
Ken Roczen (1-1)
Justin Barcia (2-2)
Eli Tomac (3-3)
Marvin Musquin (4-4)
Jason Anderson (5-5)
Phil Nicoletti (6-8)
Weston Peick (8-7)
Matt Bisceglia (11-6)
Fredrik Noren (9-9)
Benny Bloss (7-11)
Lucas Oils AMA Pro Motocross 2016 – 450 Final Championship Standings
Ken Roczen, 584
Eli Tomac, 498
Marvin Musquin, 401
Justin Barcia, 360
Phil Nicoletti, 229
Benny Bloss, 228
Christophe Pourcel, 217
Weston Peick, 197
Andrew Short, 197
Fredrik Noren, 192
Austin Forkner finishes season on a high with Ironman 250 victory
Although the title was locked, racers took to the track to close out the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship outdoor season with a solid performances in techincal conditions. With a muddy and rutted track, the mechanics know tire selection is key, as riders do everything in their power to maintain traction at what was a very technical Ironman National for the Round 12 finale.
Austin Forkner fired out with the drop of the gate to snag the holeshot, and after a series of opening turns Cooper Webb merge from the middle of the pack to overtake Mitchell Oldenburg for the second place position. However, Webb would not retain second for long. Coming around the corner and on his own accord, Webb dumped the bike and went down allowing many to pass it and it left him deep in the pack to settle down in 19th.
Sitting behind Forkner and Oldenburg at the front of the pack was Joey Savatgy and Adam Cianciarulo. Following Webb’s crash sending him back to the center of the pack, Alex Martin came firing up from behind to overtake both Cianciarulo and Savatgy or third place behind Oldenburg. Shortly after A. Martin’s arrival Cianciarulo went down on his own accord and drop back a little bit in time but not in position.
At the 23-minute mark, Webb beasted through the pack and moved from 19th to seventh in just 3 laps to prove that no leader was safe on the muddy track at that point in the moto.
A. Martin and Savatgy rode in the second and third position for about three laps before Savatgyfound an opening to overtake A. Martin after making a small mistake. The two opened up and charged into a downhill sprint, but it was Savatgy that would ride into the next turn with the lead and ride out with a hold on second.
With less than 10 minutes before the 2-lap marker came out, Arnaud Tonus came near the front of the pack to overtake Cianciarulo for 5th place. A few short minutes later it would be Webb up from the depths to be next in line to overtake Cianciarulo and find sixth place. Webb would keep his momentum moving forward and take Tonus before the 5 minute mark for fifth place in the pack.
Oldenburg would lose his hold on second to A. Martin and would eventually fall further back to settle in seventh behind Webb, Tonus and Cianciarulo as well.
With 2 to go, Webb attempted to make the pass on A. Martin on the inside of a turn. Falling victim to the muddy rut, Webb went down face first over the handlebars. Rushing to get back on the bike and headed for a moto 1 hail mary, Webb ripped off the goggles and raced toward the finish.
By the end of the moto there wasn’t any change to the front of the pack. Forkner won his second career moto while Savatgy and A. Martin rounded out the podium behind him.
The sun came out and the conditions heated up, and the effects were felt on the track, as it morphed into a quicker firmer track for the second motos, but there was no change out of the gate as Forkner his second holeshot on the day.
Straight off the holeshot, a heated first-lap battle developed between Forkner, Plessinger, A. Martin, Cianciarulo and Webb.
Plessinger made a hard charge for the front and passed Forkner to ride out front for a little more than a lap. Plessinger made a mistake, though, and despite not falling down he did lose the lead back to Forkner. All the while, A. Martin, Cianciarulo and Webb continued to exchange positions over a few laps. After 10 minutes of riding the leaderboard was tight in time and read Forkner, Plessinger, Cianciarulo, Webb and A. Martin in order for the Top-5.
A little more than halfway into the moto A. Martin picked up speed and found his way around Cianciarulo. Shortly after he saw Webb up ahead continued to push forward. Webb had just returned to his feet after a crash on his own accord. Webb managed to regain his composure in time to hold off A. Martin.
Riding way out ahead of the pack, Forkner was seemingly racing the best day of his professional career. Then, coming up and over a small jump, Forkner caught his front end and crashed on his own accord. Able to stand up and make moves quickly, Forkner only lost one position after creating his own crash and rode out in second for the time giving the lead to Plessinger.
A lap later, though, Forkner was passed coming out of a corner by Webb. Webb would ride strong in second but by the time of the 2-lap marker he would be 15 seconds behind Plessinger in the lead.
The moto finished with Plessinger taking the moto win with Webb and Forkner behind him, but the day overall went to Forkner for his first career overall win.
“Today was a really good day,” said Forkner. “Practice started off really muddy, with very deep ruts, but I ended up qualifying well. In the first moto I earned the holeshot and told myself not to look back no matter what. I finally did about 20 minutes in and there was no one behind me at all. My mechanic kept me updated with everything throughout the end of the moto and I was able to cruise home for the win. In the second moto I earned the holeshot again, settled in and kept it out front for at least 20 minutes. After the finish line I jumped wrong and landed in a really soft hole, cross rutted and tucked the front. Luckily I didn’t stall the bike, but my bars were bent and I had a bunch of sweat in my eyes from going down. Another rider got by me so I slipped to third, but that, with my Moto 1 win, earned first overall, the first one of my career. I’m fourth in points, two moto wins and five podiums in my rookie season, I’m really happy and can’t wait for next year.”
250 CLASS RESULTS
Austin Forkner (1-3)
Aaron Plessinger (8-1)
Cooper Webb (5-2)
Alex Martin (3-4)
Adam Cianciarulo (6-5)
Arnaud Tonus (4-9)
Mitchell Harrison (10-6)
Mitchell Oldenburg (7-13)
Joey Savatgy (2-34)
Justin Hill (15-7)
Lucas Oils AMA Pro Motocross 2016 – 250 Final Championship Standings
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