Eli Tomac gets one back over Roczen with 1-1 victory at Southwick
The return to The Wick 338 for Round 7 of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship kicked off with the 450 class letting the sand fly at the Red Bull Southwick National. Known as a sandy track, over the years there have been reports of the sand levels dropping at The Wick 338, but to ensure it stayed true to its reputation this year they trucked in 1,000 yards of sand to keep the roosters flying high.
Marvin Musquin lead into the first turn, but Justin Bogle (who has been on fire with his starts in recent races) came through to steal the holeshot and lead immediately. However, these two would exchange positions back and forth once more before they settled into their positions with Bogle holding the lead for the first lap.
Starting the race would be a crash in the opening turn, as well. Unfortunately for both Justin Barcia and Blake Bagget they would get caught up in that messy mix. Baggett suffered what seemed to be a serious crash as he was not able to ride away on his own accord in the practice session, so to start out moto 1 with another crash had to be discouraging. Barcia, on the flip side, came into moto 1 with the fastest qualifying time. For Barcia there was frustration to lose and potential advantage with his gate pick to a very early lap 1 crash.
Ken Roczen has had an incredible season with early moto success and the first lap at The Wick 338 was no different. Roczen started a little bit deeper in the pack than usual but made quick work of those in his path. The first rider to put up a battle was Christophe Pourcel who managed to hold him off for a few turns but Roczen would not be held back. Next in line was Musquin in second and following a slip of the hand and a bobble in a turn Roczen would push through for that number two spot.
Eli Tomac (who has been on Roczen’s heels all season) was playing a very similar game as Roczen taking no time to move up in the pack early on. Tomac blasted past Pourcel and headed straight to Musquin. Coming hot into a turn, Tomac pushed himself right up to Musquin and nearly powerslid into him. Holding on, however, Tomac would take that speed into the following straight away and leave Musquin behind.
Bogle appeared to have created a gap from the pack and was riding well, but as soon as he seemed to be comfortable up front challenges would quickly come to cause trouble. First it was Roczen who made his way up to Bogle, but before Roczen was able to get on top of him Tomac came from behind to hop in front of Roczen. Tomac did not keep his lead on Roczen for long as he appeared to slip a gear and lost his drive, which allowed Roczen to dash ahead.
A few turns later the battle for the front was taken into Bogle’s peripheral as Roczen worked to set him up over the course of multiple turns before he found success. With just more than 17 minutes left before the 2-lap marker, Roczen took over the leader’s position and Tomac maintained his range to Roczen as he passed Bogle as well.
What seemed like a nearly full race for Tomac to make moves on Roczen for the front, it looked as if Tomac ran out of goggle tear-offs extremely early in the moto. Considering the way the sand flys at Southwick, Tomac was in real trouble without his ability to quickly clear his vision and rode through the corners with his head turned and hands ready to wipe.
Still, Tomac didn’t let up on his attack toward Roczen. With a downhill sprint into a turn, Tomac found an inside line to Roczen and made his pass attempt a success and took off to lead the lap for only the second time this season.
A little deeper back was Bogle in third and Musquin in fourth fighting tooth and nail through every turn. Musquin would push Bogle right up to a near breaking point, until he found his way around for third. Only a few bike lengths behind them was Pourcel trying his best to hold the bottom end of the top five, and eventually catch Bogle.
Deeper still, Barcia was pushing forward from his turn 1 crash all the way to ninth spot with ten minutes left to race. Then, just before the 2-lap mark, Barcia pulled his way ahead of his teammate Benny Bloss and Weston Peick to move himself as far up as sixth.
Running away with the moto was Tomac. For the first time this season Tomac not only pushed past Roczen for a moto win but did it and went on to create more than a 25-second gap.
Behind Tomac would be Roczen finishing in second and Musquin right behind him in third.
Coming into the second moto would be the recently unmatched momentum of Bogle who snatched up his fourth straight holeshot! However, that holeshot would provide very little time in the lead. Around two turns past the holeshot Pourcel came in to steal the lead and on his way exiting a corner for the front he clipped the front tire of Bogle to set him down in the sand.
Then, as Pourcel began to feel the glory of the front of the pack Roczen showed up to take it away. Roczen had the lead but Pourcel was still on his tail. Then, as Pourcel looked over his shoulder he saw Tomac, the last rider he wanted to see.
Tomac didn’t take long to make the second position his, and almost as quickly as Pourcel saw Tomac behind him he saw him in front of him.
Looking back at Musquin in fourth and Barcia in fifth they were riding very close as they tried to catch the leaders. Barcia came into a corner wide but then squared up and cut across the inside and on his exit of the corner he swiped the front tire of Musquin that sent him down and deep into the pack to stabilize in ninth.
As Roczen attempted to stretch his lead in the front Tomac would do his best to close the gap. As the two came within bike lengths of each other they approached the corner that Tomac made his moto winning pass on roczen before. Roczen played it extremely smart, though, and took away the inside line Tomac used before.
Less than a lap later, Tomac found a new inside line to take the lead. Tomac made it happen once again and started to stretch it out with half of the moto still to go. However, unlike the first moto, Tomac would not get the distance from Roczen he managed in the earlier moto so the two stayed very close.
As Tomac and Roczen stabilized in the first and second positions, Barcia, aka Bam Bam, came up on Pourcel with speed and confidence following his harsh pass earlier in the moto on Musquin. Without a sign of hesitation Barcia made another pass to take over third and worked to give himself a three-second gap in front of Pourcel to settle into position.
Looking back to the front Tomac came up on a lapper and was slowed to a point where he actually dumped the bike on the inside of a corner. Roczen flew past Tomac for the lead, but Tomac was quit to pick up his bike and hit the gas. Without hardly any time elapsing and over the course of just a few quick turns, Tomac found his favorite corner to take the inside line and the lead away from Roczen.
Without a doubt, Southwick provided Tomac the most opportunity to build his confidence against Roczen and find the lines he needed to earn his position in the front of the pack.
As the two riders approached the 2-lap mark there was essentially no gap between them. Though Roczen was not able to get close enough to touch or take the lead, the final two laps provided more intensity that maybe the entire first half of the season.
In the end, Tomac held on for his first overall win of the season while Roczen finished second and Barcia took third.
AMA Pro Motocross – Southwick – 450 Results
- Eli Tomac (1-1)
- Ken Roczen (2-2)
- Justin Barcia (6-3)
- Marvin Musquin (3-7)
- Weston Peick (7-4)
- Christophe Pourcel (5-5)
- Benny Bloss (8-6)
- Broc Tickle (10-8)
- Justin Brayton (9-9)
- Andrew Short (11-11)
AMA Pro Motocross – Southwick – 450 Championship Points Standings
- Ken Roczen, 337
- Eli Tomac, 290
- Marvin Musquin, 201
- Justin Barcia, 181
- Broc Tickle, 171
- Christophe Pourcel, 168
- Cole Seely, 151
- Justin Bogle, 136
- Ryan Dungey, 131
- Justin Brayton, 120
Cooper Webb makes it three in a row with Southwick victory
Roosters flew and sand sprayed as the 250 class took to The Wick 338 for Round 7 of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at the Red Bull Southwick National. In order to keep the legendary track’s reputation running strong, the crew at The Wick 338 trucked in 1,000 yards of sand to usher in the return of the National race.
Leading into the first turn was Shane McElrath, but Jeremy Martin came through in the final second to steal the holeshot. McElrath went on to immediately take the lead back from J. Martin and pushed forward to lead the lap.
Making it work on his first time racing at The Wick 338, McElrath managed to hold his lead on the pack and over J. Martin for the first six minutes of the race. J. Martin, though, needed to take a look over his shoulder as his teammate Aaron Plessinger showed up at the seven-minute mark to take the second place position.
Further back in the pack there would be battles unfolding in the fourth thru eighth positions. Mitchell Oldenburg, who qualified third on the day, was holding down the fourth place position over Arnaud Tonus, Austin Forkner (the fastest qualifier), Adam Ciaciarulo and the new series points leader Cooper Webb. Though Oldenburg would lead the group for many laps, Tonus would not hold back and eventually take over that fourth place position.
Austin Forkner qualified with the fastest time at the Red Bull Southwick National. (Photo: Simon Cudby)
Looking forward in the pack the action returned to second and third place racers. J. Martin looked to have found his groove in the Southwick sand and made his move back to Plessinger, but it would not be so easy. Following a few turns of a tight battle, Plessinger closed the door on J. Martin and turned it on to head after McElrath in the lead.
As soon as J. Martin looked solid, he turned around to find trouble with Tonus who flew by for the third place position. Tonus kept on the gas and joined the battle up front as he rode right on the tails of Plessinger in second and McElrath in first.
Then J. Martin turned it on again, but this time he was after more than second. J. Martin found his way to the front of McElrath who looked to be slipping a bit while Tonus took over second which sent McElrath back to third.
McElrath was not safe in third, either. First would come Plessinger, then it would be Webb, and before McElrath even knew what had happened he was back in sixth as Oldenburg found fifth. Shortly thereafter Cianciarulo would join the passing party and take sixth away from McElrath, too.
As the sand seemed to settle with the third thru eighth riders, J. Martin would make distance and get a nice gap going while he rode in the first place position. Tonus, however, was not looking to let his best moto of the year go and continued to ride strong.
Making another move, Webb continued to better his position with still six minutes left before the 2-lap mark and made a pass on Plessinger. Webb took his momentum and began to then close the gap on Tonus. Webb began to open up on a downhill sprint, and despite slipping a foot on the peg he pulled into the next corner inside of Tonus and took his second place position.
Looking back in the pack to find the once leader of McElrath, it would be 10th place where he landed in the final minutes of the moto. Just behind McElrath, Joey Savatgy would be found running an 11th place position but would then find some late moto juice to pass McElrath for 10th.
Taking the attention back to the front, J. Martin would hold onto his lead to the very end, but Webb would make the effort real as he finished in second after starting early in the moto in ninth. Rounding out the moto 1 podium would be Tonus for his best finish of the season.
Starting things off in moto 2 was Webb showing the competition that he was ready to defend his red plate with an uncharacteristic holeshot. Webb typically does well in the first lap to make up position and turn it on for the second half of the moto, but with his early holeshot he was looking like he would nearly run away with it.
Martin Davalos came out of the gate in the second position, but he was quickly taken over by McElrath. McElrath has shown his own competitive spirit in recent races and the moto prior and wasn’t finished yet.
The rookie on fire, Forkner came thru to take over third from Davalos with the same speed he used earlier to earn the fastest qualifying time.
J. Martin made his way right up behind Davalos and followed closely for a few turns, but ultimately he found his way around him. Next up was Savatgy, and Savatgy followed suit to pass Davalos for fifth.
Forkner proved to be a fan of Southwick as he kept moving forward to take over second place from McElrath. Not only has the rookie earned the fastest qualifying time at his first showing at the track, but Forkner has also proved to have the motivation and momentum to take positions away from his experienced competitors.
Forkner kept his momentum going and carried it right up to the rear wheel of Webb to do battle for the first place position. However, Webb showed his speed and quickly took off without much of a battle at all.
Forker, though, would find himself in a battle but it would be with McElrath looking to take back second. The two exchanged positions though a corner but by the end of it they found their way back to the positions they started the corner with.
J. Martin made a run at McElrath but unfortunately he tucked his front tire in a turn and experienced a tip over. J. Martin was not quick to get back on the throttle, and when he did he found himself in 12th place.
With J.Martin going down it allowed for Savatgy to climb into fourth, but it wouldn’t last long. Tonus, having an incredible day at The Wick 338, put the move on his teammate and took the fourth place position away as he fought for a podium position on the day.
Savatgy in fifth was still not safe as Zach Osborne came in wanting to overtake him. Over the course of four turns they were neck and neck riding with less than a bike length separating them. Osborne may have gotten too close, though, and found himself dipping his front tire and going down in the exact same section that took down J. Martin.
Savatgy held strong for a handful of laps after that, but seemingly out of nowhere while on the inside of a turn he dumped his bike. The notorious sand turns of Southwick continued to take names. Tonus would be the next to feel the wrath, as he went down and dropped back into ninth.
As the final lap came up Webb was riding without a threat and took his third straight overall win, but the action was not over. McElrath was doing battle with Alex Martin for the third position, who had been on a tear toward the front, and following some serious chop and a bouncing bike he went flying violently over the bars.
The moto finished in order of Webb, Forkner earning his first-ever career moto podium and A. Martin in third for the moto.
The day overall finished in order of Webb, J. Martin and Forkner.
Jackson Richardson was the highest finishing Australian claiming four points from his 26th and 17th place finished while Luke Clout’s 32nd and 20th place finishes saw him credited with one point.
AMA Pro Motocross – Southwick – 250 Results
- Cooper Webb (2-1)
- Jeremy Martin (1-4)
- Austin Forkner (5-2)
- Alex Martin (7-3)
- Aaron Plessinger (4-5)
- Arnaud Tonus (3-8)
- Zach Osborne (8-7)
- Luke Renzland (12-9)
- Joey Savatgy (10-11)
- Martin Davalos (16-6)
AMA Pro Motocross – Southwick – 250 Championship Points Standings
- Cooper Webb, 290
- Joey Savatgy, 253
- Jeremy Martin, 252
- Alex Martin, 232
- Zach Osborne, 217
- Austin Forkner, 202
- Aaron Plessinger, 186
- Arnaud Tonus, 138
- Shane McElrath, 132
- RJ Hampshire, 132