The anticipation surrounding the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship continues to build towards a 2019 season filled with change, and it’ll all come to a head this weekend, with the Bell Helmets Hangtown Motocross Classic.
2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Schedule
May 18 Bell Helmets Hangtown Motocross Classic Sacramento, Calif.
May 25 Lucas Oil Fox Raceway National Pala, Calif.
June 1 True Value Thunder Valley National Lakewood, Colo.
June 15 Circle K High Point National Mt. Morris, Pa.
June 22 Florida National Jacksonville, Fla.
June 29 Southwick National Southwick, Mass.
July 6 Circle K RedBud National Buchanan, Mich.
July 20 Spring Creek National Millville, Minn.
July 27 MotoSport.com Washougal National Washougal, Wash.
August 10 Circle K Unadilla National New Berlin, N.Y.
August 17 GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National Mechanicsville, Md.
August 24 Ironman National Crawfordsville, Ind.
These iconic venues will serve as the battlegrounds of what is expected to be a highly competitive fight for the 450 Class and 250 Class titles. A full slate of 24 motos lie ahead for each division, setting the stage for an array of unpredictable outcomes that will ultimately result in just two riders hoisting the Edison Dye Cup (450 Class) or Gary Jones Cup (250 Class), along with the coveted AMA No. 1 plate.
The premier 450 Class has been dominated by Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac the past two seasons, and the reigning back-to-back champion will once again be favored to defend his title for a third time.
However, Tomac’s path to another season triumph is sure to be harder than ever with an ever-growing list of challengers ready to dethrone him.
While Tomac’s arch rivals of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin and Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen will be there every step of the way, so will Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS’ Blake Baggett and Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia—both of whom are past winners—along with rising stars like Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing duo of Jason Anderson and Dean Wilson.
Adding to the intrigue of the 450 Class is the incoming of a loaded rookie class, led by a pair of 250 Class National Champions in Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne and Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger. With Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy alongside them, these three riders are ready to take their shot aboard the big bikes. As if the 450 Class wasn’t deep enough, the 2019 lineup of contenders is at an all-time high.
With defending 250 Class Champion Plessinger making the move up a division, that leaves a wide-open opportunity for a new young star to step up and claim his first career title. For the first time in nearly a decade there will not be a past champion in the field, as two-time title holder Jeremy Martin, of Geico Honda, will be forced to sit on the sidelines in his continued recovery from a major back injury suffered last season. That means a long list of budding talent will be chomping at the bit from the moment the first gate drops.
JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Alex Martin and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo are arguably the most experienced riders in the 250 Class, and they will be expected to take the reins from the get-go.
After breaking through with his first win on American soil last season, Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis will certainly continue to build off his MXGP experience and challenge for the title with Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing, while fellow first-time winners RJ Hampshire (GEICO Honda) and Shane McElrath (Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM) now know what it takes to win and are in a position to take the next step to becoming perennial contenders.
Joining these title hopefuls is an extensive mix of riders with tons of potential, like Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper, GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Michael Mosiman, along with rider that have multiple seasons of experience like GEICO Honda’s Christian Craig, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Colt Nichols, and Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Jordon Smith.
Aussie rookie Hunter Lawrence hopes his success in MXGP transfers to U.S. soil with Geico Honda, as does American Thomas Covington, who will make his anticipated debut in his home championship with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, after spending several years racing MX2 in Europe.
There are a few other Aussies making appearances in the opening rounds of the series also with Dean Ferris being joined by Todd Waters and Wilson Todd, as that trio also hopes to make their marks in America.
Beyond the professional action this summer are exciting expansions to American motocross’ amateur segment of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. After a popular and successful debut last season, the 125 All Star Series will expand to include all 12 rounds of the championship in 2019, serving as a complement to the pros each and every Saturday this summer. Former stars like Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Sipes, Wil Hahn, and more joined the fray of 125cc battles last season, and there’s no doubt this celebration of 2-strokes will continue to grow with a full slate of races.
Additionally, the Amateur Racing Program at the Nationals will be bigger and better than ever. Amateur racers from all over the country will have an opportunity to race on the same track as their pro counterparts at all 12 rounds on the schedule, meaning last year’s total of nearly 10,000 participants will likely be surpassed, further strengthening the sport’s vital amateur racing scene.
The storylines entering the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship are endless, and the countdown to the opening round is almost over.
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