Eli Tomac goes 2-1 in Tennessee – Plessinger wins the 250MX class
Round 5 of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship brought heated racing to a very wet and slippery Muddy Creek Raceway for the Tennessee National.
So far the first four rounds have proved to be exciting and unpredictable, but they have also stirred some serious rivalry with athletes expressing themselves on and off the track. Coming into Muddy Creek all eyes and ears seemed to be surrounding Blake Baggett and Eli Tomac as the two have exchanged the points lead (along with Marvin Musquin) and created off-track chatter.
However, Round 5 was set to offer plenty more excitement with the return of Justin Barcia on a muddy track after having a concussion last weekend and being sidelined as well as the Trey Canard making his debut to this outdoors season after recovering from a collarbone injury. Mix in Marvin Musquin stating his knee we “definitely better than expected,” and Jason Anderson announcing his frustrated hunger to have yet earned an overall win—Muddy Creek was set to be a great race
As the gates dropped, local rider and last year’s 250 winner, Cooper Webb found himself pinched off at the first turn by Justin Barcia who earned the holeshot. Just behind Barcia coming out of the first turn was Jason Anderson Broc Tickle not far behind.
Throughout the entire first lap Bam Bam and Anderson were doing battle but did not end up changing positions. Nearly five minutes into the moto Anderson squared up a turn to make an inside move and overtake Barcia for the remainder of the moto. Considering Barcia was unsure he would even be racing this weekend after hitting his head the weekend prior, he was riding very well and hold onto second and fended off Tickle.
Eli Tomac and Weston Pick found themselves battling in the fifth and sixth positions early on, but Tomac would overtake Peick before the two of them would continue to press forward. Within the first 5 mins Cole Seely went down and ended up being sidelined for the remainder of the moto.
Tomac and Peick made their way into the 4th and 5th positions behind Justin Bogle after a mistake sent Tickle back into the pack. Tomac showed his hunger and continued making quick work of Bogle and then Barcia to take 2nd place before the halfway mark on the moto. Peick would eventually find his way around Bogle, as well for 4th.
Slightly deeper in the pack, Trey Canard was having a successful return to outdoors racing with a first half of the moto in front of Marvin Musquin before they settled into 8th and 9th with Musquin able to make the pass.
The one rider that was making the most mid-moto moving, though, was Blake Baggett. Baggett found himself in the thick of things early on when he was a bit behind Tomac and Peick before they pushed forward through traffic. Baggett’s moves came a few laps later once they had settled.
Baggett chipped his way through ranks in the second half off the moto, and with less than 10 minutes left to go he made a move on Peick before an amazing pass on Barcia (who may have made a very minor mistake) to find himself in 3rd and on the hunt for Tomac. Anderson, however, had stretched his lead to more than 12 seconds ahead of the rest to be in a lone race for the win.
It was not clear what happened to Bogle, but considering his strong start and his late moto fade it seemed as if something may have had an affect to his ride. Musquin, however seemed to be feeling stronger as he passed Bogle as did Canard and Webb. With less than five minutes left to hold on, Musquin had worked his way into 6th ahead of Tickle and Dean Wilson, while Canard and Webb settled in 9th and 10th.
While trying to make up ground on Tomac, Baggett made a mistake and dumped his bike but managed to recover without losing position.
Musquin kept pressing forward to get around Peick and work toward Barcia, but Bam Bam made contact with Musquin that sent him out of his line and back a few spots to finish the first moto in 7th place.
Moto 1 Results
The action out of the gate was intense as multiple riders fought for the holeshot. What first looked to belong to Anderson, quickly shifted to be Baggett’s then Tomac’s, but it was actually Bogle who beat the pack out of the gate to snag the holeshot. Baggett, Webb and Tickle all tied up on first lap and effectively rode out the first lap in the very back of the pack.
Bogle had his early lead but made a mistake on his second lap to give Tomac the lead. But Bogle managed to salvage his crash to hold onto the 5th position behind Peick in 4th, Jason Anderson in 3rd and Canard in 2nd. Then, Anderson made a mistake in the same place as Bogle the lap prior which allowed Bogle to pass him after making a pass on Peick.
Within the first eight minutes, Baggett had worked his way up from last to 16th and into the points as an effort to salvage what he could as the current series points leader.
Still inside the opening 10 minutes of the second moto, Anderson made a pass on Canard to take over 2nd in his effort to win an overall. Canard was riding well considering it was his first outdoors race of the season, but over the course of the next two laps he dropped to 6th as Dean Wilson worked his way into the top five.
At the halfway mark in the second moto Tomac had stretched his lead to nearly 12 seconds ahead of the pack. But 10 spots back, Baggett was still making up incredible ground as he passed Barcia to crack into the top 10 with 15 minutes left to advance further.
Musquin was just ahead of Baggett in 9th, but looked to be dealing with a bike malfunction that allowed Baggett by. Shortly after another mistake was made ahead as Baggett quickly found his away around Wilson, Frederik Noren and Canard to ride all the way to 6th place behind Martin Davalos rounding out the top five. Later it was learned that Musquin’s front brake took a shot from a rock the rendered it useless and forced him off the track and out of the points.
Baggett was forced to work on Davalos for a series of laps. After a set of lappers allowed Davalos room to stretch out his lead over Baggett, another lapper found his way directly in front of Davalos that allowed Baggett to work his way into 5th. Then with only two minutes left in the second moto he worked his away around Bogle and Peick in about 30 seconds to take on 3rd place on the moto and the day overall despite his first turn crash. Tomac, however would earn the Moto 2 and overall wins.
“I qualified first overall, my weekend went pretty well. I got a good start the first moto and just rode my own race up front and got another moto win. I felt like I had a holeshot the second moto, but then I got bumped in the first corner and came out around fifth and worked my way up. I tried to catch Eli, but I couldn’t hold it the entire time.”
“I felt like my riding was really good this weekend,” said Wilson. “I didn’t have a great start the first moto and wasn’t moving forward too much, but I put on a really good charge midway through the race. I caught up to the pack and made some passes. I was in eighth, and had seventh, six, fifth and fourth all right in front of me. I made a really good effort but it was hard to pass. I got a pretty good start in the second moto. I feel like I could have ended up third, but made a mistake and crashed around the finish corner and went back to 10th, but then came back to 7th. I got fifth overall, which is good. I’m happy with my riding, I just need to put it all together.”
Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Eli Tomac (2-1)
Jason Anderson (1-2)
Blake Baggett (3-3)
Weston Peick (4-4)
Dean Wilson (8-7)
Justin Barcia (5-10)
Justin Bogle (12-5)
Martin Davalos (11-6)
Cooper Webb (9-9)
Broc Tickle (6-12)
450 Class Rider Point Standings
Blake Baggett (195)
Eli Tomac (191)
Jason Anderson (176)
Marvin Musquin (161)
Broc Tickle (139)
Justin Bogle (137)
Dean Wilson (137)
Weston Peick (112)
Cooper Webb (112)
Josh Grant (106)
The Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tennessee took on its natural state following a few days of heavy rainfal making for a classically muddy Tennessee National.
According to the series points leader and local rider, Zach Osborne said before the start of the race that he saw the track to be in ideal condition following and that he was, grateful to have a home race. However, Osborne had not seen much success throuout his professional career, and would be forced to lineup against fellow hometown heros Aaron Plessinger and Shane McElrath who have both seen much success at the track.
More important than familiarity, though, adjustability was going to be the trait that would ultimately do well as the track was as muddy as ever and about to get far more rutted than they rode in practice.
Plessinger pulled the hole shot and made his way ahead of a first turn crash that consumed Jeremy Martin and Joey Savatgy. Just behind Plessinger on the start was Adam Cianciarulo and Austin Forkner. Forkner nearly lost his third place position when his feet left the pegs and formed a ‘W’ as they came up above the bars, but he managed to bring his feet back down without issue.
RJ Hampshire, just behind Forkner, washed out a bit but held on for 4th during the opening lap that proved to be tricky for everyone.
Hampshire was passed up shortly by Alex Martin and local boy McElrath, but managed to hold his ground for 6th ahead of the other local rider and series points leader, Osborne. Osborne, though, wouldn’t wait long before making his own move past Hampshire before the first 10 minutes had elapsed.
Osborne, unlike McElrath, has not had much professional success at this home track. Regardless, Osborne stayed close and found his way around McElrath for that 5th place position during the second half of the moto.
Further back, Savatgy and J. Martin were battling their way up the back the 14th and 15th positions behind Dylan Ferrandis with 10 minutes left to fight as a result of their first turn crash. But with J. Martin making a second mistake and crash, Ferrandis and Savatgy would move up to 10th and 11th by the 5 minute mark, J. Martin was still stuck in the 15th position for the time being.
Hampshire eventually pulled off the track due to bike trouble, after holding tight in the top 10 throughout the majority of the moto.
For the final three laps of Moto 1 there was very little change in position, with the majority of the attention on A. Martin working on Forkner in a n attempt to earn a spot on the podium. Ultimately A. Martin found fourth place, while Forkner held on for third behind Cianciarulo and Plessinger who rode unrivaled the entire moto.
Moto 1 Results
Plessinger earning back-to-back holeshots. Forkner was in second with Osborne in third, who exchanged a positions with Cantrell twice before Cantrell overcame took a dash for Plessinger. Osborne stayed on it, though, and reclaimed the 3rd spot from Cantrell again only a minute before Cantrell endo’d over a jump that ended up taking him out for the remainder of the moto.
Osborne, however, kept his momentum moving and took over Forkner for 2nd and immediately create some safe space between them. Despite’s not having much prior professional success at his home track, Osborne was racing well and seemed too hungry to settle with second. As he approached Plessinger in the lead, Osborne actually watched as Plessinger made a minor mistake to leave the door wide open for a pass which he immediately took.
“Today was a good day, I started off really well. It wasn’t ideal conditions for my riding, but it came around in the motos. I just tried to work my way up after my start in the first moto and ended up fifth. I got off to a really good start in the second moto and made a couple passes in the beginning to pull away to a comfortable lead for a win and a second overall. It’s nice to come out of here with some more points gained on my competitors and I’m just going to keep rallying.”
Rounding out the top five at the halfway point in the moto was A. Martin ahead of Ciaciarulo, with J. Martin close behind in 6th with Colt Nichols as padding between him and Savatgy in 8th.
With 10 minutes remaining in the second moto, not much change to the order of the front of the pack apart from Osborne stretching his lead to 5 seconds. Savatgy made a pass on Nichols to take over 7th.
For the remainder of the moto the best battle emerged between A. Martin again trailing behind Forkner. In the first moto Forkner successfully held off A. Martin to take third, and repeated the feat to hold him off for third again.
Muddy Creek marked a first-time professional moto win for Osborne, and for Plessinger a second-ever overall win in his professional career (his first overall for the season).
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