Cody Cooper took 16th in 450 Moto 2 – Hayden Mellross 16-16 in 250s
Images by Hoppenworld
Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin took a win and a second a-piece, with Musquin coming out the round victor at Southwick. Tomac holds the standings lead on 289 points, while Musquin sits on 257 points. Justin Barcia was third overall for the round and holds the same position in the standings.
In 250s, despite a fourth place in Moto 1 it was Dylan Ferrandis who took the round win, with a win in Moto 2, with Alex Martin second with a 2-4 result, and Shane McElrath third with a 6-2. Aaron Plessinger holds the standings lead on 233 points from Alex Martin (210) and Jeremy Martin (176.)
Cody Cooper took 16th position in the 450s Moto 2, while Hayden Mellross took a 16-16 result in the 250s.
Musquin’s 2:07.315 in the first session held up as the top lap of the day despite a heater from Tomac (2:07.385) in the second session that nearly toppled him. Justin Bogle, who has been sidelined since February due to a broken arm, qualified 10th and Cooper Webb, who is keeping expectations to a minimum for now, was just behind him in 11th in his return from a broken leg.
Qualifying is always an interesting affair at Southwick, as there usually seem to be a few local guys who rank surprisingly high on the leaderboard. This was no exception with Robby Marshall (5th, 2:10.582) and Chris Canning (7th, 2:11.186) both finding their way inside the top 10.
450 Qualifying Results
Marvin Musquin, 2:07.315
Eli Tomac, 2:07.385
Blake Baggett, 2:09.294
Justin Barcia, 2:09.455
Robby Marshall, 2:10.582
Ken Roczen, 2:11.033
Chris Canning, 2:11.186
Kyle Cunningham, 2:11.376
Benny Bloss, 2:11.439
Justin Bogle, 2:11.547
450 Moto 1
In his first race action since February, Justin Bogle was officially credited with the holeshot, but Blake Baggett and Ken Roczen were both neck-and-neck with him. Roczen emerged from the turn with the race lead, and Justin Barcia and Marvin Musquin followed him into second and third, respectively.
As for Eli Tomac, he once again had to come back from a subpar start. But by the end of Lap 2, he had climbed his way into the top five behind Roczen, Barcia, Musquin and Baggett. Then on the next lap, Tomac picked off Baggett for fourth place.
With Tomac charging toward them, a great battle developed among the lead trio. After nearly getting passed by Musquin, Barcia stepped it up and made a charge at Roczen to take over the lead. Musquin then got past Roczen as well to move into second.
About 11 minutes had elapsed in the race when Tomac caught the top three. After making quick work of Roczen for third place, Tomac set his sights on Musquin, who was actively trying to find a line around Barcia.
The level of racing was extraordinarily high, and shortly before the midway point, Musquin was able to pass Barcia—giving the race its third different leader in less than five minutes—and Barcia then dropped second place to the hard-charging Tomac.
As the race entered its second half, things settled down just a tad. Musquin and Tomac emerged as the two frontrunners, while Barcia and Roczen lost ground to them. For the next several laps, Tomac stalked Musquin and ended up taking a lot of roost.
With the countdown clock expired and three laps to go, Tomac started getting more aggressive, but Musquin was able to counter a number of his pass attempts by shutting the door on Tomac. Shortly before the two riders came around to take the white flag, Tomac went to the outside and rode past Musquin as the two riders nearly made contact.
But the Frenchman refused to let the win get away without a fight—he raced hard on the final lap and ended up crashing on a downhill jump. The fall sent Musquin into the track banners, but he was able to get back on the bike without losing any positions. (He and Tomac had a giant gap on the rest of the field by that point.)
Tomac went on to take his ninth moto win of the season, with Musquin finishing 27 seconds behind him. Barcia, Baggett and Roczen rounded out the top five.
After his magnificent start, Bogle ended up finishing in 18th. Another rider making his return from injury, Cooper Webb, fared much better with an eighth-place finish.
450 Moto 1 Results
450 Moto 2
Justin Bogle took his second holsehot of the day but was immediately overtaken by Marvin Musquin. Phil Nicoletti and Ken Roczen weren’t too far behind the duo, and soon Eli Tomac came charging past all of them to move into second place behind Musquin.
After the drama of the first moto, it looked as though fans could be in store for another exciting Tomac/Musquin battle. Instead, this particular one proved to be more anticlimactic. Tomac quickly caught the Red Bull KTM rider and was able to pass him without too much difficulty. At this point, there were still more than 26 minutes left on the countdown clock.
It looked like a sixth straight overall win was in the bag for Tomac until he crashed shortly before the midway point of the race. When Tomac got back on the bike, Musquin was suddenly back on his tail and back in the hunt for the win.
Once again, it looked like Tomac would be able to pull away and secure the win, but then Tomac crashed yet again. This time he was unable to get back on the bike before Musquin went by him. And so, with under 10 minutes left, Musquin inherited the lead.
Tomac was unable to mount a challenge, as there appeared to be an issue with his bike stemming from the crash. With the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider off the pace, Musquin was able to build a huge lead and cruise to the checkered flag for his third moto win of the season.
Although Musquin (2-1) and Tomac (1-2) tied in points for the day, Musquin was awarded the overall victory because of his better result in Moto 2. That brought an end to Tomac’s streak of five straight overall wins to open the season, but Tomac’s lead in the 450 Class championship standings will stay at 32 points.
“It’s not always the fastest guy that wins the race and we saw it today. It was really demanding and tough out there, and physically it was rough and hot. In the first moto, I was leading a few laps and it was awesome but when you know Eli is behind you it’s not easy, but I kept pushing. He finally got me at the end and I was going to give a fight back but unfortunately, I went down. Second moto, I got a good start but it was hard for me to push super hard in the first few laps, my intensity wasn’t quite there and Eli was gone. But then, at the end of the day, he made mistakes and I was able to capitalize on that and stay consistent, stay on two wheels and ride to the finish.”
“We have to be happy going 1-2 at Southwick, but I know I let this one get away,” said Tomac. “I didn’t get the start I needed in either moto but I was able to battle and put myself back in contention. Moto 1 was a real battle until the end and I was happy to be able to make the pass on the final two laps to take the win. In Moto 2, I made a couple of mistakes that put me on the ground but leaving here with a second overall and healthy after two crashes is pretty good. We’re heading to Red Bud keeping the red plate and we’ll keep things rolling.”
Musquin was the second Frenchman to win big at Southwick today. About an hour earlier, his compatriot Dylan Ferrandis had won the 250MX overall.
Barcia (3-3) finished third overall for the day. Southwick marks the third straight round that Musquin, Tomac and Barcia have all been on the podium together (though the order has been different each time).
Blake Baggett (4-4), Ken Roczen (5-5), Benny Bloss (6-6) and Lorenzo Locurcio (7-7) all posted identical finishes in Moto 1 and Moto 2 to fill out the rest of the top seven, while Cooper Webb (8-9) took eighth overall in his first race of the season.
450 Moto 2 Results
…16. Cody Cooper
450 Overall Results
Marvin Musquin (2-1)
Eli Tomac (1-2)
Justin Barcia (3-3)
Blake Baggett (4-4)
Ken Roczen (5-5)
Benny Bloss (6-6)
Lorenzo Locurcio (7-7)
Cooper Webb (8-9)
Phil Nicoletti (10-8)
Weston Peick (9-11)
…20. Cody Cooper (38-16)
450 Point Standings
Eli Tomac, 289
Marvin Musquin, 257
Justin Barcia, 224
Ken Roczen, 201
Blake Baggett, 200
Weston Peick, 170
Benny Bloss, 156
Phil Nicoletti, 142
Cody Cooper, 85
Jason Anderson, 73
Plessinger leads the championship standings, but he’s not the only Star Yamaha rider on point lately. His teammate Justin Cooper has kept himself afloat in the title discussion with a string of solid results (minus the second moto where he collided with Jeremy Martin and finished 28th last week) and for the third time this season, he’s the top qualifier at a Pro Motocross round.
Cooper’s time from the first session (2:08.659) edged out yet another Star Yamaha standout, Dylan Ferrandis (2:08.927 in the second session), who’s coming off his first moto win of the season.
250 Qualifying Results
Justin Cooper, 2:08.659
Dylan Ferrandis, 2:08.927
Austin Forkner, 2:09.450
Chase Sexton, 2:09.605
Alex Martin, 2:09.776
Joey Savatgy, 2:10.211
Colt Nichols, 2:10.250
Michael Mosiman, 2:10.634
Jordon Smith, 2:10.823
Cameron McAdoo, 2:10.959
250 Moto 1
Fresh off his surprise win at Muddy Creek, Shane McElrath came out strong once again by grabbing the Moto 1 holeshot ahead of local product Jimmy Decotis. Impressively, McElrath was able to check out pretty quickly—within a few minutes, he had already opened up a lead of about eight seconds on the rest of the field.
Part of the reason that McElrath was able to amass such a big lead was that Justin Cooper and Austin Forkner were having to fight to get around Decotis. Both riders were eventually able to clear Decotis, putting Cooper into second and Forkner into third.
About 10 minutes into the moto, Forkner was able to make a pass on Cooper to take over second, and he was then able to chip away at McElrath’s lead. On Lap 7, a really slow lap time from McElrath (2:20.225) allowed Forkner (2:15.871) to make up a ton of ground. Forkner then found an outside line two laps later to overtake McElrath for the top spot.
While Forkner was able to open up a small gap on everyone, McElrath continued to slide back through the field—first losing a spot to Alex Martin, then one to Aaron Plessinger and another one to Chase Sexton.
After getting passed by Dylan Ferrandis later in the race, McElrath fell out of the top five completely. He wasn’t the only one going backwards though—Cooper had gone down on Lap 8 and dropped outside the top 15. (He ultimately finished 17th.)
Meanwhile Forkner’s lead was dwindling, as a pair of title contenders—Martin and Plessinger—were starting to reel him in. Martin kept things tight throughout the final four laps but couldn’t get close enough to attempt a pass. That enabled Forkner to get his first moto win since his rookie season in 2016.
250 Moto 1 Results
…16. Hayden Mellross
250 Moto 2
For the second time today, Shane McElrath was credited with the holeshot, but Austin Forkner and RJ Hampshire both emerged ahead of him with the top two spots.
A mistake from Hampshire allowed McElrath to move into second early on, and Alex Martin eventually took over third. That set up a battle between teammates McElrath and Martin for second place, and it wasn’t until shortly past the midway point that Martin was finally able to take the position. That left him with a manageable deficit behind Forkner and plenty of time to make it up.
Throughout the moto, Dylan Ferrandis was on a bit of a tear. The Frenchman had to work his way up from 10th place but made a number of passes during the race. With under eight minutes left in the moto, he got around McElrath to move into the top three.
With under five minutes left on the countdown clock, the top three riders (Forkner, Martin, Ferrandis) were all within just a few seconds of each other. Having closed in on the leader, Martin tried diving to the inside of Forkner for a pass attempt, but Forkner was going for a similar line, which left very little room for Martin, and the two riders made contact and took each other down. Martin lost a couple positions but remounted fairly quickly; Forkner, on the other hand, needed more time to compose himself and lost a ton of spots.
The carnage allowed Ferrandis and McElrath to cruise past the downed riders and take over the top two spots. McElrath was only about a second behind Ferrandis on the final lap, but the Frenchman held strong and took the checkered flag. Not only did Ferrandis score his second moto win in his last three tries, but thanks to the resulting chaos from Forkner and Martin’s crash, he also earned the first overall victory of his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross career with 4-1 moto scores.
With the win, Ferrandis also became the fifth different rider to win a 250MX overall through the first six rounds of the 2018 season.
Although the crash cost him a shot at the overall victory, Martin (2-4) was able to take second place thanks to his quick recovery. McElrath (6-2) proved to be one of the beneficiaries of that crash, taking third place overall for the day. It’s the second straight week that McElrath has ended up on the overall podium. The KTM rider entered the season with only two podiums in his entire outdoor career.
After a disappointing second moto, Plessinger (3-7) ended up fifth overall. He’ll still retain the points lead heading into RedBud next weekend, but he did lose six points to Martin today at Southwick. Plessinger currently holds a 23-point edge after Round 6.
As for Justin Cooper, his title prospects took a hit after finishing 17-9 for 15th overall. Cooper, who started the day 41 points back of Plessinger, now faces a 59-point hole and has McElrath and Forkner close behind him.
“I’m happy with the way I’m riding and I really expected to at least be on the podium today. We’ve put in a lot of work, particularly for Southwick, and I couldn’t have been more prepared for the sand. It’s disappointing for things to end the way they did because I was doing everything I could to run clean and just put two solid motos together. We had a really good shot at the win, so it’s hard to swallow having that taken away from us like that.”
“The track was really tough today and it ate a lot of guys up. I felt good after qualifying so it’s a bummer to have the trouble I did in Moto 1. The whole Pro Circuit team did an awesome job of getting me ready for Moto 2 and I’m happy to pay them back with a solid result. I need to focus on getting better starts to put us up front, and I think then we’ll be where we expect to run.”
250 Moto 2 Results
…16. Hayden Mellross
250 Overall Results
Dylan Ferrandis (4-1)
Alex Martin (2-4)
Shane McElrath (6-2)
RJ Hampshire (7-3)
Aaron Plessinger (3-7)
Colt Nichols (8-8)
Austin Forkner (1-20)
Chase Sexton (5-14)
Mitchell Harrison (15-6)
Michael Mosiman (10-11)
…17. Hayden Mellross (16-16)
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