Aaron Plessinger claims 2018 250 title with a round spare

Tomac extends lead over Musquin to 20 points

Ty Masterpool wins 125 All-Star two-stroke race

Cody Cooper goes 18-15 for weekend – Hayden Mellross 16-15 in 250s

Images by Hoppenworld


Budds Creek marked the second last round of the 2018 Pro Motocross Championship, with the 250 class decided a round early as Aaron Plessinger took a 1-11 result to net enough points for an unassailable lead. A consistent RJ Hampshire won the 250 round with a 2-1.

AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Plessinger JK
Aaron Plessinger – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

Alex Martin was left disappointed as his narrow chances to reign Plessinger in were ended in the first moto.

In the 450s, Eli Tomac further extended his lead from Marvin Musquin, from 15 points heading in, to 20 following the weekends two motos, with Ken Roczen next strongest over the weekend with a 1-3 result, while Marvin Musquin took 2-4.

450 Qualifying

It’s not much of a surprise to see Eli Tomac atop the qualifying charts yet again, nor to see Marvin Musquin in second. Clearly both riders are ready to resume the championship battle today.

AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Tomac J K
Eli Tomac – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

What is noteworthy is Jason Anderson qualifying third. He’s missed the last eight rounds due to a broken foot but makes his return to the series today. Of course, putting in a quick lap in practice is one thing; enduring a 30-minute-plus-two-lap moto in the Maryland heat is a whole other thing.

450 Combined Qualifying Results

  1. Eli Tomac, 2:04.648
  2. Marvin Musquin, 2:05.011
  3. Jason Anderson, 2:05.405
  4. Justin Barcia, 2:05.959
  5. Ken Roczen, 2:06.117

450 Moto 1

The first moto delivered some drama right away, with the two championship contenders having drastically different starts. Marvin Musquin grabbed the holeshot ahead of Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia, but Eli Tomac was nowhere to be found among the lead group.

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450 Start – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

A poor start put him outside the top 10 — never a good spot to be in, but particularly bad considering that the point difference between first place and 11th place is 15 points. Fortunately for Tomac, he made a number of quick passes to move himself into seventh before he started to encounter heavier resistance.

Meanwhile, out front, Roczen caught Musquin by the end of the first full lap and was able to take over the lead. From that point on, the moto featured two simulatenous points of intrigue: Roczen’s attempt to hold off Musquin and win the moto, and Tomac’s attempt to pick up as many positions as possible.

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Ken Roczen – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

The first rider to present a problem for Tomac was sixth-place Benny Bloss. The two riders went side-by-side through the track for several turns before Tomac finally secured the position. Tomac then got Nicoletti for fifth place, followed by Jason Anderson around the midway point for fourth place.

As the countdown clock got under seven minutes, a battle for the lead reignited between Roczen and Musquin, who had both pulled away from the rest of the field by this point. Musquin was right up on Roczen several times but struggled to make anything stick. While this was going on, Barcia and Tomac were locking horns in a battle for third place. By the time Tomac got around Barcia on Lap 12, the top two were about 19 seconds clear of him.

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Eli Tomac – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

In the final laps of the moto, Musquin fell off the pace. That allowed Roczen to cruise to a 13-second victory and his second moto win of the year, while Musquin (second place) would have to settle for only picking up two points on Tomac (third place) instead of what could have been five points. Tomac’s championship lead now stands at 13 points with three motos still to come.

AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Musquin J K
Marvin Musquin – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

Anderson and Blake Baggett, who fell earlier in the moto, both made late passes of Barcia to finish inside the top five. Barcia finished behind them in sixth.

450 Moto 1 Results

  1. Ken Roczen
  2. Marvin Musquin +13.831
  3. Eli Tomac +22.858
  4. Jason Anderson +25.506
  5. Blake Baggett +26.202
  6. Justin Barcia +29.942
  7. Phil Nicoletti +1:06.240
  8. Cooper Webb +1:15.642
  9. Benny Bloss +1:24.462
  10. Kyle Cunningham  +1:33.251
    …18. Cody Cooper

450 Moto 2

Phil Nicoletti took the holeshot but had many of the usual suspects behind him. By the end of the first lap, he’d dropped spots to Marvin Musquin, Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen and had the tandem of Blake Baggett and Eli Tomac not far behind.

Barcia soon made a challenge for the lead, but Musquin was able to fend him off. Neither one of them would be able to hold off Roczen though — the Honda HRC rider passed Barcia about five minutes into the moto, then took an inside line around Musquin to move into the lead shortly before the midway point of the race.

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Ken Roczen – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

Meanwhile Tomac was doing what he often does — charging through the field. After getting around Nicoletti and Baggett, he closed in on Barcia for third place. Barcia handed over that spot thanks to an error that put him on the ground. Then Tomac went on a tear in the final ten minutes (plus two laps) of the race.

Once he had Musquin in his sights, Tomac used an outside line to make quick work of his championship rival. And four minutes later, he passed Roczen for the lead without too much of a struggle. Tomac immediately began to gap the field once he had the lead, but the struggle was just beginning for his European rivals. That’s because Baggett started making a charge of his own in the final laps — a charge which benefitted Tomac in the process.

AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Tomac JK
Eli Tomac – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

Baggett picked off both Musquin (which helped Tomac pick up a few extra points) and Roczen (which swung the overall victory from Roczen to Tomac) to earn his best moto result of the season, a second-place finish behind Tomac. Roczen, Musquin and Barcia rounded out the top five.

All the changing fortunes on those final laps gave Tomac his 15th overall win and eighth overall win of the season. He also extended his championship lead over Musquin from 15 to 20 points.

Marvin Musquin

“Today I had great starts – the first moto I got into the lead on the first lap and I just couldn’t get it back. I was fighting for it all the way until the last two laps. It was close but I couldn’t get it. In the second moto, I was up there and it was good, but unfortunately towards the end, physically, it was really tough and I could only get fourth in that moto and third overall for the day. One more round to go, I am looking forward to fighting hard.”

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Marvin Musquin – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

Roczen (1-3) tied Tomac (3-1) in points for the day but lost the tiebreaker (better Moto 2 finish) to Tomac. That put Roczen second overall, and Musquin (2-4) rounded out the overall podium ahead of Baggett (5-2).

Despite a fourth-place finish in Moto 1, Jason Anderson did not line up for Moto 2.

450 Moto 2 Results

  1. Eli Tomac
  2. Blake Baggett +05.460
  3. Ken Roczen +27.413
  4. Marvin Musquin +40.018
  5. Justin Barcia +59.629
  6. Phil Nicoletti +1:04.537
  7. Cooper Webb +1:10.470
  8. Benny Bloss +1:37.561
  9. Weston Peick +1:45.723
  10. Dylan Merriam +1:48.370
    …15. Cody Cooper
AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Podium JK
450 Podium 1. Eli Tomac, 2. Ken Roczen, 3. Marvin Musquin – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

450 Overall Results

  1. Eli Tomac (3-1)
  2. Ken Roczen (1-3)
  3. Marvin Musquin (2-4)
  4. Blake Baggett (5-2)
  5. Justin Barcia (6-5)
  6. Phil Nicoletti (7-6)
  7. Cooper Webb (8-7)
  8. Benny Bloss (9-8)
  9. Dylan Merriam (12-10)
  10. Weston Peick (14-9)
    …18. Cody Cooper (18-15)

450 Point Standings

  1. Eli Tomac, 493
  2. Marvin Musquin, 473
  3. Ken Roczen, 403
  4. Justin Barcia, 394
  5. Blake Baggett, 370
  6. Weston Peick, 291
  7. Phil Nicoletti, 282
  8. Benny Bloss, 278
  9. Kyle Cunningham, 159
  10. Cooper Webb, 156

250 Qualifying

For the sixth time this season, the fastest qualifier in the 250 Class was Justin Cooper. It’s been an up-and-down season for the rookie, but qualifying has repeatedly been a high point for him. And despite some recent struggles — he scored 12-6 moto finishes last weekend — he’s still third in the point standings.

AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Start J K
AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

Cooper wasn’t the only Star Yamaha rider setting a fast time on the course. Dylan Ferrandis, who is coming off a 1-1 sweep at Unadilla, qualified second, and Colt Nichols and Aaron Plessinger also finished inside the top five.

The temperature in Mechanicsville has been rising throughout the morning and it’s gotten pretty hot. There’s also the potential for some rain later this afternoon.

250 Combined Qualifying Results

  1. Justin Cooper, 2:04.810
  2. Dylan Ferrandis, 2:05.055
  3. RJ Hampshire, 2:05.490
  4. Colt Nichols, 2:05.623
  5. Aaron Plessinger, 2:05.687

250 Moto 1

The start of Moto 1 went about as well as Aaron Plessinger could have hoped for. He took the holeshot ahead of RJ Hampshire and Mitchell Harrison, while poor starts left Alex Martin and Dylan Ferrandis outside the top 10 and a crash put Justin Cooper even further back.

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250 Start – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

Hampshire opened up a gap on Harrison and the rest of the field, but Plessinger opened up his own gap on on Hampshire. Once he got past Harrison, Austin Forkner settled into third place behind Plessinger and Hampshire.

While Plessinger had no trouble stretching out his lead, Martin struggled to claw his way through the field. After 10 laps, Plessinger had built a nine-second lead and Martin was still back in 11th. With less than five minutes left on the countdown clock at that point, it was clear the series wouldn’t have to wait much longer to crown its champion.

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Aaron Plessinger – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

For the ninth time this season, Plessinger grabbed the moto win, mathematically clinching the 250 Class championship in the process. Hampshire held on to finish second, with Forkner in third. Harrison took fourth place for the third straight moto, and Dylan Ferrandis rounded out the top five after making a last-lap pass on Jordon Smith.

Early in the race, a new name was near the front: Mitchell Falk. The Loretta Lynn’s graduate is making his professional debut with Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM this weekend, and he made an immediate impact. Falk was running inside the top five early before going down and losing several positions. He ended up 18th.

250 Moto 1 Results

  1. Aaron Plessinger
  2. RJ Hampshire +06.756
  3. Austin Forkner +12.013
  4. Mitchell Harrison +14.779
  5. Dylan Ferrandis +17.554
  6. Jordon Smith +18.264
  7. Chase Sexton +28.598
  8. Michael Mosiman +29.926
  9. Shane McElrath +33.208
  10. Alex Martin +34.685
    …16. Hayden Mellross

250 Moto 2

With the championship already secure, it was a pressure-free moto for Aaron Plessinger. But it also turned into a strange moto for the new 250 Class champion. For the second time today, Plessinger took the holeshot and led the opening laps of the race, but after the first 10 minutes, it was a completely different story.

AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Start J K
250 Start – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

He was passed by a few riders — first losing the lead to RJ Hampshire, then giving up second place to Chase Sexton, who had been in a back-and-forth battle with Austin Forkner earlier in the race — and then crashed all by himself to lose a few more positions. WIth 10 minutes to go, Plessinger was all the way back in 10th place.

Plessinger’s misfortune provided a golden opportunity for the rest of the field though, particularly for the GEICO Honda duo of Hampshire and Sexton. After getting past Plessinger, the teammates put a large gap on the rest of the field.

Behind them, Forkner and Mitchell Harrison engaged in a back-and-forth battle for third. Toward the end of the race, Harrison made a pass stick as Forkner went off-track. It took Forkner a little while to get back onto the track, causing him to lose several positions.

AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Plessinger JK
Aaron Plessinger – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

Up front though, Hampshire never looked back after taking the lead. He finished ahead of Sexton to score the first moto win of his career and, with 2-1 finishes for the day, the first overall win of his career as well. Hampshire is the ninth different rider to win a moto in the 250 Class this season.

Cooper ended the race in third place thanks to late passes of Alex Martin and Harrison, giving him his fifth moto podium of the season. Martin took fourth after passing Harrison on the final lap.

Although Harrison has his fourth straight top-five finish, he was knocked off the day’s overall podium after losing those positions late in the race. Instead, Sexton (7-2) and Plessinger (1-11) narrowly edged out Harrison (4-5) for the two podium spots behind Hampshire.

After the moto, Plessinger was officially presented with the #1 plate in honor of being the new 250 Class champion.

AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Podium JK
250 Round Podium: 1. RJ Hampshire, 2. Chase Sexton, 3. Aaron Plessinger – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

250 Moto 2 Results

  1. RJ Hampshire
  2. Chase Sexton +03.764
  3. Justin Cooper +08.529
  4. Alex Martin +09.753
  5. Mitchell Harrison +11.435
  6. Shane McElrath +12.513
  7. Austin Forkner +27.871
  8. Colt Nichols +28.779
  9. Michael Mosiman +46.910
  10. Dylan Ferrandis  +1:00.711
    …15. Hayden Mellross

250 Overall Results

  1. RJ Hampshire (2-1)
  2. Chase Sexton (7-2)
  3. Aaron Plessinger (1-11)
  4. Mitchell Harrison (4-5)
  5. Austin Forkner (3-7)
  6. Alex Martin (10-4)
  7. Justin Cooper (14-3)
  8. Shane McElrath (9-6)
  9. Dylan Ferrandis (5-10)
  10. Michael Mosiman (8-9)
    …16.Hayden Mellross (16-15)
AMA MX Rnd Budds Creek Plessinger JK
Aaron Plessinger – AMA MX 2018 Round 11 Budds Creek

250 Point Standings

  1. Aaron Plessinger, 450
  2. Alex Martin, 366
  3. Justin Cooper, 318
  4. Shane McElrath, 305
  5. RJ Hampshire, 299
  6. Chase Sexton, 287
  7. Austin Forkner, 284
  8. Dylan Ferrandis, 281
  9. Joey Savatgy, 262
  10. Jordon Smith, 259

125 All-Star

Before the 250 and 450 Classes got underway, Budds Creek hosted the latest round of the 125 All-Star Series. The final results from that two-stroke race are below.

  1. Ty Masterpool
  2. Jack Rogers +25.579
  3. Ryan Hughes +27.629
  4. Luke Vonlinger +28.671
  5. Steve Roman +34.579
  6. Chris Johnson +35.707
  7. Chase Yentzer +36.519
  8. Johnny Wasco +48.184
  9. Levi Wosick +51.654
  10. Jordan Jarvis +51.669

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