The AMA Pro Motocross championship visited Spring Creek on the weekend and it was Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac that showed the field the way around the Minnesota layout.
Tomac topped qualifying and went on to win both Motos to leave round eight with a seven-point lead over Marvin Musquin in the overall standings.
Ken Roczen continues to regain speed after his spate of horrific arm and hand injuries and the German took second overall for the round.
In 250s Justin Cooper topped qualifying but it was Aaron Plessinger that won both Motos to further strengthen his championship lead. Justin Cooper was second in the 250s overal ahead of Alex Martin.
New Zealand’s Cody Cooper took a 15-24 result, while Hayden Mellross ended the weekend on a 15th in Moto 2 while Tyler McCoy carded 27-39 results.
The stretch-run shootout between Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac begins now! For what it’s worth, the “win” in qualifying went to Tomac thanks to his 2:12.223 in the first session, but the two riders were much closer in the second session.
450 Combined Qualifying Results
Eli Tomac, 2:12.223
Marvin Musquin, 2:13.138
Ken Roczen, 2:13.438
Justin Barcia, 2:14.558
Blake Baggett, 2:14.924
A lot of big names quickly found themselves near the front of the field at the start of the moto. Ken Roczen took the holeshot and led the first lap of the race while Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac battled for second place.
On Lap 3, Tomac passed Musquin but by that point, Roczen had built up a four-second lead. Tomac quickly chopped down that lead and started applying a lot of pressure to Roczen. While they battled for the lead, Musquin struggled to catch up to them.
The Frenchman ultimately went down on Lap 6 and lost nearly 20 seconds. He also lost third place to Blake Baggett in the process — a two-point swing that could prove costly in his attempt to hold onto the red plate.
Meanwhile the battle for the lead raged on. All told, it lasted about 15 minutes before the lead finally changed hands. At that point, lapped traffic became a factor, with Roczen getting held up as Tomac zoomed by him through the whoops.
Tomac started to open up a lead over the final laps, but as RedBud proved, it’s not over til it’s over. This time though, Tomac averted any mechanical issues and took the checkered flag over Roczen by 13 seconds.
Third place went to Baggett, who earned his third moto podium of the season and his first since Round 3. Musquin and Justin Barcia rounded out the top five.
After losing the points lead at RedBud, Tomac needed just one moto to recapture it. By picking up seven points in Moto 1, he now holds a four-point edge over Musquin as they head into the second moto. A top-two result later in the day would ensure that Tomac gets the red plate back.
450 Moto 1 Results
Eli Tomac 2:12.690
Ken Roczen +13.107
Blake Baggett +23.423
Marvin Musquin +53.117
Justin Barcia +1:00.266
Weston Peick +1:05.611
Cooper Webb +1:06.068
Phil Nicoletti +1:17.336
Henry Miller +1:24.874
Justin Hill +1:25.826
…15. Cody Cooper +2:26.143
Yet another holeshot for Justin Bogle — that’s his fourth one in the last six motos — but Marvin Musquin and Ken Roczen both got around him on the opening lap. As those two began to battle for the lead, Eli Tomac was working his way into the top five.
He picked off Bogle for fifth, then got around Weston Peick for fourth and Blake Baggett for third. That left him with 23:30 on the countdown clock to make a run at Musquin and Roczen.
Tomac started closing in on Roczen but a mistake right around the midway point — he nearly crashed coming out of a turn — cost the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider a few seconds. Although Tomac reeled him back in, Roczen proved to be difficult to pass.
With a little over five minutes to go, Tomac went inside of Roczen as they went downhill and around a corner. The two rivals were side-by-side as they went back uphill, but Tomac got back inside as they went around the next turn and finally made the pass stick.
Now into second place, Tomac faced a five-second deficit with only a few laps to make it up. But by the time the countdown clock expired, Tomac was already all over the Frenchman.
With two and a half laps to go, he charged through an uphill section and took the lead away from Musquin. That allowed Tomac to pull away for his class-leading 11th moto of the season. It also gave him his sixth overall win of the year and his fourth 1-1 sweep.
Even before passing Musquin, Tomac was already in position for the overall victory and already in position to take back the red plate. But the pass also created a six-point swing in the championship standings. So instead of leaving Spring Creek with a one-point lead over Musquin, Tomac will now leave with a seven-point advantage.
Musquin (4-2) finished third overall for the day behind Tomac and Roczen (2-3).
New Zealand’s Copy Cooper took a 15-24 result over the weekend.
“I had so much motivation from how the last race went and I carried it into this week. The team and I were focused on coming back with a good race and to get back on track. I always have fun here but I was really ready to go this week and happy to get the red plate back. We’re going to keep working hard and looking forward to some good racing at Washougal next week.”
“Millville was definitely a tough weekend but I’m even more motivated now for Washougal. I expected a little more of a smooth day, to be honest. The starts were good but I was a little bit riding tight in the first moto. I started to get better but unfortunately, I cross-rutted down the hill and I couldn’t avoid going down. It was a scary crash down the hill – my clutch lever was all the way down when I picked it up but luckily, I was able to get back on it and salvage some points. In the second moto, I definitely wanted to do better and pick up more points. I was riding well and leading, but unfortunately it was not enough. It was a better feeling at the end of the second moto for sure, compared to the first one. We made some progress and now onto Washougal.”
450 Moto 2 Results
Eli Tomac 2:14.447
Marvin Musquin +06.963
Ken Roczen +36.412
Blake Baggett +45.549
Justin Barcia +1:11.823
Weston Peick +1:18.282
Justin Hill +1:20.433
Benny Bloss +1:35.502
Cooper Webb +1:41.484
Phil Nicoletti +1:43.206
…24. Cody Cooper 15L +1:44.134
For the fourth time this season, Justin Cooper was the top qualifier in the 250 Class thanks to a 2:13.729 lap time in the second practice session. After a hot start to the season, Cooper’s best finish in his last five motos is just seventh place. Still third in the 250MX point standings despite the recent downturn, he’ll try to get back on track today.
For the first time, his teammate Aaron Plessinger saw his name near the top of the leaderboard. Entering the day with an average qualifying position of 9.3, the points leader came out and set the fastest lap in the first session, then followed it up with another good time in the second session.
After getting good starts, Joey Savatgy, Jordon Smith, Austin Forkner and Justin Cooper emerged with the top four spots, but Savatgy’s time out front was short-lived. He tipped over in a turn, which allowed Smith to take over the lead. Meanwhile Cooper got around Forkner on the opening lap to move into second place behind Smith.
Within a few laps, Aaron Plessinger joined the fray. Having already made a couple passes to move into third, he battled his teammate Cooper for second and finally took the position about eight and a half minutes into the race. Cooper then gave up third place to Forkner shortly after.
After getting around Cooper, Plessinger quickly caught and passed Smith to become the new race leader. There was no one left to challenge him at that point, so Plessinger cruised to his third straight moto win.
With Plessinger checking out, the second half of the race featured a good battle between Smith and Forkner for second place. Though Forkner managed to get side-by-side with him, Smith was initially able to hold him off.
The battle went on for a few laps until, with seven and a half minutes left on the countdown clock, Forkner went outside of Smith to grab second place. Forkner finished the moto in second with Smith in third. Cooper and Shane McElrath rounded out the top five.
Not only did Plessinger win the moto, he was able to boost his championship lead by 11 more points thanks to Alex Martin’s seventh-place finish.
The second moto immediately produced a battle with championship implications after Alex Martin took the holeshot with Aaron Plessinger right behind him.
Plessinger moved into the lead on the opening lap after getting past Martin on a downhill section of the course, and though Martin kept it close at first, Plessinger started to open things up after a few laps.
While Plessinger was sitting in good shape for the overall win, battles materialized that would determine the rest of the overall podium. Justin Cooper, Jordon Smith and Austin Forkner were all running in the top five early, but Joey Savatgy was on the charge.
He made the move on Forkner for fifth place about seven minutes into the moto, then worked his way around Smith shortly before the race’s midway point.
Then it was Forkner’s turn to make a charge. After displacing Smith for fifth place, Forkner caught back up his teammate Savatgy and took over fourth place. That tentatively put Forkner in position for a second-place overall finish, but for the third week in a row, a crash knocked him off the podium completely.
This time he went down on a jump because of a collision with a lapped rider, and he ended up with a bent radiator in the aftermath of the crash. That required Forkner to stop in the pits — as a result, he fell out of the top 20 before ending the race in 18th.
With Forkner out of the picture, it was Cooper who now sat in position for second place overall. With lapped riders becoming a factor, he caught up to Martin at one point and was applying pressure, but Martin made it through unscathed and put some cushion back between himself and Cooper.
The top three remained unchanged for the rest of the race. Plessinger took the victory to earn his fourth 1-1 sweep of the season and his second consecutive sweep, putting to rest — at least for now — all the questions about his inconsistent performances.
Martin took second place in the moto and Cooper finished third. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Michael Mosiman set a career best with a sixth-place moto finish.
As the only rider aside from Plessinger to finish top five in both motos, Cooper (4-3) earned second place overall. Martin (7-2) edged out Smith (3-7) for third overall.
With four rounds left in the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Plessinger now holds a 49-point lead over Martin in the 250 Class championship standings.
Hayden Mellross finished the weekend on a high with a 15th place, following his 33rd result in Moto 1. Tyler McCoy went 27-39.
250 Moto 2 Results
Aaron Plessinger 2:16.913
Alex Martin +06.488
Justin Cooper +17.239
Joey Savatgy +21.773
Chase Sexton +26.186
Michael Mosiman +32.607
Jordon Smith +35.011
Dylan Ferrandis +35.482
Colt Nichols +39.214
Mitchell Harrison +56.857
…15. Hayden Mellross
…39. Tyler McCoy
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