Eli Tomac wins Redbud MX – Zach Osborne widens 250MX lead
Known as the rowdiest crowd in motocross, the Rockford Fosgate RedBud National saw what may have been the largest crowd ever on hand for Round 6.
Marking the halfway point in the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, only four points separated the leaders (Blake Baggett over Eli Tomac) coming into the race with the next racer (Jason Anderson) only an additional 15 points out. Hard to imagine a more exciting circumstance and a more exciting track, unless, of course, you add in a few surprise elements
New for this year’s national, the infamous outdoors jump, LaRocco’s Leap received a light makeover to its 125-plus foot face. Not only did the legendary leap received a lift on its 25th anniversary, the track looked noticeably sandier than previous years.
With soft sandy rollers and ruts on top of new face for the biggest jump in outdoors motocross, the importance of a great start was greater than ever.
Carnage plagued the start of 450 moto 1, but Christian Craig found his out in front of the mess for the holeshot and clear path to lead. Just behind Craig was Blake Baggett showing his practice starts earlier in the week paid off.
Marvin Musquin also showed he was feeling much healthier and following his second place qualifying time behind Baggett, Musquin came out of the first turn in third with Cole Seely (Craig’s teammate) close behind in fourth.
Looking at the opening crash, Cooper Webb, Wesont Peick and Broc Tickle were some of the riders tangled up, but unfortunately for Webb he was not able to ride out the moto.
Musquin and Baggett wasted no time getting into a battle. Within the opening laps Musquin and Baggett made a bit of contact before exchanging positions. Ultimately Musquin made gains and passed Baggett, however, their battle allowed Craig to stretch his lead.
Still inside the opening five minutes Seely slipped up and dumped his bike. He managed to scramble back on quickly but he lost position to a few riders, with Eli Tomac taking over fourth place slot. Tomac charged forward and found Musquin and Baggett quickly.
One right after the other, Musquin closed the gap and passed Craig, and shortly after Tomac takes a similar move on Baggett to take over third. Just behind the movement in the top four, Justin Bogle and Justin Barcia were working their way into the mix out front of the recovered Seely.
Craig began to fade from second into fifth behind Bogle, which left Tomac on the tail of Musquin for the lead. It wouldn’t last more than just a few minutes before Tomac would wait no longer to take over the front of the pack, but Musquin and Baggett were still within reach. Though, by the halfway mark in the moto, Tomac would extend his lead to more than three seconds.
With less than four minutes and two laps to go, Musquin made a minor mistake and Baggett bounced straight to his front for second. Baggett kept his momentum moving forward and began to close the gap on Tomac, but would end the moto still 1.4 seconds behind.
Still trailing in the series points, Tomac closed the gap to only 1 point.
Moto 1 Results
Baggett gets the hole shot, Jason Anderson right behind in second with Bogle close to the front, but Justin Barcia showed his Bam Bam style to literally force his bike through the traffic to take over the lead. Before the first lap was finished, Baggett and Anderson were battling and making contact.
Coming out of a turn and trying to face up the next hill, Baggett’s front tire found the same line as Anderson which tipped Baggett off his bike entirely.
Coming off a quiet but effective fourth place finish in the first moto, Anderson was racing for a win in the second moto as he put continued pressure on Barcia for nearly 10 minutes straight. As Anderson seemed to have closed in, Barcia took a line away and took off.
The battle shifted to Tomac looking to overtake Anderson for the next three minutes. Tomac made a move around the bottom of a hill in a corner to line up for an uphill pass on Anderson in tactical fashion.
Pressing on, Tomac put Barcia in his sights and closed the gap to battle within a bike’s length for almost an entire lap. Barcia continued to take the lines away, though, this time from Tomac. Another lap went by with Barcia making distance before making mistakes, still, for the time being, recovered to remain out front.
However, going up and around a corner with very little rut to work with, Barcia washed his back out from under him to dump his bike and drop to fifth before finding his feet on the pegs again. Behind Tomac and Anderson were Peick and Musquin to benefit from the battles and move forward from the mistakes.
In the waning minutes, with only three laps left to go, Tomac continued to lead Anderson, Musquin Peick and Barcia for the top five. Josh Grant, Bogle, Wilson, Seely and Canard (on his second race, returning from injury) rounded out the top 10, which just excluded Craig and Baggett. Yet another moto for Baggett spent almost entirely on recovering lost ground.
A position change came for Grant to bump Barcia out of the top five. Then, after Tomac finished his day going 1-1, Baggett was still putting in work trying to crack the top 10 makes a move on Craig that left only Canard in his way. Baggett overtook Canard with only two turns left to go.
Living up to the weekend’s expectations, Tomac won the day and reclaimed the series points lead.
“I was able to come around and do pretty well, although I was in a first turn pileup in the first moto, I worked really hard and came back to fourth. I was up front right away in the second moto and was swapping spots with riders. I tried to hold on as long as I could. I feel like I can still do better.”
“My speed is getting better and my confidence is back. It was a much better weekend for me. It’s crazy how much you can lose with an injury like that, but I’m getting my strength back. It was a difficult time but I feel like I’m getting better. I put in some good laps during practice and was able to turn left again. My stomach was cramping up during the first moto, but it was better during the second moto. I couldn’t really get going in the second moto, though. I needed to get around those guys because Eli and Jason were going fast up front. I lost some time there. Overall it was a good day, and getting third is good for my confidence.”
Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Eli Tomac (1-1)
Jason Anderson (4-2)
Marvin Musquin (3-3)
Blake Baggett (2-10)
Justin Barcia (7-6)
Josh Grant (10-5)
Cole Seely (6-9)
Justin Bogle (9-7)
Dean Wilson (8-8)
Weston Peick (14-4)
Christian Craig (5-12)
Trey Canard (13-11)
Fredreik Noren (11-14)
Martin Davalos (15-13)
Henry Miller (12-16)
John Short (17-15)
Broc Tickle (18-17)
Dakota Alix (16-40)
Dakota Tedder (31-18)
Toshiki Tomita (26-19)
450 Class Points
Eli Tomac – 241
Blake Baggett – 228
Jason Anderson – 216
Marvin Musquin – 201
Justin Bogle – 163
Dean Wilson – 163
Broc Tickle – 146
Weston Peick – 137
Josh Grant – 133
Cole Seely – 132
250MX – Zach Osborne increases his points leads at Redbud
Jeremy Martin earned the holeshot, with Zach Osborne, Austin Forkner and Alex Martin all close behind through the opening turns. The first move of the race came quickly from A. Martin to pass Forkner, which placed Osborne in a sandwich between the brothers Martin.
On the first lap J. Martin cleared the infamous LaRocco’s Leap that provided him a huge advantage as the rest of the riders were unable to jump it in entirety.
On the second lap around J. Martin was not able to completely clear LaRocco’s Leap and actually slowed slightly. Still, he continued to ride out front uncontested. However, halfway into the moto J. Martin was able to line up the turns coming into the jump just right to again clear the infamous jump and stretch out his lead to nearly two seconds.
With very little change to the racing order, Forkner continued to hold the fourth position behind the Martin brothers sandwich of Osborne. Rounding out the top five was Dylan Ferrandis who seemed to be having a redemption race following a rough go at Muddy Creek. The Frenchman, Ferrandis, has shown raw speed in this debut season in American Motocross but has been continuously adjusting to the natural elements.
The next four positions went in order of Aaron Plessinger, RJ Hampshire, Mitchell Harrison (the only 250 to make LaRocco’s Leap during practice) and Shane McElrath (third fastest qualifier). Following them was a bit of a battle between Colt Nichols and Adam Cianciarulo that resulted in Cianciarulo cracking into the top 10, leaving Nichols in 11th ahead of Joey Savatgy.
Eventually Hampshire would find himself pulling off the track, out of the top 10 and eventually out of the points for the moto entirely.
Only two minutes before the final two laps begun, Plessinger decided it was time to pass his teammate. Plessinger moved into fifth place and pushed Ferrandis back one position. However, before it would be over they would swap back positions once more.
After those moves the racing settled. J. Martin finished out the Moto 1 essentially uncontested, Osborne nearly closed in on him but ultimately remained in second followed by A. Martin.
Moto 1 Results
Neck and neck straight out of the gates, J. Martin had the holeshot with Forkner extremely tight on his tail, but before they could even clear the next turn they were both down and left in the back of the pack. After the first series of turns settled down the pack, A. Martin would be riding out front of Harrison, Luke Renzland (finished 20th in Moto 1), Justin Hill and Osborne rounding out the top five.
Following the first six minutes of racing, J. Martin had improved his place from 40th (after earning the holeshot) into 17th.
J. Martin keep pressing forward while the movement in the front of the pack was very minimal for the first half of the moto. By the halfway mark he was battling Plessinger to for the 10th place position. It would take a few minutes and the entirety of a lap for J. Martin to get the opportunity, but he did cease an outside line to combine it toward an inside line around the next bend to make the pass inside of Plessinger. Forkner was in 16th.
For the first half of the moto Osborne was sitting unusually long in the fifth place position without finding his way around Hill. But with about 12 minutes and two laps to go, Osborne seemed inspired to push into fourth. That loss of position may have gotten stuck in the head of Hill, because two minutes later he would bobble and allow Ferrandis fifth.
The moto continued to wind down, but at the seven minute mark a mistake was made. A. Martin dumped his bike with a 4.7 second lead over the pack only to be passed by Harrison and shortly after Osborne. Having the race of his life on his local track, Harrison was in position for his best career finish.
In the final minute before the last two laps the battle between Osborne and Harrison was heated. Osborne had been pushing for the lead for multiple laps, but local knowledge proved to be keeping Harrison ahead and able to take the lines away.
Osborne did find an opening, though, and that was all he would need to run race to the front where he would stay. The moto resulted in Osborne, Harrison and A. Martin topping out the Moto 2 podium.
“Overall it was a great day, I qualified on the pole and went 2-1 for the overall so it’s a good day for the points and the overall grand scheme of things in the championship. I’m just going to keep plugging away and will try to rally to the title.”
Overall on the day, though, J. Martin would manage to recover a third after finishing the second moto in eight. Taking the win on the day was Osborne, to easily maintain the series points lead, and Mitchell Harrison earning second.
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