Another weekend of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, another day of total domination, and while the same players mopped up in the 250 Class, the scene in the 450 Class was a bit different, with another racer taking the win via 1-1 victories. Let’s get into how it all played out, starting with the 250 Class.
Jeremy Martin is still ridiculous. In fact, he's only gotten more ridiculous (and more for real) based on his performance at Hangtown, because he dominated with 1-1 scores just like he did at Glen Helen. This means you can no longer chalk this up to a one-race wonder or just stumbling on the right set-up at the opener. And to think, Martin is born in Minnesota and rides and trains in Florida--he might get faster once the series is out of California!
Martin even proved he could deal with a little adversity. He crashed hard on a downhill jump in practice, as he missed a shift on the takeoff. Luckily he ejected from the bike and slid down the backside of the double, while his Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha went flipping away. He tried to get back on and ride, but ended up crashing again since he couldn't reach the front brake lever on his bent-up bike. But once the motos started, he got good starts and just checked out on everyone.
A few riders tried to keep J Mart in sight. In Moto 1, GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle quickly moved into second and made a run, but the #19 dissapeared and then Bogle had to deal with Martin's teammate Cooper Webb. They battled hard but Webb eventually got him for another Star Yamaha 1-2 finish. Bogle admitted that Webb had him covered. In the second moto, Bogle was running fourth when he crashed violently on a downhill double, and his bike was too bent to continue. Afterward, we made a quick visit to the GEICO Honda rig while team manager Mike LaRocco was standing over Matt Bisceglia doing pushups, revealed that Bogle didn’t incur any serious injuries and should be good to go for next week in Colorado.
In Moto 2, Valli Yamaha's Christophe Pourcel got his first good start of the season and had a shot at Martin. Again, Martin just rolled away. Webb eventually got Pourcel to make it another Star Yamaha 1-2. Further, Pourcel took third overall for an all-Yamaha podium, and moved to third in points--Yamaha has taken over!
The moto gods transpired to prevent Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Justin Hill from locking down his first career podium. Hill made up some serious ground on Bogle in the first moto but just ran out of time, losing third by less than a bike length. In the second moto he came through the pack then went down while running fourth. He put a charge in at the end to get back past Jessy Nelson for fifth, which would have put him on the overall podium, but he came up less than half a second short. Pourcel, who finished third in the second moto, took the final overall podium spot, via a tie-breaking finish between himself Hill.
Hill was the lone bright spot for his team, as Blake Baggett suffered terrible starts in both motos and then DNFed moto two with bike problems. Everything that can go wrong for the powerhouse team has gone wrong so far this season.
Lucas Oil Troy Lee Designs Honda rider Shane McElrath was absent in today’s motos. He crashed at Elsinore during the week and was extremely sore, and even had to have his back drained this morning. He rode practice, but the decision was made to pull him from the active roster. Right now the plan is to put him back into action next week in Colorado.
Bad luck was all over the 250 class. Last week's podium man, Lucas Oil Troy Lee Honda's Cole Seely, was run into by another rider in the first moto, resulting in a damaged radiator that ended his race. Then he crashed in moto two, knocking him out of the running. He scored zero points on the day.
With so many big names in the 250 class struggling, the door is opened for privateers to make gains. Privateers Dillan Epstein and Matt Lemoine took 12th and 13th overall, respectively, and Jackson Richardson was a solid 9th in moto two.
Rockstar Energy KTM's Jason Anderson continues to go fast but not get the results. He crashed on the first lap of moto 1 and came from about last to tenth. In moto two, he was "best non-Yamaha" with fourth. Yes, best non-Yamaha is a category now.
It’s official, Roczen is awesome at Hangtown. He went 1-1 here last year to take his first National win on a 250 and went 1-1 today to take his first 450 National win. He was hands down the best rider on the track today, and even Ryan Dungey was unable to run him down like he did last week at Glen Helen. Afterward Roczen said he was very much looking forward to Colorado and the track's long ruts. Look out!
Ryan Dungey was good as usual, but not as good as Roczen. Surprisingly, Dungey has never won a 450 Class overall at Hangtown, even though he's second all-time in 450MX victories.
A few riders tried to stop the Red Bull KTM domination. In moto two, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Brett Metcalfe and Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Barcia put in an all-out effort to keep the KTM's behind them. It worked for a few laps, then Roczen struck suddenly and went from third to first in one lap! It appeared the on-the-edge charge took too much out of Metcalfe and Barcia, and they began to fade back, finishing fifth (Barcia) and ninth (Metcalfe) in the moto. Metty was also run into by Trey Canard, who was coming from the back.
Canard was third overall again. He couldn't match the KTMs but was better than everyone else in moto one, and came from way back to fourth in moto two.
Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart finally showed signs of being James Stewart in the second moto, when he finished third. His bike setup looked off in moto one, though, where he took fifth. According to Team Manager Mike Webb, the team was way off at Glen Helen but did make progress by the end of the day in moto two.
Malcolm Stewart had a good day going, but a crash in the first moto when he got together with Weston Peick set him back. He got together with Metcalfe in the second moto, which resulted in a broken head pipe for Malcolm. He would go 10-7 for ninth overall, but it should have been better for the TLD Lucas Oil Red Bull Honda rider.
Speaking of Peick, he's just damned good. He was strong and took sixth overall on his RCH Soaring Eagle Suzuki.
Great finishes from privateer Fredrik Noren, who went 12-13 for twelfth overall, and also for Sean Collier, who went 15-16 for fourteenth overall. Both riders beat some big names, and are no doubt pumped on their performances today.