Round eight of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship took place at Millville, Minnesota which is about an hour south of the Twin Cities. It’s a beautiful track with one of the bigger crowds we’ve seen in recent years and they were rewarded when the favorite son brought home a very popular win in the 250MX class.
Yamalube Star Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin, whose family owns and runs the race, scored the expected victory with a dominant ride in moto one followed by a strong second behind teammate Cooper Webb to take the overall win. More importantly for Martin, his main challengers for the title (Webb and Blake Baggett) didn’t have the days they wanted (Webb fell in the first moto and finished ninth while Baggett suffered a mechanical in moto two and DNF’d) and Martin’s lead in the championship is now 43 points with four races remaining.
As we said, Webb was on the move in the first moto before he dropped his bike and dropped back to around fifteenth and ripped his grip off. From there the ninth was the best he could do but like Redbud a few weeks ago Webb showed that he doesn’t let a bad race get to him. He moved by Martin and early leader Christophe Pourcel in the second moto and absolutely jetted away from everyone else. At one point he logged a lap that was three seconds faster than anyone else and although Martin got close at the end of the moto, Webb salvaged the day with his moto win.
Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin, who admitted after the race that he’s not happy with being left off the French Motocross des Nations team, had his best race of the season in terms of putting two motos together and finished second overall. He made a late charge around Valli Yamaha’s Christophe Pourcel in the first moto but admitted that the moto took a lot out of him, and he wasn’t quite as strong in moto two. Still, his fourth was enough for second overall when matched up against the inconsistency of others.
Pourcel scored both holeshots on the day but couldn’t match the front runners intensity but still had a good day with 3-6 moto scores. In the first moto, Pourcel said he accidentally bumped the engine mapping switch on his bike with his knee, dropping it into a power curve that really slowed his big.
Baggett’s second moto was a heartbreaker. After fighting from about 20th to fourth in moto one, he got a better start in moto two, took the lead and looked ready to check out. Then he suffered a crash, dropped out of the top ten, and then dropped out completely when his engine let go. That’s going from a seemingly-sure moto victory to zero points scored.
In the 450MX class it was a break out day for GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac as the defending 250MX champion showed that he’s all the way back from missing the beginning of the season. He dominated with resounding 1-1 scores. Tomac was simply terrific in the first moto, catching and then battling with Red Bull KTM’s Kenny Roczen and pulling away in the end for his first big bike moto win. In the second moto he moved to the front right away but was getting caught by Roczen’s teammate Ryan Dungey. At that point Tomac put the hammer down and won with ease.
It was a very impressive ride and with it Tomac moved into the top ten in 450MX points despite missing the first four rounds. Despite that, Eli commented post race that he still doesn’t regret missing the first few rounds with a collarbone injury, because his Millville ride shows he was able to come all the way back to 100 percent by just waiting the proper amount of time.
We saw points leader Roczen look human for perhaps the first time this year as he finished 2-4 for third overall. In the end he only lost two points to Dungey in the title chase but this is two races in a row that Roczen’s looked a little off his usual stupendous pace in one of the motos.
Hometown hero Dungey fell in the first moto while in second and finished a lonely third. In the second moto he caught Tomac and got to within a second of the kid before Tomac pulled back out for the win. Dungey hit some lapped traffic and didn’t get through it as well as Tomac, and then he later fell when he tagged one of the riders. But he said he didn’t want to use that as an excuse, and admitted that the way Tomac was riding, he’s not sure if any difference in the lappers would have actually made any difference in the result.
Trey Canard caught and passed Roczen in the second moto to finish third but was fourth overall on the day via his 4-3 finishes as the moto scores were a bit weird this weekend. Afterwards Canard admitted that not getting a top three overall stung a bit but he was happy with his ride.
Chad Reed and James Stewart both followed up their poor Budds Creek races last with more struggles this weekend. The two vets and past champions didn’t have it on this day with Stewart finishing 7-DNF after a crash in the second moto left him unable to start the second moto (more on that next paragraph down). Reed switched to Pirelli tires this week but didn’t bring his best stuff to Minnesota. He started up front in the second moto but was unable to hold a position worthy of the two-two. Both riders look to make Washougal this weekend a redemption weekend.
There was a red flag thrown in the second 450MX moto when BTOSports KTM’s Andrew Short’s gate busted upon being dropped and left him near the back of the pack. Upon fixing the gate the riders went again with no problems. Short’s teammate Matt Goerke went down on the first lap as did Honda Muscle Milk’s Freddie Noren and both riders were given a lifeline with the restart. And like we mentioned, Stewart never got a chance to line up again as he went down in the sand whoops. Later, his team manager Mike Webb said James mentioned being dizzy after the crash, so he pulled out of the moto.
Monster Pro Circuit’s Dean Wilson had his best ride since coming back from injury as he ran top three in the first moto before going 5-5 in both motos. The past national champion looked better than he has at any point this outdoor season, but still admitted on the TV broadcast that he’s working on the fitness.
Rockstar KTM’s Jason Anderson, who podiumed at this track last year, had an eventful day where he went down off the start with a few other riders in moto one. From there he picked up his KTM that had a busted front brake lever and went to work. When it was all over he made it all the way to eleventh on the hilly track with no front brake. It was a great ride. Second moto he battled with Musquin before pulling away and scoring a third.
GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle has been up front all season long in the 250 class but had a big get off in the second moto and knocked the win out of himself. He was unable to get back into the race but was otherwise unhurt.
Privateer Jimmy Albertson struggled to DNF-DNF finishes as he mentioned after the race that he was still feeling the effects from Budds Creek. Former factory rider Tommy Hahn came back for this race and went 20-DNF for one point.