REDDDDBUUUDDDDDDD! Round seven (of 12) of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship series took place at the facility and track that many love. It is good, don’t get me wrong, but in my super scientific national track ranking it’s tied with Southwick for top spot, just ahead of Lakewood. You can read that story HERE, by the way.
I was interested to see what start the track went with—the old-school, fast left-hander, or the one put in at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations last fall that’s more traditional. Well they stuck to the MXoN one and I can just hear the state-run MXGP website touting how the Americans have adopted the MXGP style of starts, but whatever. The fact is, a lot of racers never really liked the old-school start here—it was fast and a tad dangerous. Here’s the thing though. The MXGP style of starts with a right-hand hairpin are so inside-gate biased at a lot of tracks (think Budds Creek), if you don’t do well in qualifying it’s tough for you to get to the front. At RedBud we saw the starts come from just about everywhere so it seemed fairer than a usual MXGP start. So it’s a positive I’d say.
I spoke with track owner Tim Ritchie about the facility. Remember, this was the first time we’ve been back since that “thing” happened at RedBud. After I reminded Tim that he screwed America with all his sand, he again told me how he didn’t dump sand on the track outside of the new start and first couple of corners afterward that were new. He explained that it was a combination of rain and the track not being used that led to those conditions. This year I’d say it was back to “normal” RedBud, sandier than the old days for sure, but not like it was at the MXoN.
As the motos stack up here we’re getting our typical attrition and emergence that we see pretty much every year. The contenders become pretenders and the injuries mount. We’ve had incredible depth in the 450 Class but this weekend Zach Osborne announced that he was out with a shoulder injury that I expect to linger for a bit. Although RedBud was better for him, Ken Roczen’s lost the red plates and a lot of points as his low energy level prevents him from doing what we saw earlier this year. Then there are the guys who just accept the winners are going to beat them and say, “Oh hey, look at that, just five more until I can rest so let’s just ride this thing out, yeah?”
Eli Tomac rode spectacularly in the first moto to take the win. It was the type of ride we’ve seen from him a lot over the years. In the second moto he rode pretty well to get to second and I’m not going to be anywhere near as harsh as JT was on the review of his ride. It was a combination of Eli not getting the start he needed plus Marvin Musquin riding a great race. Also, Tomac knew he didn’t need Marv for the overall win. He did what he had to do and was very good in doing it. Tomac was tied with Roczen for the points lead not that long ago people and now he’s got over a moto lead on Musquin. That is how you do it in the outdoor series folks, you just slowly grind them down. Tomac is the soul crusher of the 450 Class. Great day!
Marvin Musquin had a great day at Redbud. No, he didn’t win like last year, but man was he good. He blitzed from dead, dead last in moto one to a seventh! That was impressive, he was flying out there. Second moto he just grabbed the lead early and checked out. Great day from Marv coming off his Southwick win last week, and he’s getting hot at the right time. The last couple of years he’s made a second-half push but has come up short. Can he change that pattern this year?
And yes, I still think Marv could’ve tried harder to get out from under his bike after the crash. I understand there was a wheel spinning nearby but just laying there seemed weird. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have been trapped underneath bikes a time or two. Just struck me as weird, that’s all. I thought he was seriously hurt.
Cue the Jaws music because that blue fin you see off in the distance is Dylan Ferrandis coming on strong. The Frenchman started slow this summer, admittedly because he mentioned it was tough to get motivated after his incredible 250SX title, but he’s got three straight moto wins and has moved into second in the points. He led all but four laps on the day and looked amazing.
Ferrandis has been a strong rider in the second half of the nationals and I believe that he’ll be Adam Cianciarulo’s main competition for the title from here on out. Justin Cooper will be up there for sure but I just think Dylan’s experience will propel him ahead of the kid. Wil Hahn told us on the PulpMX Show they worked on some things with Dylan for his starts and it showed. A few weeks ago he had the worst starting position out of the top ten guys, and although it’s still not as good as AC and Cooper, it’s a hell of a lot better. The race is on!
By the way, I understand this is a bit of a broken record, but Jesus the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha bikes are fast! You didn’t think just about every Star rider jumping LaRocco’s Leap with ease, and not that many other guys doing it at all or with any consistency was an accident, did you?
I asked a couple of riders about the Star bikes this week:
Hunter Lawrence: “It’s no secret. Their bikes are on it. I can’t really say much else. Everyone in the paddock knows it. If I can beat them, and they are on the bike, it’s good for myself. I don’t doubt myself.”
RJ Hampshire: “I’ve never really been one to complain, but last weekend after moto one, I kind of had a blowout. I came off. I was livid. I don’t really say much, and I was kind of yelling. I was pretty bummed just because I worked so hard to catch them and then they pulled me.”
I think Adam Cianciarulo will be looking forward to the weekend off because as he noted, he’s never been that strong in the middle of the season before. But, he got a win last week and had a couple of good races at WW Ranch. This weekend he didn’t have his A game and went 3-2 (pre penalty, which we’ll get to in a second here). He’s noted that two out of the last three races he just didn’t have his usual spark, so the week off will help the kid as he has just ten motos to go to win this thing.
But watch out for the Frenchman…
There was a little bit of controversy this week when Cianciarulo was docked two positions for going off the track at RedBud at the finish line. First of all, it was a good save and could’ve gotten ugly. AC pinned it next to the start straight and jumped back on in front of Joey Crown. He did lose some time to Crown and jumped back in. He didn’t miss an obstacle and he lost time while he went off the track.
This was Adam’s second time off in one lap and it adds to the “issues” Adam has been having with going off the track at Fox Raceway at Pala off the start and at Colorado when he was chasing Justin Cooper. As I pointed out on Instagram, Dylan Ferrandis went off the track at Southwick and accelerated like Adam did, used the other lane as a berm to get going and jumped in right in front of Shane McElrath. I don’t believe Dylan should’ve gotten any penalty and I don’t believe Adam should’ve gotten docked two spots at RedBud.
I suppose these incidents for AC keep adding up and the officials wanted to make sure he took more caution when off the track. But I’m sure the green guys will be watching Ferrandis closely after Southwick and that’s where I think this penalty opens a can of worms. The teams are going to be running around filming riders off the track and keeping track of how many strikes they have. Jason Anderson got docked a couple of years ago in Lakewood because he was going wide open around the inside of a turn and I agreed with that. He was shortening the track. Or missing an obstacle like what we saw in SX this year with Mathias Jorgensen. That, to me, is where the penalties should come in. I understand the officials have been seeing this from Adam a lot, but to me, unless there’s a clear rule that the rider must slow down (and do it dramatically so it’s noticeable) then I’m not sure how you can police this every weekend.
Some other news and notes:
I told you people that Troll Train was coming back and the title wasn’t dead yet. Well this weekend he showed some of his old Troll magic with two holeshots, and should’ve went 3-3 but his bike blew up with three turns to go in the first moto. Troll is back! The JGRMX/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing guys told me they went with a motor that had more top recently to help Alex out (he’s been resistant to change a bit) and look at the results. Don’t look now but the next race is Millville!
Yes, I’m aware Alex Martin is not going to win the title, people.
I checked in with Blake Baggett this week and he told me “I’m alive” when I asked him how he was doing. So there’s that. But Blake did grab a holeshot and lead a lap on his way to a top-ten day. That’s an improvement from the last few weeks. Baggett continues to be the biggest weirdo rider in the pits in terms of results.
Dean Wilson came back! Yeah, Deano…he’s been out since the end of SX when his bike malfunctioned and he ate poop. Honestly, he showed pretty good fitness in his first race back in coming from crashes in each moto that set him back. A ninth overall is better than I thought he would be for his first ride back in a while. Good to see him back!
Better race for Kenny Roczen this week so hopefully he can keep doing this or better. His quote after the race to me didn’t make it seem like he’s that confident he’s figuring anything out as far as why he’s fading. “I’m still trying to find a coupe of things out, because obviously what’s going on, it’s not normal. It’s just my thing. Something isn’t right. Obviously, the good thing was in the first few races when it was at least cool out I could hide it, but living in Florida and stuff… It’s not like I get brutally hot out there, but there are a couple of other things going on. We’re going to have to figure it out.”
Good day for Henry Miller out there. He qualified tenth which is awesome and put in two good motos. I was going to save him for his hometown race next weekend for PulpMX Fantasy but he probably blew his handicap now!
RJ Hampshire’s first moto was amazing! What a ride for the GEICO Honda rider in coming from eighth to second. He was on fire in the second half of the race, and in these last six motos, when temps have been high and tracks have been brutal, we’ve seen some really gritty rides from the Floridian.
Kyle Chisholm showed up because he’s a racer and that’s what he does. A week after being dropped from JGRMX/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing after being there for two races, how bad do you think Kyle wanted to catch up to Freddie Noren in the second moto when Noren was 13th and Chiz was 18th?
I don’t know anything about Parker Mashburn but he turned pro at RedBud and was great. He finished 17-16 for 16th overall in the 250 Class.
Two 250 Class privateers who aren’t really on anyone’s radars who I’ve been watching are Kevin Moranz and Zane Merrett. Both guys are total privateers who have been squeaking into the top 20 or coming very close. Both guys charge as hard as they can for as long as they can. They aren’t flashy but they’re working hard. Moranz might be looking at his first national number if he keeps this up.
Holy guacamole Joey Savatgy is having a rough outdoor season. It’s almost unbelievable how he can’t seem to get finishes. Whether it’s his bike or crashes, he’s been having a hell of a time. At RedBud he had a bike issue in moto one (bent footpeg and shifter) then crashed out of moto two for DNF-DNF scores. Last week it appeared a clutch issue in moto one got him a DNF, and at WW Ranch he finished but it was his hands that caused him poor finishes. Only at High Point did he do what we know he’s capable of. Just a weird deal and he’ll figure it out here shortly. I think he’ll either be at Honda or JGR next year. If I had to bet, it would be JGR.
Thanks for reading the column everyone, good times at The ‘Bud. We’re entering the stretch drive of the season here and to me, things are going to get very interesting. Stay tuned! Email me at email@example.com if you want to chat about this race or anything else.