Welcome to the Race Day Feed, coming to you from Ironman Raceway for the third round of the 2020 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. From practice reports to the blow-by-blow from today’s program, you’ll find it all right here on the Racer X Race Day Feed. Updates are posted in chronological order, so be sure to scroll down for the latest info. For even more updates be sure to follow us on Twitter, @Racerxonline.
After two rounds of less than ideal conditions, it appears the weather may finally be somewhat on our side here for the third round. As the remaining tropical storm of what was Hurricane Laura circles through the mid-country, some rainfall greeted the paddock overnight, but the track was said to be able to take some water this week and remain fine. With sunnier skies expected today, Ironman might be the first true test for everyone in this Pro Motocross championship.
Dylan Ferrandis enters as the 250 class points leader for the second week in a row, though his points lead has shrunk just a bit. Jeremy Martin, on the heels of his first overall win in two years, sits just six points back of the Frenchman as the duo has now split overall victories. However, neither of them picked up a moto win at the second round of the series which instead went to RJ Hampshire and Alex Martin. Still early days in this championship yet, but it appears the title favorites may already be putting their best foot forwards heading towards the middle part of this shortened season.
On historical implications, Ferrandis won here last year in rather dominant form. The softer Indiana soil usually creates a great racetrack full of many different lines and passing opportunities which helps Ferrandis who often struggles with his starts. Aside from a crash to shake things up, look for today’s racing to provide a sense of normalcy in this smaller bore division.
The upside-down season in the 450 class so far has been a shock to the system for many expecting a walk in the park fourth consecutive title for Eli Tomac. Tomac suffered double DNF finishes at the second round and now sits 40 points down of Zach Osborne in the championship. Osborne on his own merit now has taken two wins on the trot and commands a 19-point lead in the championship over training partner Marvin Musquin.
Musquin and Osborne share some history at Ironman as the two collided early in the second moto here last year which left Musquin a damaged knee that would keep him on the sidelines from racing up until two weeks ago. Prior to the collision, Musquin had put together arguably his greatest ride ever having caught and passed Eli Tomac and then Ken Roczen to win the first moto. Both riders will be simply looking to maximize their points here today while Tomac is already in a must win situation.
With the championship drama already heating up in both classes, and now finally a dry race potentially on hand, Ironman could be looked at as the true start of this season.
FIRST TIMED PRACTICES
As riders hit the dampened racetrack for the first time, lap times were dropping from the moment the 250B group hit the track all the way through until the last laps of the 250A group. Justin Cooper found himself on top of the sheets for the first time this year as the Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha rider is playing catch up early in this season. Rookie Jo Shimoda followed him through with Jeremy Martin putting down the third best time.
Similar to the mud races in the first two rounds, the lap time differential among the top 10 was bigger than usually seen with over three seconds separating Cooper out front to Hampshire down in P10.
|1||Ryder Floyd||2:21.228||Paris, TX||Honda CRF250R|
|2||Kevin Moranz||2:21.360||Topeka, KS||KTM 250 SX-F|
|3||Cody Williams||2:23.466||Barneveld, WI||Husqvarna TC125|
|4||Dennis Gritzmacher||2:24.559||Sussex, WI||KTM 250 SX-F|
|5||Mathias Jorgensen||2:24.925||Bjerge||Kawasaki KX250|
|1||Justin Cooper||2:17.521||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|2||Jo Shimoda||2:17.814||Suzuka||Honda CRF250R|
|2:19.277||Millville, MN||Honda CRF250R|
|4||Jett Lawrence||2:19.435||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Derek Drake||2:19.539||San Luis Obispo, CA||KTM 250 SX-F|
Adam Cianciarulo turned heads in the first 450A session as he put down an astonishing lap time of 2:14.341 that left him nearly two seconds clear of the field when the session ended. With the track still a bit sticky and muddy from the rainfall, riders looked to be searching for smooth lines more than anything as they work to get setup dialed for the drier conditions later.
Championship leader Zach Osborne ended up down in P8 ahead of defending champion Eli Tomac who put his Monster Energy Kawasaki in P10. Dean Wilson suffered a fall early in the session but would get moving again and log the 27th fastest time.
|2:14.341||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Marvin Musquin||2:16.042||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|3||Christian Craig||2:16.335||Temecula, CA||Honda CRF450R|
|4||Jason Anderson||2:16.402||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|5||Fredrik Noren||2:16.598||Lidköping||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|1||Bryce Backaus||2:29.520||Neillsville, WI||Yamaha YZ450F|
|2||Justin Wolf||2:32.166||franklin, WI||Kawasaki KX450|
|3||Austin Wagner||2:33.282||Niles, MI||Honda CRF450R|
|4||Luke Neese||2:33.479||Jamestown, NC||Honda CRF450R|
|5||Tylor Skodras||2:33.723||Sussex, WI||Husqvarna FC 450|
SECOND TIMED PRACTICES
The final qualifying sessions of the day came down to a hot lap war between Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha teammates Shane McElrath and Dylan Ferrandis in the 250 class. Ferrandis has initially laid down a blistering time to be the first rider to get down in to the 2:13’s but McElrath would eclipse that time late in the session as he nearly dropped down into the 2:12’s.
“Honestly, it was a little surprising,” said McElrath. “On my fast lap, I almost quit just because I had so many bad segments and mistakes. You would hit a rut and one lap it’s good, the next lap it’s a big hole. I feel good today. God’s blessed us with some sunshine today. It’s still really sticky out there. It’s still really muddy. We thought we got that out of the way last weekend. It’s going to be a much better track today but it’s still pretty deep.”
|1||Shane McElrath||2:13.107||Canton, NC||Yamaha YZ250F|
|2:15.016||Millville, MN||Honda CRF250R|
|4||Brandon Hartranft||2:15.342||Brick, NJ||KTM 250 SX-F|
|5||Alex Martin||2:15.524||Millville, MN||Suzuki RM-Z250|
Adam Cianciarulo backed up his top time from the first session by once again leading the field around in the second qualifying session. A much better time around though for Osborne who jumped up to second in times leapfrogging Musquin who seems to be back in his old groove.
Well off the pace was Tomac who dropped to 13th in the session and ended over four seconds down of his rookie teammate aboard the Monster Energy Kawasaki. It’s not uncommon to see Tomac a bit down the order in qualifying but the defending champion hasn’t looked particularly spicy in either session so far today.
“These conditions, when it’s soft, I’ve always seemed to excel on,” said Cianciarulo. “I’ve always enjoyed getting on this type of condition. Back home in Florida, I pretty much ride sand all the time and I don’t really like it to be honest. So, when I get to a track like this that has some ruts and mud and stuff, it’s a good time. Just trying to have a good attitude and approach it the best I can. So far, the team has really nailed the setup. The bike is working great and that’s half the battle.”
|2:09.464||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Zach Osborne||2:10.264||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC 450|
|3||Marvin Musquin||2:10.687||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|4||Justin Barcia||2:10.864||Monroe, NY||Yamaha YZ450F|
|5||Chase Sexton||2:10.963||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF450R|
250 MOTO 1
The first gate drop of the afternoon saw Dylan Ferrandis grab the holeshot early with Jeremy Martin and Mitchell Harrison in tow. Brandon Hartranft made the move up into fourth before the end of the first lap as he worked around Jett Lawrence.
Fastest qualifier Shane McElrath suffered a mid-pack start and would only sneak up inside of the top 10 by the end of the second lap. All the while, Ferrandis was laying down the hammer out front trying to get away from Martin behind him in second early.
Hartranft and then eventually Jett Lawrence started moving forward to make the move on Harrison, moving them to third and fourth, respectively. Behind them, RJ Hampshire was recovering from a start just inside of the top 10 to move around Justin Cooper for sixth and work on setting sail after the battle ahead of him.
Just as Hampshire started finding his groove and catching the group ahead of him, Hampshire fell from sixth and dropped back to 11th. McElrath was working his way forward and finally caught Harrison past the halfway mark of the moto but he was bringing Derek Drake with him.
Ferrandis’ lead stretched out to 15 seconds with 10 minutes remaining in the moto as he went into cruise control. Harrison and McElrath engaged in an epic battle for fifth as the race was winding down with Shane finally getting the best of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider.
Hampshire was making amends for his fall late in the moto as he worked around Drake, Alex Martin, and then Justin Cooper to get back into seventh. The mission continued as he worked around Harrison and got back into sixth as he was trying to claw up to McElrath for a top five late in the moto. With time almost expired, Hampshire made the pass happen on McElrath to move into fifth.
Up front, Ferrandis coasted to the win out front leading home Jeremy Martin and Hartranft inside of the top three.
“Yeah honestly, it was a little bit like the first round,” said Ferrandis. “I didn’t push very hard. I had good flow, managed the gap, and yeah, I had fun. The fans today were really good for me and I threw some whips. It was a really fun moto. The track was awesome. This morning, it was a little muddy but during the moto, the track was so good.”
|17 Laps||2:06.202||Avignon||Yamaha YZ250F|
|+26.032||2:08.383||Millville, MN||Honda CRF250R|
|3||Brandon Hartranft||+31.373||2:08.234||Brick, NJ||KTM 250 SX-F|
|4||Jett Lawrence||+45.150||2:09.548||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|5||R.J. Hampshire||+51.693||2:08.789||Hudson, FL||Husqvarna FC 250|
450 MOTO 1
On the start in the first 450 moto it was Marvin Musquin with the holeshot leading the way from Eli Tomac and Zach Osborne. Justin Bogle took a hard fall going into the second corner and would not finish the moto.
Cianciarulo was on the charge early in moto and was bringing Chase Sexton with him as they worked up to Osborne for third. Musquin and Tomac were pulling away a bit out at the front as Tomac found what was missing in the first moto to raise his game to the top pace.
The top six riders were closing up on each other as Cianciarulo and Sexton both started pushing Osborne up to Tomac and Musquin ahead of them. Blake Baggett in sixth was putting a strong ride in as well and was keeping a close eye on Sexton ahead of him.
Tomac started losing touch with Musquin ahead of him and Osborne was really closing up on the defending champion applying the pressure. The gaps slowly began to open up between everyone again as the moto moved deeper into the second half of the moto.
Justin Barcia made a late move on Jason Anderson for seventh as the Monster Energy Yamaha rider was recovering from a mid-pack start. By the time Barcia got into the position, he was already well behind Baggett for sixth though he started putting in lap times that could allow him to catch the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM rider.
Back to the front with five minutes to go and Tomac began to remount a charge on Marvin Musquin for the race lead. The duo had gapped Osborne in third by over 10 second leaving just the two of them to dispute the moto win out front.
Osborne hit a lapper while running third with a few laps remaining and dropped down to fifth. Cianciarulo had to jump over the downed lapped rider’s bike to get past Osborne while Sexton split the two of them to move himself into fourth.
Once Osborne got going again, he couldn’t keep Baggett behind him either as the #4 machine moved around into the top five. Behind them, Jason Anderson crashed out of the moto from eighth and would not score any points. Up ahead, Cianciarulo and Sexton continued to battle each other as they disputed the final spot on the podium for the moto.
Marvin Musquin held on out front to claim his first win in over a year after suffering an injury at this track a year ago. Tomac followed him home in second and Cianciarulo came home in third.
“I feel amazing,” said Musquin. “I put in a lot of work and like you said, a year without racing is not normal for me. I’ve been racing every year and haven’t missed a lot of time. To miss a whole year was tough. …I got a great start and felt the pressure from behind. Physically, I feel like I can push.”
|1||Marvin Musquin||17 Laps||2:03.681||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Eli Tomac||+02.275||2:04.164||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|+20.934||2:04.838||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX450|
|4||Chase Sexton||+22.576||2:04.533||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF450R|
|5||Blake Baggett||+35.833||2:04.367||Grand Terrace, CA||KTM 450 SX-F|
250 MOTO 2
In the final 250 moto on the day, it was Jeremy Martin grabbing the holeshot away from Justin Cooper. Ferrandis fell in the first corner with his teammate Shane McElrath and both of them were well off the back of the field.
All eyes went to the points leader as Ferrandis caught up to the field and started slicing his way forward. The Frenchman had already made his way into the top 20 by the third lap of the race as he was on a mission to get to the front and salvage as many points as possible.
RJ Hampshire, who was up in 11th early on fell and dropped back behind Ferrandis who was in 17th at the time. Ferrandis had already charged up to 13th before the first 10 minutes of the moto were even complete.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Martin was slowly opening up a small gap out front over Justin Cooper and Brandon Hartranft. Mitchell Harrison ran in fourth and was feeling the pressure from Jett Lawrence behind. Jo Shimoda found his groove around the halfway point of the race and started putting some pressure on his teammate Lawrence for fifth.
The push got Lawrence to move up on Harrison ahead of him and start setting up a pass. At one point, he did make the pass, but Harrison immediately made the pass back to hold him behind. Finally, Lawrence got around Harrison and it wasn’t long before Shimoda was also able to make the move.
Ferrandis caught this group with seven minutes to go and was quick to pass Harrison for sixth. Then Ferrandis quickly got around Shimoda as well to get into fifth in the moto with six minutes still left on the clock.
Next up, Lawrence caught Hartranft for third ahead of him at the exact same time that Ferrandis caught up to the back of Lawrence initiating a three-way battle for third. Ferrandis quickly passed Lawrence and wasted no time to get up to Hartranft ahead of him for third and make that pass as well.
In the end, it was Jeremy Martin taking the win and the overall out front with a 2-1 finish on the day. Justin Cooper followed him home in second and Dylan Ferrandis grabbed third which was good enough for second overall on the day.
“Last week was a special moment, but let’s be honest, I didn’t win a moto,” said Martin of his second consecutive overall win. “That made it a bit more special obviously just get a good start and ride my own race to get the moto win. Dylan was going really fast in that first moto and all I could think about was, ‘Dude, you gotta pick it up. You gotta think of something you can do to be better.’ The best thing for me was to just get a good start and ride my own race.”
“It was not that hard,” said Ferrandis. “I just ride as fast as I can, pass the most riders that I can, and I think I was dead last at the start. Nothing to lose, just wanted to come back the best I can. I wish I could have more laps. It’s the way it is. It’s a big disappointment to not win this second moto because I felt like I was on it today. The crash on the start was really stupid. It’s racing, we can’t win everything.”
|17 Laps||2:00.981||Millville, MN||Honda CRF250R|
|2||Justin Cooper||+05.792||2:04.634||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Brandon Hartranft||+15.005||2:04.878||Brick, NJ||KTM 250 SX-F|
|5||Jett Lawrence||+16.033||2:05.186||Landsborough||Honda CRF250R|
|Millville, MN United States||2 - 1||Honda CRF250R|
|Avignon France||1 - 3||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Brandon Hartranft||Brick, NJ United States||3 - 4||KTM 250 SX-F|
|4||Justin Cooper||Cold Spring Harbor, NY United States||8 - 2||Yamaha YZ250F|
|5||Jett Lawrence||Landsborough Australia||4 - 5||Honda CRF250R|
450 MOTO 2
As the gate hit the dirt in the final moto of the day, it was Zach Osborne getting the holeshot away from Cianciarulo and Musquin early. Eli Tomac started in fourth early but made a quick pass attempt on Musquin to get around into third.
The front three quickly started opening up a gap on the field as Cianciarulo went to work on Osborne for the race lead. Tomac caught them both as he dropped Musquin and was much more urgent this time around than he was in the first moto.
Cianciarulo made the move on Osborne for the lead and quickly opened up a lead. Tomac then went to work on Osborne while Justin Barcia slotted into fourth and was trying to catch the battle ahead of him before Tomac could make the pass on Osborne.
Chase Sexton made the move to get around Blake Baggett as he was eager to keep pace with Musquin ahead of him in fifth. Attention shifted to the front again as Barcia slowly reeled in Tomac ahead of him for third while Osborne dropped Tomac a bit to go after Cianciarulo out front.
Max Anstie went down hard while he was battling forward in the second half of the moto and that would end his day early. The battle up front really heated up as the top four were just three seconds apart. Adam Enticknap blocked Osborne allowing Tomac and Barcia by as they continued to reel in Cianciarulo out front.
Tomac then took the lead and Barcia was quick to follow as Cianciarulo began faltering late in the race. Osborne then passed Cianciarulo and pushed the rookie back to fourth from his race lead in one single lap.
The two then pulled out a massive lead on everyone else and engaged in an epic duel to the end of the moto. Barcia kept closing in on Tomac and trying to find new lines to make the pass happened but just couldn’t pull the trigger at any one location.
In the end, Tomac held on for the moto and overall win going 2-1 on the day to clinch his first win of 2020. Barcia’s second place finish in the moto was enough to move him to fourth overall on the day while Osborne salvaged his rough ride in the first moto with a third in the second moto.
“Just much better feel there. The track came to us all day. We had much better starts,” said Tomac. “We were top three pretty much every start. That pace the second moto was pretty unbelievable. I had relentless pressure from Justin there. Both of us made a huge push after halfway there, that’s what it seemed like. We got the front two, and after that you had to be mistake free. Justin was really, really on me there. This track is always super deep, so you’ve got to be mistake free.”
“All we can do is try to do what we did today,” continued Tomac. “Got to try to be the guy at the top at the end of the day with the most points. I’m feeling good about the future tracks. Most of the time, they’ve been pretty good to us, and they’re tracks I like.”
|1||Eli Tomac||17 Laps||2:00.661||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Justin Barcia||+01.103||2:00.289||Monroe, NY||Yamaha YZ450F|
|3||Zach Osborne||+21.566||2:00.618||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC 450|
|+26.453||1:59.809||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX450|
|5||Chase Sexton||+27.598||2:00.399||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF450R|
|1||Eli Tomac||Cortez, CO United States||2 - 1||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Marvin Musquin||La Reole France||1 - 6||KTM 450 SX-F|
|Port Orange, FL United States||3 - 4||Kawasaki KX450|
|4||Justin Barcia||Monroe, NY United States||6 - 2||Yamaha YZ450F|
|5||Zach Osborne||Abingdon, VA United States||7 - 3||Husqvarna FC 450|