*Dedicated to the memory of Eddie Van Halen, the GOAT (1955-2020)
The penultimate round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships took place in Lakewood, Colorado and as I’ve said time and time again, this is one of the most underrated tracks on the circuit. Great viewing, good track, close to a big city, cool pits and all in all, I’ve always enjoyed coming to this race.
And yes, the weather was great. Amazing even! It was a tad chilly in the morning of course but again, can we get some fall nationals? I actually heard a rumor that the powers that be are discussing whether this could actually work or not. Like, maybe take a month or so off after SX and then start the races (which stretches them into the fall) or perhaps starting the nationals at the typical time in May and then taking a month off in then middle of August or whatever (like the GNCC series does) and then picking it up for the final rounds?
I don’t know but you’re saying there’s a chance?
Let’s get into the results, shall we?
1st | #32 Justin Cooper | Cold Spring Harbor, NY (2-1)
I’ve been very confused by Cooper’s performances this year because yes, he came in injured so that’s going to take time, but it’s been a while and he’s still been inconsistent which for him, is odd to see. Well this weekend he put it all together.
2nd | #14 Dylan Ferrandis | France (1-3)
Dylan had a dominant first moto and the second one, man he really had to work for that third. He even included a crash in there! The difference with elite dudes like Dylan and others is that they just use speed and fitness to salvage races like the second moto. I mean with just six laps to go he was in fifth. That would’ve been a six-point swing for J Mart but instead, he gets all the way to third and J Mart gains only two points in that moto. That’s what guys like Dylan do. Hard fought second moto!
3rd | #6 Jeremy Martin | Millville, MN (4-2)
Jeremy wasn’t stoked after the race when I talked to him, but I think he knows he gave it his all and I agree with that. He really tried hard out there and his blitzkrieg attack on Cooper in moto two was something else but…yeah, he’s not on a Yamaha YZ250F. He was on a Yamaha at one point and won two national championships on it. Now he’s not though. So…yeah.
4th | #12 Shane McElrath | Canton, NC (3-5)
Consistent day for Shane who seems to not be very happy when he does get on the podium when it’s for anything but a win. Rumor is that HEP Suzuki has been talking to him for a 450 ride for 2021.
5th | #35 Hunter Lawrence | Australia (5-4)
Well look at this! Hunter’s injury woes and some bike issues have held him back this year but the last couple of weeks he’s been way closer to the guy we saw last year, that’s for sure. Very strong race for Hunter!
6th | #83 Jett Lawrence | Australia (6-6)
THE JETT was probably bummed his brother beat him, but he rode very hard in moto two to get all the way to 6th. It seemed like whenever I looked over at him, he was involved in a battle with Jo Shimoda (who THE JETT calls “Sushi”) in both motos. Both Lawrence brothers have been really good late in this series and 2021 MX might just be Lawrence and Martin brothers engaging in their own Hatfield’s and McCoy’s.
7th | #84 Jo Shimoda | Japan (7-8)
Since Redbud, Jo’s been much better but not quite fast enough to get into the top five which is fine, this is his first full season. I don’t know if he’s doing enough to keep his Factory Connection Honda [GEICO] ride next year due to the team losing the title sponsor but he’s been better, give him credit for that.
8th | #74 Mitchell Harrison | Brighton, MI (8-9)
Harrison was solid in Thunder Valley and a bright light for a PC Kawi team that lost McAdoo with a hand injury. Has Harrison done enough to get hired by a team here in the USA for 2021? If I’m being honest, I’m not sure he has, but as a fill-in, it’s all been good for the team and Mitchell.
9th | #134 Jarrett Frye | Mechanicsville, MD (9-10)
Frye’s best race of the three he’s lined up for so far and I hate to keep harping on this but, yeah, Yamaha. It’s a lot easier when you’re up front off the start. I think Frye’s shown plenty of potential although it’s early. So hard to tell which way these kids are gonna go.
10th | #220 Carson Mumford | Simi Valley, CA (13-11)
Mumford was solid. He doesn’t ruin himself with crashes like a lot of amateur kids, but he also hasn’t shown that raw speed he needs for other team managers to nod and think, “We can work with speed” either. I think he’s destined for an early 450 jump due to him not having crazy speed, not taking huge risks and being a bit of a bigger kid.
11th | #26 Alex Martin | Millville, MN (12-12)
Interviewed Troll Train after the race and he was seriously bummed. He’s usually able to put on a happy face no matter what but this wasn’t good. He’s been good at Lakewood in the past also but on this day, he just couldn’t get comfortable. Also, it’s going to take a miracle for Troll to get the third in the points that he needs to make some good money. This just in folks, I think “we’ve” been officially eliminated from championship contention. Sad Troll Train isn’t good.
12th | #374 Dilan Schwartz | Alpine, CA (10-15)
Larry Brooks is the Team Manager of the Bar-X Suzuki amateur team that Schwartz rides for. There’s a lot I can say about Larry since known him for a long time and worked with him at Chaparral Yamaha in 1999. Anyways, Brooks could write a book about his time in the sport and I was asking him about Dilan, his family, effort level and all that. Brooks said it was all good, so I’ll now go on record and say that I like Schwartz even though he’s an amateur.
13th | #488 Nathanael Thrasher | Livingston, CA (11-16)
Thrasher made his pro debut with Star Yamaha this weekend after a somewhat controversial departure from TLD KTM like two weeks ago. That’s where we’re at folks, top amateurs pull power plays to leave teams. Sigh…anyways, he was good although a little tired in the second moto but that’s to be expected. Also, Yamaha at elevation so…. yeah.
14th | #30 Brandon Hartranft | Brick, NJ (22-7)
Hartranft is not helping himself the last few weeks with early moto crashes. He doesn’t have that crazy speed to make those mistakes and still come out way ahead.
15th | #60 Mitchell Falk | Costa Mesa, CA (14-14)
Hey look who showed up! And on a Yamaha! Last time we saw Falk, formerly with TLD KTM, he was on a Honda in SX. Then he showed up at Lakewood on BLUCRU and did pretty well, in fact this is his best finish in a while. Also, Yamaha at elevation. So, yeah.
16th | #355 Joseph Crown | Metamora, MI (40-13)
Crown’s fast, there’s no doubt about it but he can crash here and there. That’s why early in SX (before he, ummm, crashed) he had smoothed things out and looked like maybe he was going to fulfill that potential. At Lakewood he crashed out at the top of the hill in moto one and then moto two he goes out and places as the top non-factory guy.
17th | #380 Preston Kilroy | Afton, WY (15-19)
I got absolutely nothing about Kilroy other than that was a good Styx album and Preston here has to be the fastest rider ever from Wyoming, right?
18th | #387 Joshua Varize | Perris, CA (19-18)
Good day for the privateer that I believe at one point was on the KTM amateur squad and being looked at for a TLD KTM ride? I don’t know, Weege can correct me on this I suppose. [Yes, KTM amateur and his dad tells me as long as they don’t score too many points, they might just ride amateur again next year, they’re happy getting extra experience. I thought the rules said you can only race three pro races but maybe I’m confused. –Weege]
19th | #67 Jerry Robin | Hamel, MN (16-37)
Jerry crashed in the second moto and called it a day early but generally speaking he’s been much more solid this year than not. Also, Jerry broke out the 1985 CR for more riding!
20th | #667 Jesse Flock | Claremore, OK (21-17)
I don’t know anything about Flock other than he wears Fox, he’s on a Husky and there’s, like, a little “Flock nation” out there that are fans of the kid.
1st | #1 Eli Tomac | Cortez, CO (3-1)
Eli went Eli in moto two with a great ride to the front, and that made the limited number of spectators in Colorado very happy. He had an issue with a rock or mud getting stuck in his clutch lever after he got around AC, so Adam reeled him back in, but once Eli got that figured out, he pulled back away. It was nice to see that his usual outdoor dominance is still there, and this was probably better than his Indiana win because he pulled away from the field. Nice day for the Kawasaki guys to go 1-2 and could be something we see quite a bit in 2021.
2nd | #9 Adam Cianciarulo | Clermont, FL (1-3)
AC made up some points on Osborne and I was thinking he might be bummed because he didn’t win moto two and lost the overall. When you’re a dude like Adam you don’t like getting passed, like, EVER. However, he was fine afterwards, what are you gonna do when Eli goes Eli and then you almost see God later on right? He simply has no room to complain about his day all things considered. He told me later at the airport that he’s going to turn his phone off after Pala to get some R& R before SX testing starts back up.
3rd | #16 Zachary Osborne | Abingdon, VA (4-2)
Zacho got smashed in the foot in moto one early and he was thinking it was something serious. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to be. Also, was I the only one that thought we were gonna see a repeat of WW Ranch moto one this week in moto one? He was going to unleash and pass the kids and take the moto win! Well, he didn’t, and he actually got passed by Tomac so that was weird. Great ride in the second moto to get on the box and Zach’s SO CLOSE to winning the 450MX title, it’s not even funny.
4th | #23 Chase Sexton | La Moille, IL (2-5)
Chase was chasing Adam around in the first moto and it must’ve been just like any other day at the Stew compound, right? On another note, I heard that Stew got back on a bike recently and rode some outdoors? OMG! Okay, back to Sexton and there’s no doubt that his second motos have been a little worse than his first ones for the most part so he needs to work on that but other than that, he’s been very good all summer long.
5th | #62 Christian Craig | Temecula, CA (7-4)
CC’s best ride of the summer for sure as he took fourth in moto two. He was a ways back of third but was far enough ahead of fifth that he had to really focus to keep his speed up. I think his entire 450MX series has been very good, not great but consistent and I’m not sure if you’ve followed him indoors the last little while but “consistent” wasn’t always his thing.
6th | #25 Marvin Musquin | France (6-8)
Ummmm, what was that second moto? Marv was actually leading at one point and just went backwards the entire moto. Don’t know what the deal was, and I know that Musquin’s second motos haven’t been great, but they haven’t been this bad. That was weird man.
7th | #103 Max Anstie | Great Britain (9-6)
Mad Max rode very well again and after the race told me that he heard I thought the team should keep A-Ray over him for 2020. He followed with this: “People were telling me before I even was riding with my foot up that I might as well retire. It’s a waste of time riding coming over here. They were slagging the brand, the team. People love to hate on the bike and all this stuff. But honestly the Suzuki and my team HEP Motorsports Suzuki with Twisted Tea, they have really stepped it up and done a great job. My mechanic is great. My crew chief is great. Dustin does a great job. My teammate, Adam (Enticknap), he’s great. He calls me the wizard because he thinks I sound like Harry Potter. For the first few rounds all I had to say was, “You’re a wizard, Harry, and Dobby is a free elf.” We’re in Gryffindor.
8th | #50 Benny Bloss | Oak Grove, MO (14-7)
It’s not been a good year for Benji and he’s not going to Pala so it’s good to see him end the year on a high note. He crashed in moto one and came from basically last to that 14th. I really thought he would’ve done great if he got the Yamaha fill-in ride that went to Tickle, but as a privateer, it wasn’t good for Benny.
9th | #19 Justin Bogle | Cushing, OK (12-9)
Yeah, the class is a little depleted these days, but this was still a WAY better day for Bogle than what he’s been having this summer. In the first moto, from where I was standing, I swear I heard him tell Broc Tickle to just “GO” when Tick passed him. I was so there for the Bloss/Bogle battle for a few turns in moto two and Bogle’s good people so I’m happy he’s better.
10th | #78 Jake Masterpool | Paradise, TX (13-10)
That tenth is legit for Jake and he does this sort of stuff here and there which is always impressive as a full privateer. What’s up with his brother Ty though? He’s like the Bigfoot of factory riders and I can’t seem to get many answers as to what’s happened or happening with him.
11th | #31 Fredrik Noren | Sweden (11-13)
Fast Freddie went flipping 30 feet out of the gate in moto two which in case you were wondering, is not a way to start a moto. He only finished two spots worse than the first moto and that’s with starting out 40th and ten seconds behind. On another note, he also gave me two pairs of “Fast” Freddie Noren socks!
12th | #51 Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL (5-37)
Bam Bam crashed out in moto two which, combined with Tickle’s bike issues, left factory Yamaha with no bikes out there in moto two. Ouch!
13th | #4 Blake Baggett | Grand Terrace, CA (8-DNS)
Baggett was frisky in practice and remember he’s won at this track before. He consistently put in fast laps in practice and I thought that he could be in for a podium day. Instead he rode around in moto one and didn’t show in moto two due to a hand issue that he’s been dealing with.
14th | #43 John Short | Pilot Point, TX (17-12)
John Short never left the gate for moto one or…something. It was weird. Then, someone that’s never really known for ripping speed ripped through the pack in the first lap and was like, 28th, after one lap. He was a long way back people!
15th | #349 Grant Harlan | Kailua Kona, HI (20-11)
I thought Harlan was done for the year after Millville, but he came back out for this race and look at that 11th. Harlan’s not going to wow out there but he’s going to go the same speed for 30 minutes plus two laps. Hawaii must be so proud, the louder you cheer the more Grant will gas it.
16th | #258 Justin Rodbell | Prince Frederick, MD (16-15)
Wait, are we at the point where we can just say “Rodbell’s gonna Rodbell” and there’s nothing you can do? One teammate (Jeremy Smith) is weeding up his bike and breaking his tailbone, the other’s (A-Ray) muffler fell off for the third time in seven days and gashed his finger but there’s Rodbell, just solid as a rock. WITH A FULL TIME JOB EVERYONE.
17th | #42 Ben LaMay | Anchorage, AK (15-16)
I like Ben a lot but last week in PulpMX Fantasy I picked him, and he went DNF-DNF, and this week he crushed it. I’m gonna need some time away from thinking about Ben.
18th | #20 Broc Tickle | Holly, MI (10-39)
Tick had a bike issue early in moto two that knocked him out but in his usual fashion, he came up to tenth in moto one in a solid ride.
19th | #79 Isaac Teasdale | Robbinsville, NC (18-14)
Teasdale was pretty good, and that second moto ride was great. Yeah Baggett, Barcia, Savatgy and Tickle were out, but still. You gotta be there right?
20th | #34 Tyler Bowers | Danville, KY (19-18)
The Bear has had for the most part a garbage outdoor season, but the last two weeks have been much better for him and that’s cool to see. He also had a jacket on out there during the entire first practice which, for someone who treasures jackets on parade laps, was heaven for me.
The big story coming out of Lakewood National had to do with a dog.
Yes, I’m serious.
Ok, maybe not but maybe you’ve seen the photos of Justin Cooper holding up his beloved (CUTE) pooch Thor on the podium? Was it a tad weird? Yeah sure but America (except for Weege) loves dogs! So, YOLO Coop, YOLO.
THE JETT called Coop out after the race on social media and they went back and forth about homeschooling and donuts and dogs for a bit in a highly entertaining IG battle.
But seriously, we’ve seen this before. Broc Tickle was, wait for it, ON THE SAME TEAM as Cooper is now and thanked his dog up on the podium after Seattle SX one year and Larry Brooks wrote something on another website criticizing the move. That was also highly entertaining like ten years ago.
In the name of REAL JOURNALISM, I sent out a bunch of texts to riders, agents, team managers, wives, industry people to ask them what they thought of J Coop’s move. I promised them anonymity and now, here are the answers that I got.
Hey, don’t shoot the messenger!
And that’s a wrap on OBS from Lakewood, thanks for reading and please feel free to email me at email@example.com if you want to chat about this or anything else, including your thoughts on dogs on the podium