THE GREAT OUTDOORS ARE HERE! The 2021 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship kicked off after a nice little break at Fox Raceway in Southern California and it was an interesting race for many reasons that we’ll get into. First though, it was nice to see a great crowd at the race and as restrictions loosen from COVID-19, it was mostly back to normal for me as a media guy at the races. And that, folks, is very nice.
The track at Fox Raceway at Pala, in my eyes, is a great substitute for Glen Helen Raceway in the SoCal market. It’s got hills, it gets rough, and the things I think an MX track needs are out there for the guys. We’re actually going back there for a second race later this series and I would suggest the track crew there don’t bring in the silt they did for this race. Universally it wasn’t met with much praise by anyone. Also, I know grooming time for the track is cut a bit short because of the live TV show we do, but more than a few riders were wishing the tops of some of the jumps were smoothed out a bit before the motos. I agree—that’s a safety issue for sure that needs to be addressed for the next race.
Before we get into this too far, just a note on how gnarly the 450 class is right now. That’s really the big takeaway for me from Pala, I kept looking at the 450 guys and thought about how many race wins and titles there were in the top ten in the 450 class. Look, having Dylan Ferrandis and Aaron Plessinger on the podium and dudes like Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb, and Marvin Musquin, who are amazing racers, just inside the top ten is a real mind screw.
Let’s get into the results, shall we?
250 Class Overall Results
1st | #18 Jett Lawrence | Australia | Honda CRF250R
That first moto by THE JETT was amazing. He was ripping out there after blowing the start and had a second-moto a charge that led him right by both title contenders for the win, which has to feel pretty good, right? Okay, again it’s the opener so I’m not gonna run around and proclaim THE JETT as THE GUY right now but uhhh, that was seriously very impressive.
2nd | #6 Jeremy Martin | Millville, MN | Yamaha YZ250F
J-Mart’s battling a couple of injuries but he’s already in peak J-Mart form out there. He’s talking about how he’s riding for a job this summer, Jett is a great rider, he’s doing what he can, etc, etc. Nothing says Jeremy Martin is ready like an “us against the world” interview and Jeremy’s already in perfect mid-season form at round one! Martin rode well, and remember, he got hurt in his very first race this year so this was his first time with a complete gate drop in a long time.
By the way, with the first moto win, J-Mart creeps up in the all-time 125/250 class national moto win list and he’s got a shot to be third all-time by the end of the year. Check out the top ten thanks to my buddy Clinton Fowler and his stats.
All-Time 125/250 Class Pro Motocross Moto Wins
|All-Time Ranking||Rider||Total 125/250 Moto Wins|
Note: As of June 2, 2021
3rd | #32 Justin Cooper | Cold Spring Harbor, NY | Yamaha YZ250F
Cooper’s first moto was nothing great, I’m sure he wasn’t stoked. Second moto he led for a while before getting passed by both guys he figures to be battling a title for so that’s not awesome. But to me, he still rode well. He didn’t look 100 percent comfortable out there to me and I’m sure he’ll be better as the tracks move east.
4th | #42 Michael Mosiman | Sebastopol, CA | GasGas MC 250F
Funny to see Mosiman kind of have the exact same day as his teammate in the 450 Class, Justin Barcia, did. He got fourth overall like Bam Bam, he charged up both motos like Bam, it was an impressive day for him like Bam, and nobody will probably remember much about their great rides, like Bam’s day also. Good start for Mosiman!
5th | #24 RJ Hampshire | Hudson, FL | Husqvarna FC 250
Halfway through the first moto I was like “Oh yeah, RJ’s really fast and I probably didn’t talk about him enough in my janky shows” but then RJ did what RJ has always done and made a mistake. There’s no lack of “try” in Hampshire’s game, but he’s just got to figure out a way to stay up and also not make the big mistake. Easier said than done but still, Hampshire was good.
6th | #41 Hunter Lawrence | Australia | Honda CRF250R
Hunter fell in the first moto while up near the front and then had to charge up to get near the top five. Second moto he was in the mix for a podium. A steady day for the Aussie but one that afterward he seemed a bit bummed on.
7th | #48 Garrett Marchbanks | Coalville, UT | Yamaha YZ250F
Marchbanks rode awesome at Pala, he even did this with a crash in the first moto and then a charge up in moto two. His two-for-one pass in the second moto was a thing of beauty. Look at the dudes he beat and that he’s around with this finish, pretty good for him and the ClubMX team, right? Also, keep in mind he’s a big dude so it’s harder for him out there.
8th | #38 Austin Forkner | Richards, MO | Kawasaki KX 250
Forkner didn’t have a great day but it’s his first MX race in a long time, he doesn’t feel great on the California tracks and he crashed in the first moto. On the plus side, with all this known, he STILL got a top ten and he was fastest in the first practice, which doesn’t mean much until it does. Nothing wrong with this race for Forkner.
9th | #64 Colt Nichols | Muskogee, OK | Yamaha YZ250F
Nichols posted on social that he got an ass kicking and I think that’s a bit harsh, as he rode up in both motos. But when you’re on a Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha and you don’t get starts, it’s not on the bike, right? Confidence in riders comes and goes and I’ve long thought starts are affected just like that. When you know you’re not where you need to be, you don’t get starts.
10th | #30 Jo Shimoda | Japan | Kawasaki KX250
Jo was maybe the breakout star of Monster Energy AMA Supercross and was the factory guy who made some good gains from his last season. Does he have it in him to do it again in MX?
11th | #47 Jalek Swoll | Beleview, FL | Husqvarna FC 250
Swoll rode well in moto one to come from way back to 12th. He got a good start in the second moto but I believe he fell and finished one spot worse. So, yeah, one good, one bad for Swoll at the opener.
12th | #59 Jarrett Frye | Mechanicsville, MD | Yamaha YZ250F
I’ve heard that the Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha guys have already told Frye he’s not coming back to the team next year so he’ll definitely need a good summer here, and this is a solid start for him. Not amazing but something to build on for sure.
13th | #115 Maximus Vohland | Granite Bay | KTM 250 SX-F
Uhhhh, wow! Maximus was great as he led laps in moto one until his bike blew up. In the second moto that start he pulled from the outside was great. Really cool to see for him and his dad, Lone Wolf [Talon Vohland]. Okay, praises now aside, how much was this ride due to him riding outdoors for months now after his SX injury and he got the jump on everyone (like we’ve seen before with so many dudes), or is this ride for real and he’ll be a top five guy a lot of the time this summer? Sorry to throw a wet blanket on the hype people, that’s just what I do.
14th | #67 Stilez Robertson | Bakersfield, CA | Husqvarna FC 250
Stilez got good starts and ran up front both motos, but I think his injury-induced time off caught up to him a bit out there as he looked to be a bit tired. Still, he put himself into good positions to do some damage.
15th | #45 Pierce Brown | Sandy, UT | GasGas MC 250F
Rough day for Brown who I imagine is trying very hard to not be another statistic for the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GasGas Factory Racing 250 team. He’s done better than the other guys who have come through there, but there’s got to be more here for the team to continue having him on there.
16th | #150 Seth Hammaker | Bainbridge, PA | Kawasaki KX 250
Seth was up there in the first moto before dropping back, and in the second moto I believe he crashed and was a ways back. Not a great start for Seth, who has a lot of people wondering about his ability to withstand hot and humid conditions after he had an issue at one of the Atlanta SX rounds earlier this year.
17th | #91 Nathanael Thrasher | Livingston, CA | Yamaha YZ250F
Thrasher was fast but crashes hurt him in both motos and yeah, that’s all she wrote.
18th | #26 Alex Martin | Millville, MN | Yamaha YZ250F
Look, we’re not happy with this ride. It was a tough day but we were up against it with coming back from injury, not being comfy with the track, not having raced in a while, and more. We’re much better at Lakewood so we’ll turn it all around there and the less said about this race, the better.
19th | #39 Carson Mumford | Simi Valley, CA | Honda CRF250R
Mumford’s second moto was good, which is cool to see. I wonder if Mumford might be better to jump up to the 450 class as he’s a bigger kid now on a privateer bike. I dunno, just wondering. He’s working with Davi Millsaps these days so Davi was there, which was cool to see. Not cool to see him just taking shot after shot at me though.
20th | #31 Cameron McAdoo | Sioux City, IA | Kawasaki KX250
Oh man, RAM IT took a digger out there and looks like he might miss some time due to a knee injury.
450 Class Overall Results
1st | #14 Dylan Ferrandis | France | Yamaha YZ450F
Wow! Nice ride for Ferrandis and his first professional 450 win in his first year. I picked DF for a sleeper in this class but certainly not for wins. I just thought he could get some podiums and maybe a moto win here or there. Well, he’s already one-for-one. In the first moto his move to the front was great, and in the second moto he charged up from the back to get his overall win. Really great work for Dylan and the team. If he’s a title threat the rest of the summer, that would be cool. We’ll see soon enough if this is a Barcia Anaheim 1 thing or a Zach Osborne Loretta Lynn’s 1 thing.
2nd | #94 Ken Roczen | Germany | Honda CRF450R
Roczen’s pre-race press conference stuff was the stuff of legends. It was the anti-DO it for the Gipper type of speech. In fact, we were all wondering if he was going to maybe pull out of the outdoors before it began. I’m kidding but his attitude didn’t exactly inspire confidence for him getting this outdoor title. He told us he was five seconds off other riders in testing. And his first moto was rough, as he went from third to sixth without a crash. I mean, Roczen’s an MX warrior so that was weird. Then in the second moto the German gets the start and wins the whole thing. I’m so confused! Great ride and he told me afterward he didn’t even change anything with his bike in-between motos! Sooooo, is Kenny good to go for this season of Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross? Is he still as fast as ever? I’m so confused…
3rd | #7 Aaron Plessinger | Hamilton, OH | Yamaha YZ450F
AP was great, he and Roczen were gone in moto two, and it didn’t look at all like Aaron was riding outside of his comfort range. I didn’t see AP doing this in a stacked 450 class field but he is probably more of an outdoor guy than indoor I guess. I mean, the dude started in the woods of GNCC races for God’s sake. What if AP is a title contender all year long? I mean, is that possible? I think so. Oh and also, Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha 450’s going two and three in 250 class is predictable. Going one and three in 450 class? Yeah, not so much. Good job to Jeremy Coker and the guys.
4th | #51 Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | GasGas MC 450F
Bam Bam was awesome at round one—he passed pretty much every big name in the field in his two motos outside of Chase Sexton and Ferrandis. Other than that, he passed everyone else. He came from eighth to third in moto one and was fourth in moto two until two laps to go when he, I assume, crashed or stalled it. That was about the only bummer moment for the #51 GasGas rider on the day. You know, he’s living in SoCal nowadays and selling his property out in Florida so I wonder if it was a bit of familiarity with Pala that did this or he’s just going to be this good the rest of the year? Last summer on the Yamaha was better than a lot of you think, BTW.
5th | #23 Chase Sexton | La Moille, IL | Honda CRF450R
Sexton was great. He was on Ferrandis late in moto two for the win and easily, if he didn’t crash in the first turn, could’ve won the whole shooting match. He’s like AC-lite, in that he still makes a lot of self-induced mistakes here and there but he’ll figure it out. We’ll get there when it’s time…
6th | #21 Jason Anderson | Rio Rancho, NM | Husqvarna FC450
The #21 was way, way, way back in moto one and rode hard to get into the top ten. He looked to be pretty aggressive as usual in making some of his passes as well. Second moto he was fourth and solid the whole way. Maybe we counted out Jason in this series a little too much?
7th | #25 Marvin Musquin | France | KTM 450 SX-F
Marv wasn’t as good as I thought and after the last two 450SX races, the head guys at KTM must’ve been watching Musquin and Webb and wondering what in the heck happened?
8th | #2 Cooper Webb | Newport, NC | KTM 450 SX-F
Not a good race for the 450SX champion. He can’t be too stoked on his day as he went backwards in both motos, but he’s also not what I’d call a California guy, and like I said up top, I’m not going to start issuing judgements on anyone’s season based on this race in particular. Remember Ryan Dungey’s first national after winning the 450SX title in 2010? Exactly.
9th| #3 Eli Tomac | Cortez, CO | Kawasaki KX450
Ummm okay? The three time 450 class champion just kind of finished where he started. There was no berserker charge from the back, there wasn’t much flash, and yeah, that’s still weird to see from ET, although it’s getting more and more commonplace. Look, I don’t want to sound the alarm here and I know this weekend is only round two, but if ET can’t do anything in his home state at a track where he’s been so good before, well we may be in for another summer where Eli is “just a guy.”
10th | #1 Zachary Osborne | Abingdon, VA | Husqvarna FC 450
I think Wacko Zacho’s backo is worse than he’s letting on, but either way, one puzzling moto for the champ and one moto where he finished where he started, but it was still very good. This was never going to be a strong track for Osborne so I suppose he’s probably okay with this after that second moto.
11th | #9 Adam Cianciarulo | Montverde, FL | Kawasaki KX450
Stop me if you heard this before. Adam was balls fast in the first moto, had a huge lead and then crashed. I know…weird, right? Second moto was a case of arm pump as he ended up sliding backward. Not an ideal start to the series for the 2019 250 National Champion and last year’s runner up.
12th | #29 Christian Craig | Temecula, CA | Yamaha YZ450F
Craig didn’t sound like he was comfortable on the track at any point when he was on the PulpMX Show on Monday night. He also remarked that it was crazy he was out there and there were so many championships all right with him around the top ten. He was at the tail end of the pack of Marvin, Webb, AC, and Tomac and I agree, at one point I started adding up the titles of guys that were powerless to get anywhere near the top five. Deep field!
13th | #34 Max Anstie | United Kingdom | Suzuki RM-Z450
I thought Mad Max was steady all day long and he didn’t really get the starts he needed. I think if he does, he can hang in the top five but he’s not lightning quick enough to rip through the pack…well maybe if it’s muddy. Anyway, in other news, I saw for the first time in person a production 2021 RM-Z450 under the HEP truck! They actually exist!
14th | #17 Joseph Savatgy | Tallahassee, FL | KTM 450 SX-F
Crashes in both motos hurt Savatgy but especially in the second moto when he was basically last and had to ride hard to get inside the top 20.
15th | #72 Coty Schock | Dover, DE | Honda CRF450R
Schock continues to “shock” (only the 894th time that pun has been used to write about Coty this year). He crashed his way outside the top 20 in the first moto and had to fight his way back up to 16th. In the second moto he held it steady in 15th the whole way, and look at the dudes he’s around and the guys he beat. Another solid day for the privateer.
16th | #177 Alessandro Lupino | Italy | KTM 450 SX-F
Lupino came all the way from Europe for this race and qualified really well, which was impressive. He’s been a top five guy before in GP’s so we know he’s fast, but that was probably a bit surprising against a field of dudes who ride this track. Also, he was using all new suspension that was unfamiliar to him after a bit of a mix-up getting some new valving. He crashed out in the first moto but in the second moto he was 13th, which is a good finish. Afterward he was telling me in a post-race interview he expected the American riders to be a bit more aggressive than they were.
17th | #15 Dean Wilson | United Kingdom | Husqvarna FC 450
Deano took a handlebar to the giblets in the second moto and DNF’d. That looked like it hurt.
18th | #19 Justin Bogle | Cushing, OK | KTM 450 SX-F
Not an ideal start for Bogle but he’s been out of racing for a while and he’s also started at the bottom and worked his way up a time or two also, right? Does he have yet another comeback in him?
19th | #951 Ryan Surratt | Corona, CA | Husqvarna FC450
This was a surprise for sure, right? Surratt’s always been a bit more of an SX guy to me but I guess he’s been racing off-road stuff the last couple of years before coming back to SX this this year. He was steady in both motos to probably be the PulpMX Fantasy surprise of the day.
20th | #43 Fredrik Noren Sweden | KTM 450 SX-F
Oh Fast Freddie! Somehow his tire came off his rim early in moto one. He was then working on his bike in the mechanics area to put a new wheel on. Yes, I’m not kidding. He then jumped out there five laps behind everyone (I mean, I probably would’ve waited and saved energy for the second moto but…) and finished 40th. Rough start for everyone’s favorite Swedish meatball. Second moto he was 17th. What an eventful day for Noren, who’s now on a KTM.
A few other news and notes:
-Our Racer X columnist Phil Nicoletti returned to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross after a couple of years up in Canada racing and it didn’t go so well. Phil told me he just wanted to go 12-12 before the day started and then afterward said he would’ve been happy with a top 15, which is where he was before he ate crap in the SX section in the first moto. The crowd reaction was definitely strong for the crash. In the end, Phil’s day sucked and he wasn’t happy afterward. Then again, Phil will probably go 7-8 at a race this year and not be happy.
-Canada’s own Tyler Medaglia showed up to race and borrowed a bike from the GasGas guys, which is awesome. It was an enduro model so it had a wide ratio transmission and an oversized tank on it but no matter for T-Dags. He rode well to get points in moto one and was right there in moto two.
-Josh Varize had a strong rookie SX season and although he was outside the top 20 in this race I still thought he rode pretty well at his home track. It’s really tough in this class as a privateer but Varize seemed to adapt pretty well for his first race of the year. Ty Masterpool didn’t end up with the results he wanted but like usual, he showed some good speed.
Thanks for reading everyone! Round one down, eleven to go, and things will just get tougher as we go on from here. The nationals are gnarly and I’m looking forward to seeing the cream rise to the top. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat about this race or anything else.