Round two of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship took place at Thunder Valley Motocross Park in Lakewood, Colorado, and there’s plenty to get into. Great day of racing, and it was cool to see so many fans back at the races. Even though the pits are still closed to the public, it didn’t seem to stem the tide. Last year was so bizarre with barely anyone there to watch the nationals, so I’m glad we’re turning the corner.
As any long-time reader knows, I’m a fan of the Thunder Valley track. From the visibility of the track for spectating, to the pits, to the ease of getting to and from it, it’s a highly-underrated event. I also like the tough test it presents to the riders. If you have never been to the race, try to make it out—you’ll dig it.
This year’s track prep was not what we’re used to seeing, that’s for sure. And that’s a good thing, in my opinion. We’ve had too many races with the exact same prep each week and it gets a bit old. Heavy water in the morning turns to deep ruts that dry out, so riders can’t move around, instead getting stuck in one long rut. This year the track didn’t get as much water and it didn’t get ripped as deep as usual. John Tomac told DC it had been years since he saw dust on the track and although there’s a fine line of too much dust, I didn’t hear anyone say it went too far. I’m all for a harder packed track that allows the riders to move from outside to in and vice versa. Too many tracks on the circuit are prepped the same, as the dirt is deep, rutted and soft, (people can use the same tires at every track) they add sand whoops, they add a LaRocco’s Leap style jump, and so on and so forth. Let’s get some variety in the national tracks like we used to have. This was a good start. Great prep!
Tough day for the state of Minnesota. Alex Martin crashed hard in practice and broke his arm (really shitty cause “we” were seventh in the first qualifying session and “our” chase to the title was really beginning at round two). Troll got surgery Saturday night and will be out for a while. Hey, at least JT and Weege can’t talk crap on him anymore. Then in the first moto of the 250 Class, Jerry Robin KO’d himself and caused a red flag. He got backboarded out of there but looks like he’ll be okay. Jeremy Martin rode great and won the first moto, dedicated it to Big Al and then promptly went out and crashed in moto two. I would think he’s gonna miss the summer due to a wrist injury, he was already nursing it before the season, but this crash did him in. Poor John and Greta Martin. It gets worse though. Even though he’s not from Minnesota, Phil Nicoletti has BEEN to Minnesota and is besties with Alex. He also used to be friends with Jeremy. Phil weeded himself in moto one and now has a jacked up shoulder.
Really sad day for Pulp Nation, that’s for sure. With Troll and Phil sidelined, I may not go to another race ever again.
Let’s take a look at the results, shall we?
250 Class Overall Results
1st | 2-2 | #32 Justin Cooper | Cold Spring Harbor, NY | Yamaha YZ250F
Cooper is going to be hard to beat this summer with J-Mart out because he’s so solid. I think J-Mart, THE JETT, maybe a couple of other guys have more raw speed than Justin but they don’t get his starts. He also avoids the big crash or mistake for the most part. He’s the complete package, he’s a bit like Mike LaRocco, you know? He’s not going to wow you but he’s everything you want in a rider. Well, he starts better than The Rock but you know what I mean—he’ll just be there every week scoring points. Great work for JC on a track that’s always been good for him.
2nd | 4-1 | #18 Jett Lawrence | Australia | Honda CRF250R
Props to THE JETT for saying that in the first moto he had nothing for the top three. That’s a sign of maturity for a kid who’s as fast and as young as THE JETT is. Trust me, I’ve talked to phenoms over the years and they don’t ever want to admit anything that they didn’t do well. Anyways, THE JETT went out in moto two and did some damage as he won rather easily to get second overall. Also, I don’t want to crap on the GEICO Honda guys but these two factory Honda’s seem to be significantly better than the GEICO bikes of last year which were much better than the year before that. Oddly, a lot of the same staff is still over there working on the bikes. But now they’re better!
3rd | 5-3 | #41 Hunter Lawrence | Australia | Honda CRF250R
Hunter fell one moto but also both times out he really rode by himself. He had huge gaps behind and in front of him each time out. Don’t get me wrong, he rode great to get a podium but it kind of had to be a tad boring for him. I said before the year that Hunter would have more points at the end of the year than THE JETT (which THE JETT reminded me about this BTW) and I stand by that prediction…let’s get going though Hunter, K thanks.
4th | 6-4 | #30 Jo Shimoda | Japan | Kawasaki KX250
With as much as a disaster the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team has been through the first two rounds of the year, Shimoda has become the shining star of the team. This was a very good ride for the youngster despite some bad starts. Second moto Mitch Payton told me that Jo accidently put his bike into second gear off the start which is a very bad thing to do at Lakewood’s elevation. Great race for Jo…him and Cameron “RAM IT” McAdoo were the fifth guys added to the PC team late the last two years and I’d say they’re doing the best out of all the riders, right?
5th | 9-5 | # 64 Colt Nichols | Muskogee, OK | Yamaha YZ250F
Nichols wasn’t that fast at Lakewood, (he qualified 13th) not as fast as usual anyways. Somehow on a Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha at elevation he got garbage starts and was forced to work up from the back in both motos. I think he even crashed in moto one at that. But here’s the thing, he picked off SO MANY DUDES who were tired late in the motos, it was ridiculous. He used his veteran savvy and his fitness to salvage a good day in Colorado.
6th | 7-7 | #48 Garrett Marchbanks | Coalville, UT | Yamaha YZ250F
Marchbanks was very good again at round two. He’s a big dude on a 250F at elevation, maybe that’s why his average start was 17th and he was able to pass 20 guys in both motos for the best positive lap change amongst the top 20 guys. It was also probably sweet for him to catch and pass his old PC teammate Auston Forkner as well, right? Through four motos, the ClubMX BluCru rider has been the biggest surprise in the 250 Class methinks. He’s fifth in points!
7th | 10-6 | #47 Jalek Swoll | Beleview, FL | Husqvarna FC 250
Swoll was hurt for outdoors last year and before he finally pulled out with a shoulder injury, he probably was hurting himself more than helping with the way he was riding. Last week he was good in both motos but fell in one of them, this week he was a constant force in the top ten and got his career best finish as well. And he’s not really got much experience at these tracks so that’s even more impressive. I’ve heard Jalek has a new two-year deal to stay at Rockstar Energy Husqvarna.
8th | 1-40 | #6 Jeremy Martin | Millville, MN | Yamaha YZ250F
Great first moto for the two-time champion. Second moto saw him get a garbage start and then go down. He came into the series hiding a wrist injury that I thought would be problematic and yup, it is. Martin will have surgery this week in Colorado (same place where his brother Troll Train did as well for his broken arm suffered in practice. If you’re gonna bust a limb do it in ski country) and be out the rest of the summer. All told, Jeremy Martin will have completed one full event for Star Yamaha in 2021. Tough deal!
9th | 8-12 | #90 Dilan Schwartz | Alpine, CA | Suzuki RM-Z250
Very impressive for Schwartz as he somehow took an RM-Z250 at elevation and made it work for him. He moved up in both motos as well and from what we’ve seen of Dilan in his short pro career, he’s in shape. SX did not go well for the kid but his outdoors results, including last week, have been very good and underrated.
10th | 3-19 | #24 RJ Hampshire | Hudson, FL | Husqvarna FC 250
RJ went RJ. He’s a great rider, his first moto was great. He was toward the front in the second moto when he went down hard. Somehow he still scored a couple of points which was impressive. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: he has the speed he just has to cut down on mistakes.
11th | 13-8 | #38 Austin Forkner | Richards, MO | Kawasaki KX250
Forkner’s Pala was okay, a decent start for someone who hasn’t raced nationals since 2018. Well, Lakewood was a disaster folks. He was so tired out there I was trying to remember if I knew CPR in case he passed out in front of me in the first turn area. Mitch Payton was not happy afterwards, that’s for sure. Maybe Austin needs to get some blood work done or something because this wasn’t a good look.
12th |11-10 | #91 Nate Thrasher | Livingston, TN | Yamaha YZ250F
I’m gonna lump Thrasher and Frye in here together because they were around each other all day long, they both used their bikes to get good starts and they both lost spots late in the motos also. I thought Thrasher was fast last week but couldn’t hold it together while Frye was the steadier of the two. This week I think Frye looked a little faster but either way, Bobby Regan was probably not happy with either of them.
13th | 12-13 | #59 Jarrett Frye | Mechanicsville, MD | Yamaha YZ250F
14th | 14-14 | #39 Carson Mumford | Simi Valley, CA | Honda CRF250R
Mumfy passed 12 riders on the day and didn’t get passed once. That was good for fifth-best on the day in terms of positive movement. Unfortunately not many people will notice because he did it coming from the back and didn’t run up front at all. So yeah, I’m here to toot Mumfy’s horn because no one else will.
15th | 36-9 | #45 Pierce Brown Sandy, UT | GasGas MC 250F
Brown had issues with gas in his GasGas. No I’m not making this up—that’s what ruined his first moto. He was decent in moto two. Pretty much a repeat of what we saw at Pala for him.
16th | 34-11 | #42 Michael Mosiman | Sebastopol, CA | GasGas MC 250F
Really gotta feel for Mosiman as he also had what I think was a gas issues with his GasGas. No, I’m not making this up. Moisman was on the gas both motos and had the fastest lap times in the moto at times. At least he was able to nurse it home for points in the second moto.
17th | 16-16 | #241 Joshua Varize | Perris, CA | KTM 250 SX-F
A good start for Varize to the nationals, I wasn’t quite sure about Pala results because he’s a SoCal kid and probably rides that track a lot but he doesn’t ride Lakewood a lot and finished pretty well. His story of getting to the race was pretty good as well, check out his social media for more on that.
18th | 15-17 | #115 Maximus Vohland | Granite Bay, CA | KTM 250 SX-F
Max’s dad Lone Wolf (Tallon Vohland) told me Max had a bit of food poisoning so to even get some points was a good thing for Maximus. Also, Max had a new mechanic this week after I heard some issues he had at Pala were directly mechanic related. That sucks, I feel for the guy. Big time pressure on these factory teams, people.
19th | 33-15 | #75 Ty Masterpool | Paradise, TX | GasGas MC 250F
Masterpool’s good day was ruined with what I think was a bike issue in moto one while he was around the top 15, second moto he was able to lose a few spots but stay in 15th. His starts and qualifying are good, he just needs to be a bit stronger in the motos.
20th | 17-20 | #73 Derek Kelley | Riverside, CA | GasGas MC 250F
Good day for Kelly who got hurt at press day before Pala (I think). He moved up in both motos and hung in there pretty good. I think he was the only GasGas in the top 20 that didn’t have issues, that I know of anyways. Why did GasGas bikes have issues when the KTMs and Husqvarnas did not? I don’t know man, I just write here.
450 Class Overall Results
1st | 1-1 | #94 Ken Roczen | Germany | Honda CRF450R
Well, three out of four moto wins for Roczen to start the year and the second moto ride was great. Maybe he got a bit fortunate with Dylan Ferrandis rear brake issue in moto one but still, he was there to capitalize right? Also, as well, his riding technique is so damn cool to watch. I love it. It should be bottled up and taught to little children everywhere. Amazing to think of Kenny’s preseason MX comments about how he wasn’t sure where he was and how MX speed didn’t come back to him naturally. He looks as good as ever, right? As always with Roczen, you’ve gotta wonder what happened when it starts getting really hot and humid back east, but this was a tough test as well as he passed. Great start for the German!
2nd | 2-2 | #14 Dylan Ferrandis | France | Yamaha YZ450F
Ferrandis took the lead in moto one and then had a bit of a brake issue that allowed Roczen to get by, but he was great. Just like last week. Second moto his one bugaboo, his starts, hurt him but he was flying, passing, and leaving some really good dudes. He wasn’t able to get close to Roczen in moto two but he still set his best lap time on the last lap which was awesome. Four motos in and yup, I’m ready to declare Ferrandis as a title contender the rest of the summer.
3rd | 3-6 | #9 Adam Cianciarulo | Montverde, FL | Kawasaki KX450
Much better, more consistent effort from Adam at Lakewood and he led laps again. He got passed by Sexton and Ferrandis in moto two after charging up from a first-lap crash, but he’ll take a third overall on the day after Pala. He went back to his old shock setting for this race (which I teased him about on the pod before the season started when he told me he got a new setting) and he looked more in control.
4th | 7-3 | #51 Justin Barcia | Greenville, FL | GasGas MC 450F
Bam was good again and especially in the second moto. His GasGas had no issues which is weird because if anyone is going to get a bike hot and boil fuel, it’s Justin. After the race he told me he’s also learning to shift a bike a lot. To which I’m not sure about. Barcia’s going to ride like Barcia forever and hey, it works for him.
5th | 5-4 | #7 Aaron Plessinger | Hamilton, OH | Yamaha YZ450F
AP had another great race and sits third overall in the points after two rounds. Lakewood isn’t one of his good tracks either. His ride in the second moto especially was good and he had to be laughing his AP laugh under his helmet when he was chasing down his old teammate Barcia.
6th | 4-5 | #23 Chase Sexton | La Moille, IL | Honda CRF450R
Sexton was bummed after the race because his poor starts kept him out of the running for a podium or a win. If it’s any solace to him (it won’t be) he’s passed the most riders in the 450 Class through the first two rounds. His last-to-tenth at Pala also helps in that stat. Also, isn’t it weird that the two fastest riders in this class in terms of raw speed, him and AC, ride together at the home of the man with the undisputed most raw speed ever? Yeah, they ride at James Stewart’s house. Every week the raw speed that oozes out of Haines City must be ridiculous.
7th | 6-7 | #29 Christian Craig | Temecula, CA | Yamaha YZ450F
A nice rebound for Craig this week as he got better starts and was in the mix more. As he told me after the race, it’s crazy to be racing near the back of the top ten all around these champions like Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac. Man, when I watch Christian it’s still mind blowing how smooth he looks while he’s hanging it out early in a moto. BLU CRU seems to fit him as well as that factory Honda last year, right?
8th | 8-8 | #2 Cooper Webb Newport, NC | KTM 450 SX-F
Webb pulled the holeshot in moto two and went backwards. Just like he had happen to him in one moto at Pala. I would say this is very alarming except we have something even MORE alarming than Webb talk in this column down below. Webb looks aggressive, he looks like he’s really trying out there but it’s not working out as of now. Paul is for sure one of those guys that you know will be better back east but man, he’s got to get going here.
9th | 9-9 | #25 Marvin Musquin | France | KTM 450 SX-F
Also alarming to see Marv go 9-9 on the day bit it’s STILL not the most shocking thing to happen at Lakewood. (Again, there’s another rider we’ll get to.) Last year, Marv started the outdoors coming off knee surgery. He still started better than this. This year he did a great job at the end of supercross so you would think he was ready to be better in MX where he’s certainly shown a ton of speed over the years. Hey, it wasn’t that bad, he could be a three-time 450 Class champion and go 11-10 on the day…okay, here it comes.
10th | 11-10 | #3 Eli Tomac | Cortez, CO | Kawasaki KX450
Ummmm, wow. I don’t even know what to say or where to start. THIS was the most alarming thing at Lakewood. I said this would be a big race for ET in terms of where’s he going to be this summer and this wasn’t good. He was passed six times on the day. When was the last time that happened to Eli in MX without a bike issue? I heard he went back to last year’s settings for this race so I guess it’s back to the drawing board now. I don’t know man, I’m in shock. This is like when Darth Vader revealed to Luke that he was his father. I don’t know what to think.
11th| 14-11 | #19 Justin Bogle | Cushing, OK | KTM 450 SX-F
Bogle rode very well at Lakewood, he moved up from the back both motos and just missed the top ten. I’m very bitter at Dan Truman because I had asked him about Justin for PulpMX Fantasy and I was scared away. Bogle was one of the top scorers on the day. Does Bogle have another comeback in him?
12th | 10-15 | #17 Joseph Savatgy | Tallahassee, FL | KTM 450 SX-F
Joey was great at Lakewood and was moving on up in the second moto before he fell. Then he had a rear brake issue and that kind of ruined his day but he was pretty good.
13th | 13-13 | #34 Max Anstie | United Kingdom | Suzuki RM-Z450
Mad Max had a quiet, consistent kind of day and was just outside of the top ten. This is pretty much exactly what he did at Pala. By the way, with Justin Brayton not racing MX I believe Anstie is now Weege’s favorite rider as he seems to “find” him each week after the race for an interview.
14th | 16-12 | #15 Dean Wilson | United Kingdom | Husqvarna FC 450
Wilson’s had a tough start to the season but that second moto was good for him. Dean and I had a talk after the race for our interview but also about next year for him and the old Lakewood night race (which happened the year before he turned pro) and it just struck me that him and I have known each other for a long time now. And then I started thinking of all the ups and downs he’s had over the years and how he’s always been cool to me so I fired off this tweet:
You know who is a great guy to deal with in this sport? Dean Wilson, that’s who. Doing well or not, he’s been thru a lot w injuries, he’s always cool, truthful and professional to deal with as a media guy. Even if he had a shitty day, he will chat. I appreciate it you know?— Steve Matthes (@pulpmx) June 7, 2021
15th | 15-14 | #43 Fredrik Noren | Sweden | KTM 450 SX-F
Fast Freddie was consistent in Lakewood and avoided the mistakes that plagued him at Pala. In speaking to him last week he definitely wants to get inside the top ten (I mean, he’s done it a ton before) but this field is deep bro. Also, he’s still getting used to his KTM.
16th | 12-40 | #1 Zach Osborne | Abingdon, VA | Husqvarna FC 450
Well, this wasn’t good. The champ was looking good in moto one but they his back started to flare up. He went down and overall his riding suffered. Second moto he tried to start and well, that didn’t work. As anyone with back injuries knows, they can flare up at any moment and Zacho’s did. I don’t know, knowing the little bit I do, how he can make it through the rest of the summer trying to rehab this and also have a successful 2022 SX season. I know back surgery is tricky, but I think we’ve seen the last of Osborne this summer because if he gets himself fixed now, he can be 100 percent for SX next year.
17th | 18-17 | #28 Brandon Hartranft | Brick, NJ | Suzuki RM-Z450
I didn’t notice Brandon out there much, his average start on the day was 16th, he lost three positions all day and he finished 17th overall. By the way, there was some talk before the MX season about Shane McElrath riding a HEP Motorsports Suzuki for the nationals but Shane needs to get his back better I think before he can commit. Maybe later this summer?
18th | 27-16 | #72 Coty Schock Dover, DE | Honda CRF450R
Shock had a flat tire one moto that held him back and second moto he was his usual self even though his gate pick was crap.
19th |17-21 | #951 Ryan Surratt | Corona, CA | Husqvarna FC 450
I didn’t know Ryan had raced the WORCS the last couple of years. Weird, he doesn’t seem to be the type of kid to do that but that stuff will make a man out of you.
20th | 25-18 | #74 Mitchell Falk | Costa Mesa, CA | GasGas MC 450F
Falk’s left the 250 class behind and grabbed a 450 to show everyone what he’s got. He tied Bogle for the most spots gained on the day amongst the top 20 so that’s something to build on.
That’s a wrap from round two, week off and we’re back to High Point Raceway. I mean, we got a few questions answered at Lakewood but I’ve got a whole bunch more still. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to chat about this or anything else.