Our own Align Media and Mitch Kendra were at Ironman Raceway for the tenth round of the 2021 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Simon Cudby, Rich Shepherd, Mike Emery, and Cole Beach all contribute here at Racer X and have created Align Media, a collective media group. Make sure to check back after each race for their best photos from race day and follow them on Instagram @align.with.us. Mitch works on the website during the week and sometimes runs around with a camera during race day.
Here is the action-packed racing from Crawfordsville, Indiana, explained—with the help of their lenses—with several post-race quotes, comments, and results added in.
Jett Lawrence was the fastest qualifier at the tenth round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. It was his second time as the fastest qualifier—the first time since the opening round. Lawrence said if he won the overall he would donate his purse money to the Racers 4 Waverly foundation to benefit those in Tennessee impacted by the devastating flooding last week.
Justin Cooper, who had topped qualifying seven times in the first nine rounds, struggled in the first session as he was seven seconds off of Lawrence. He was much better in the second session—only about a second and a half off of Lawrence—but it was surprising to see him third as Jeremy Martin bested the #32 as well.
When the gate dropped on the first moto, Cooper snuck right in front of Lawrence at the holeshot stripe.
Cooper led Lawrence for the first few laps until Lawrence made a pass to take over the lead after Duck’s Truss.
Jeremy Martin battled with Cooper before taking over second place. Martin then went after the race leader. Unfortunately, the #6 suffered a hard crash and was taken to the Alpinestars medical truck, where it was confirmed he broke his left wrist.
Jo Shimoda and Michael Mosiman both passed Cooper, dropping the #32 to fourth, as Lawrence took the race win. RJ Hampshire, who crashed in the first turn with Jarrett Frye and Derek Kelley, came from 39th place to finish 13th.
In the second moto, Shimoda grabbed the holeshot and led several laps. He was challenged and overcame by Lawrence but continued to ride well. Shimoda would get passed by Hampshire to finish third.
Hampshire passed Cooper to take over third place before the #24 went to battle with Shimoda for second place. Hampshire eventually claimed second in the moto. Out front, Lawrence finished 1-1 for the first time as a professional.
“Got two really good starts with second and just put in two really good motos and ended up going 1-1 on the day,” Lawrence said. “And it’s obviously really good getting the points lead back. Justin’s been doing really good for this season so it’s kinda good because he was starting to creep away and when we had that break, we went back to Unadilla, and I was kinda able to sort my crap out and started giving it back. ...So it’s been a few good rounds and this just tops it off even more. Hopefully we can keep this train rolling. Just going to go through this next Pala and Hangtown. Hopefully we can clinch it but I’m not going to think too much about it. Just going to go to each race like we’re just going to a practice day racing some fast guys.”
Is there a difference for what Jett will do next weekend compared to this weekend?
“Not changing anything,” he said. “If it’s not broken, why fix it? Going in with the same mentality. It’s just another track that has jumps and turns and I’m trying to go there and go fast.”
Jett said not thinking and stressing about getting good starts actually allowed him to get the starts he did in Indiana. The #18’s riding coupled with Cooper’s 4-4 moto finishes allowed the Australian to gain 14 points against his competitor as he reclaimed the points lead. Lawrence left the tenth round up 11 points on Cooper with two rounds remaining. And the 18-year-old backed up his promise to provide his purse money to those in need.
“Whatever I can do to help, I’m gonna do it,” Lawrence said on donating his purse money from winning the overall to the Racers 4 Waverly foundation. “We all have good days but we also all have bad days.”
Shimoda recorded an impressive day. He was second in the first qualifier, then fourth in combined qualifying. His second in the first moto was a new career-best, beating his third in moto one at the Southwick National. His third in moto two gave second overall, tying his career best. For the Japanese native, he said some improvements to both himself and the bike led to this result.
“Good, solid day for me,” Shimoda said. “P2 in Q1 and P4 in Q2, which is better than usual. Kinda started and built my day, so I was confident going into the first moto. And my starts were better. First moto I was in seventh or eighth and made some good passes. Had a couple mistakes but it was good to finish P2. Second moto I was able to pull the holeshot but the guys behind me where a little faster. I need to pick it up 1 or 1.5 more second and I can fight for the front. But overall, it was a good day. Good day for me, happy with the bike and the team.”
“I mean definitely,” Shimoda said on stating the day off well in qualifying helping to get the ball rolling, “when you know you’re top three speed or top five speed, you can race better. At the gate you don’t have to worry about the pace, you already have the pace. So you just need to get the start and just do the same thing.”
Shimoda acknowledged practicing starts and testing on a 450, which is where he found a suspension setting change that he wanted on his KX250. He said today the change improved his jump off the gate.
Cooper has now recorded three straight motos with fourth-place finishes. Dealing with a sickness, Cooper said he was not able to ride during the week, but he hopes to this week leading into round 11. With his back against the wall, Cooper knows he has to bring his A-game to the last two rounds if he wants this title.
"I’ve been in a few championship battles the last few years. The experience you gain from that is pretty monumental, I feel," Cooper said. "Obviously, there was a pretty close battle in the championship that I had in supercross. I had a bunch of races that didn’t go my way. Every time I would crash, it would happen to be in the main event or something stupid would happen so it was a lot closer it should have been with how good I was riding all year. ...It’s really mentally draining going through a championship battle like that. And just how it is right now, a lot goes through the mind in between each round. I’ve been in this spot before pretty much all year so it’s not really new to me."
"It’s mentally tough but I feel like I know how to execute under pressure and I don’t think it gets to me that bad anymore," he continued. "Just didn’t really have it today. We’re gonna have to get it figured out, we have two rounds left and we’re gonna give it everything we have and see what happens. Overall, it’s been a really consistent year for me. So we just gotta keep it that way and really go after these wins the next two races.”
Hampshire had a strong performance is moto two but his fall and charge in moto one impacted his overall results, as he finished sixth overall.
“It was quite the day and week but we showed up and gave it everything we had," said Hampshire, who is also dealing with a sickness. "I’m a little bit bummed on the first moto but happy to get second in the second moto. We keep digging and we show up every weekend, so you know what you’re going to get from me. I’m going to recover this week and be back to my form at Pala.”
After missing two consecutive rounds following a practice crash that left him banged up, Mosiman finished 3-6 in his first race since the Washougal National.
“Man, I am so proud of our team, my riding and the day," Mosiman said. "I’ve only ridden three times in the last four weeks or so, and to come out like this with minimal preparation is just awesome. It was a challenging and hot day but I gave everything I had. All-in-all, it was a great weekend to build on and I’m looking forward to ending the last two on a good note.”
Austin Forkner backed up his solid ride from last weekend with two fifth-place finishes for fifth overall.
“It was another good day overall, but I feel like if I had the starts I would have been able to show my speed a little more up front," said Forkner. "For the season as a whole, this a great result and honestly happy to back up last weekend with another solid ride. But I want more. We’ll keep plugging away and hopefully have an even better ride next weekend.”
Ty Masterpool put in a solid 6-7 day for seventh overall, getting into the top ten in four consecutive motos on his GasGas MC 250F. FXR/Chaparral Honda Racing’s Carson Mumford put in a quick but solid 8-8 day for eighth overall. This was the first time he finished inside the top ten in both motos all season.
Levi Kitchen had a crash in the first moto that dropped him from seventh to outside the top 15. He finished 11th and then was running inside the top five in the second moto when he had an issue that we’ll just let him explain...
Hunter Lawrence had a tough day as he battled with Kitchen 15th in the first moto. He came through 12-9 for ninth overall. Suzuki teammates Dilan Schwartz (9-13 for tenth overall) and Preston Kilroy (10-14 for 11th overall) both had strong showings. Schwartz’s second moto was hindered by a crash before the finish line that then required a quick pitstop but they both showed speed all day.
Brandon Scharer was running in the top ten early in the first moto before getting shuffled back, but the #307 put in his best ride of the season, finishing 14-12 for 13th overall. After a 16th in the first moto, Josh Varize tied his season-best finish with an 11th in the second moto. He claimed 14th overall. Tommy Rios finished 18-15 in his third Pro Motocross event to finish 17th overall.
Martin’s broken wrist has shifted his eyes onto 2022, when he will be back for the second straight year with the Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing team.
“It’s just a bummer for sure. I felt that I had the pace for the win, but that’s racing. We’re going to heal up and shift our focus to 2022.”
“First of all, I’m really bummed for Jeremy,” said Seth Rarick, Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing 250 team manager, in a team statement. “I really think that it was his day for the win, so that was a really unfortunate incident, and he will be out for the season. I’m really bummed about that, but fortunately, he’s in good hands and will come back strong next year.”
Jalek Swoll had a massive crash during qualifying and suffered a dislocated shoulder but tried to lineup for the first moto. After the sighting lap, he decided to sit out the moto.
“I was feeling really good and on the last lap, I had the bike sideways over one of the big triples and on the way down there was this weird freak incident and my feet came off the pegs and I just slid through the whole bike. I was trying to grab with my legs but it didn’t happen and I came down on the landing and had a big one. I tried to give the shoulder a go but it was just too weak from the impact on the first crash and kept popping out in the second qualifying. I tried to go out there for the first moto but it wasn’t worth the risk/reward for the day. We’re going to get it evaluated on Monday – I’m going to take my health seriously now and hopefully come back strong next year.”
Watch the wild crash below, caught by videographer Tom Journet.
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|Cold Spring Harbor, NY
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|GasGas MC 250F
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In qualifying, Dylan Ferrandis, Eli Tomac, and Ken Roczen shuffled one another back and forth. Eventually, Ferrandis laid down a heater that gave him the top time. The gates dropped on the first moto and it was Joey Savatgy leading the field across the holeshot line. Dylan Ferrandis managed to get around Savatgy a lap in, but just as quickly, out of nowhere, Ken Roczen jumped from about fifth to the race lead! The #94 jumped to the inside of Ferrandis in the third turn, as Eli Tomac sat in a close third.
Ferrandis made a move to take over the lead when he went into the roller section before the finish line hard, leaving off the brakes until the very last second to get right in front of Roczen. Their lines funneled together and Roczen just avoided contact with the back of the #14. Tomac squared up the second turn to blast past the #94 to take over second place as he then mounted a charge at Ferrandis. ET3 was right on the rear fender of the #14 Yamaha YZ450F but was not able to get close enough to make a pass.
In the second moto, Ferrandis grabbed the holeshot but before he came through for the checkered flag, Cooper Webb jumped to the inside of him in the long section at the top of the track. Tomac passed Ferrandis in the same spot to take over second. He ramped up, caught, and passed Webb. Railing the inside line, he jumped ahead of Webb as they landed in the rollers heading up Godzilla. Ferrandis passed Webb back in the turn before the finish line (where Roczen passed the #14 in the first moto). Ferrandis made slight contact but signaled back to acknowledge his unintentional mistake. Out front, Tomac cruised to the moto and overall win, leading by about ten seconds late. Finally, the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider stood at the center of the overall podium for the first time this season. It was only a matter of time before this win would come, but Tomac said he was frustrated he could not get it done sooner. He said an emphasis on the first moto and giving himself a chance at the overall worked out.
“Yeah, it was a solid day for us, finally got an overall,” Tomac said. “Moto one, was battling with Ken and Dylan early on. We were just kinda all three going at it, mimicking each other. Looking at it, I wish I wouldn’t have let Ken get by me there. Early on, I feel like I had good energy but I was stuck eating their roost. Anyway, race goes, I got to second. Made one push at Dylan but got stuck behind a lapper and that was kinda it for that moto. Got a little bit out of touch. Moto two, I was a little bit further back off the start but I made some good move around turn two. Got in there behind Cooper and was like, It’s go time for me. It’s time to go, we need to get this done. I was in a good position that way. The track was just a track for me today so got into the lead and went for the sprint. Kinda broke away there and then just basically managed at that point. But it was a big day for us. I haven’t had an overall this year, so round ten, better late than never.”
Ferrandis said he was struggling with fatigue all day and he did not have the strength to run with Tomac in the second moto.
“Today was a hard day, and I didn’t have the power to push deep,” Ferrandis said. “It was just gnarly physically, so to get that first moto win was awesome. Then in the second moto, I said it’s time to get the holeshot, and I did, but Eli (Tomac) was on it today, so congrats to him, he deserved this win. Second overall was a good result for today and good for the championship. The bike was awesome all day; we didn’t touch anything, which was great.”
Roczen dropped off pace towards the end of the moto and was passed by his teammate Chase Sexton. It seemed like Sexton would make a run at Webb, but he was not able to. Webb rode strong to earn his first moto and overall podium of the season with 4-3 finishes.
“Today was overall a step in the right direction and an awesome day,” said Webb, who pointed out a big change to the bike that he was glad paid off. “Getting our first podium of the year feels great and means that all the hard work is paying off—better late than never. I’m super happy with today and looking forward to finishing these last two strong.”
Roczen had a strong first moto but looked to have exerted himself a lot as well as he dropped off slightly later in moto two.
“The weather today was definitely on the warmer side,” Roczen said. “I definitely felt more fatigued than last week. ...I gave it my best. I tried to make it through, maintain, and ride smart. It wasn’t the best race but at least we are healthy.”
Sexton had a quiet but solid day. He said after the race he has been dealing with a sickness the last few days (which appears to be going around the paddock at the moment).
Coty Schock had a career-day last weekend at his hometown race but then blew that day out of the water at the tenth round. He finished eighth and sixth (a new career-best), respectively, in the motos on his way to a new career-best sixth overall.
“Today was huge for me,” Schock said. “I feel like I’ve been saying that lately just because I’ve been keep getting better and better. I’ve always kinda struggled here...I just like I’ve never been on the right bike for this place. I was pretty excited coming into this round because I was like, I’ve got real suspension, a real moto under me and kinda like a real program. So it’s time to lay it down. Qualifying went decent. I think I was ninth overall in that. it was decent, a good base to build off of.”
“Then, first moto, got a great jump then coming around the first turn, just carnage, typical,” he continued. “Got my doors blown off and I kinda had to catch up. I passed for eighth about halfway and that was me. I was like, ‘Oh that’s cool.’ Then I was, ‘Man this next moto we are going to have to dig deep,' because that heat...I think I lost a lot of water weight today! Killer start second moto, it was exactly what I wanted. I think I came around third. Then shuffled my way back to sixth and stayed there I believe for like 25 minutes. And we finished sixth so eight-six for sixth overall: that’s pretty cool to me! My second single-digit finish and I did it in the 450 Class, which is pretty killer. Very thankful. It’s going to be nice to be home next weekend at Fox [Raceway].”
Schock has come a long way in the last two years and deserves credit for the hard work he has put in.
Schock just edged out Savatgy’s 7-8. Savatgy’s teammate Justin Bogle recorded his first weekend inside the top ten in both motos with 10-7 finishes for eighth overall.
“First moto was good,” Savatgy said. “I got the holeshot, which was kinda cool, I hadn’t done that in a long time. first probably 15 minutes or so we were able to stay in that lead group. Then from there, I kinda hit a wall. Energy was zapped. Second moto, didn’t get a good of start and then just didn’t have it in me. All in all, I qualified good, first half of the first moto was good so if there’s positives, we qualified fourth, got a holeshot and led a lap and were up there for 15-20 minutes. So positives, we’ll try and keep it at that.”
Jace Kessler finished 13th in the first moto but did not start the second moto. Steve Matthes tried to explain what happened on Twitter.
Told me that he had 2 right hand gloves, he was parked far away so told mech to get left glove..asked official if they could go get it & were told yes. Got back,they were told cant race by diff official..they got OG official,he said he did say it was ok-didnt matter..thats fucked https://t.co/g1G4jQJjxb— Steve Matthes (@pulpmx) August 29, 2021
Aaron Plessinger finished sixth in the first moto but he was unable to finish the second moto “as he continues to feel the effects from his Unadilla crash,” the team posted on Instagram.
“It was another rough one for me,” Plessinger said in a press release. “I felt good most of the day, and the bike was working awesome. The track wasn’t the best, and I was a little disappointed when it wasn’t too deep. This place usually ruts up really well with multiple lines to pass, but this time it was like a highway with sawdust on it. I finished Moto 1 in sixth, so that was better than last weekend, but I was still hurting going out for the second one, and my body just wasn’t ready for it, I guess. The plan is to recover this week and hopefully be back at Pala next weekend.”
Ferrandis gained 11 points on Roczen and now has a 50-point lead. With motos being 25 points each, if Ferrandis is able to gain one point on Roczen by the end of the day next weekend, he will clinch the 450 Class championship one week early. If Roczen is able to keep the gap under 50 points, then he is still mathematically alive until the final round. Next weekend is going to be big either way—make sure to tune in.
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|La Moille, IL
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