We’re halfway into the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series over here and while one series (450MX) marches on like a Darth Vader death march to an inevitable conclusion, the other one (250MX) just got wackier than ever before. In the background looms a return to a track that everyone agrees never should have gone away in the first place.
Here’s some news and notes from the week that was in American motocross.
– After some close calls from a pesky Eli Tomac two weeks ago at Muddy Creek, RCH Suzuki’s Kenny Roczen made a statement with dominant 1-1 rides at RedBud to take the win. Roczen made a comment afterwards that Eli got a little bit of “hope" in Muddy Creek and he wanted to make sure he took that away. Mission accomplished with big leads and even a “pass and go" move on Tomac in the second moto after Eli grabbed the lead from Justin Bogle. For his part, Tomac was frustrated after the day after thinking he had made some gains at the previous race. Tomac’s starts have improved since the beginning of the year with a clutch change, but outside of those two motos he hasn’t been able to touch the ‘#94’.
Twelve motos down, twelve to go in the season and it would be a real shame for Roczen to lose one moto all year due to a small fork issue while he had a big lead. I know, I know there is still a lot of racing to go but I’m at the races and, I’m telling you, Roczen’s dominance is so impressive. It’s hard to see how he can get beat the rest of the year. What if he goes twenty-three for twenty-four? Can we get an asterisk in the record book?
– Roczen’s teammate Broc Tickle scored an impressive 4-3 for his second straight podium. In a class missing Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson, Cole Seely, Trey Canard, Josh Grant, the last spot on the box is there for someone to take. Without a contract for 2017, Tickle's getting hot at the right time. He’s never had balls-out speed, but if he can get his starts down then his fitness and steadiness can keep him in the top five every week.
– In the 250’s it was the Star Yamaha’s Cooper Webb show as he took his first 1-1 of the season and, with his second win in a row, took the points lead as well. Before the season not many of us “experts" were thinking that Webb was going to be racing this summer. He was nursing a wrist injury, he had a 450SX/MX deal with factory Yamaha in his back pocket and, hey, the nationals are a lot of work.
Early on Webb’s lack of fitness (he wasn’t able to practice much) showed in the second motos but, like a boxer finding his legs, Webb absorbed some blows early on in the fight. He’s now hitting back big time though. Webb’s desire to win the one 250 title that he doesn’t have before he leaves the class was the impetus for sticking around and that move just may pay off big time.
– Pro Circuit’s Joey Savatgy was the points leader and he’ll have something to say about this thing before it’s over, but he crashed hard in the second moto at RedBud and it could be the type of hit that takes a lot of wind out of a guy’s sails. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds this this weekend.
– Savatgy’s teammate, Adam Cianciarulo, has pulled holeshots, he’s led laps and he’s qualified fastest two weeks in a row. He’s done just about everything but log in great moto results. There have been some flashes here and there, but crashes have haunted him. At RedBud it was the first national all year that he didn’t fall in either moto on the way to 7-8 scores. Looking at his moto finishes and seeing him eleventh in the points makes you think that perhaps this has been a poor season, but all the stats I listed above prove that “it" is coming together and maybe sooner than later.
– This weekend should be cool. The return of Southwick to the schedule after three years is a welcome thought for just about everyone. Local squabbles with the township (who own the track) and the leaseholders caused the race to go away and in its place was a race in Utah that no one liked. It’s not Euro sand, not even close, but it’s our only sand track on the schedule and the one race where the riders might actually run a different tire.
– The track has made some changes since the series last raced there; it’s running back in its original direction, there’s a couple of corners widened out and, all in all, it’s going to be a great race. I say that without even caring about the outcome. Southwick is back baby!
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Suzuki Racing