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AMA Motocross Thoughts: High Point

High Point has been a permanent fixture on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross calendar for quite a while now, and for good reason. In my opinion, the track is a great asset to the series, as it is quite different to the rest of the tracks that the travelling tour visits; most riders have stated that the venue is distinctly more ‘European.’ It would be quite hard for anyone to argue with that statement when prowling through the results from the 250f class on Saturday.

Evidently, there is a clear cut ‘big four’ in the 250f class in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series currently. Interestingly, half of those riders are European (Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin); it just so happens that those two guys dominated on the track that is considered to be ‘European’ by most. It is not surprising that Ken Roczen was up front, and that he won a moto, as he has done exactly that at every round so far this year. But I was quite surprised to see that Marvin Musquin claimed his second straight overall victory – this time he earned it too.

Personally I think that the track had a lot to do with his victory. Marvin Musquin is known for being a very technical rider; it is hard to fault his style. In fact, most applaud his technique on a bike. The High Point circuit rewarded the riders that were patient and technically brilliant. I would liken this to most of the circuits in the MXGP series, which is where both Musquin and Roczen started their careers. This is the main reason that most label High Point a ‘Euro’ track (as mentioned previously).

The High Point circuit is littered with off-cambers; so when it is wet throttle control is crucial, which is where a rider such as Marvin shines. In the days prior to round four, there was quite a lot of rain in the Pennsylvania area; this was evident in the morning practice as it was like a mud race at first. When the track crew had pushed all of the thick mud off of the track a slick surface was uncovered, which put a lot more focus on throttle control. Although, he excelled at High Point, he may struggle to match guys like Roczen and Tomac at Budds Creek, where a rider is required to force the issue more. If Musquin can find a way to replicate his High Point performance at the other tracks, he could be more of a title contender.

Prior to the start of the season I doubted Marvin Musquin and his ability to challenge for the title. However, the Red Bull KTM rider has silenced all of the doubters in recent weeks, as he has garnered two overall victories. Musquin had captured two overall wins before High Point (Unadilla ‘12 and Muddy Creek ’13), but he did not capture a race win at those rounds; some fans would argue that the wins were gifted to him because of this. At High Point he garnered the third overall victory of his USA career, and no one can take this one away from him.

In the opening moto, Marvin Musquin finished second for the third successive race. Clearly, the Frenchman had the speed and intensity to match his Red Bull KTM teammate, which was quite surprising, as raw speed has never been Musquin’s strong point. If Musquin could have got around Cole Seely a little sooner in that moto, it would have been interesting to see if he could have pushed Kenny. Eventually, Marvin fell into the clutches of Eli Tomac at the end of the moto. But he was able to elevate his pace and pull away from Tomac, which should have been indicative of what was to come in the second moto, as Musquin proved that he had the endurance needed to contend.

Marvin Musquin took the lead early on in moto two, and he held off the advances of Roczen to take the first moto win of his career in the USA. The Frenchman is often overshadowed by his younger teammate, but Ken couldn’t do anything to stop Marvin from winning moto two. The German was hot on the heels of his teammate the whole race, and it was clear how hard he was trying to take the win, as he consistently made some small mistakes. However, this is where the technical style of Marvin prevailed; he hit his marks lap after lap on his way to the moto win. Honestly, who would have thought that Musquin would be the first guy in the 250 class to take two overall victories this year? I certainly didn’t.

Despite his two successive overall victories, Marvin Musquin is twenty-two points behind the championship leader. Should we now consider Marvin a legitimate threat for the title? If you look at his past, it is clear that he is capable of winning the title. But if you base your decision off of his performance last year, you would think that he is just a tick off of guys like Ken, and Tomac. Budds Creek is going to be quite interesting I believe. If the Frenchman can challenge for the win there, then we would be right to presume that he will do so at most rounds, thus chucking him into contention for the championship. Before we get the answer to that query, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship is taking a weekend off, so we will get our answer at Budds Creek, in two weeks time. One thing is certain; Marvin Musquin has a ton of momentum on his side now.

Words by Lewis Phillips

Image courtesy of KTM Images/Simon Cudby

MX Vice Editor || 25

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