The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship reached the halfway point of the 2021 season with its sixth round of action from Spring Creek MX Park and the Circle K Spring Creek National.
Minnesota fans were greeted with perfect weather that saw clear, sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80’s, while racers were challenged by the circuit’s dramatic elevation changes and infamous sand whoops. Justin Barcia made his long-awaited return to the top step of the podium and grabbed a moto win en route to his first 450 Class victory of the season. In the 250 Class, Jeremy Martin continued that division’s historic first half with an emphatic effort in front of the home crowd, in which he swept both motos to become the sixth different winner in as many races.
As the gate dropped for the opening 450 Class moto of the afternoon it was Barcia who emerged with the MotoSport.com Holeshot ahead of Adam Cianciarulo, Coty Schock, Dylan Ferrandis and Christian Craig. At the completion of the opening lap it was Barcia, Cianciarulo, and Cooper Webb inside the top three. Ferrandis, the championship leader, crossed the line fifth, while Ken Roczen, second in the standings, was caught up in a frightening first-turn incident that left the German in need of medical assistance and force him to withdraw from the moto.
Out front, Barcia continued to lead the way with Cianciarulo in pursuit and in search of a way around. Craig began to apply heavy pressure on Webb and made the pass for third with 20-minutes remaining. Just laps later, Craig’s teammates Ferrandis and Aaron Plessinger started to push their way to the front, both overtaking Webb. The march forward didn’t stop there for Ferrandis, as he muscled his way by Craig into third near the halfway point of the moto.
Cianciarulo continued to press Barcia for the lead, however, a costly mistake saw him lose the back end of his Kawasaki and crash out of second place, which moved Ferrandis and Craig into second and third and eventually forced Cianciarulo to retire from the race. With just over eight minutes remaining, Eli Tomac, who started 14th, entered the battle up front as he clocked the fastest laps of the race and blitzed his way past Craig for third. Tomac’s charge soon led him to the back wheel of Ferrandis as a three-way fight for the lead took shape.
The Frenchman successfully erased his deficit to Barcia and spent the waning laps of the moto in constant search of a way around, which resulted in a near crash between the two, while simultaneously fending off heavy pressure from Tomac for second. Barcia never wavered and was able to fend off numerous pass attempts by Ferrandis to hang on for his first moto victory of the season by just over a second. Ferrandis and Tomac completed the top three, with Craig fourth and Plessinger fifth.
The second and deciding 450 Class moto kicked off with Barcia earning a sweep of the MotoSport.com Holeshots for the day ahead Justin Bogle and Roczen, who avoided serious injury and rejoined the fray for Moto 2. Roczen used a pair of quick passes to move out front and lead the field around on the opening lap, ahead of Barcia and Bogle. Tomac came around in 10th, while Ferrandis was mired outside of the top-20 due to a crash coming down one of the hills.
Roczen was on a mission and in search of redemption out front, while Barcia was in hot pursuit to back up his impressive first moto result. As Roczen and Barcia paced each other, Ferrandis went down for a second time, costing him several more spots in the process. Chase Sexton closed in on Bogle and found his way around to take over third.
Roczen proved to be unstoppable and carried on to secure his fourth moto win of the season by 5.3 seconds over Barcia. Sexton finished third, followed by Tomac in fourth, while Ferrandis showed his resiliency with an impressive come-from-behind effort to finish fifth.
Barcia’s consistency, anchored by his Moto 1 win, carried him to the overall victory (2-1), which marked his first winning effort since the final round of the 2018 season and signified the first Pro Motocross victory for GASGAS in its debut season as a manufacturer. Tomac finished in the runner-up spot (3-4) for his third podium result in the past four races, while Ferrandis’ relentless charge in the second moto helped land him third overall (2-5), missing out on a second-place tiebreaker with Tomac. Roczen rebounded from a disastrous start to the day to finish ninth overall (40-1).
“It’s a lot to take in,” said Barcia. “I felt great on the bike all day and it’s just such an awesome feeling to be back on the top step of the podium again. The fans were just awesome out there. It’s been a while, but I never gave up and left it all on the track today. The team has been working hard to get me comfortable on the bike and I think today showed that everything is coming together. Hopefully, we can keep this momentum rolling into the rest of the season and click off a few more wins.”
The adversity endured by each of the top two riders in the division resulted in a significant shift in the point standings, as Ferrandis’ podium effort allowed him to gain 13 points and establish a 32-point lead over Roczen, who did all he could to minimize the damage. By virtue of his win, Barcia vaulted from fifth to third in the standings, 55 points out of the lead.
“I’m just disappointed in myself today,” said Ferrandis, who entered the day on a three-race win streak and has now finished on the overall podium at all six rounds thus far. “It was a difficult day. I crashed twice in that second moto and didn’t give myself a fighting chance. I’m here to win and that’s really what I want to do. I’ll go back to work and get ready to come out stronger next weekend.”
“It was definitely a hard one in the first moto. I got banged up really good and I need to make sure that my ribs aren’t broken,” explained Roczen. “I’ll be really sore tomorrow but as soon as I checked myself (and didn’t have any serious injury) I knew there was no question in my mind I was going to come back out here (for Moto 2) and give my best. That’s what we were born to do. I knew I didn’t have the best gate pick, but I got pretty lucky and made it work, and then rode a smart race. I’m just glad I could finish, and I did all I could for what it was.”
The opening 250 Class moto of the day saw Justin Cooper capture the MotoSport.com Holeshot ahead of his teammates, Nate Thrasher and Martin, along with Max Vohland. As the 40-rider field came around to complete the opening lap it was Cooper followed by Vohland and Martin. Championship point leader Jett Lawrence was credited with 14th to start the race.
Cooper quickly set the pace and opened a comfortable gap over his competition, while Martin took control of second from the rookie Vohland after persistent pressure throughout the opening minutes of the moto. Just moments later, Michael Mosiman closed in on Vohland and eventually took over third. Back out front, crowd favorite Martin started to find his rhythm and began to chip away at Cooper’s advantage.
Entering the closing minutes of the race, Martin closed quickly on the race leader and started searching for a way around his teammate. After several attempts, Martin grabbed a handful of throttle traversing down the steep “Mount Martin” and dove into the lead with an impressive pass. Once out front he quickly pulled away and went unchallenged in the final laps to take his third moto win of the season by 7.5 seconds over Cooper. Mosiman completed the podium in third, followed by the Australian siblings of Jett and Hunter Lawrence in fourth and fifth, respectively.
The final 250 Class moto of the afternoon saw Martin pick up where he left off in the opening moto with the MotoSport.com Holeshot, narrowly edging out Cooper, Austin Forkner, and Mosiman. As the field came around to complete the opening lap it was Martin, Cooper, and Mosiman leading the way, while Jett and Hunter Lawrence found themselves mired in 10th and 11th, respectively.
With a clear track ahead, Martin easily asserted control on the layout he grew up riding, continuously inching away from Cooper and Mosiman, who started to make a run for second. At the halfway point of the 30-minute-plus-two-lap moto, Mosiman began showing Cooper a wheel and eventually made an aggressive move to make a pass stick and take control of the runner-up spot.
Martin was calm, cool, and collected for the entirety of the moto and clinched the 1-1 sweep by 9.3 seconds. Mosiman finished strong to earn the best moto result of his career in second, followed by Cooper in third. Jett Lawrence overcame a crash that included multiple riders and left him with a damaged motorcycle to salvage sixth.
The dominant outing for Martin gave the Minnesota native his third win at Spring Creek and the 18th victory of his career. It also makes Martin the sixth different winner to open the season, continuing a historic level of parity that has carried through the halfway point of the championship. Mosiman earned a career-best finish in second overall (3-2) to edge out Cooper, who finished third (2-3), via tiebreaker. Lawrence finished just off the podium in fourth (4-6) and now has back-to-back finishes outside the top three after beginning the season with four consecutive podiums.
“That one felt good and ranks up there pretty high out of the wins throughout my career,” said Martin, who is battling through a series of injuries and has been forced to miss one race this season. “It’s always special to win in front of the hometown crowd, and doing it by sweeping both motos, that just makes it even sweeter. It’s been a tough season for me, but I needed to get back out here and start racing whether I was 100% or not. A huge thanks to all the fans for the support today, they really kept me going and allowed me to dig deep.”
A consistent day by Cooper, combined with a challenging afternoon for Lawrence, resulted in a new championship leader as the Yamaha rider now leads the young Australian by six points. Hunter Lawrence maintains his hold on third, 33 points out of the lead.
“That’s what it’s all about. We’re at the halfway point and we’re going after this championship. That’s the mindset,” said Cooper. “I honestly rode pretty mediocre today. I left a lot on the table, I feel. I wasn’t that comfortable (on the bike), so I got to take the blame on this one and do better. I felt like we could have been battling for the overall win today, but we’ll take it. We’ve got the red plate now. We’ll keep grinding, and simply need to be better. I can’t afford to leave anything on the table and that’s what it’s going to take to win this championship.”
“This was definitely a nightmare of a day,” said Jett Lawrence. “My starts have really been putting me down and back in the pack. It’s just not helping me. Cooper’s been getting those starts and that’s what we need to be doing. I was brought up to never give up. We’re only halfway. I don’t know how many points back I am, but we’re going to keep charging.”
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will continue next Saturday, July 24, for Round 7 and the MotoSport.com Washougal National.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship – Circle K Spring Creek National
Spring Creek MX Park – Millville, Minn. – July 17, 2021
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
1 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (1-2)
2 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (3-4)
3 Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (2-5)
4 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (7-3)
5 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (4-6)
6 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (5-9)
7 Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (8-8)
8 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (40-1)
9 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM (11-7)
10 Dean Wilson, Scotland, Husqvarna (10-10)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 6 of 12)
1 Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 262
2 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 230
3 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 207
4 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 205
5 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 193
6 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 191
7 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 156
8 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 148
9 Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 147
10 Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 141
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
1 Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (1-1)
2 Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS (3-2)
3vJustin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (2-3)
4 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (4-6)
5 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (5-5)
6 Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha (7-7)
7 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (8-9)
8 Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (17-4)
9 Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., Honda (14-8)
10 Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (12-10)
250 Class Championship Standings (Round 6 of 12)
1 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 243
2 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 237
3 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 210
4 Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 175
5 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 163
6 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 162
7 Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha – 159
8 Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna – 148
9 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha – 124
10 Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS – 122