Following its second break of the 2021 season, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship returned to action for its Fourth of July tradition with the annual Twisted Tea RedBud National.
The fourth round of the season saw a massive crowd line the fences in their red, white, and blue for America’s Independence Day holiday and were treated to an afternoon of perfect weather. Dylan Ferrandis continued his impressive season by leading the way in the 450 Class for his third victory of the season. In the 250 Class, RJ Hampshire demonstrated incredible speed all day en route to his third career win.
As the gate dropped on the opening 450 Class moto, Aaron Plessinger prevailed with the Motosport.com Holeshot ahead of Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen. A quick pass by Webb in the second turn allowed him to steal the lead from Plessinger who retaliated to retake the lead just turns later. It was Plessinger, Roczen, and Adam Cianciarulo at the completion of the opening lap. Championship point leader Ferrandis was sixth at the start.
As the moto surpassed the 10-minute mark, Roczen started to close on Plessinger for the lead, eventually making the pass stick as Plessinger slid back to second. As Cianciarulo continued his charge in third, he would soon find himself under pressure from Ferrandis who was turning the fastest lap times of the race. Ferrandis was relentless in his push to the front and made the move on Cianciarulo just before the halfway point of the moto. The battle for the lead began to tighten up as Plessinger closed in on Roczen while his teammate Ferrandis closed in on them both with 10-minutes remaining. The Star Racing Yamaha teammates pulled alongside each other several times before Ferrandis took possession of second with a pass on Plessinger through the sand rollers.
Ferrandis’ charge to the front could not be stopped as he struck on his championship rival Roczen to take the lead with just three laps remaining. The Frenchman would hold on to claim his second moto win of the season with 2.9 seconds to spare on Roczen. After leading early, Plessinger would finish third.
The deciding 450 Class moto kicked off with Plessinger launching out of the gate to sweep the Motosport.com Holeshots by edging out the Monster Energy Kawasaki duo of Eli Tomac and Cianciarulo, followed by Roczen and Ferrandis. Cianciarulo would lose the front end coming downhill on the opening lap and be forced to rejoin near the tail end of the field as Plessinger, Tomac, Roczen, and Ferrandis led the way on the opening lap.
The battle immediately intensified upfront as Tomac made quick work of Plessinger to take the number one position from Plessinger. Just behind the leaders, Roczen and Ferrandis matched one another’s pace in an effort for valuable championship points and to keep the leaders in sight. Roczen made a costly mistake that saw him go down hard, but he was able to dust himself off and remount in sixth.
Upfront, Tomac, and Plessinger were separated by no more than two seconds for the majority of the race as they took turns on clocking the better lap times. With the race winding down, the battle for second began to heat up as Ferrandis closed in on his teammate Plessinger. He would use an excellent drive through the sand rollers to take second and set his sights on the race leader Tomac. As the crowd cheered them on, Tomac held on to take his second moto win of the season by just 1.5 seconds over Ferrandis. A distant third would go to Plessinger, while Roczen recovered for sixth.
It was Ferrandis whose hard charging and consistency would give him the overall victory (1-2). Tomac earned his second consecutive podium of the season in season (4-1), while Plessinger completed the podium with an impressive 3-3 moto score on the day. Roczen’s 6-2 was good enough for fourth. A jump during the red cross flag in Moto 1 resulted in Ferrandis being docked a single point and Roczen two points, however, the overall finishes remained the same.
“I gave it everything and it was a big fight today,” said Ferrandis. “I charged really hard at the end of the motos. I wanted to win the second moto, but Eli [Tomac] was riding really good. I dreamed of winning here at RedBud and thanks to the fans for cheering loud for us all day. It’s been a good start to the season and I’m really looking forward to keep working hard so we can stay upfront the rest of the season.”
With the win, Ferrandis was able to extend his lead in the championship standings to 14-points over Roczen who lost crucial points in the second moto. Plessinger sits third, 36-points out of the lead.
When the gate dropped for the first 250 Class moto of the day it was Justin Cooper who emerged with the Motosport.com holeshot just ahead of the Australian duo of Jett and Hunter Lawrence, Jeremy Martin, and Hampshire. As they crossed the finish on the opening lap, Cooper lost traction going up the face of the finish line and crashed out of the lead. Cooper’s mistake allowed a hard-charging Hampshire to inherit the lead over the Lawrence brothers and Martin. Cooper would remount in 10th.
Hampshire pushed the pace out front with Jett Lawrence in tow and the duo began to slowly distance themselves from the train of riders behind them. As Jett Lawrence applied the pressure, Hampshire crashed out of the lead but was able to restart quickly in second. Hunter Lawrence remained a distant third.
With the race closing in on the halfway point of the 30-minute-plus-two-lap moto, Hampshire started to inch back onto the rear wheel of Jett Lawrence and searched for a way around. Hampshire would once again lose the front end of his motorcycle and find himself on the ground while contending for the race lead. Hunter Lawrence took full advantage of Hampshire’s mistake to move into second, while Hampshire remounted in third.
As Jett Lawrence continued to control the race out front, Hunter Lawrence and Hampshire started to gain momentum and slowly reduce the gap to the race leader. With three laps to go, Hampshire muscled his way around Hunter Lawrence for second and began to set his sights on the race leader Jett Lawrence. It was Jett Lawrence who held on to take the checkered flag for his third moto win of the season by 2.2 seconds over Hampshire. Hunter Lawrence would finish third, just ahead of Cooper who recovered for fourth.
The final 250 Class moto of the afternoon saw Cooper capture his second Motosport.com Holeshot of the day, just ahead of his teammate Martin and first moto runner-up finisher Hampshire. The Lawrence brothers would find themselves mired deep in the pack as Hunter was scored 11th and Jett 18th at the completion of the opening lap.
As the lead trio went to work with a clear track out front, Jett Lawrence put his head down in an attempt to do damage control, however, a costly mistake would see him make contact with another rider and go down, losing valuable time as he remounted outside the top-30. Out front, Hampshire began to find his momentum as he moved Cooper to within striking distance for the race lead, using every inch of the track to find a way past. At the 15-minute mark, Hampshire would get a drive and out drag race Cooper to become the new race leader.
Just as Hampshire looked to have the race under control he would yet again find himself picking himself up off the ground as he surrendered the lead to Cooper in the late stages of the moto. Cooper emerged with his second moto win of the season by 12.9 seconds over Hampshire. Martin finished third in an impressive return from injury, followed by Hunter Lawrence in fourth. An inspiring ride by Jett Lawrence netted him sixth.
By virtue of 2-2 finishes, Hampshire prevailed for his first win of the season and won the RedBud National for the second consecutive year. Cooper’s second moto win earned him second overall (4-1) as Jett Lawrence completed the podium in third (1-6), followed by his brother Hunter in fourth (3-4).
“This win just feels so good after everything I’ve gone through lately,” said Hampshire. “As you can hear, I’ve been super sick all week, so to be up here today is a bit emotional. I give it my all everytime I’m on the track, and it would have been great to get those moto wins today, but to win here at RedBud for the second year in a row is an amazing feeling. The speed has been really good lately and I’m looking forward to some of my favorite tracks coming up on the schedule.”
Jett Lawrence maintains his hold of the championship point lead by eight over Cooper who reduced the gap by three on the day. Hunter Lawrence remains third, 44-points out of the championship lead.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship – Twisted Tea RedBud National
RedBud MX – Buchanan, Mich. July 3, 2021
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
1 Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-2)
2 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (4-1)
3 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (2-2)
4 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (2-6)
5 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (5-5)
6 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (8-4)
7 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (7-9)
8 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (8-4)
9 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM (10-10)
10 Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J. , Suzuki (11-13)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 4 of 12)
1 Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 179 Points
2 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 165 Points
3 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 143 Points
4 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 132 Points
5 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 129 Points
6 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 121 Points
7 Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 116 Points
8 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 104 Points
9 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 102 Points
10 Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 90 Points
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
1 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (2-2)
2 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (4-1)
3 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-6)
4 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (3-4)
5 Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (5-3)
6 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (6-5)
7 Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (7-7)
8 Stilez Robertson,Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (12-8)
9 Max Vohland, Granite Bay, Calif., KTM (10-11)
10 Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (8-14)
250 Class Championship Standings (Round 4 of 12)
1 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 172 Points
2 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 164 Points
3 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 128 Points
4 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 111 Points
5 Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 108 Points
6 Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna – 108 Points
7 Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha – 103 Points
8 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 99 Points
9 Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha – 97 Points
10 Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 87 Points