Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki was ready to battle for final series points as they arrived at Ironman Raceway, with a full team roster of Austin Forkner, Adam Cianciarulo, Joey Savatgy, Chris Alldredge and Arnaud Tonus.
The 250MX class was the first moto of the day and the track was soaked from a morning rain storm. As the gate dropped, rookie Forkner earned the holeshot with Savatgy fourth, Tonus sixth and Cianciarulo 10th. At the end of Lap 1 #214 of Forkner had started to break away with Savatgy fourth, Cianciarulo fifth, Tonus sixth, while Alldredge was involved in an incident relegating him back from 23rd. With 20 minutes remaining, Forkner increased his lead at the front while Savatgy moved up into third position with Tonus fifth and Cianciarulo sixth. Moments later Savatgy raced his #37 KX250F into second, making it a team 1-2. With five minutes remaining, Forkner and Savatgy remained first and second, Tonus fifth and Cianciarulo seventh. As the chequers flew, it was Forkner taking the win by 22 seconds over team-mate Savatgy in second, Tonus in fourth, Cianciarulo in sixth and Alldredge coming back from his early moto incident to finish 19th.
For Moto 2 the track was looking much better and as the gate dropped it was Forkner in second followed immediately by Savatgy and Cianciarulo with Tonus in eighth. Moments later Tonus was involved in an incident and forced off the track, while Forkner, Savatgy and Cianciarulo all battled for position. Forkner would win the battle to the placing his #214 in the lead. 10 minutes into the moto, Forkner remained out front with Cianciarulo, Savatgy and Tonus in fourth, sixth and 19th respectively. With five minutes plus 2 laps remaining, Forkner came up short on a jump and crashed as his front wheel became stuck in the mud, relegating the Moto 1 winner to second. At the same time, Cianciarulo sat fifth followed immediately by Savatgy, while Alldredge broke into the top 10 and Tonus climbed back up to 13th, after an early moto incident. Moments later Forkner slipped back into third, focusing on the overall result rather than risking a battle for second in the moto. After the chequers flew it was the rookie Forkner closing out the 2016 season with 1-3 moto finishes, earning his first career overall win. Cianciarulo’s 6-5 earned a sixth overall followed by Tonus in seventh (4-9), Savatgy’s 2-34 earned him ninth overall and Alldredge’s 18-11 earned 16th overall.
“Today was a really good day,” said Forkner. “Practice started off really muddy, with very deep ruts, but I ended up qualifying well. In the first moto, I earned the holeshot and told myself not to look back no matter what. I finally did about 20 minutes in and there was no one behind me at all. My mechanic kept me updated with everything throughout the end of the moto and I was able to cruise home for the win.
“In the second moto, I earned the holeshot again, settled in and kept it out front for at least 20 minutes. After the finish line I jumped wrong and landed in a really soft hole, cross rutted and tucked the front. Luckily I didn’t stall the bike, but my bars were bent and I had a bunch of sweat in my eyes from going down. Another rider got by me so I slipped to third, but that, with my Moto 1 win, earned first overall, the first one of my career. I’m fourth in points, two moto wins and five podiums in my rookie season, I’m really happy and can’t wait for next year.”
“It was another good day,” said Cianciarulo. “I had a good bit of confidence from the last round and felt strong. I’ve had good speed and my body is catching up and I’m getting back to where I belong. My goal for the year was to get through all the motos and I did that, now I’m working towards keeping my speed at every round. I’ve got what it takes to win I just need it every weekend.”
“This was my best race of the year,” reflected Tonus. “My speed and the way I rode, I’m really happy with today. At the end of the first moto, I felt great and made a late moto pass. In the second moto, unfortunately, I went down early on and started basically last. It was a hard ride but I pushed really hard and crossed the line in ninth, which I’m happy with. The shoulder injury from Monster Energy Supercross held me back a bit early on but no excuses and I ended the season well.”