The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, reached the halfway point of the 2019 season on Saturday with its annual visit to New England’s infamous The Wick 338.
The most storied sand track in American motocross was the setting for an exceptional day of racing at the MB Tractor & Equipment Southwick National, where Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin took his second straight 450 Class victory. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo added to his dominant start to the season with his fifth victory in six rounds.
450 Moto 1
Musquin picked up where he left off to start the opening 450 Class moto by grabbing the MotoSport Holeshot over Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac. The Frenchman dropped the hammer on the opening lap to establish a lead over the field, while Tomac, the reigning series champion, began to drop positions, first to Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and then to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne. This shuffled Tomac off the podium and into the clutches of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb.
Musquin was able to distance himself from everyone else and soon enjoyed a multi-second lead. As the moto wore on, Roczen started to lose pace and lost his hold of second to Osborne. Tomac was able to regroup from his sluggish start and march his way back to the front. He got around Roczen to get back into podium contention in third, and continued to push his way up to Osborne. The rookie held the champ at bay for a few laps, but Tomac made an impressive pass to return to third. However, by this point Musquin was simply too far out front.
Musquin was flawless en route to his second moto win of the season, with a wire-to-wire effort that saw him take the checkered flag 9.1 seconds ahead of Tomac. Osborne followed solidly in third, with Webb fourth and JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Fredrik Noren earning a season-best moto result in fifth. Roczen, who led the points multiple times this season and has two overall wins to his credit, continued to lose ground, eventually dropping outside the top 10 for a season-worst 12th-place finish.
450 Moto 2
The final moto of the afternoon saw Webb capture the MotoSport Holeshot, with Osborne and Musquin in tow. Tomac found himself just outside the top 10. Webb had a solid hold on the top spot, but a bobble on the opening lap opened the door for Osborne to storm into the lead, dropping Webb into second just ahead of his hard-charging team-mate. Musquin gave chase, but just after the completion of the opening lap Roczen, who was looking to rebound from his tough first moto, passed him for third. Roczen didn’t stop there. He kept his charge going and after a persistent chase of Webb, he successfully made the pass for second. Not long after that, Musquin took advantage of an opportunity to pass Webb for third.
The intense battle between Roczen, Musquin and Webb allowed Osborne to open a gap of more than three seconds. Roczen briefly settled into second, but Musquin was able to attack and take away the position. As all this action unfolded, Tomac quietly moved his way up into the top five and had the lead group in his sights. Roczen started to lose pace again a little more than 10 minutes into the moto, and quickly fell from third to fifth as both Webb and Tomac got around. The German continued to drop back deep into the top 10.
Tomac proceeded to stalk Webb for third as they approached the halfway point of the moto. The KTM rider was able to hold off the champ for several laps, but Tomac eventually made the pass and move into podium position. At this point, Tomac went to work to try and chip away at his deficit to the lead duo. He sat about three seconds behind Musquin for second, and after several laps he closed to within a few bike lengths of his longtime rival. Musquin responded by picking up his pace, which allowed him to stop the threat.
Out front, Osborne managed the moto with the poise of the veteran racer he is, despite being a rookie in the 450 Class. The 29-year-old rider took his first moto win in the premier division by 11.1 seconds over Musquin, who capped off his winning afternoon with a second. Tomac soldiered home in third.
Musquin’s 1-2 effort asserted himself as the hottest rider in the championship, where he became the first rider to claim back-to-back victories this season. He also successfully defended his Southwick win from a year ago.
“Winning Southwick means a lot. Last year I kind of got lucky because Eli [Tomac] crashed out, but this weekend Zach [Osborne] and I were on it,” said Musquin. “Eli was coming on strong at the end, but I responded and eventually he gave up, thankfully. It was a rough start to the season, and it’s hard mentally when you’re not on the podium, but I’ve still got it.”
For the first time in 2019 a rider will sit atop the 450 Class standings for consecutive weekends, with Tomac maintaining his hold on the championship lead. He’s moved out to a 26-point lead over Musquin, who climbed into second with the win. Roczen, who finished a season-worst ninth (12-10), drops to third, 28 points out of the lead.
250 Moto 1
The first 250 Class moto of the afternoon saw championship rivals Cianciarulo and Justin Cooper cross the MotoSport Holeshot side-by-side, with Cianciarulo just barely getting the edge aboard his Kawasaki. Cooper ultimately emerged with the early lead on his Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha, but Cianciarulo went on the attack and forced his way into the lead. From there, the point leader sprinted out to an advantage of just over two seconds by the time the field completed the opening lap. The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM duo of rookie Derek Drake and Shane McElrath followed right behind in third and fourth, respectively.
Cianciarulo continued to build on his lead over Cooper, who soon settled into second. Behind them, the battle for third intensified between the KTM team-mates, which ultimately allowed Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis to close in from fifth. With pressure from behind, McElrath forced the issue on Drake and took over third. It wasn’t long before Ferrandis made his way around the rookie to move up to fourth. The focus then shifted to a head-to-head battle between McElrath and Ferrandis. Their pace allowed them to close in on Cooper in second, and as McElrath looked to potentially make a challenge for the runner-up spot, Ferrandis utilized some alternate lines to surge into third.
The Frenchman was mere bike lengths behind his team-mate for second, and appeared to be the faster rider. However, as he began to apply pressure he carried too much speed into a corner and went off track. While he was able to resume without losing a position, Ferrandis lost valuable time to Cooper that he’d be unable to recover.
Out front, Cianciarulo was dominant en route to his fifth moto win of the season. He crossed the line 11.1 seconds ahead of Cooper, who rode solidly in second the entire moto. Ferrandis held off a late charge from GEICO Honda’s RJ Hampshire to finish third, while Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha’s Colt Nichols rounded out the top five.
250 Moto 2
Cianciarulo made it a clean sweep of the MotoSport Holeshots when he emerged from the first turn with the lead to start Moto 2. Cycle Trader/Rock River Yamaha’s Brandon Hartranft followed in second, with Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Cameron McAdoo in third, just ahead of both Ferrandis and Cooper. Cianciarulo tried to duplicate the early pace he showed in the first moto, but the field kept him within reach. Ferrandis proved to be the first rider to make a move, fighting his way around both McAdoo and Hartranft to surge from fourth to second. Just about a second separated the lead pair as they came to complete Lap 1.
Cianciarulo and Ferrandis started to inch away from the rest of the field, setting up a two-rider showdown for the win. This forced Cooper to dig deep from fifth, and he successfully got around McAdoo for fourth. A lap later he worked his way by Hartranft to take over third, but faced more than an eight-second deficit to the top two. Up front, the gap between Cianciarulo and Ferrandis hovered around a second for half of the moto, with the duo trading fast laps.
As the moto surpassed the halfway point, Ferrandis began to lose patience and started to force the issue. He was able to learn in his pursuit of the Kawasaki and found a couple spots on the track where he could make a move. With about 13 minutes left in the moto, the Frenchman pulled the trigger and sped by Cianciarulo, who put up little fight knowing he still had the overall in hand. Once out front, Ferrandis was able to quickly build an insurmountable advantage. He carried on to take his second win in the last three motos, 10.6 seconds over Cianciarulo, while Cooper followed in a distant third.
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Cianciarulo’s 1-2 effort gave him the sixth overall victory of his career, five of which have come this summer alone. He also became the 27th different winner in 34 seasons of 250 Class racing in Southwick.
“I try to make good decisions [when I’m out there]. The more I mature as a racer, the more you just learn [how to handle situations],” explained Cianciarulo. “I managed that [second moto], for sure. I’m not sure if I had Dylan’s pace in that [second] moto. He deserved that one. I tried to follow, but I’ll admit, I was a little bit fatigued. We still leave here with another win, and it’s amazing what we continue to accomplish as a team.”
Ferrandis’ win in the second moto carried him to back-to-back runner-up finishes (3-1), while Cooper earned his fifth overall podium result of the season in third (2-3).
Cianciarulo was able to add to his lead in the 250 Class standings, where he now enjoys a 23-point lead over Cooper. Ferrandis remains solidly in third, 37 points out of the lead.
Next up for Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
The second half of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship begins next Saturday, July 6, with American motocross’ own Independence Day tradition from Michigan’s legendary RedBud MX. First motos of the Circle K RedBud National can be seen live on MAVTV at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET. Live coverage of the second 450 Class moto will be shown exclusively on NBC at 12 p.m. PT / 3 p.m. ET, while the second moto of the 250 Class will be shown via tape delay on NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET. All of the action can also be live-streamed with the “Pro Motocross Pass” via the Gold channel on the NBC Sports app.
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