PHOTOS | Swanberg
Just when you thought things were going to be routine, a completely unpredictable set of circumstances occurs. That sums up the 2017 Glen Helen MX quite well, as a number of issues/crashes/mechanicals kept many riders from putting in consistent results over the course of their motos and greatly shuffled the championship standings after just two rounds of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
250 Moto One
Jeremy Martin controlled the opening race of the day from the very start, as the GEICO Honda rider beat the full field to the massive Talledega first turn and immediately opened a gap over second place rider Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy. Although Savatgy matched Martin’s pace in the middle stages of the moto, the gap that Martin was able to build in the opening laps was too much to close. The top two riders finished well ahead of the rest of the field and with this they were able to avoid the issues that plagued some of the competition.
Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger made a strong push in the middle of the race to push into third place and spent the late stages locked in a battle with Zach Osborne. For a while it seemed like the two were going to exchange a pass or two, until Osborne’s Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna got a very bad headshake at high-speed with a few laps to go and he backed down the pace considerably. This allowed Plessinger to take third by a comfortable margin at the checkered flag, while Osborne just bested Colt Nichols for fourth place.
GEICO Honda’s Cameron McAdoo and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates Justin Hill and Austin Forkner all experienced mechanical issues midway through the race that forced them to DNF, while Mitchell Oldenburg (collarbone fracture) and Kyle Cunningham (internal damage) were injured in separate crashes and missed the second motos of the day.
Total Race Time | 15 laps, 36:02.389 minutes
Laps Led | Jeremy Martin – 15
Margin of Victory | 9.187 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Jeremy Martin – 2:24.964 minutes
Weather | Temperature – 75 F, Humidity – 34%, Condition – Sunny
250 Moto Two
Jeremy Martin jumped out to the early lead in 250 Moto Two and for a moment it seemed like the exact same scenario was set to play out as before. Within just a few sections of track the GEICO Honda rider was well ahead of the field and had no apparent challengers for the top spot. But disaster struck when he prepared to go into the canyon section of the course, as a freshly watered spot sent him out of control and into the trackside banners. It took a substantial amount of time for Martin to remove his machine from the material and get it restarted, all of which put him in last place on the opening lap.
This incident allowed Dylan Ferrandis the chance to fly into the lead, something that the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider took full advantage of. With each lap he extended his gap over Zach Osborne and in a short amount of time the distance between the two was in the double digits. Ferrandis eventually went on to take the moto win, the first of his career in the United States; Osborne’s runner-up finish, paired with the fourth place in moto one, gave the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna rider the overall win for the day. 9-1 moto finishes put Ferrandis third overall for the day.
The first-lap crash did not deter Jeremy Martin, as the GEICO Honda rider went on a tear for the rest of the race. As other riders slowed the pace late in the moto, Martin seemed to find more speed and worked up to seventh place. A late battle with Austin Forkner was by far the most exciting moment of the moto, as Martin needed to make the pass to take the overall victory, but a late surge by Forkner kept Martin at bay. Still, he was able to take second overall.
More mechanical issues struck the Pro Circuit crew in the second moto, as Joey Savatgy’s engine gave up during a battle with Austin Forkner and he was forced to DNF.
Total Race Time | 15 laps, 36.22.693 minutes
Laps Led | Dylan Ferrandis – 15
Margin of Victory | 23.512 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Dylan Ferrandis – 2:24.718 minutes
Weather | Temperature – 81 F, Humidity – 51%, Condition – Sunny
450 Moto One
Marvin Musquin aced the start in the first 450 moto and like the previous 250 race, this was as close as the field got to the Red Bull KTM rider. Musquin controlled the pace for the moto as he maintained a gap over Team Honda HRC teammates Cole Seely and Christian Craig, along with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant. The running order between Seely-Craig-Grant shuffled as the minutes clicked off, with Grant getting by both riders at separate moments with swift passes and eventually climbing up to second place, but there was no catching Musquin.
Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac was shuffled back to eleventh at the start of the moto and spent the full duration of the race either reeling in or passing other riders. Tomac’s lap times were consistently the fastest of the forty-rider field and after a long chase, he eventually worked all the way up to second place with a late pass on teammate Josh Grant.
Total Race Time | 15 Laps, 35:51.288 minutes
Laps Led | Marvin Musquin – 15
Margin of Victory | 5.886 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Eli Tomac – 2:21.829 minutes
Weather | Temperature – 77 F, Humidity – 32%, Condition – Sunny
450 Moto Two
Christian Craig claimed the holeshot in the final race of the day aboard his Team Honda HRC machine and led the opening laps over Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM’s Blake Baggett and Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson. The gap between the two shrank until Baggett got by for the lead with a daring descent down one hill and Anderson followed suit soon after. Eventually, Baggett and Anderson had their own duel for the top spot, which saw Anderson come out on top for the first 450 moto win of his career.
Meanwhile, Marvin Musquin worked his way up from a mid-pack start to claim third in the final moto of the day. This was clutch for the Red Bull KTM rider, as it gave him the necessary points to score the overall victory for the day, the first in his 450 career.
Things did not go to plan for the Monster Energy Kawasaki crew in the second moto. Josh Grant had a crash at the start of the race and at the very same time Eli Tomac’s front wheel locked up in an unrelated incident. Grant was able to remount and rejoin the race, but he was far down the order and was unable to score any points in the second moto. For Tomac, a pit stop was necessary to repair the front brake and although he went a lap down, he managed to climb back to nineteenth place and scored two points just before the checkered flag.
Total Race Time | 15 Laps, 36:06.322 minutes
Laps Led | Jason Anderson – 9, Christian Craig – 4, Blake Baggett – 2
Margin of Victory | 5.106 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Blake Baggett – 2:23.736 minutes
Weather | Temperature – 81 F, Humidity – 25%, Condition – Sunny