PHOTOS | Swanberg
And it’s on. The 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship kicked off with an incredible day of racing in Northern California at the 2017 Hangtown MX. Riders had much more to overcome than the hard packed soil and large obstacles that the circuit is known for, as summer weather was in full effect and challenged everyone in the field. With two titles completely up for grabs and a long list of competitors ready to take the top spot in their classes, we’re in for an excellent stretch of action.
250 Moto One
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo led the forty-rider field through the first turn and set the pace early over Sean Cantrell and Zach Osborne. A mistake by Cantrell in the early lap nearly sent the Troy Lee Designs/GoPro/Red Bull/KTM rider over the bars, but he somehow managed to keep the bike upright. Eventually, the rookie was shuffled down the order as the veterans in the field found their way, including Zach Osborne on the second lap. The gap between Cianciarulo and Osborne stayed steady through the first half of the race until a swift pass in the back of the track by Osborne was the only true battle for the lead in this race. Once up front, Osborne pulled away and won the moto.
Dylan Ferrandis ran as high as fourth in the American MX debut, but things went amiss for the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider late in the moto. A simple mistake on one of the big jumps spit the French rider off of his bike and although he rejoined the race, he pulled off later and sat out the second moto due to a concussion.
Jeremy Martin was sixth in the closing stages of the moto until his GEICO Honda started to experience mechanical issues and he was forced to return to the pit area.
Austin Forkner’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki had issues in the opening lap of the race, but the team was able to remedy the problem with a stop in the work area. Once allowed back on the track (Forkner admittedly pulled into the work area from a different lane than what is required, so officials held him after the very last rider went by), he managed to climb back to an eleventh place finish.
Rookie racers Sean Cantrell finished tenth, Michael Mosiman finished twelfth, and Cameron McAdoo finished fifteenth.
Total Race Time | 16 Laps, 35:07.698 minutes
Laps Led | Zach Osborne 10, Adam Cianciarulo – 6
Margin of Victory | 5.372 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Aaron Plessinger – 2:09.011 minutes
Weather | Temperate – 88F, Humidity – 25%, Sunny
250 Moto Two
Zach Osborne aced the start of the second moto on his Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna, but Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy snaked the top spot away on the opening lap. The two fierce rivals raced closely and cleanly around the rough track, with Osborne ultimately making the key pass as they climbed one of the hillside sections. With this, Osborne went on to build a decent gap over the pack and took the moto win, which gave him the overall for the day.
The other spots in the top-ten changed numerous times over the course of the race. Alex Martin came from far back in the pack to a second place with a quick succession of passes, while Aaron Plessinger, Austin Forkner, and Jeremy Martin filled out other spots in the roster. Forkner and J Martin made the most progress of the pack, as the two battled each other and worked up to third and fourth place, respectively. In the closing stages the pair reeled in Alex Martin, then passed him for second and third place, with Forkner taking the runner-up spot and Jeremy Martin taking third.
Rookie racers Sean Cantrell finished thirteenth, Michael Mosiman finished fourteenth, and Cameron McAdoo finished sixteenth.
Total Race Time | 16 Laps, 35:49.790 minutes
Laps Led | Zach Osborne – 15, Adam Cianciarulo – 1
Margin of Victory | 2.929 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Zach Osborne – 2:11.836 minutes
Weather | Temperate – 93F, Humidity – 18%, Sunny
450 Moto One
Christian Craig claimed the holeshot aboard his Team Honda HRC machine and led the first lap until a small bobble in a long rut put him on the ground and allowed Marin Musquin to move into the lead. Musquin made the most of the clear track with quick laps aboard his Red Bull KTM, but eventually, Eli Tomac crept into the action with the fastest laps of the field. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider started the race outside of the top-five, made key passes, and then overtook the lead before the ten-minute mark. Tomac was not perfect for the full duration of the race, as a simple mistake in a rutted turn took him down, but he jumped up still in control of the race and went on to the win.
Jason Anderson had a scary moment early in the race, as a rock hit him just above the eye and gushed blood. Worried about the possible damage, the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna rider immediately pulled out of the race and was given stitches by the Alpinestars Mobile Medical staff. He was able to compete in the second moto.
Josh Grant spent the full moto near the front of the pack, as a great start put the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider in the top-five early and a pass on Cooper Webb put him into a podium position.
Blake Baggett, Broc Tickle, Dean Wilson, and Justin Barcia all put in hard charges at the end of the moto, which helped claim points-paying positions in the final results.
Total Race Time | 16 Laps, 35:14.240 minutes
Laps Led | Eli Tomac – 13, Marvin Musquin – 2, Christian Craig – 1
Margin of Victory | 15.434 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Eli Tomac – 2:07.207 minutes
Weather | Temperature – 90F, Humidity – 22%, Sunny
450 Moto Two
With a flawless start and speedy laps, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant controlled the early portion of the day’s race over Marvin Musquin. At times the Red Bull KTM rider clocked quicker lap times than Grant, but the speedy veteran held firm at the front of the pack. As Grant set the pace up front, his teammate Eli Tomac worked to overcome a poor start. Tomac’s push was not easy, as he was forced to find ways around riders that were locked in battle with each other, but near the halfway point he worked up to third place and then went after the lead two.
In the final half of the race, Musquin managed to get by Grant with crafty lines on the challenging track, and then Tomac took over second from Grant. The fight for the top spot went back and forth between Musquin and Tomac for a few laps, with run-ins and close pass attempts that kept both riders near the edge. Just before time expired, Tomac took the lead with a final pass and pushed to the checkered flag for a 1-1 sweep of the opening round.
Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna’s Dean Wilson put in work during the course of the final moto. Fierce duels with Broc Tickle and other riders pushed him up to fourth place at the finish, which helped his overall score tremendously.
Jason Anderson seemed unfazed by the eye issue from moto one, as the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna rider finished sixth at the checkered flag.
Total Race Time | 16 Laps, 35:40.881 minutes
Laps Led | Josh Grant – 7, Marvin Musquin – 5, Eli Tomac – 4
Margin of Victory | 8.734 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Eli Tomac – 2:11.013 minutes
Weather | Temperature – 93F, Humidity – 18%, Sunny