PHOTOS | Swanberg
It just keeps getting better. After a one-week break in action, the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship resumed with round four of the season, the 2017 High Point MX. Riders were challenged throughout the day in southern Pennsylvania as they took on each other, an all-new track, and scorching weather conditions. When all was said and done, our thoughts on this race season became even more clear. This is still anyone’s for the taking and there is plenty of racing left to see.
250 Moto One
Jeremy Martin jumped out to the early lead on his GEICO Honda machine and led the competitive 250 class through the opening laps of the moto. A dense pack of riders formed behind the two-time 250 MX champion and soon a full-fledged fight for the top spot took place. Aaron Plessinger pushed his way to second place aboard his Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha while Zach Osborne slipped to third on his Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna, while RJ Hampshire-Adam Cianciarulo-Sean Cantrell-Joey Savatgy all tussled for spots in the top-ten. Eventually, the lead trio of Martin/Plessinger/Osborne broke free of the pack with a quick pace and wise lines.
For a while, Plessinger and Osborne turned their attention to each other for second place, and this allowed Martin to inch further away with the lead. After a few laps of this, Osborne managed to make his move for second in the fast downhill rollers. Once free of Plessinger, he pushed the pace and closed on Martin Within a few laps the two were together for the top spot in a battle that showed each rider's strengths and weaknesses on the track. With his prior pass in mind and ten minutes left in the race, Osborne executed the exact same maneuver in the rollers on Martin for the lead. This pass was it at the front of the field and Osborne claimed the moto win.
Total Race Time | 17 Laps, 34:12.380 minutes
Laps Led | Jeremy Martin – 9, Zach Osborne – 8
Margin of Victory | 7.850 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Zach Osborne – 1:58.893 minutes
250 Moto Two
Another Martin nabbed the holeshot in Moto Two, this time being Alex. The Troy Lee Designs/GoPro/Red Bull/KTM rider was trailed by his brother, Jeremy, as well as Aaron Plessinger and Austin Forkner. Eventually, Jeremy Martin made a pass on Plessinger for second and then pursued Alex Martin for the top spot, with the decisive pass coming midway through the moto. This move was the most important of the moto, because it allowed Jeremy Martin to clinch the day's overall victory without question.
Further back, Zach Osborne rallied to overcome a so-so start in the moto. The Moto One winner found his flow midway through the race, as he passed a number of riders in a brief time, and then had both Aaron Plessinger and Alex Martin in sight on the final laps. After getting by the two in short order, a rock hit Osborne in the goggles and blasted sweat from his face onto the inside of the lens. With no way to clean it, he was forced to ditch the goggles while still holding off Alex Martin. A hang-up during the usually routine operation broke the visor at the top of his helmet and left him without any defense against roost in the final laps. Luckily, he managed to hold off Plessinger and Martin for second place in this moto and second place overall.
Plessinger's consistency through the day in his 3-3 scores was more than enough for him to clinch third place overall on the day in the class.
Total Race Time | 18 Laps, 36:06.124minutes
Laps Led | Jeremy Martin – 10, Alex Martin – 8
Margin of Victory | 8.447 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Zach Osborne – 1:57.747 minutes
450 Moto One
Josh Grant led the field to the first turn, with his Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Eli Tomac in tow. Just when it seemed like it would be a green sweep at the top of the field, Tomac tucked the front-end of his bike on a slick incline and went down. By the time Tomac remounted the bike and got going, he was in last place. Back at the front, Grant continued to control the pace over, Christian Craig, Dean Ferris, and Blake Baggett. As the laps clicked off, the running order of the lead group changed, as one-off race entrant/Yamaha Australia-backed Ferris slipped by Grant for the lead and Baggett moved forward aboard his Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM with a move on Craig. Eventually the battles coalesced with Baggett getting by Grant and then around Ferris in quick succession. From this point on the top three spots were set for the rest of the moto.
There was plenty of action further back, as Tomac clawed back from his early issues and eventually got back to twelfth place. Incoming championship leader Marvin Musquin came into the weekend with a recently torn meniscus in his knee and the fresh injury had a massive impact on the Red Bull KTM rider in moto one. He fought the pain and salvaged a sixteenth place finish.
Late in the race an epic battle formed between Broc Tickle, Jason Anderson, Justin Bogle, and Cooper Webb. Tickle and Anderson put in a fast pace to catch Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Services/Yamaha's Webb and RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing's Bogle for spots in the top-five, but a run-in between Bogle and Anderson put both riders on the ground. This helped Tickle get by the other three in short order and put the RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider into fourth. Surprisingly, Anderson was able to remount his Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna and make a late pass on Webb for fifth.
Despite running at the front early in his return to competition from a fracture in his hand, Craig was unable to complete the moto. The Team Honda HRC rider sat out the second moto of the day and will re-evaluate his plans for the summer now
Total Race Time | 17 Laps, 34:19.489 minutes
Laps Led | Blake Baggett – 12, Josh Grant – 4, Dean Ferris – 1
Margin of Victory | 22.217 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Blake Baggett – 1:59.606 minutes
450 Moto Two
Broc Tickle blasted to the front of the field at the start of the race on his RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing, but Jason Anderson hustled his way to the lead with a pass at the landing of the track's biggest jump and Eli Tomac then raced into second place just before the end of the first lap. Determined to offset the issues from earlier in the day, Tomac wasted no time reeling Anderson in and took advantage of a mistake from the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna rider to steal the lead.
While Tomac led laps, Blake Baggett did his best to overcome a subpar eighth place start and in a short time he was within the top-five. At this point it was clear that both Tomac and Baggett were going all-out, as the duo posted the fastest lap times of the entire day on the challenging track. Baggett eventually got around Tickle and Anderson, which put him in second place, then set off after Tomac. The gap shrank to about eight seconds, but once it became clear that Baggett had clinched the day's overall victory, he seemed to ease the pace and allowed Tomac to take the moto win.
Even with Tomac's moto win, his early troubles greatly impacted his overall victory. This allowed Anderson to take second overall and Tickle third.
Baggett's rides, along with misfortune by Musquin and Tomac, makes the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM rider the championship leader headed into round five.
Total Race Time | 18 Laps, 35:28.745 minutes
Laps Led | Eli Tomac – 15, Jason Anderson – 3
Margin of Victory | 20.113 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Blake Baggett – 1:55.071 minutes