PHOTOS | Swanberg
The final round of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is in the books! After eleven rounds, it all came down to this. Well, almost, as Zach Osborne wrapped up the 250 MX National title last weekend at the 2017 Budds Creek MX. As for the 450 class though, there was still 50 points up for grabs and three riders with a shot at winning. Eli Tomac had a comfortable cushion built up heading in, but he’d have to face off for two more motos with Blake Baggett and Marvin Musquin. Adding to the excitement was the addition of Jeffrey Herlings, who came to America ahead of the MXGP of the USA to compete in the final outdoor National of the year. Here’s how it all went down.
250 Moto One
Championship on the line or not, there was no slowing down the guys in the 250 class. Jeremy Martin rocketed out of the gate to take the holeshot and early lead. It looked like a three rider battle would brew between him, Cianciarulo, and Osborne, but Martin would go down early and fall back into twelfth place. Meanwhile, in fourth and fifth, rookies Chase Sexton and Sean Cantrell dueled early on with Nichols and Plessinger not far behind. Plessinger would also go down and end up battling with Martin.
Up front, Osborne was using unique lines and staying low rather than hit the bigger jumps on the track to pull up on Cianciarulo. He would eventually make his way around and pull away with the lead. As the laps began winding down, Cantrell would give up fourth place to Nichols. He would go to work on Sexton in the closing laps, and Sexton would have two big crashes, ultimately allowing Nichols to inherit third. Plessinger fought his way back up to fourth, and Cantrell rounded out the top five. When the checkered flag flew, it was all Osborne though, who would open up nearly an 11-second lead over Cianciarulo.
Total Race Time | 35:04.604, 16 Laps
Fastest Lap Time | Zach Osborne – 2:09.624
Margin of Victory | 9.163 Seconds
Laps Led | Adam Cianciarulo – 8; Zach Osborne – 7; Jeremy Martin – 1
250 Moto Two
Similarly to the first moto, Cianciarulo grabbed the holeshot with Martin and Osborne right behind him. This time the three would actually battle though, and it would be Osborne who would come out on top. Adam would fall into second and begin pulling away from Jeremy a bit. All eyes then fell on Plessinger, who was steadily working his way through the pack and charging hard towards the front. Aaron would catch his hand while scrubbing a single and crashed. The accident ripped his glove off and he would pull out of the race with what appeared to be a possible injury to his left arm.
For a majority of the moto, the order would remain the same. Then in the final minutes, Colt Nichols would enter the picture and get into a battle over third with Martin. Nichols would take over the spot from Martin, but on the last lap, Martin would take the position back. Still, Nichols would be able to take the overall podium position.
At the checkered flag, it was all Osborne. With 1-1 scores he’d take the overall victory and complete his championship season on top. Behind him, Adam Cianciarulo finished a solid second place with his 2-2 scores, and Nichols would earn his first career podium with 3-4 scores.
Total Race Time | 35:29.288, 16 Laps
Fastest Lap Time | Zach Osborne 2:10.145
Margin of Victory | 8.325 Seconds
Laps Led | Zach Osborne – 15 Laps; Adam Cianciarulo – 1 Lap
450 Moto One
All eyes were on Tomac, Baggett, and Musquin for the first gate drop in the 450 class, as Tomac could potentially wrap the title up. Eli grabbed the holeshot and for a moment he looked set to run away with the win. Herlings made his presence known though and quickly stole the lead from Tomac. The two would go to battle, with championship contenders Baggett and Musquin just behind. In an effort to catch Herlings, Tomac launched an uphill jump into a corner, but when he landed the bike stuck in the dirt and tossed him over the bars. He would drop to fifth and remain in that spot for the remainder of the moto.
Up ahead, Musquin was determined to keep his championship hopes alive and pushed the pace to chase down Herlings for the win. The two would trade fast lap times back and forth, but Musquin kept digging and eventually began closing the gap. Hanging it all out on the line, Marvin chased down Herlings and was in striking distance. Musquin would briefly stall the bike, make a few other mistakes, and eventually backed it down. Behind him, Baggett and Seely took third and fourth without much challenge.
At the end of the race, Herlings led every lap of the race and put in a dominant performance in his first ever Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship moto. When it comes to the title, however, the big news was Musquin and Baggett managing to keep their hopes alive by shrinking the gap to 24 points, the exact number needed to keep their championship hopes alive for one more moto.
Total Race Time | 34:31.794, 16 Laps
Fastest Lap Time | Marvin Musquin – 2:07:724
Margin of Victory | 8.080 Seconds
Laps Led | Jeffrey Herlings – 16 Laps
450 Moto Two
In the final moto of the 2017 Lucas Oil Motocross Championship and with 25 points on the line, everyone’s attention was on the 450 MX class championship. At the gate drop, Baggett got out to the early lead with Musquin just behind him. The two did exactly what they needed to in order to keep their hopes alive. Meanwhile, Tomac and moto one winner Jeffrey Herlings were buried in the pack.
Early on, Musquin took the lead from Baggett and looked like he’d run away with it. From there, the focus shifted to Tomac, as it was key for him to finish the moto and score a single point. He would race conservatively inside the top ten without incident, and slowly worked his way up to towards the top five as the laps winded down. Meanwhile, Herlings was on a tear and was making pass after pass to put himself into third. He then managed to catch and pass Baggett for second.
When time expired, it appeared as if Musquin would win, but Tomac would be crowned champion. However, Musquin would go down with two laps to go and give the lead up to Herlings. At that point, Tomac mathematically locked the championship down. It was an impressive day for Herlings, who won the overall with 1-1 scores.
Total Race Time | 34:45.156, 16 Laps
Fastest Lap Time | Jeffrey Herlings – 2:08.295
Margin of Victory | 2.628 Seconds
Laps Led | Jeffrey Herlings – 2; Marvin Musquin – 14