PHOTOS | Swanberg
Heading into round five of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series, there was much concern that the 2017 Muddy Creek MX would live up to its name with rain looming in the forecast, and rain it did. Luckily, by the time the gate dropped the sun had come out and the track would dry out t. This proved challenging for both the racers and their bikes, but the racing continued to be just as good as it has been all season.
250 Moto One
When the gate dropped it was all Aaron Plessinger, as he grabbed the holeshot and lead the pack. Behind him, GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy, and Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis were caught up in a first-turn crash. As the race began developing, Plessinger felt the pressure of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s of Cianciarulo and Forkner behind him. It wasn’t long before Plessinger would respond and begin opening a gap up over them.
Throughout the entire moto, the battle between third to seventh was raging between Alex Martin, McElrath, Hampshire, and Osborne. Hampshire would fade from fourth to seventh before his bike suffered a mechanical failure. With time winding down, the race eventually turned into a three-way battle between Forkner, A. Martin, and Osborne. Despite opening and closing gaps on one another, the three remained locked into third, fourth and fifth all the way up to the checkered flag.
Behind the battles up front, Ferrandis, Savatgy, and Jeremy Martin charged through the pack in a three rider train. Eventually, Jeremy would slide out and lose sight of the other two, finishing fourteenth, while Ferrandis would work his way to ninth and Savatgy to eleventh.
In the midst of the intense battles all over the track, Plessinger quietly led the race from start to finish, with Cianciarulo a few seconds behind.
Total Race Time | 18 laps, 34:43.316 minutes
Laps Led | Aaron Plessinger – 18
Margin of Victory | 4.900 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Aaron Plessinger 1:52.259
250 Moto Two
Once again, Aaron Plessinger grabbed the holeshot and went to work. However, Zach Osborne had a much better start in this moto and put on a charge towards the front. Behind him, Jeremy Martin and Joey Savatgy would also have much better starts, but were unable to crack the top five. In the early laps, it was Sean Cantrell and Austin Forkner running second and third, but Cantrell would have a scary endo and crash out of the race. From there, Osborne worked his way around Forkner and matched Plessinger’s pace.
Lap after lap, Osborne paced Plessinger, but then Plessinger would make a mistake and get hung up in a corner. This allowed Osborne to close the gap, and forced Plessinger to back it down through the next series of jumps. Osborne would jump by him for the lead and immediately began pushing even harder to open up his lead.
Meanwhile, Forkner, Alex Martin, and Cianciarulo were locked in a heated battle that resembled the first 250 moto. Throughout the entire race, the three riders would catch each other, only to lose ground again. Alex would even end up off the track at one point trying to avoid a lapper in his path. Again, just as things played out in moto one, Forkner would hang on for third over Alex Martin, and Cianciarulo finished right behind them in fifth.
Once Osborne took the lead, he never looked back. He built a comfortable gap over Plessinger to claim the moto win, but with 1-2 scores Plessinger would still win the overall.
Total Race Time | 18 laps, 34:43.565 minutes
Laps Led | Zach Osborne – 13, Aaron Plessinger – 5
Margin of Victory | 4.164 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Aaron Plessinger 1:52.532
450 Moto One
The first 450 moto provided more of the same exciting results we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in 2017. Auto Trader/Monster Energy/JGR/Suzuki’s Justin Barcia grabbed the holeshot, but Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson would quickly steal the lead and run away. Behind them, a pack of Suzuki’s were battling hard. Barcia, Bogle, Peick, and Tickle would swap positions all moto long, but Tomac, and later Baggett, would manage to work their way through them to move into second and third.
Near the end of the moto, Weston Peick would come away from the battle in fourth. Behind him would be Barcia, who rode to a respectable fifth place finish in his first race back from a concussion. Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin, who is currently riding with a knee injury, was working on Barcia on the last lap and the two made contact. This allowed RCH Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Broc Tickle to slip by for sixth. At the finish, it would be Musquin side-by-side with Dean Wilson for seventh and eighth. Rounding out the top ten would be Cooper Webb in ninth and Trey Canard in his first race back from injury in tenth.
It was Anderson’s race though, as he collected the win. The gaps between Anderson, Tomac, and Baggett were fairly large. In fact Baggett would tuck the front end late in the race and comfortably retain third place.
Total Race Time | 18 laps, 34:41.269 minutes
Laps Led | Jason Anderson – 18 laps
Margin of Victory | 4.544 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Eli Tomac 1:151.834
450 Moto Two
Chaos unfolded in the first turn of the second 450 moto as several riders nearly crossed lines fighting for the holeshot. Justin Bogle would manage to edge out Tomac, Canard, and Anderson. It was also another great start for Peick, who ran in the top five early on. In the same first turn, Baggett, Webb, and Tickle would go down together in a pileup that left them at the very back of the pack. Before the first lap concluded, Bogle would tip over and allow Tomac to take the lead. From there Anderson would fight his way around Peick and Canard to put himself into second, but the gap from there to Tomac was already up to nine seconds.
As things started to settle in up front, all eyes were on red plate holder Blake Baggett as he fought his way through the pack. Before the halfway point he had already worked his way back into the top 20, and he wasn’t finished there. Soon he was making moves into the top ten, and in the final moments of the moto he crept up on the top five. While he and Davalos battled over fifth place, they managed to catch Peick and Bogle who ran third and fourth. Baggett seized the opportunity and rode hard to pass all three riders for the podium spot.
Not all of the championship contenders had great days at Muddy Creek however. Early series points leader Marvin Musquin continued to fight through his knee injury and was running in the top ten when a rock kicked up and damaged his front brake caliper. This forced him to pull out in the final minutes of the race and as a result, he would score no points.
While many focused on the drama unfolding behind him, Eli Tomac would go on to win 450 Moto Two in a dominating fashion, and with a better second moto result he would break the tie with Anderson for the overall win.
Total Race Time | 18 laps, 34:32.209 minutes
Laps Led | Eli Tomac – 18
Margin of Victory | 33.928 seconds
Fastest Lap Time | Eli Tomac 1:51.479