PHOTOS | Octopi Media
Arguably the most iconic track in all of American motocross, RedBud always delivers an exciting day of racing. Hard-charges, big crashes, and mechanical failures highlighted the day’s stories. Above all else, the seventh round of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship proved to be pivotal in both the 250 and 450 class points standings. There’s no question that this hot, extremely rough day at RedBud will be talked about longer after the champions are crowned at the end of the summer.
450 MOTO ONE
Blake Baggett led the field around the first turn, while Justin Barcia, Marvin Musquin, and a handful of other riders went down. Lorenzo Locurcio separated Tomac from Baggett on the opening lap, but would make a mistake and lose a handful of spots. Just before Larocco's Leap, Baggett would high side and go over the bars, giving the lead to Tomac. Behind Tomac, Phil Nicoletti would find himself in second, with Heath Harrison in third and Ken Roczen in fourth. Roczen would make his way around Harrison for the podium spot and Harrison would then come under fire from Benny Bloss. Eventually, Bloss too would make a move on Harrison.
Charging through the pack, Barcia and Musquin charged through the pack with authority to work their way into the top ten in the first ten minutes of the race. Ahead of them, Roczen and Bloss would reel in Nicoletti for second and Third. As the race neared the halfway mark, Musquin continued to make forward progress by charging past Cooper Webb and Harrison to take over fifth place. He would then chip away at the gap between himself and Nicoletti, eventually taking over that spot as well. Musquin would then have around six minutes to work on the eight-second gap between himself and Bloss. Further back, Barcia had made his way up to sixth place and Baggett in eighth. With a minute and two laps left, he would charge past Bloss for the podium position. Then out of nowhere with three laps left in the moto, Tomac's rear wheel locked up. He would drag his bike off the track and be unable to finish the race. This would move Roczen into the lead, Musquin into second, and Bloss into third. That running order would stand, with Roczen taking the moto win. Barcia and Baggett round out fourth and fifth.
250 MOTO ONE
It would be Austin Forkner who would grab the holeshot and get out to the lead. In the blink of an eye, Shane McElrath shot around Forkner and started pulling away from the pack. Forkner would then face pressure from Aaron Plessinger. As the first lap was coming to a close, McElrath failed to jump Larocco’s leap. This would allow Forkner and Plessinger catch back up to him. A lap later, Plessinger would launch past Forkner over the leap to take over the second place spot. He would then go to work on McElrath for the lead. In a near carbon copy of the previous lap, Plessinger made the same move on McElrath for the lead. Forkner would then pass McElrath a lap later for second, who was immediately under pressure from Joey Savatgy. Further back, last weekend’s contenders, Alex Martin and Dylan Ferrandis, were at the back of the top ten in the running order.
At the halfway mark, McElrath continued to lead over Savatgy, who had now come under pressure from RJ Hampshire. Ultimately, both Savatgy and Hampshire would get by McElrath. Around the ten minute mark, Forkner began putting pressure on Plessinger for the lead. After a brief battle, Forkner went to the inside Plessinger for the lead. However, Plessinger would respond immediately and close back in through the sand rollers. Plessinger went to the inside line and Forkner went to the outside. The two came out of the corner side-by-side, but Plessinger’s line swept to the outside and led to the two riders making contact. Forkner’s wheel would get caught up and cause him to hit the ground hard. Visibly in pain, he would remount the bike, but pulled out of the race. Forkner’s teammate Savatgy would also have trouble in the same roller section with less than five minutes to go. The crash would cause him to fall back to 17th place.
Recovering from a poor start, Ferrandis climbed forward in the standings all moto long and with two laps to go, he would steal third place from McElrath. Meanwhile, Alex Martin had moved up to fifth place and would also pass his teammate in the final moments of the race. Out front though, Plessinger had a strong lead over Hampshire and would take the first moto win.
450 MOTO TWO
Similarly to last weekend, Justin Bogle pulled a big holeshot and got out to the lead early. Behind him, Harrison had to try to fend off Musquin and Roczen who were trading lines on the opening lap. They would both move past Harrison, and then Musquin would get past both Roczen and Bogle before Larocco’s leap. Sitting right behind them would be Barcia and Hill. Then, Bogle would go down and Barcia would inherit third. Meanwhile, Tomac’s poor gate pick due to the mechanical and the bad start he got, as a result, put him into 17th place early on. At the front of the pack, with just seven minutes off the clock, Musquin, Barcia, and Roczen all began battling in a three-way battle for the lead. Each rider would have spots on the track that they had their advantages in, but none could seem to close the gap on each other.
Then, around the 20-minute mark, Tomac would go down while running in sixth. He would drop to 13th place and then pull into the mechanic’s area to get his front brake position fixed. During this time, Musquin had pulled away from Roczen slightly, but lapped traffic had started coming into play. From there, they would match each other’s lap times, while Barcia had dropped back just out of sight. Rounding out the top five, Hill had fourth place locked down, while Baggett held onto fifth. With just under three minutes and two laps left, Tomac had more issues as he ran in ninth place. He would drop back two positions and have to work on moving forward once again. He would race back to ninth place with the time he had left. With a lap and a half to go, Roczen and Barcia went head-to-head battling over second place. Barcia would make the pass for second with just a few corners to go. Out front, Musquin would hold onto the lead and take the win and the overall.
250 MOTO TWO
Pulling away from the field rapidly, Mitchell Harrison took the holeshot demandingly. Plessinger was quick to strike though as he closed in and passed Harrison just a few corners later. Behind him, Savatgy would get past Harrison as well and try to latch onto Plessinger’s rear wheel. Colt Nichols, Hampshire, McElrath, and a handful of other riders all went down on the start. Hampshire would not remount. As the race began getting underway, Martin found himself in third place, with Mosiman fourth and Forkner in fifth. Forkner would get on a charge early to catch Mosiman for fourth, but he would have some work to do to catch Martin. In fact, it would be Martin who was challenging for position. With 20 minutes left to go, he started to pressure Savatgy for the second place spot. However, the battle with Savatgy would allow Forkner to start catching up.
The three would battle for several minutes before Martin would make a run around the outside and charge downhill past Savatgy. This would put the two teammates against one-another for third place. Forkner would manage to take the position away from Savatgy. Just moments later, Forkner pushed hard and made the move on Martin for second. Further back, Sexton, Ferrandis, and Cooper were battling over fifth place. Sexton would take over the spot, but Ferrandis was on a late race charge and was putting heavy pressure on Sexton. However, Sexton would respond and start pulling back away, but Ferrandis used Larocco’s leap to his advantage to close the gap, as Sexton was only doubling it. Eventually, both riders would resort to doubling, but Ferrandis had reeled him in once again. He would make the pass through the sand rollers with a strong drive down the inside. Ferrandis wasn’t done there, however, because he had caught Savatgy in fourth with two laps left. On the last lap he would manage his bike inside of Savatgy to get the spot. At the front, Plessinger had a strong lead over Forkner and Martin, and would take the checkered flag with ease.