PHOTOS | Mike Emery
Following a dramatic conclusion at the 2018 RedBud Motocross, the anticipation for Spring Creek was high. In the 250 class, Aaron Plessinger and Alex Martin both came into the race needing to beat the other in order to gain momentum in the championship fight. Meanwhile, a huge swing in points in the 450 class had given Marvin Musquin the red background. The question now would be whether or not he could keep his lead over Eli Tomac. With rain threatening to shake things up, the 2018 Spring Creek Motocross was set to be a pivotal round in the series.
250 MOTO ONE
Joey Savatgy grabbed a big holeshot to start off the first 250 moto. Behind him would be Jordon Smith and Alex Forkner running second and third. Halfway through the first lap, Savatgy would drop his front end in an off camber and forfeit the lead. This moved Smith to first. Just a few corners later, Justin Cooper got past Forkner for second place. Forkner would continue to face pressure from Aaron Plessinger. After two laps, Plessinger would make the move on Forkner. This would lead to a battle between Cooper and his teammate Plessinger over second place. At this point, both riders still had Jordon Smith in their sites as well.
With nine minutes off the clock, Plessinger would make the pass on Cooper, who was now under fire from Forkner. Cooper would lose the spot to Forkner after battling for a lap. Out front, Plessinger would dive to the inside on one of the biggest downhills and brake late to get past Smith for the lead. He would quickly begin to gap the rest of the field. At the halfway point, Smith would hold second, Forkner third, Cooper fourth, and Sexton in fifth. Then, as time wound down to just seven minutes left, Forkner was able to make the move on Smith for second place. Smith would attempt to take the spot back, but ultimately Forkner would slowly pull away.
In the final laps of the race, a four-way battle had developed between Cooper in fourth and Shane McElrath, RJ Hampshire, and Martin all running behind him. Despite their best efforts, none of them could find an advantage over the other to make a pass. At the front of the pack, Plessinger had stretched his lead out considerably and delivered another moto win. Forkner and Smith would round out the podium.
450 MOTO ONE
The holeshot would go to Ken Roczen, who narrowly edged out Marvin Musquin for the lead. Eli Tomac would hold the third place spot, lose it to Blake Baggett, and then regain it when Baggett went off the track. Tomac would waste no time putting the pressure on Musquin for the second place spot. Both riders had dropped back from Roczen already with just two laps completed. Five minutes into the race, Musquin made a mistake that would allow Tomac to get by. Running fifth would be Justin Bogle, but Phil Nicoletti and Justin Barcia would be right behind him. Barcia would move past both riders, and Nicoletti would capitalize on the battle between Barcia and Bogle to get back into sixth.
Near the 20-minute mark, Tomac had closed the gap on Roczen for first place. However, Roczen would ride smooth and consistent to hold off the charge from Tomac. It also appeared as though Musquin may catch up to the two riders ahead of him, but he would end up going down and losing third to Baggett.
At the seven minute mark, it appeared as though Roczen could hold off Tomac, but he would get hung up trying to get around a lapped rider and Tomac would close the gap enough to make a pass through the rollers. Tomac would stretch his lead from there and go on to win. Roczen would hang onto second, with Baggett finishing up third.
250 MOTO TWO
Following a poor start in the first moto, Martin shot out to the front of the pack in the second moto with Plessinger right behind him. Plessinger would waste no time applying the pressure to Martin and he would once again charge downhill to make the pass for the lead. Further back, Hampshire looked strong early, but got tangled with Savatgy and went down. After losing the lead, Martin lost little time to Plessinger. The two frontrunners would be followed by Cooper, Smith, Forkner, and Savatgy.
Forkner would make a pass on Smith, but Smith would take the spot back. Just as quickly, Savatgy would also make a pass on Forkner. Savatgy would then pass Smith, but again, Smith fought back and got around Savatgy to take back his position in fourth. However, Savatgy would stay just a few bike lengths behind Smith and not let up at all. A lap later, Savatgy would drag race Smith up the hill and edge him out for fourth. Forkner would then pick up his pace and pass Smith for fifth before putting on a charge to catch his teammate. With just over ten minutes left, Forkner would make the pass for fourth on Savatgy. Then a few minutes later, Forkner would have to pull into the mechanic’s area with what appeared to be a bent radiator as a result of running into a lapped rider. Forkner would return to racing in 21st place.
Late in the race, Cooper had closed in on Martin, but just as soon as it seemed that a battle would take place, Martin pulled back away from Cooper. Neither rider could catch Plessinger though, who had opened up a gap of nearly ten seconds to sweep both motos on the day.
450 MOTO TWO
When the final gate dropped for the day, it would be Bogle once again claiming a holeshot. Musquin would start out second, with Roczen third and Baggett fourth. Tomac would get a top ten spot, but would have some work to do in order to catch the guys further up front. Coming down the big hill on the opening lap, both Musquin and Roczen would make the pass on Bogle for first and second. Meanwhile, Tomac would go to battle with Peick for sixth place. However, Peick and Baggett would both make passes on Bogle, who Tomac would then have to work on first. He would make the pass a few corners later and start closing back in on Peick. Tomac would eventually do so, charging through the rollers to go around the outside. From there, he would catch and pass Baggett just a short while later. With 22 minutes remaining on the clock, Tomac sat five seconds back from Roczen and seven seconds back from Musquin.
Just as the race hit its midway point, Tomac found the rear wheel of Roczen and started challenging for the win. The two would battle lap after lap before Tomac would finally make a move with just five minutes and two laps left. As time expired and three laps remained on the clock, Tomac had Musquin in his sights. When the two riders raced up Mount Martin, Tomac powered past Musquin into the lead and started sprinting away with the lead. He would up the pace significantly to take the moto win, the overall, and the points lead. Musquin and Roczen would wrap up the podium, with Baggett and Barcia holding fourth and fifth.