TOMAC STILL LEADS; COOPER NINTH

Can anyone end Eli Tomac’s overall win streak? That was the question for the day for the 450 class at Southwick, Massachusetts, round six of the AMA Motocross Nationals in the United States at the weekend.

Frenchman Marvin Musquin has come close to doing so in recent weeks and has a pair of moto wins to show for it, and now, for the first time this year, he was the fastest qualifier heading into the weekend’s two 450cc races. Musquin’s 2:07.315 in the first session held up as the top lap of the day, despite Tomac clocking 2:07.385 in the second session that nearly toppled him.

New Zealand’s Cody Cooper (Honda, pictured here) qualified 12th fastest.

He followed that by finishing 38the and 16th in the two 450cc races, good enough for 20th overall for the day, and he is still ninth in the series standings.

The weekend’s racing also featured a pair of notable names making their return from injury. Justin Bogle, who had been sidelined since February due to a broken arm, qualified 10th and Cooper Webb, who was keeping expectations to a minimum for now, was just behind him in qualifying 11th on his return from a broken leg.

Qualifying is always an interesting affair at Southwick, as there usually seem to be a few local guys who rank surprisingly high on the leader-board. This weekend was no exception with Robby Marshall (5th, 2:10.582) and Chris Canning (7th, 2:11.186) both finding their way inside the top 10.

In his first race action since February, Bogle was officially credited with the holeshot, but Blake Baggett and German rider Ken Roczen were both neck-and-neck with him. Roczen emerged from the turn with the race lead, and Justin Barcia and Musquin followed him into second and third, respectively.

As for Tomac, he once again had to come back from a poor start. But by the end of lap two, he had climbed his way into the top five behind Roczen, Barcia, Musquin and Baggett. Then on the next lap, Tomac picked off Baggett for fourth place.

With Tomac charging toward them, a great battle developed among the lead trio. After nearly getting passed by Musquin, Barcia stepped it up and made a charge at Roczen to take over the lead. Musquin then got past Roczen as well to move into second.

About 11 minutes had elapsed in the race when Tomac caught the top three. After making quick work of Roczen for third place, Tomac set his sights on Musquin, who was actively trying to find a line around Barcia. The level of racing was extraordinarily high, and shortly before the midway point, Musquin was able to pass Barcia – giving the race its third different leader in less than five minutes – and Barcia then dropped second place to the hard-charging Tomac.

As the race entered its second half, things settled down just a tad. Musquin and Tomac emerged as the two frontrunners, while Barcia and Roczen lost ground to them. For the next several laps, Tomac stalked Musquin and ended up taking a lot of roost.

With the countdown clock expired and three laps to go, Tomac started getting more aggressive, but Musquin was able to counter a number of his pass attempts by shutting the door on Tomac. Shortly before the two riders came around to take the white flag, Tomac went to the outside and rode past Musquin as the two riders nearly made contact.

But the Frenchman refused to let the win get away without a fight—he raced hard on the final lap and ended up crashing on a downhill jump. The fall sent Musquin into the track banners, but he was able to get back on the bike without losing any positions. (He and Tomac had a giant gap on the rest of the field by that point.)

Tomac went on to take his ninth moto win of the season, with Musquin finishing 27 seconds behind him. Barcia, Baggett and Roczen rounded out the top five.

After his magnificent start, Bogle ended up finishing in 18th. Another rider making his return from injury, Cooper Webb, fared much better with an eighth-place finish.

450cc MOTO 2

Bogle took his second holeshot of the day but was immediately overtaken by Musquin. Phil Nicoletti and Roczen weren’t too far behind the duo, and soon Tomac came charging past all of them to move into second place behind Musquin.

After the drama of the first moto, it looked as though fans could be in store for another exciting Tomac/Musquin battle. Instead, this particular one proved to be more anticlimactic. Tomac quickly caught the Red Bull KTM rider and was able to pass him without too much difficulty. At this point, there were still more than 26 minutes left on the countdown clock.

It looked like a sixth straight overall win was in the bag for Tomac until he crashed shortly before the midway point of the race. When Tomac got back on the bike, Musquin was suddenly back on his tail and back in the hunt for the win. Once again, it looked like Tomac would be able to pull away and secure the win, but then Tomac crashed yet again. This time he was unable to get back on the bike before Musquin went by him. And so, with under 10 minutes left, Musquin inherited the lead.

Tomac was unable to mount a challenge, as there appeared to be an issue with his bike stemming from the crash. With the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider off the pace, Musquin was able to build a huge lead and cruise to the chequered flag for his third moto win of the season.

Although Musquin (2-1) and Tomac (1-2) tied in points for the day, Musquin was awarded the overall victory because of his better result in Moto 2. That brought an end to Tomac’s streak of five straight overall wins to open the season, but Tomac’s lead in the 450 class championship standings will stay at 32 points.

Musquin was the second Frenchman to win big at Southwick at the weekend. About an hour earlier, his compatriot Dylan Ferrandis won the 250MX overall.

Barcia (3-3) finished third overall for the day. Southwick marks the third straight round that Musquin, Tomac and Barcia have all been on the podium together (though the order has been different each time).

Baggett (4-4), Roczen (5-5), Benny Bloss (6-6) and Lorenzo Locurcio (7-7) all posted identical finishes in Moto 1 and Moto 2 to fill out the rest of the top seven, while Webb (8-9) took eighth overall in his first race of the season.

© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com

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RESULTS from Southwick, Massachusetts:

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (2-1)
  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (1-2)
  3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (3-3)
  4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (4-4)
  5. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (5-5)
  6. Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (6-6)
  7. Lorenzo Locurcio, , Honda (7-7)
  8. Cooper Webb, , Yamaha (8-9)
  9. Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Husqvarna (10-8)
  10. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki (9-11)

450 Class Championship Standings

  1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 289 Points
  2. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 257 Points
  3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 224 Points
  4. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 201 Points
  5. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 200 Points
  6. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki – 170 Points
  7. Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM – 156 Points
  8. Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Suzuki – 142 Points
  9. Cody Cooper, New Zealand, Honda – 85 Points
  10. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna – 73 Points

250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (4-1)
  2. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM (2-4)
  3. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM (6-2)
  4. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Honda (7-3)
  5. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (3-7)
  6. Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha (8-8)
  7. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (1-20)
  8. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (5-14)
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Husqvarna (15-6)
  10. Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., Husqvarna (10-11)

250 Class Championship Standings

  1. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 233 Points
  2. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM – 210 Points
  3. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 176 Points
  4. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 174 Points
  5. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM – 170 Points
  6. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 160 Points
  7. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Honda – 154 Points
  8. Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., KTM – 151 Points
  9. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 141 Points
  10. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 128 Points

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