Round seven of the United States Motocross Championships at Southwick, in Massachusetts, at the weekend saw some of the world’s best riders rip up the sand at what was probably the most physically-demanding tracks of the season thus far.
Points leader Eli Tomac continued on his recent hot streak by putting his Monster Energy Kawasaki atop the podium for the third straight round, and fourth time this season, to extend his championship lead.
In the 250 Class, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne emerged with his second consecutive 250 class win.
The opening 450 Class moto saw KTM rider Blake Baggett power his way down the sandy start straight to capture his second holeshot of the season, just ahead of team-mate Dakota Alix and KTM’s Isaac Teasdale. While rounding the opening corner, Alix lost his momentum, which caused Baggett to make contact that soon took several riders to the ground. The incident put Baggett into the lead and allowed Teasdale to slide into second, with Suzuki’s Weston Peick in third. The blistering pace at the front proved to be too much for Teasdale and at the end of the opening lap it was Baggett, Peick, and Tomac.
While Baggett quickly put his head down out front and began to open a small gap, the battle for second started to heat up as Peick and Tomac went bar-to-bar.
Tomac used every inch of the track as he desperately searched for a way around the Suzuki rider, eventually making the pass stick on lap two. Once into second, Tomac dropped the hammer and wasted no time latching onto the rear fender of Baggett. On lap three, Tomac got an excellent drive down one of the long straights to pull alongside Baggett and ultimately take over the race lead. Yamaha’s Cooper Webb then began to apply pressure on Peick for third and would find his way by for the final podium position.
Shortly after taking the race lead, Tomac was all business as he clocked the fastest laps of the race in an attempt to distance himself from Baggett. As Tomac stretched his lead, Baggett searched for smooth lines on the bumpy circuit and soon began to distance himself from Webb in third.
Tomac remained unchallenged as he crossed the checkered flag for his seventh moto win of the season, with a 15.9 second advantage over Baggett in second. The rookie Webb held onto third to capture his first 450 Class moto podium. After falling on the opening lap, KTM’s Marvin Musquin put in a spectacular come-from-behind ride to finish fourth.
Musquin launched out of the gate to lead the field and take his second holeshot award in the 450 class second moto, followed closely by Baggett and Husqvarna’s Martin Davalos.
Suzuki’s Justin Barcia was on a tear to start the race as he made the pass on Davalos for third and had Baggett within striking distance. Musquin had already opened a small cushion when he crossed the line on the opening lap, as Baggett and Barcia gave chase.
While Musquin relied on his silky smooth riding style to navigate the treacherous conditions on the track, the battle began to intensify for the remaining podium positions. On lap two, Barcia made a big mistake that sent him crashing to the ground, which helped Tomac slide into third.
Once into third, Tomac demonstrated incredible speed and began to close in on Baggett for second. On Lap 4, Tomac carried his momentum down one of the rough hills and dove to the inside of Baggett to take control of second and instantly mount his charge on Musquin.
As Musquin continued to hit his lines out front, Tomac began to reduce the deficit and moved within bike lengths. With Musquin protecting the inside lines, Tomac was using the longer outside lines in an attempt to find a way around, pulling alongside Musquin for the lead several times. Despite Musquin upping his pace, Tomac was relentless and made a brilliant pass around the outside to take over the lead on the sixth lap. Shortly after being bumped to second, Musquin had a massive crash that launched him off the side off the track in the air and sent him to the ground, which soon forced an early retirement from the race. The Frenchman’s misfortune moved Baggett into second and Webb into third.
Similar to the first moto, Tomac was putting on a riding clinic as he broke away from the field and opened a commanding lead on his fellow competitors. As Baggett remained in control of second, Webb made a mistake that cost him several positions and allowed Husqvarna’s Dean Wilson to move into the final podium spot.
Tomac crossed the line with a 21.1 second margin of victory to take his eighth moto win of the season, and his fifth in a row. Baggett finished strong in second, followed by a career-best ride by the Scotsman Wilson, who earned his first moto podium result in third.
The 1-1 effort by Tomac gave him his ninth career 450 class overall win, and back-to-back wins in Southwick. Baggett, who fought through a thumb injury from a crash last weekend at RedBud, finished second overall (2-2), while Wilson’s strong second moto was good enough to earn his first career 450 Class overall podium result (6-3).
“We only have one really good sand track of the year and that is here at Southwick,” said Tomac “It seems most guys either love or hate this track, but I’m a big fan of it and enjoy coming here. I think we’re in a good spot points wise. We’re not really fighting anything on the motorcycle and it’s nice to head into the off weekend on a good note.”
Tomac’s win added an additional six points to his lead in the championship standings, which now sits at 19-points over Baggett in second. Despite his misfortune and a 12th-place finish (4-38), Musquin moved into third in the standings and is 72-points out of the championship lead. Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson entered the day third in points, but was unable to compete due to an injury suffered just days before the race and was shuffled back to fourth, just three points behind Musquin.
“I rode the best I could today with the injury [thumb] and salvaged points”, said Baggett. “This isn’t my favorite race of the year, so I was just looking forward to getting through it. I’m going to get an MRI on Monday and we will have to see what the results are. Worst case we will have to get a small operation and hope that it heals in time for Millville.”
Photo by Simon Cudby
RESULTS AND STANDINGS:
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (1-1)
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (2-2)
- Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Husqvarna (6-3)
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha (3-6)
- Martin Davalos, Quito, Ecuador, Husqvarna (7-4)
- Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (5-5)
- Christian Craig, Corona, Calif., Honda (10-7)
- Fredrik Noren, Lidkoping, Sweden, Honda (8-10)
- Henry Miller, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (13-9)
- Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki (9-13)
450 Class Championship Standings
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 291
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 272
- Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM – 219
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna – 216
- Dean Wilson, Glasgow, Scotland, Husqvarna – 198
- Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki – 183
- Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda – 164
- Weston Peick, Menifee, Calif., Suzuki – 150
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha – 147
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki – 146
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (2-1)
- Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha (1-2)
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM (3-3)
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Honda (5-4)
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (4-6)
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (7-5)
- Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha (6-7)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (9-8)
- Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha (8-10)
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (15-9)
250 Class Championship Standings
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 301
- Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., KTM – 256
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 242
- Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha – 199
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 195
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 190
- Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 186
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 184
- Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha – 176
- Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha – 168