2021 AMA Pro Motocross Recap: Pala National 1

Pala Super Moto 250 450 Recap

The AMA Pro Motocross season kicked off on Saturday from Fox Raceway in Pala, California. The first of two 2021 trips to one of California’s top tracks served as an excellent opener to the Outdoor season. Let’s recap the exciting 250 and 450 AMA racing right here.

250 Class

Moto 1:

The start of 250 Moto One would bring a pleasant surprise. Red Bull KTM’s Max Vohland was the rider to grab the first holeshot of the season. You may recall Volhand dislocating his hip back at Indianapolis in Supercross. He quickly set sail and held on to the point for around the first half of the moto. Around that time, there was a noticeable amount of smoke coming out of Vohland’s exhaust pipe. All the while, Jeremy Martin began to run down the young KTM Rider and made what was ultimately the winning pass. Vohland would, unfortunately, pull off track from second place with his bike eventually giving out. A sad end to what was a phenomenal effort in his first professional moto.

Finishing behind Martin was Jett Lawrence, who methodically picked his way through the field after a poor start. He would also try to make a late-race push for the win, but Martin was able to pick up his lap times enough to hold on for a 4.5-second win. Third in 250 Moto One was R.J. Hampshire, who made a couple of excellent passes on his way to the final podium spot. The first was on Justin Cooper, railing around the outside of him all the way up a hill. Later, he got by Seth Hammaker, letting it rip in the wave roller section. Rounding out the top five were Michael Mosiman of TLD/Red Bull GasGas, followed by Cooper of Star Yamaha.

Moto 2:

Martin would take holeshot honors in 250 Moto 2, but Cooper took the lead away shortly thereafter. Lawrence would bolt by both Yamaha riders in a span of about a half lap at the midway point. A lap later, Martin made almost the exact same pass on Cooper that Lawrence did just past the finish line. Behind this three-pack around this time, there ended up being a couple of notable moments. First, Cameron McAdoo went down right by the mechanic’s area. Unfortunately for McAdoo, his day would end here. Pit reporter Will Christien said that McAdoo was clutching around his leg knee area and was loaded onto a medical cart. Vohland and Hampshire also got tangled up around this same time and both lost some decent spots.

After his pass for the lead, Martin was able to hold serve for his second consecutive win. From both the Supercross finale and last season’s Motocross finale to now (both of which were at Pala. Martin), he ends up second in the second 250 moto. As a result, he finishes second overall on the day. Cooper would find the podium in his second try, finishing third a ways back of the second-place Martin. Rounding out the top five were Mosiman and Austin Forkner. Vohland, after his bike failure in moto one, was able to have himself a very respectable second moto, finishing seventh at the end.


250 Class Top 10 Overall:

No. 18 Jett Lawrence: 2-1

No. 6 Jeremy Martin: 1-2

No. 32 Justin Cooper 5-3


No. 42 Micheal Mosiman: 4-4

No. 24 R.J. Hampshire: 3-9

No. 41 Hunter Lawrence: 6-5

No. 48 Garrett Marchbanks: 8-6

No. 35 Austin Forkner: 7-8

No. 34 Colt Nichols: 9-12

No. 30 Jo Shimoda: 14-11

450 Class

No. 14 Dylan Ferranids– Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (1-3 for 1st overall)

Ferrandis finding early success was not a surprise, you could even say it was close to an expectation. However, getting an overall win in his first-ever National on a 450 certainly was not. The Frenchman was able to muscle his way around Cooper Webb in Moto One to gain the lead, eventually winning in the process. All that despite a late-race charge by Chase Sexton, who only let Ferrandis win by .099 seconds at the finish line. The win in Moto Two became out of reach, but Ferrandis was able to work his way up to third which secured the overall win over Ken Roczen by five points. Now with the early season’s points lead. Ferrandis has a ton of momentum on his side going into Thunder Valley next week. However, a lot can happen in these remaining 11 Nationals and 22 Motos.

No. 94 Ken Roczen- Honda HRC (6-1 for 2nd overall)

This second overall for Roczen is about as good as a win, all things considered. His finish to the supercross season was brutal, and he seemed unsure of where he stacked up with the field during press day earlier this week. A big point with Roczen outdoors is his conditioning down the stretch in motos, which was a non-issue on Saturday. He was able to make up some late spots at the end of Moto One and led almost all of Moto Two. Going as far as to say he was playing possum with his press day comments would be a stretch, however, this is exactly what Roczen needed to do. Regardless, this is an excellent start to his outdoor campaign.

No. 51 Justin Barcia– Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing (3-6 for 4th overall)

There were times on Saturday where Barcia looked like the single best rider on the track in Pala. A good way to describe it was riding angry, and it showed. He made several aggressive passes and was showing great speed in spots. Although he just missed out on the podium to former teammate Aaron Plessinger, Barcia still has a lot to be happy about after round one. He should be a factor the entire summer based on his performance on Saturday.

No. 23 Chase Sexton- Honda HRC (2-10 for 6th overall)

Sexton’s second moto result does not represent how well he rode. You could make the argument that it was the best individual moto performance of the day. He had not even made five turns yet when he went down, falling to 40th place. Over the next 30 minutes and a handful of laps, Sexton sliced his way through the field resulting in a gritty top-10 result, and sixth overall on the day. Sexton did show the speed to run up front as well in that first moto, making a late-race push against Ferrandis, losing by just .099 seconds. While his tenth in Moto 2 could come back to haunt him points-wise, it was a hell of an effort to watch.

No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo– Monster Energy Kawasaki (7-12 for 11th overall)

Cianciarulo had a major opportunity on Saturday to throw down the gauntlet and let his presence be felt in this deep 450 class. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be for the second year 450 rider. Despite topping the charts in qualifying and building up an early nearly nine-second lead in moto one, Cianciarulo managed to turn in a disappointing day. He wrecked on the entry to a downhill section, and slowly fell back to sixth by the end. In moto two he seemed to not have much speed at all and was a relative non-factor, ending up in 12th. The good news is in a class a deep as this one, this one bad day may not completely derail his season. Cianciarulo has plenty of time to right his ship

450 Class Top 10 Overall: 

No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis: 1-3

No. 94 Ken Roczen: 6-1

No. 7 Aaron Plessinger: 4-2

No. 51 Justin Barcia: 3-6

No. 23 Chase Sexton: 2-10

No. 21 Jason Anderson: 10-4

No. 25 Marvin Musquin: 8-7

No. 2 Cooper Webb: 5-11

No. 3 Eli Tomac: 9-8

No. 1 Zach Osborne: 13-5

The second leg in this opening three-race stretch is in Tomac’s backyard; Thunder Valley MX sitting on the outskirts of Denver, CO. Tomac has a pair of overall wins at Thunder Valley in his last three starts there. Roczen had the other win in that span. Also, a shoutout to Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart, who can pop some champagne for any perfect season bid being ended today.

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Main Image Credit: via Motocross Action Magazine


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