2021 AMA Pro Motocross Recap: High Pointby Jack Gaffney June 20, 2021 0 comments
Despite some threat of scattered storms a few days out, the racing Saturday at High Point went by without much if any inclement weather. Headlines included a first-time 250 National winner. As well as a points lead change in the 450 class. Not to mention a flash of hope for one of the class’s best. Recap of the action right here.
Hunter Lawrence who paced the 250 field in qualifying would have an eventful start to his day. Coming down the big downhill section, he would end up going off track and lose upwards of 20 spots in the process. With his wreck, a major opportunity would open up for second-year Husqvarna rider Jalek Swoll. He would inherit a two-second lead, however, Justin Cooper and Swoll’s teammate R.J. Hampshire were hot on his tail at about the seven-minute mark.
About a lap later, Hampshire would get by his young teammate and begin to check out on the field. Cooper meanwhile would fall down and lose a couple of spots with that battle going on. The elder Lawrence brother meanwhile would be putting on an excellent rally after his early wreck.
With about 10 minutes remaining, he would be knocking on the door of a top 10 result, after being as low as 25th in the early stages of Moto 1. His brother Jett Lawrence meanwhile was able to blitz Cooper to get into fourth place around the same time. Cooper shortly thereafter would get passed by Jo Shimoda. Then the real gut punch happened. While leading by nearly 10 seconds, Hampshire suffered some sort of mechanical issue and was out of the moto. By the looks of it, a may have been a bike chain issue. Regardless, this would lead to the 20-year-old Swoll getting the first moto win of his career.
The second 250 moto of the day would be one that Pro Circuit Kawi’s Jo Shimoda would like to forget. Right off the start, he got his bike tangled with another rider. It took upwards of two minutes to get the two bikes free of each other. Shimoda would have damage to his handlebars. Just after going back out, he would pull back into the pits for repairs. Meanwhile, Cooper would cruise out to a nice five-second lead early. Behind him, Swoll and Jett Lawrence would be set in a heated battle for second place. Lawrence would pass Swoll for the second spot eventually. Now Swoll would have to turn his attention to Colt Nichols behind him in four, who had just come off of a second in Moto 1.
With under 10 minutes remaining, there were a couple of fresh faces in and around the top five. First would be FXR/Chapparal Honda rider, Carson Mumford. He was comfortably in the top 10 for most of the moto but had himself in a great spot to get a top-five to end his day. Garrett Marchbanks of ClubMX Yamaha. Marchbanks, who was in fourth with five minutes remaining, was in line for a career-best moto finish. And a big shoutout to Dilan Schwartz of BarX-Suzuki. He had a tremendous run at Thunder Valley for ninth overall and gave himself back-to-back top ten results. Keep an eye out for Schwartz here as the season progresses. Cooper who had no pressure from behind him, would cruise to his first moto win of the year. But Swoll would pick up his first career AMA Overall win with an impressive 1-3 day.
Historic Day For Swoll
Swoll becomes the first African American to win an AMA National since James Stewart did just a little over seven years ago to the day. Even more ironic is that the win came at High Point. A historic day for the 20-year-old, on the first nationally recognized Juneteenth no less. A very popular win as well. The crowd at the podium seemed absolutely thrilled for the first-time winner. Swoll comes off as a fantastic kid who has a bright future ahead, felt like the crowd concurred. Could not be happier for him. Even his 450 compatriot Dean Wilson was shown congratulating him after both Motos.
— ProTaper (@ProTaper) June 19, 2021
Top 10 Overall in 250 Class
No. 47 Jalek Swoll: 1-3
No. 18 Jett Lawrence: 3-2
No. 32 Justin Cooper: 5-1
No. 34 Colt Nichols: 2-5
No. 48 Garrett Marchbanks: 10-4
No. 35 Austin Forkner: 7-6
No. 75 Ty Masterpool: 9-10
No. 41 Hunter Lawrence: 8-11
No. 90 Dilan Schwartz: 6-13
No. 39 Carson Mumford: 13-7
No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis– Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (2-2 for first overall)
The only negative to Ferrandis’ day was that he did not win a moto. He won the overall on the day, and more importantly, has retaken the points lead from Ken Roczen by three points. He also was able to run in those top two or three spots throughout the day which is another plus. Not really much else to say on the rookie Frenchman. He has been all business since the first gate drop at Pala and has shown no signs of slowing down. We might not have even seen the best of Ferrandis yet either. With a slew of East Coast tracks coming up, it is worth bringing up that Ferrandis last year finished either first or second overall in all but one “East” National.
No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo– Monster Energy Kawasaki (1-4 for second overall)
It was a rather eventful first moto win for AC, to say the least, and by eventful, I mean almost losing the race literal feet from the finish line. After leading the entire race from wire to wire, a lapped rider fell in a rut coming to the finish. Cianciarulo hit him and went down for some late-race drama in the most literal sense. Fortunately, AC was able to get up before second-place Ferrandis could get to him. On the downside, Cianciarulo was unable to translate a good start in Moto 2 to a win as well, even falling behind title rivals Ferrandis and Roczen and settled into fourth. But after a tumultuous start to his year in Pala, AC has now put together a couple of overall podiums in a row.
No. 3 Eli Tomac– Monster Energy Kawasaki (6-1 for third overall)
After two of arguably his worst motocross performances in the last five years, Tomac appears to have reappeared. Tomac started with a sixth in the opening moto, which was not bad by any stretch. Racing competitively with Cooper Webb and Aaron Plessinger for a solid stretch. In Moto 2, American Motocross’s boogeyman this last half-decade seemed to be back in full force, at least for just one moto.
ET3 rode about as violently angry as he had in a while. Getting by Cianicarulo for the lead, and then checking out from everyone else. Despite Ferrandis making some inroads in the closing stages, Tomac had the win well in hand and took home the last spot on the overall podium. Not a perfect day by any stretch, but that second moto is exactly what Tomac needed. Now it is just a matter of putting consecutive moto’s together as this season rolls on.
No. 7 Aaron Plessinger- Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (5-8 for sixth overall)
While Plessinger did not make any headlines with his riding on Saturday, he now finds himself in a great spot points-wise. A fourth of the way in, the only two riders ahead of him in points are Ferrandis and Roczen. This despite Plessinger’s overall results declining each round so far, from a third in Pala to a sixth on Saturday. Regardless, Plessinger has comfortably made himself a title contender in the early goings of this season.
Top Ten in 450 Class:
No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis (2-2)
No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo (1-4)
No. 3 Eli Tomac (6-1)
No. 94 Ken Roczen (3-3)
No. 23 Chase Sexton (4-5)
No. 7 Aaron Plessinger (5-8)
No. 51 Justin Barcia (9-6)
No. 25 Marvin Musquin (10-7)
No. 17 Joey Savatgy (8-9)
No. 2 Cooper Webb (7-11)
Now riders have back-to-back off weeks in prep for one of the crown jewels of the sport, RedBud. Once again is back to Fourth of July weekend and should prove for some top-notch racing.
Follow Jack Gaffney on Twitter @JackGaffneyPTST
Main Image Credit: https://twitter.com/ProMotocross/status/1406315187100061701