Perhaps the biggest crown jewel in all of American motocross made its rightful return to fourth of July weekend this year. At this year’s RedBud National, some of the best racing in recent memory went down. Specifically, in the two 450 Motos. In the 250 class, the Rockstar Husqvarna squad picked up their second overall win in a row as well. Breakdown of that and more from round four of AMA Pro Motocross at RedBud.
Pre Race Headlines
A major development was unraveled yesterday by Micheal Antonovich of SwapMotoLive. According to him, The United States seems set to send a Motocross Des Nations unit to Italy in September. While no team has been officially set on yet, Team USA manager Roger De Coster has made the rounds in the pits to ask around for riders. While it was no guarantee that a United States entry would go, it is nice to see that they are indeed going ahead with doing so. Expect a team announcement on the weekend of the Unadilla National, as is tradition in years past.
Secondly, a few notable moves have come in the 250 Star Yamaha camp. Preseason title favorite Jeremy Martin has opted to return to racing. This happening far earlier than expected with his hand injury. Also one of Yamaha’s top amateur prospects officially made his professional debut. The gentleman that we will call “The Master Chef”, Levi Kitchen from Washougal, WA. It is interesting that he is making his pro debut before this year’s amateur national championship at Loretta Lynn’s. A time cannot be recalled where this has happened in years past.
Finally, with it being Fourth of July weekend, Fox gave their riders some excellent Rick Johnson throwback kits to wear.
[Pictures One and Four with Jo Shimoda and Adam Cianciarulo]
Justin Cooper would translate his pole qualifying effort with a Moto 1 holeshot, but his lead would not last long. Coming to the finish line jump for the first time he would wreck on the takeoff and lose around a half dozen spots. This would allow RJ Hampshire to inherit the lead with the Lawrence Brothers and Martin in tow. Hampshire’s Moto would be eventful, to say the least, but not much as his Moto 1 from High Point.
The Husqvarna rider ended up tipping over twice but was able to rally to almost win at the very end, just missing out on a late pass on Jett Lawrence. Hunter Lawrence would finish third tying his season-best moto finish behind them. Behind the top three, Jalek Swoll who went 1-3 at High Point would end up in eight here. Martin with a fractured hand and all ended up fifth. Finally, the Master Chef, Kitchen, would finish respectfully in ninth in his pro debut.
Cooper would holeshot for the second time of the day, with Martin and Hampshire chasing. Lawrence fell early, shuffling himself outside of the top 15. However, the Australian phenom was able to rally up to sixth, but lost a shot at the overall win. Hampshire went on to lead the wide majority of the moto before a slip up handed the moto win to Justin Cooper. Despite missing out on a 1-1 day, Hampshire’s 2-2 on the day was good enough for his first overall win of the season. It also gives Rockstar Husqvarna back-to-back overall’s in the 250 class with two different riders.
Top 10 Overall in 250 Class
No. 24 RJ Hampshire 2nd, 2nd
No. 32 Justin Cooper 4-1
No. 18 Jett Lawrence 1-6
No. 41 Hunter Lawrence 3-4
No. 6 Jeremy Martin 5-3
No. 30 Jo Shimoda 6-5
No. 45 Pierce Brown 7-7
No. 67 Stilez Robertson 12-8
No. 115 Max Vohland 10-11
No. 47 Jalek Swoll 8-14
No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis– Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (1st, 2nd for first overall)
We are now eight motos into this season and Ferrandis has yet to finish worse than third in a single one. A remarkable early-season run for the 450 rookie, to say the least. In moto one on Saturday, Ferrandis blitzed his way through the field, going from sixth to first pass some of the best the sport has to offer. Truly one of the best individual moto performances in a long time. Despite winning the opening frame, he did receive a one-point penalty for jumping a tabletop with a Red Cross flag out.
Luckily, that penalty did not come back to haunt Ferrandis in Moto 2. After a Ken Roczen get-off put Ferrandis into third around 10 minutes in, Ferrandis stuck behind teammate Aaron Plessinger for a good while. With little time remaining, he was able to get by his teammate to secure his third overall win in just his fourth-career 450 Motocross start. More importantly, his gap over Roczen in the points standings further increases.
No. 3 Eli Tomac– Monster Energy Kawasaki (4-1 for second overall)
For the second national in a row, it was a quality outing for Tomac to get him an overall podium. He was able to get the rare set of good starts and was a fixture in the top five all day long. In Moto 2, Tomac was able to keep a hard-charging Plessinger at bay multiple times and had enough of a gap at the end to hold off Ferrandis. After the horrendous start to the year Tomac had in Pala and Thunder Valley, this is more of what we have been accustomed to seeing. He now has three top-five moto results in his last four, on top of a couple of moto wins.
No. 7 Aaron Plessinger- Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (3-3 for third overall)
Before we get into Plessinger’s strong day, the outfit he wore on Friday for media day has to be seen. Preposterous while also phenomenal.
A specimen. Plessinger quietly sits third place in points a third of the way into this season. Getting on the podium at RedBud with a strong 3-3 day. He did not have the speed to run better than the likes of Ferrandis, Roczen, or Tomac, but a pair of thirds is a very respectable outing. It is one that could pay dividends down the line if he can make up ground on Ferrandis and Roczen ahead of him.
No. 23 Chase Sexton– Honda HRC (8-4 for sixth overall)
Sexton deserves a ton of credit for salvaging what easily could have been a horrible day. After going down in the opening corner of Moto 1, he was able to rally from outside the top 20 and finish in eighth place. Sexton then backed that up with a strong fourth in the second Moto. Ricky Carmichael always says that you win your championships on your bad days. While Sexton’s title hopes are not looking the best currently, this was a ride that shows he can be a championship-caliber rider.
No. 9 Adam Cianciarulo– Monster Energy Kawasaki (6-23 for 13th overall)
AC was not able to rally from a bad start like his training partner Sexton was on Saturday. Despite a fourth in the opening Moto, Cianciarulo ended up wrecking in Moto 2 from second on the opening lap. His front fender ended up bending to where the front end folded inside in between the fork arms. From there Cianciarulo did what he could to nurse a bike clearly not at 100 percent to a sub- top-20 finish. A huge blow to any title hopes AC had.
Top 10 Overall in 450 Class
No. 14 Dylan Ferrandis 1-2 (One-point penalty)
No. 3 Eli Tomac 4-1
No. 7 Aaron Plessinger 3-3
No. 94 Ken Roczen 2-6 (Two-point penalty)
No. 29 Christian Craig 5-5
No. 23 Chase Sexton 8-4
No. 2 Cooper Webb 7-9
No. 51 Justin Barcia 9-8
No. 17 Joey Savatgy 10-10
No. 28 Brandon Hartranft 11-13
The lads are back at it again next weekend. This time from the sandbox in Southwick, MA for round five of 12.
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Main Image Credit: Motocross Action Magazine