The 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series concluded on Saturday at the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, IN as Ken Roczen didn't let his recently captured title affect his performance and the 250 class saw a fast rising young star in Austin Forkner.
Roczen, who captured the 2016 Championship last week with a sweep, did it again adding to an already extraordinary season that saw him blow past the competition all year and evade injury that dropped so many out of contention. Roczen grabbed the holeshot in Moto 1 and quickly grabbed the lead in Moto 2, checking out in both races, leading the whole way.
Roczen capped of his season with six straight Moto wins and ending the year taking 20 of 24 Motos and finishing second to Eli Tomac just three times. The only hiccup he encountered was Moto 1 at Glen Helen when a fork issue ended his large lead over Ryan Dungey and dropped him to fourth. Other than that, healthy or not, no one had answers for the freaky fast German.
"We've gone on an amazing run, the last few laps I was just taking it all in and I enjoyed it," he said. "It was rough out there, it was warm but I enjoyed every lap of it. It's good to close the season out one-one."
Ken Roczen finished the year the same way he started - out front
Elsewhere, Justin Barcia ended his season on a high-note taking a season high second in both Motos for a second-place overall. It was the first time all season Barcia finished second and follows a second-place overall performance he grabbed last week with two third-place finishes. Barcia was widely believed to compete for the title but early season struggles kept him off the podium but he's rebounded nicely in recent weeks.
Barcia said he and his team started figuring things out towards the end of the season and it was unfortunate it didn't happen sooner.
"All in all a decent year and a great day," said Barcia who finishes fourth for the year.
Justin Barcia founded out what it's like to try and catch Ken Roczen
Tomac took third in both Motos for third-place overall but ends the season in second-place 97 points ahead of Marvin Musquin. Tomac swept Southwick and got the overall at Washougal on the points tie-breaker and made it close several times but could never find the speed to keep up with Roczen. Tomac also avoided the injury bug which ended his season last year after a historic rip out of the gate and five straight Moto wins.
"Just have to get better that's all there is to it, got to be more in it," he said. "Second can satisfy a lot of people, (for) me it's not satisfying, so I guess it's something that will motivate me for next year."
Eli Tomac rode well all season but could never catch Ken Roczen and finished second for the year
Jason Anderson returned for the first time since sustaining a broken collarbone in a practice crash after Round 4 and went (5-5) for the day for fifth-overall. Anderson looked race ready and was tapped earlier this month to ride for Team USA in the Motocross of Nations at the end of September. Andrew Short's final race ended on a bitter sweet note as he grabbed the holeshot in Moto 2 but a suspension issue that almost kept him from lining up did prove costly as he did not finish.
In the 250 class, perhaps a changing of the guard as rookie Austin Forkner got another Moto win but more importantly his first career overall after rocketing to the holeshot in Moto 1 and embracing the early muddy conditions to check out and take the win by nearly 30 seconds over Joey Savatgy.
Forkner grabbed the holeshot again in Moto 2 and looked headed for the sweep but with Aaron Plessinger closing in about mid-way through, Forkner washed his front end out coming down off the finish line jump which dropped him to second. He toughed it out riding with bent bars but eventually dropped to third-behind Cooper Webb. Forkner said the jump was the same that gave him trouble in Moto 1.
Austin Forkner finished his rookie season on top
"I honestly don't think it's really set in yet because I'm still thinking about that crash," Forkner said of the overall win. "It was a really good race...try to ride and do the best I could. I knew where I needed to be to get the win and did it."
Forkner finished his first year as a pro in fourth-place just seven points behind Savatgy who did not finish Moto 2 for the third-straight round. As for the newly crowned Champion, Webb managed another round fighting from the rear of the pack to get into podium position.
In Moto 1, Webb dropped from third-place to 19th in the first lap after getting stuck in a rut but he managed to fight back into fifth-place. In Moto 2 he fared better with a start in fifth-place, worked his way to second and got on the podium in third with 38 points, losing the tie-breaker for second to Plessinger but taking the tie-breaker over Alex Martin for third.
"I'm stoked on the Championship but wanted to win," he said. "But it's all good. We're healthy, going to the GPs and Motocross of Nations healthy. It was cool to see AP get a Moto win."
Indeed, AP, or Plessinger, got the win for Moto 2 his first of the year at what's considered his hometown race and where he grabbed his first career Moto win and overall last year. Plessinger finishes in fifth-place for the year with 351 points, besting last year's sixth-place finish and 311 points. Martin easily held on for second-place on the year and his brother and two-time defending Champion Jeremy Martin who called it a season after an injury at Washougal finishes in sixth-place.
Alex Martin had a stellar year finishing second on the season
It's all over. The racing season continues for a handful of riders including Webb on September 3 and 11 when the final rounds of the Motocross World Championship head to the United States. The Motocross of Nations is September 25 in Maggiora, Italy.
But gates for the silly season drop now.
2016 Ironman National Motocross Results
Ironman 450 Class Results
- Ken Roczen (1-1)
- Justin Barcia (2-2)
- Eli Tomac (3-3)
- Marvin Musquin (4-4)
- Jason Anderson (5-5)
- Phil Nicoletti (6-8)
- Weston Peick (8-7)
- Matt Bisceglia (11-6)
- Fredrik Noren (9-9)
- Benny Bloss (7-11)
Ironman 250 Class Results
- Austin Forkner (1-3)
- Aaron Plessinger (8-1)
- Cooper Webb (5-2)
- Alex Martin (3-4)
- Adam Cianciarulo (6-5)
- Arnaud Tonus (4-9)
- Mitchell Harrison (10-6)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (7-13)
- Joey Savatgy (2-34)
- Justin Hill (15-7)
2016 Motocross Season Final Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ken Roczen (584)- 2016 Motocross Champion
- Eli Tomac (498)
- Marvin Musquin (401)
- Justin Barcia (360)
- Phil Nicoletti (229)
- Benny Bloss (228)
- Christophe Pourcel (217)
- Weston Peick (197)
- Andrew Short (197)
- Fredrik Noren (192)
250 Class Standings
- Cooper Webb (495) - 2016 Motocross Champion
- Alex Martin (422)
- Joey Savatgy (383)
- Austin Forkner (376)
- Aaron Plessinger (351)
- Jeremy Martin (321)
- Zach Osborne (312)
- Adam Cianciarulo (266)
- Arnaud Tonus (243)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (237)
Written By: AndrewT