After sweeps to start the season Eli Tomac and Zach Osborne ride into Round 2 of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series on Saturday at Glen Helen as heavy favorites who threaten to run away with their respective titles.
Both riders showed resiliency and domination at Hangtown last week with impressive wins and no hangovers from a well-fought Supercross season that ended just a few weeks ago.
In the 450 class, Tomac agreed with all industry prognosticators - it's his Championship to lose - by a total beat down in Moto 1 winning by 15 seconds even after a crash. Moto 2 proved a bit more competitive as he needed 12 laps to get out front before pulling away from Marvin Musquin. Tomac looks every bit of his 2015 version when he started the year with five straight Moto wins before a crash ended a dream season.
Now he's back, as good as ever and the hills of Glen Helen should present no problems for him. And as long as he stays on two-wheels, he's going to pose a lot of problems for everyone else.
Marvin Musquin (left) should expect many battles battles this year with Eli Tomac (right)
Musquin finished 2-2 to start his Outdoor season and led for two laps in Moto 1 at Hangtown before succumbing to Tomac but put up a bigger fight in Moto 2. He brings success and mediocrity to Glen Helen, sweeping here two years ago while in the 250 class but a ninth-place finish his 450 rookie year. He'll need more juice on Saturday if he's going to steal a Moto and close the points gap. He's only down by six but it already feels monumental even after just one round.
OK, Tomac was impressive but perhaps even more impressive was his teammate Josh Grant. Fresh off his first Supercross podium in five years, the previously unsigned privateer and almost 31 year old Grant went 3-3 for a solid third-place and his first Motocross podium in four years.
"I think with being older, I still feel like I have a lot to learn and left in the tank to really do (well). I feel like every year it was either battling back from injury, but I feel like it's a new year, new me," he said after Hangtown. "I just feel better. I think with that age comes some wisdom and some stuff that I've learned over the years of being patient and trying to figure it out."
Josh Grant scrubbed his way to third place last week.
Elsewhere, just three points separate the fourth through ninth-place guys as Dean Wilson countered a 10th place in Moto 1 with a fourth-place in Moto 2 - good enough for fourth-overall and a one point edge over Brock Tickle, Blake Baggett and Cooper Webb. Cole Seely, still nursing an injured adductor muscle and who crashed in practice managed fourth in Moto 1 but slipped to 12th in Moto 2 for eighth overall and is one point back from the three ahead of him.
A rock to the eye forced Jason Anderson out of Moto 1 but he fought back with a sixth-place finish for Moto 2. It's a big hit to his Championship hopes but unlike those who finished ahead of him, he's got much better history at Glen Helen, where he finished fourth-overall last year including a second-place in Moto 1.
Expect Jason Anderson to rebound this weekend at Glen Helen
In the 250 class, Zach Osborne surprised but really he didn't with a sweep of his own. He qualified first and took just six laps to get past Adam Cianciarulo in Moto 1 and quickly got by Joey Savatgy after Lap 1 and led the rest of the way for Moto 2. Osborne's spectacular come-from-behind finish in the final round of Supercross to win the 250SX East title a few weeks ago proves his resiliency and like Tomac, if he stays on two-wheels it's looking like a long summer for the rest of the field.
Can Zach Osborne sweep away the field again on Saturday?
Two-time defending Champion Jeremy Martin is probably looking forward to Glen Helen after a mechanical failure ended his Moto 1 last week leaving him in a deep hole to get his third 250 class title. Martin's pretty good in Southern California with a second overall last year (just a point behind his brother Alex who got the win) and a sweep in 2014.
Jeremy Martin had a rough start to the season but should turn it around on Saturday
Brother Alex, runner-up in this class for the 2016 season, took second overall last week with a 4-4 day buy it leaves him already 14 points behind Osborne. His victory last year at Glen Helen was his first career win and he'll be in the mix on Saturday. So will Aaron Plessinger who went 3-4 and hung near the front in both Motos last week. Adam Cianciarulo also showed some tenacity and looked well on his way to the Moto 1 win as he grabbed the holeshot and led for six laps. Moto 2 didn't go quite as well with an eighth-place finish for fourth overall ay Hangtown.
Of course it's early, (stuff) happens, as Jeremy Martin can attest or ask Ken Roczen about that $7 part from last year, and Glen Helen simply personifies Motocross. Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.
Our Podium picks for Glen Helen:
- Eli Tomac
- Marvin Musquin
- Jason Anderson
- Josh Grant
- Zach Osborne
- Jeremy Martin
- Alex Martin
Check out the track map for Round 2:
Buy tickets online or at the track. Gates drop for Moto 1 at 1 p.m. (PST).
2017 Motocross Season Standings
- Eli Tomac (50)
- Marvin Musquin (44)
- Josh Grant (40)
- Dean Wilson (29)
- Broc Tickle (28)
- Blake Baggett (28)
- Cooper Webb (28)
- Cole Seely (27)
- Justin Barcia (26)
- Justin Bogle (24)
- Zach Osborne (50)
- Alex Martin (36)
- Aaron Plessinger (36)
- Adam Cianciarulo (35)
- Austin Forkner (32)
- Colt Nichols (31)
- Joey Savatgy (28)
- Justin Hill (25)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (24)
- Mitchell Harrison (22)
Written By: AndrewT