Most riders got a weekend free from racing in the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series which probably comes at a good time for some as bikes continue to get dialed in for the rest of the season which resumes Saturday with Round 4 at High Point in Mt. Morris, PA.
Ryan Dungey however got more than a weekend off.
The defending Champion cracked his C6 vertebra after a get-off in Moto 2 at Thunder Valley and is likely out for the summer. Even if he comes back, which at the earliest would be mid- to late July, his quest for back-to-back titles is over.
It's devastating news for Dungey who rarely crashes and even less, gets hurt, especially an injury of this magnitude. It also ends a streak of consecutive starts at 99. Losing one of the best bets to take the 2016 Motocross Championship certainly puts a torque wrench into the series though up until this point Dungey had no answers for points leader Ken Roczen.
Prior to the crash, Roczen was stuck mid-pack giving Dungey ample opportunity to get out front and stay out front, possible sneaking in a second-straight overall. Whether Dungey pushed it too hard knowing Roczen was behind or just another freak Thunder Valley accident that ended the season of a contender can certainly provide endless debate.
There could be a lot of this all summer long
What's not for debate is Dungey's removal from the series either sets up a showdown between Roczen and Eli Tomac, last year's unlucky crash recipient during Moto 2 at Thunder Valley, or a walk in the park for Roczen to grab his second Motocross title.
If not for fork a malfunction at Glen Helen, Roczen would be riding, thus far, an undefeated season. Instead, he's won five of six Motos and holds a 12 point lead heading into this weekend but that tight point spread A) doesn't highlight Roczen's superb dominance and B) is now actually 29 points ahead of Tomac since second-place Dungey is effectively out of the running.
Eli Tomac could make the rest of Outdoors very interesting once he dials in the starts
As for Tomac, who has posted three straight third-place finishes and shown glimpses of last year's dominance, he said starts are crucial and he needs to be that guy getting ahead of everyone else quickly.
In fourth-place after three straight fifth-place performances is Trey Canard, who took third in Moto 1 at Thunder Valley his highest of the season, and led Moto 2 for a while before dropping to sixth. Canard seems to have starts dialed in, which he struggled with during Supercross, now he just needs to stay up front. Canard tied in points with teammate Cole Seely who took the tie-breaker thanks to his third-place in Moto 2 which was also a season best. Seely is eight points back from Canard.
Jason Anderson's work is cut out for him if he's to get back into Championship contention. Altitude sickness forced him off the track in Moto 1 and he didn't line up for Moto 2. The double zero points gain for Round 3 dropped him from fourth-place just three points behind Tomac to seventh-place, 70 points out of first-place.
Joey Savatgy is not making it easy for Jeremy Martin to three-peat
Fear not if Roczen rides away with the Championship, because the 250 class just might overshadow it's older brother again.
Joey Savatgy returned to Round 1 form after an off-week at Glen Helen and got his second overall of the season and most importantly grabbed the red plate back after relinquishing it the week before. In fact, Savatgy was 15 points from the lead after Round 2 but Alex Martin had another up-and-down Moto run at Thunder Valley so he dropped from first to third-place in the standings.
Martin has finished second in four Motos and eighth in the other two this year. He's riding hard and salvaged some points in Colorado after crashing in Moto 1. He is also outperforming his brother and two-time defending Champion Jeremy Martin though he's starting to come around after finishing fifth overall in Round 1.
Jeremy Martin has two wins in the last three Motos and is three points from first. Though many expected the 250 class to be the runaway series this year, with Martin way out front, he's finding not only is Savatgy a legitimate threat, his brother too, but so is Cooper Webb who rides with a broken wrist. The off-week gives the fourth-place Webb an extra week to heal and if he returns healthy expect fireworks all season long, not just at Redbud.
Lots of elevation changes in store for riders at High Point beginning at the gate drop with an uphill start. Additionally, the East Coast swing brings rich, loamy soil - perfect for deep ruts and traction with bite. Thunderstorms and showers greet riders the next few days but by Saturday expect sunny conditions on the very warm side. Check out the track map:
Our podium picks were so close for Thunder Valley as we were right on Roczen but expected Tomac to edge out Dungey for second. In the 250 class, we picked both Martins to make the podium with Jeremy getting the overall and Cooper Webb to finish second.
So, who steps on the podium for High Point? We'll make our guess, leave us yours:
- Ken Roczen
- Eli Tomac
- Cole Seely
- Cooper Webb
- Joey Savatgy
- Jeremy Martin
2016 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ken Roczen (143)
- Ryan Dungey (131)
- Eli Tomac (114)
- Trey Canard (97)
- Cole Seely (89)
- Josh Grant (88)
- Jason Anderson (73)
- Marvin Musquin (64)
- Justin Barcia (62)
- Broc Tickle (50)
250 Class Standings
- Joey Savatgy (123)
- Jeremy Martin (120)
- Alex Martin (114)
- Cooper Webb (110)
- Aaron Plessinger (81)
- Austin Forkner (80)
- Zach Osborne (78)
- Jessy Nelson (65)
- RJ Hampshire (59)
- Jordon Smith (52)
Written By: AndrewT