Three rounds to go.
But with commanding leads by Ken Roczen in the 450 class and Cooper Webb in the 250 class, Round 10 of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series on Saturday at Unadilla MX in New Berlin, NY might just be the last stand for the challengers.
All riders enjoyed a rare two weekends off from racing allowing time for rest and relaxation but of course more testing and dialing in for the final push, which for many, not so much about points but securing a ride for next year.
The 450 class is more or less wrapped up with Roczen out front carrying a 55 point lead over Eli Tomac, who has a 96 point lead over Marvin Musquin, who has a 39 point lead over Justin Barcia, who now has an 89 point lead over seventh-place Andrew Short thanks to injuries forcing Christophe Pourcel (fifth-place) and Broc Tickle (sixth-place) out for the season. Geez, who is next?
Don't expect Ken Roczen to mail home the remaining rounds despite a 55 point lead
Considering all the injuries this year to top contenders, it could be argued the Championship fight is far from over. Ryan Dungey is out for the year. Blake Baggett lasted a Moto for the most part. Jason Anderson lost his chance at competing for a title but is expected to return for some rounds. Cole Seely's shot at a Top 3 fizzled after Tennessee when he broke his finger and Trey Canard looked strong until a crash in practice took him out for a few rounds and no word on whether he's back this week after another practice crash left him with a concussion. So, anything can happen.
Eli Tomac can win out, but unless Ken Roczen runs into trouble, it won't help him take the 2016 Motocross Championship
Regardless, Roczen displayed dominance all year even when everyone was all-in. He's won 14 of 18 Motos, dialed it back at Washougal in Moto 2 taking second overall yet still tying in points with Tomac, and should easily wrap the 2016 Motocross Championship at Budds Creek, assuming he doesn't go the way the wind is blowing. Tomac's lock on second-place for the season is all but guaranteed unless he too flounders but he's finished in the Top 2 in the last 11 Motos and looks determined to finish strong.
In addition to finishing in third for the season, give Musquin his Rookie of the Year honors already.
In the 250 class, while Webb enjoys a 51 point lead there's a traffic jam for second- and third-place similar to the one caused by Webb and Joey Savatgy at Washougal. Their rivalry, which took a leap forward last round, could take on epic proportions in the remaining weeks if either rider takes their eyes off the prize. Regardless, like last year's closely contested race, expect everyone's focus to turn away from the mostly decided 450 class and look for what may come in the 250 class.
Cooper Webb can also mail home the remaining rounds, but don't expect it
Soooooo, unless the Webb and Savatgy situation turns into another brouhaha resulting in injury or suspension, and mechanical failures or crashes aside, Webb should also lock his first Motocross Championship at Budds Creek.
That leaves second- and third-place on the Championship podium up for grabs with Jeremy Martin currently in second, Savatgy just two points behind in third and Alex Martin, two points back from Savatgy in fourth.
Jeremy Martin, the two-time defending Champion, suffered some rib fractures as a result of the Webb/Savatgy tussle which not only affected his Moto 2 run but could certainly end his bid for a third straight title if he's unable to ride or ride without discomfort. At this point however, and the way Webb is riding, it's a long shot even if healthy.
Just two points seperate Alex Martin (r) and Joey Savatgy in the standings
It's the other Martin, Jeremy's brother Alex, who comes in red hot based on the last four rounds. Alex got his first Moto win of the season at Washougal, along with his second overall and tallies 159 points since RedBud. Compare that to Jeremy's 148 and just 114 for Savatgy, who earlier this year looked ready to run away from the field but a nasty get-off at RedBud ended his reign with the red plate and he hasn't looked the same. Savatgy started the year winning five of nine Motos but hasn't crossed the checkers first since Tennessee.
Justin Hill and Jessy Nelson could help play spoiler by taking some podium spots. Both riders returned to racing and to form at Washougal after early season injuries. Hill took fifth overall including a fourth-place Moto 2 and Nelson came back from a rough Moto 1 to take third in Moto 2.
Finally, in his first year as a pro and coming off his first career Moto win, Austin Forkner might just land in the Top 5 to end his rookie year. He's benefited from two rough Motos the last two rounds by Zach Osborne, but Aaron Plessinger isn't too far behind either. Expect a solid battle for the fifth-place position from these three. Whether Forkner hangs on to it or not, he's got Rookie of the Year honors wrapped up.
We didn't expect Roczen to let Tomac by and then not catch him again so we got those two swapped in our podium picks for Washougal but we were right with Musquin. From here on out it seems easy to pick who finishes in the Top 2, it's placing them that's anyone's guess. In the 250 class, Webb made the podium but not in first as we expected, nor did we see an Alex Martin victory or Forkner taking third.
- Eli Tomac
- Ken Roczen
- Marvin Musquin
- Joey Savatgy
- Cooper Webb
- Alex Martin
Gates drop for Motocross Round 10 on Saturday at Unadilla MX. Buy tickets online or at the track. Check out the animated track map:
2016 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ken Roczen (434)
- Eli Tomac (379)
- Marvin Musquin (283)
- Justin Barcia (244)
- Christophe Pourcel (217)
- Broc Tickle (171)
- Andrew Short(155)
- Justin Brayton (152)
- Cole Seely (151)
- Benny Bloss (151)
250 Class Standings
- Cooper Webb (372)
- Jeremy Martin(321)
- Joey Savatgy (319)
- Alex Martin (317)
- Austin Forkner (257)
- Zach Osborne (253)
- Aaron Plessinger (245)
- Arnaud Tonus (190)
- Adam Cianciarulo (179)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (169)