The 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series heads to the comfy, cozy confines of the Pacific Northwest on Saturday for Round 9 at Washougal MX Park in Washougal, WA.
It's one of the longest running Nationals on the schedule, it's first race held in 1980, and it's also one of the most scenic as the track threads between tall fir trees (Western Hemlock to be precise) which can prove challenging on a cloudless day as shadows engulf riders followed by bright sun. Getting there, well, that's another article.
Whatever the Washougal track delivers this year probably won't affect Ken Roczen. He put on what many aptly describe as a riding clinic last week taking his sixth sweep of the season and extending his lead to 55 over Eli Tomac, who finished third overall. Barring injury or engine failure, both circumstances affecting riders this year, Roczen should coast to the 2016 Championship.
Ken Roczen is racing on a whole 'nother level right now
Speaking of injury, in a season that's already highlighted by a number of top riders bowing out of competition because of race-day or practice crashes, the hits keep coming. Trey Canard, who returned last week after a four round absence, sustained a concussion this week in practice and is out for Saturday. Broc Tickle who reached the podium twice is out for the year after a collision with Weston Peick at Spring Creek resulted in a fractured pelvis. Tickle was in fifth-place for points after Southwick, just 10 behind Justin Barcia two weeks ago. Justin Bogle's status also remains unclear after a crash in Moto 2 at Southwick sidelined him last week.
Though 200 points remain up for grabs, Eli Tomac needs serious help in catching Roczen and based on Roczen's riding help is not on the way. The only riders who've come close to ousting Roczen include Tomac which he's done just once this year in his sweep at Southwick. Ryan Dungey is the other which came as a gift when Roczen's fork malfunctioned at Glen Helen. Dungey is also out for the year with a fractured vertebra.
Eli Tomac needs win and lots of help to make the 2016 Championship race a contest
Even Marvin Musquin who got his best finish of his 450 career last week said Roczen made him look bad on a pass for the lead in Moto 2 at Spring Creek. A Moto Roczen nearly hit the dirt at the start after colliding with Canard and then rounded the first turn way in the back. He passed a gluttony of riders to reach second place after the first lap.
It should come as no surprise if Roczen wins the final eight Motos.
In the 250 class, two-time defending Champion Jeremy Martin finally pulled even with points leader Cooper Webb last week taking his first win (via tie-breaker) of the season at Spring Creek, his home track. It might be too little too late though as Webb has a 38 point lead, hardly the oppressive 55 point lead Roczen carries, but a bit staggering nonetheless.
Who is that guy right behind Jeremy Martin?
Webb's ascent began at Tennessee and he hasn't finished below second place in any Moto since then stringing off eight straight Top 2s including five wins. His dominating rides erased Joey Savatgy's 20 point lead after Round 4. Savatgy, meanwhile, has struggled of late coming on the heels of a gnarly get-off at RedBud and he is now in third-place, 50 points back of Webb.
Martin needs to win outright and hope someone else can push Webb into third-place or further, like his brother Alex, who likely could have swept Spring Creek if not for a really ill-timed washout in Moto 1 after time expired and then a crash on the opening lap. But each time he rebounded and finished third overall. Alex Martin has the speed and skill to ride upfront, he just needs to stay on two-wheels.
Assuming Webb continues his torrid pace, the fight for second and third-place on the Championship podium involves the Martin brothers, Savatgy and an outside shot is Zach Osborne in fifth. Osborne's rear wheel locked up on him in Moto 1 last week giving him a DNF but he bounced back to take third-place in Moto 2. Like the mechanical failures that surely haunt the Martin brothers from High Point, give Nelson a do-over and 20 points and he's easily within reach of the final box.
Meanwhile, as the 450 class loses riders the 250 class get some back in the likes of Justin Hill and Jessy Nelson. Hill was injured early in the season after positing so-so results but Nelson finished third in Moto 2 at Glen Helen and was in seventh for points before a crash at Thunder Valley ruined his chances of competing for the title.
There he is again, this time behind Alex Martin. Cooper Webb is always lurking...
We expected Tomac's sweep at Southwick to spill over at Spring Creek in our podium picks last week but Roczen had other plans. Canard had a good day but not enough for the podium as Musquin had his best day so far. In the 250 class, we were right with Alex Martin in third but picked Webb for the overall with Jeremy Martin taking second.
- Ken Roczen
- Eli Tomac
- Marvin Musquin
- Cooper Webb
- Jeremy Martin
- Joey Savatgy
Gates drop for Motocross Round 9 on Saturday at Washougal. Forecast calls for partly cloudy and a warm 80 degrees. Buy tickets online or at the track.
2016 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ken Roczen (387)
- Eli Tomac (332)
- Marvin Musquin (243)
- Justin Barcia (215)
- Christophe Pourcel (202)
- Broc Tickle (171)
- Cole Seely (151)
- Justin Brayton (144)
- Justin Bogle (136)
- Ryan Dungey (131)
250 Class Standings
- Cooper Webb (337)
- Jeremy Martin (299)
- Joey Savatgy (287)
- Alex Martin (270)
- Zach Osborne (237)
- Austin Forkner (221)
- Aaron Plessinger (217)
- Arnaud Tonus (163)
- RJ Hampshire (153)
- Adam Cianciarulo (150)
Written By: AndrewT