The chase for the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship remains close as the series heads west for Round 9 on Saturday in Washougal, WA.
The picturesque setting of the Pacific Northwest track nestled amongst a plethora of evergreens and cut into a hillside offers not only fresh mountainy air for the fans but often ideal natural terrain that's tacky and clumps well for the riders who get a bit of everything including steep elevations, awesome jumps and even some whoops. But shadows sometimes make navigating difficult as deep shade gives way to bright sunlight throughout.
Eli Tomac holds a 20 point lead over Blake Baggett and carries 450 class success into Washougal with a tie-breaking win against last year's eventual Champion Ken Roczen. He also dropped a deuce in 2014 taking second-place in both Motos behind Ryan Dungey. Baggett has yet to podium at Washougal as a 450 rider but took a distant second in 2014 behind Marvin Musquin and third overall with a Moto win in 2012 for the 250 class.
Eli Tomac is quite familiar with the podium at Washougal
Tomac could have put the points hurt on Baggett last week at Spring Creek with a sweep but finished third overall (2-5) just a point ahead of Baggett who took fourth overall (6-2) and continues to nurse a bum thumb he suffered at RedBud after a minor collision with Jason Anderson. Tomac also nearly put the points hurt on himself after a solid crash threw him off the bike in Moto 2 but he escaped injury and salvaged fifth-place. Tomac's five Moto win streak ended but he stretched stepping on the podium to five straight rounds.
Alternatively, Musquin brings renewed energy into Washougal after dominating everybody last week for his first career sweep. The 50 points helped erase some poor outings thanks to a knee injury incurred earlier this season and a gnarly get-off at Southwick netting him just 18 total points that weekend.
As a result, Musquin solidifies his third-place spot in the standings but has lots more work to catch Baggett who is 40 points ahead in second and Tomac now 60 points in front. And speaking of Anderson...
Marvin Musquin smoked the competition last week winning by more than 15 second in both Motos
He was a mere 12 points from second-place and 25 points behind Tomac just two rounds ago. A practice crash before Southwick kept him from riding the Sandbox and he bowed out again last week for Spring Creek. All told - 100 potential points lost. He's dropped to fifth-place and his Championship hopes now drown in a 113 point deficit from the top.
It's a tough stem nut wrench to crack but his loss is Dean Wilson's gain as his career year continues to excel moving him into fourth-place for points and taking a 450 career-best second-place overall (3-3) last week. Wilson has three straight third-place Moto finishes, two straight podiums and remains one of two riders (Baggett the other) to post Top 10 finishes every race this season.
Joey Savatgy brought it home last week, can he keep it going at Washougal?
In the 250 class, Zach Osborne lost just two points on his lead over Alex Martin despite his bike making like a Texas oil field find in Moto 1 after a gasket blew on the valve cover. Osborne dialed back a bit and kept it on two wheels as white smoke exhaled from the engine - at times engulfing him - but he finished eighth minimizing potential damage. He got back on track for Moto 2 passing Joey Savatgy midway through for the win and third overall.
Savatgy meanwhile returned to the podium grabbing the overall with a dominating Moto 1 win along with the second-place in Moto 2. It's probably too little too late as he sits 97 points from first but he moves into fourth-place in the standings with Jeremy Martin now 36 points away. Martin finished fourth-overall (4-5) losing additional ground (and possibly more if a track cutting penalty is imposed) in the Championship hunt.
Neither rain, sleet or oil leaks keep Zach Osborne off the podium
Meanwhile, Alex Martin took second overall (2-4) for his best showing on his home track inching him closer to the top. Plenty of Motos remain but Martin needs more than a few points here and there to catch Osborne who rides a five race overall podium streak into Washougal. Both riders have yet to finish outside the Top 10 (the only two in the 250 class) as Osborne tied his lowest finish last week with that oil-stained eighth but has seven Moto wins to Martin's one.
Our Podium Picks for Washougal:
- Eli Tomac
- Marvin Musquin
- Cooper Webb
Update:A practice crash keeps Cooper Webb from lining up on Saturday so he'll have a hard time reaching the podium. Enter Blake Baggett.
- Alex Martin
- Zach Osborne
- Joey Savatgy
Update: Alex Martin's title hopes got dashed after a practice crash this week keeps him from lining up on Saturday. Therefore, our new podium reflects Osborne taking the Overall, Savatgy in second and Jeremy Martin third.
Check out the track map for Round 9:
Gates for Moto 1 drop at 1 p.m. (PST) on Saturday at Washougal. Buy tickets at the track or online. MAVTV broadcast Moto 1 for both classes live and NBC Sports airs the second Motos live.
2017 Motocross Season Standings
- Eli Tomac (329)
- Blake Baggett (309)
- Marvin Musquin (269)
- Dean Wilson (238)
- Jason Anderson (216)
- Cole Seely (192)
- Justin Bogle (188)
- Cooper Webb (177)
- Justin Barcia (172)
- Martin Davalos (170)
- Zach Osborne (339)
- Alex Martin (296)
- Jeremy Martin (276)
- Joey Savatgy (242)
- Dylan Ferrandis (226)
- Aaron Plessinger (219)
- Adam Ciacianrulo (216)
- Mitchell Harrison (190)
- Colt Nichols (188)
- Austin Forkner (184)