The 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series heads to Southern California for Round 2 on Saturday at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, CA.
Not a lot of fireworks for the opener at Hangtown as 450 class defending Champion Eli Tomac dominated the field just like last year while Marvin Musquin, Tomac's primary competition from 2017 and now adversary from a much-hyped takeout in Supercross, finished second in both Motos well behind Tomac, just as he did last year. Tomac might not get a chance at retribution for the Foxborough incident, if that's something he thinks about at 2 in the morning, as long as he stays upfront which he easily can do, but sometimes has a hard time accomplishing.
Remember, it was three years ago when Tomac schooled the field in five straight Motos as whispers about an undefeated season grew louder before the shoulder-destroying thud at Thunder Valley ended his title hopes. Last year, he looked ready to dominate Motocross sweeping Round 1 after a close loss for the Supercross Championship then his front brake gave out at Glen Helen handing the Red Plate to Musquin a mere two rounds into the season. Tomac eventually won the 2017 Championship so it didn't matter but here we stand a year later, another disappointing Supercross season, Tomac sweeps Round 1 and Musquin just six points back.
And, Mt. Saint Helens tends to have the final word on her track.
Eli Tomac rode like a defending Champion last week
Or maybe this year Justin Barcia has a say, who rides into Glen Helen in third (3-3) after his best season opening round since 2013 when he placed fifth in both Motos. Barcia has his share of success at Glen Helen, too, finishing second overall in 2015 but also a couple of duds over the years. Barcia seems fully healed now from his hand injury that cost him a shot at the Supercross Championship but he needs to find the speed that shaves off the 30 seconds he averaged behind Tomac last week.
Justin Barcia has a new bike and in third-place heading into Glen Helen
Elsewhere, Jason Anderson (4-6) did not bring over much momentum from winning his first Supercross Championship a few weeks ago nor did he show signs of wear. His fourth overall was his best outing since 2016 when he also opened the season in fourth. Last year, Anderson grabbed his first career Moto win at Glen Helen while Musquin took his first career Moto and overall win, all thanks to Tomac's brake. As Glen Helen has shown over the years, including a quick ending to Ken Roczen having a perfect season for 2016 when a suspension problem dropped him from first to fourth in Moto 1, don't count anyone in or out.
Speaking of Roczen, he's very much like Sirius Satellite Radio. If you have followed the stock over the years (and no doubt many in the Moto community do, right?) naysayers have counted this company done and done yet every quarter, surprise, earnings results beat Wall Street expectations. Just Like Roczen who endured one seemingly career-ending injury only to come back then follow that up with another brutal injury only to come back. Roczen (6-16) said he still hurts after a broken hand suffered in February ended his highly anticipated return to Supercross after last year's devastating arm injury. But Roczen managed an 11th overall in his first Motocross race since clinching the 2016 Championship in August of that year. He even ran up front for a bit in Moto 1!
Zach Osborne already in the lead in defense of his 2017 250 class title
In the 250 class, Zach Osborne got a jump start on his title defense sweeping the day, just as he did last year. Osborne has yet to win a Moto at Glen Helen but grabbed the overall last year thanks to a number of riders succumbing to mechanical failures that might have sent some to the podium including Austin Forkner and Joey Savatgy.
Speaking of Forkner, his Championship hopes took some roost after starting the season with a fourth-place then quickly dropping out of Moto 2 when his holeshot device cracked him in the ribs at the start. The braking bumps that form on Mt. Saint Helens probably don't bode well for him this weekend if he races.
Jeremy Martin brings solid success into Glen Helen
But Osborne and Jeremy Martin, the pre-season favorites anyway, seem destined for showdowns this year as Martin finished second in both Motos last week about five seconds behind Osborne and both look to finish their 250 careers with a Championship. Martin, a two-time Champion, has Moto wins in three of the last four years at Glen Helen including a sweep in 2014. But he lost the overall the last two years, despite winning a Moto, to riders who didn't win a Moto - Osborne last year and his brother Alex Martin in 2016. Jeremy Martin crashed in the second Moto last year preventing a possible sweep.
Alex Martin, meanwhile, finished fourth overall (7-3) at Hangtown swapping third-place Motos with Aaron Plessinger (3-4) who rounded out the podium. Plessinger showed no signs of letting up either after winning the 250SX West Championship a few weeks ago. He enters Glen Helen in third-place just like last year.
Our Podium Picks for Glen Helen:
- Marvin Musquin
- Eli Tomac
- Blake Baggett
- Jeremy Martin
- Zach Osborne
- Alex Martin
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The 250 class Moto 1 gates drop just after 1 p.m. (PST) on Saturday at Glen Helen. Live race day coverage begins with MAVTV for Moto 1 then switches to NBCSN for Moto 2. And when was the last time it wasn't HOT? Expect mild temperatures in the low 70s.
2018 Motocross Season Standings
- Eli Tomac (50)
- Marvin Musquin (44)
- Justin Barcia (40)
- Jason Anderson (33)
- Blake Baggett (32)
- Weston Peick (30)
- Benny Bloss (27)
- Christian Craig (26)
- Phil Nicoletti (24)
- Bradley Taft (21)
- Zach Osborne (50)
- Jeremy Martin (44)
- Aaron Plessinger (38)
- Alex Martin (34)
- Justin Cooper (28)
- Chase Sexton (26)
- Joey Savatgy (26)
- Jordon Smith (26)
- RJ Hampshire (25)
- Garrett Marchbanks (24)