Motocross must be the only sport where a Championship can be won halfway through a scheduled event.
That's what's likely to happen on Saturday for Round 11 of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series in Utah. Points leader Ryan Dungey brings a commanding 79 point lead to the Utah National and it's a 90 percent chance that he finishes second-place or better in Moto 1 which at least retains that points margin thus giving him the 2015 title with one more race to go on the day.
Then he'll probably, just for good measure, win Moto 2.
Because that's what he does. Wins.
Once accomplished the battle turns to the #2 spot currently occupied by Justin Barcia whose dominating second-half run in the season took him from fifth-place after Round 4 to sole possession of second-place last week, passing defending Champion Ken Roczen. Thirteen points separate the two but both should finish on the Championship podium. Blake Baggett has an outside shot and still mathematically in the running for second but not likely.
Finishing in the Top 5 is the next battle which is a three rider race between Christophe Pourcel, Jason Anderson and Broc Tickle. Just 14 points separate the three and anyone of them can rise to the occasion or falter. In the last three Motos, Pourcel and Anderson each have a zero Moto and Tickle has a one point Moto but he's the only one who hasn't finished third-place or higher in any Moto all season. Lots of talk about Anderson's speed of late but it makes no difference if he breaks track lap records every round if can't stay upright.
MotoSport rider Fredrik Noren, who is finishing off the year riding for Cole Seely under the Team Honda tent, tied his best finish of the season at Unadilla and followed that up with his second worst. Noren was part of the MotoSport curse last week which affected every sponsored rider and he got bit in Moto 2 when he fell on the first turn and restarted in last place. He finished 18th for 14th overall. He's pretty much a lock to finish 10th for the season but there's room to get higher.
Tommy Hahn got the brunt of the bad luck when he crashed in practice and suffered a knee injury and his second concussion of the season which sidelined him for the rest of the series. No word on the extent of his knee injury.
The chase for the 250 crown is turning out to be a barn burner and if the final two rounds mimic the last 10 it could be one fans talk about for years to come. Defending Champion Jeremy Martin maintains a very thin two point lead over Marvin Musquin. Both riders swapped leads early in the season but Martin grabbed it at RedBud, looked to run away with the series with a season best 19 point lead after Spring Creek, but Musquin began chipping away and now they're as close as they've been since Round 3 when Martin led by two.
It's a good bet this title fight gets resolved in Moto 2 at Ironman unless Cooper Webb can inflict some damage. Webb isn't shy on his dislike of Musquin's aggressive riding style and if he decides to leave it on the track he could help his teammate, who just happens to be Martin.
The second best fight in the 250 class is for third-place a spot which is now occupied by Joey Savatgy thanks to his first career win last week in New York. Two more solid rounds of riding give him a spot on the Championship podium but Zach Osborne who holed-up in third-place for much of the season probably wants it back. Osborne and Savatgy each have three third-place and three second-place Moto finishes on the season.
Like the other MotoSport riders, Kyle Peters had a rough go posting his lowest point total of any round this season thanks to an electrical connection coming loose on the tail end of Moto 2. Instead of a possible Top 15 finish he settled for 33rd and a 20th overall. He's also riding with an injured knee but team manager Guy Cooper said he's getting 100 percent out of his rider in every round. Toshiki Tomita, who came over from Japan for the final rounds of Motocross ripped his hand open last week during Moto 1 and his status to ride is uncertain. Chase Marquier, who finished fifth in the 250A class and eighth in the Open Pro Sport class at Loretta Lynn's last month joins the team this week.
Gates drop for Round 11 at 12 p.m. (PST) on Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT. Buy tickets online or check out the broadcast schedule.
2015 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ryan Dungey (450)
- Justin Barcia (371)
- Ken Roczen (358)
- Blake Baggett (297)
- Christophe Pourcel (267)
- Jason Anderson (263)
- Broc Tickle (253)
- Weston Peick (223)
- Phillip Nicoletti (209)
- Fredrik Noren (206) - MotoSport rider
250 Class Standings
- Jeremy Martin (416)
- Marvin Musquin (414)
- Joey Savatgy (284)
- Zach Osborne (277)
- Jessy Nelson (266)
- Alex Martin (261)
- Aaron Plessinger (228)
- Shane McElrath (208)
- Matthew Bisceglia (195)
- RJ Hampshire (189)