One of the closest and not to mention contentious runs for a Motocross Championship concludes on Saturday at the Ironman National when Jeremy Martin and Marvin Musquin square off for the final time to determine the 250 class Championship in Indiana.
So maybe race officials should swap the Moto order for the final round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series and give the small bikes top billing.
An unlikely scenario but with Ryan Dungey getting a round to bask in his 450 class Championship which he wrapped up last week in Utah much of Round 12's excitement ends with the checkered flag of Moto 2 for the 250 class. Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia will duel it out for runner-up status to Dungey but that's not nearly as exciting as the title fight in the 250 class.
Just two points separate Martin and Musquin, and Martin, the defending Champion has held on to the red plate since his sweep at RedBud. He looked on his way to a repeat as Champ after another win at Spring Creek and a rough day for Musquin provided Martin with a season high 19 point advantage. But Musquin battled back and chipped away points even managing to take the lead after Moto 1 at Utah. But Martin blazed back with a win in Moto 2 though he did get some extra help.
M&M jumped on this dizzying seesaw of a points race in Round 2 at Glen Helen when the two entered tied in points and Musquin jumped to a 19 point lead after Martin couldn't get his bike started for Moto 1. Cameras recorded the intense action as Martin's pit crew worked frantically on the bike right up until the gates dropped. He got the engine started just as everyone left and somehow he salvaged enough points finishing fifth and seventh overall (crashed in Moto 2) to keep his Championship hopes alive and returned with a sweep of Thunder Valley as Musquin faltered taking just seven points in Moto 1 after a crash. Each rider thereafter seemed to have an off day while the other proved themselves worthy of the 250 crown. Musquin has 10 Moto wins on the season to Martin's nine but he's also got a single digit points gain Moto.
Enter Cooper Webb.
The reigning 250 West Supercross Champion, returned from his Round 1 injury entering the fray as the spoiler starting at Budds Creek. He won Spring Creek by fending off Musquin which prevented Martin from claiming the overall but gave him two additional points over Musquin in the standings. Only in Motocross. Webb followed that with a win at Washougal and by then began openly criticizing Musquin's aggressive riding style.
With no chance of winning the Championship, Webb seems intent on helping Martin, just teammates not friends apparently, take the title as he gave the current points leader an easy pass in Moto 2 last week for the win, the overall and the slim two-point advantage heading into Indiana.
Jeremy Martin "thanks" Cooper Webb after Moto 2 in Utah
Wouldn't it be the most legendary season if the two finish the season the way they started and tied in points? It just feels like that's going to happen. In fact, maybe it should happen. So apparently Hollywood can make this up.
If they tie the Championship is determined first by the number of Overall wins which Martin has locked even if, like at Utah, they tie in points but Musquin gets the overall at Ironman.
Now if they tied in the number of overalls it's then decided by Moto wins. So just for fun, that advantage goes to Musquin. If Martin were to get another win he'd have 10 and if the two tie on race wins the Championship goes to the one with the highest number of second place finishes. Currently both each have three second-place finishes. So then it goes to the number of third-place finishes - Martin currently leads 3-2.
It won't happen here, but the tie-breaker continues all the way down the line from third to fourth to fifth and so on, until a winner is determined. If by chance the two continue to tie, the Championship goes to who rode the best final Moto.
Bottom line, a tie in points is doable but Martin wins the Championship thanks to the number of overalls won.
Who are we kidding, one of them will probably hit the dirt on the first lap of Moto 1 and it'll all be over by halftime.
By the way, the last time Motocross ended in a tie was 1977 between Broc Glover and Danny Laporte with Glover getting the 125MX title thanks to two wins (LaPorte won the opener) in a six round season. That was also the year of the infamous "Let Brock Bye" photo at Cycle Rama, the final race of the season in San Antonio when mechanic Keith McCarty flashed a pit board sign to leader Bob Hannah telling him to let Broc Glover pass and win the race. Hannah finished second and LaPorte third. Josh Hansen lost the 125 East Supercross title in 2005 to Grant Langston after a tie-breaker, too.
Kyle Peters is expected to race Indiana after a practice crash injured his thumb and kept him out of Utah
Oh, there's also other riders looking for prominent year-end finishes like Joey Savatgy who got his first career win at Unadilla and took over third-place in the standings as a result. He holds a five point lead over Zach Osborne. Jessy Nelson (fifth) and Alex Martin (sixth) are within one point of each other and still mathematically in it for third-place.
Kyle Peters and Chase Marquier hold up the poles for the MotoSport tent as Fredrik Noren (broken hand) and Tommy Hahn (concussion) are both out in the 450 class. Peters is expected to ride after his crash last week left him sidelined for Utah. Marquier did well in his first race of the season taking 16th overall a few weeks after a pretty successful week at Loretta's.
Chase Marquier could finish in the Top 10 on Saturday
Adding to this weekend's excitement is the first ever Legend's Race featuring Ricky Carmichael, Tim Ferry, Jeff Stanton, Kevin Windham and Guy Cooper, the team manager for the MotoSport.com/GPI/Honda team, among others. Cooper, who won the 1990 125cc Motocross title, said he's nervous because he's older than most of the guys but looking forward to it.
Gates drop for Moto 1 at 1 p.m. (EST). Buy tickets online or check out the broadcast schedule. Sadly, no national TV for what could very well be the race of the century, OK maybe of the year, but it still warrants significant coverage.
2015 Motocross Season Standings
450 Class Standings
- Ryan Dungey (500) - 2015 Motocross Champion
- Justin Barcia (407)
- Ken Roczen (402)
- Blake Baggett (333)
- Christophe Pourcel (291)
- Broc Tickle (287)
- Jason Anderson (283)
- Phillip Nicoletti (229)
- Weston Peick (223)
- Fredrik Noren (206) - MotoSport rider
250 Class Standings
- Jeremy Martin (461)
- Marvin Musquin (459)
- Joey Savatgy (310)
- Zach Osborne (305)
- Jessy Nelson (288)
- Alex Martin (287)
- Aaron Plessinger (264)
- Shane McElrath (228)
- Matthew Bisceglia (225)
- Cooper Webb (221)