The 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series concluded on Saturday at the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, IN.
The gates had yet to drop when Ryan Dungey retired days after his fourth Supercross Championship and then lots of ups and downs highlighted the season starting at the opener in Hangtown. Zach Osborne stepped on the podium every round except one needing 11 rounds to clinch the 250 class Championship but Eli Tomac needed all 24 Motos to clinch his 450 class title.
As the silly season begins with lots of questions, let's run down the Top 10 Moments of the 2017 Outdoor Nationals in no particular order.
1. Tomac and Osborne Sweep Hangtown
Eli Tomac entered the 2017 Motocross season with high expectations in the 450 class and delivered during the season opener at Hangtown. He looked untouchable, unstoppable and visions of his dominating 2015 season that was cut short danced in everybody's head. Marvin Musquin finished a pedestrian second place behind Tomac in both Motos.
In the 250 class, Zach Osborne continued where he left off in Las Vegas after claiming the Supercross 250SX East title. Osborne dominated the field leading upfront in both Motos, grabbed the holeshot in Moto 2 and looked destined for another title.
Zach Osborne swept Hangtown and book-ended his Championship season with a sweep at Ironman
2. Marvin Musquin Wins Round 2 Grabs Red Plate
Marvin Musquin getting his first career Moto win wasn't unexpected, it was how quickly he won, taking the overall and bouncing back from the beat down he took at the hands of Tomac the week before. The win also gave him the Red Plate, another first in his 450 career, as Tomac suffered a bike malfunction in Moto 2 and managed only two points. Suddenly, Tomac had legitimate competition and Musquin was now a contender.
Marvin Musquin held the Red Plate after Glen Helen
3. Blake Baggett Wins Two Straight Grabs Red Plate
The surprises continue.
Like Musquin, Blake Baggett getting his first career win wasn't unexpected. But hardly on anyone's radar to start the season in terms of competing for the 450 class Championship, Baggett emerged seemingly out of nowhere, after three straight Motos out of the Top 5 to start the season, with a Moto win and overall at Thunder Valley then another a week later at High Point. Baggett grabbed the Red Plate after Round 4 and entered the Championship fray as Tomac sank to third-place in the standings.
Two straight overalls handed the Red Plate to Blake Baggett
4. Jason Anderson Drops Out
Halfway through the season the 450 class boasted a legitimate four-rider race for the title. Tomac led in points while Musquin battled back from an earlier knee injury and was in fourth-place, 41 points back. Baggett showed strength in second place while third-place Jason Anderson had won two Motos on the season and gaining on Baggett. Then a practice crash. Then a crash on his road bike while training.
He tried Spring Creek but bowed out quickly in Moto 1 and didn't start Moto 2. His Championship hopes all but over he opted for surgery to remove a plate from his foot and his 2017 season was over.
Jason Anderson had momentum but practice and training days proved his undoing
5. Eli Tomac Wins Five Straight Motos and Takes the Red Plate Back
The Tomac everyone assumed would sail to a Championship after his opening round route finally showed up after some lowlights in Rounds 2, 3, and 4. Tomac ripped off five straight Moto wins stretching from Tennessee to Southwick which also included winning six of seven Motos. He took the Red Plate back and never lost it. The midseason surge turned his season around and proved the difference as he wrapped up the 2017 title in the final Moto of the season.
Eli Tomac got his swagger back after five straight Moto wins
6. Baggett Wrenches Thumb
Baggett banged bars with Anderson in Moto 2 at RedBud resulting in a minor get-off and an injured thumb. Baggett finished 10th that Moto, lost the Red Plate and didn't look the same for the rest of the year. He put up several good fights including the following round finishing in second behind Tomac in both Motos and grabbed three more second-place finishes on the season but he never stepped on top of the box again and finished third for the year.
7. Musquin Wins Six Straight Motos
Musquin tore the meniscus in his knee while training just a few days before High Point. He lost the Red Plate as a result and focused on "salvaging points." His season looked all but over until Spring Creek where he got his first career sweep, then followed it with another sweep, then another. A 72 point deficit from Tomac shrank to 41. Musquin now had a shot at the title which he fired through the closing round beating Tomac in nine of the final 10 Motos coming up short by 17 points.
Marvin Musquin is all smiles, even in the mud, after six straight Moto wins
8. Jeffrey Herlings Shows Up
The Netherlands phenom that is Jeffrey Herlings who races in the World Motocross Championship (MXGP) overseas decided to race the final round of the Nationals. The three-time MX2 (250) class Champion for that series, currently in second-place in points for the MXGP (450) class, schooled the field with a dominating sweep (though Musquin did look good for the Moto 2 win before crashing) including overcoming a first turn crash in Moto 2 that left him in last place.
After a bit of will he or won't he, Jeffrey Herlings raced the final round and swept
9. Alex Martin Drops Out
As Osborne dominated the 250 season Alex Martin quietly hung in second-place for much of the year and after eight rounds was just 43 points from first. He beat Osborne several times until then and held on to a legitimate chance for the 250 title. Unfortunately, a practice crash before Washougal injured his shoulder and kept him from lining up for Round 9. He lost 38 points to Osborne as a result, dropped to third-place and ultimately never returned. Osborne clinched the title in Round 11.
A practice crash claimed another contender as Alex Martin was unable to race the last four rounds
10. A Season of Firsts
Feel free to call the 2017 Motocross series a season of firsts. In the 450 class, Musquin and Baggett got their first career Moto wins and overalls (plus first career sweep for Musquin) but so did Justin Bogle who won Moto 1 at Thunder Valley then won again at Budds Creek taking the overall. Martin Davalos claimed a career high third overall then second overall and Dean Wilson likewise. Herlings got his first win, sweep and overall. Tomac's Championship was his first.
Justin Bogle had reason to celebrate with a nac-nac after winning the overall at Budds Creek
In the 250 class Osborne's opening Moto sweep was a first so was his eventual Championship. At Budds Creek, Adam Cianciarulo got his first career win and overall. Colt Nichols third-place overall in the final round was his first career podium. Rookie Dylan Ferrandis got his first career Moto win and podium including career high second at Southwick. And perhaps Shane McElrath is the first rider ever to slice his hand open after breaking a champagne bottle during podium celebrations.
Written By: AndrewT