Southwick is back and gnarlier than ever! This weekend’s races consisted of carnage and disappointment for some, but huge success for others. The sand in Southwick took a toll on the motors and the bodies of various teams in the first moto. Although the 2017 Southwick National was brutal to some, it also brought out the best in others. The JGR Team had their fair of struggles, along with the Pro Circuit Kawasaki Team and Rockstar Yamaha Yamalube Team. All in all, the 2017 Southwick National was an amazing start to the second half of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
250 Moto 1
The first 250 Moto started with Alex Martin getting the holeshot with RJ Hampshire following closely behind. RJ Hampshire stated he feels good and is stoked to be back out here racing before the races. His energy off the track transferred smoothly to the track as he passed A-Martin for the lead. It looked like Hampshire was going to check out after getting a bit of a lead, but misfortune struck again. Going down a few turns later and was put back around 4th/5th.
The first place battle was now between Dylan Ferrandis and Alex Martin. Ferrandis was on rails all moto and made the move on Alex until the Southwick sand grabbed him. Losing the front end allowed Martin to get around him and the fight continued. Ferrandis pushed the limits and made another pass on martin as the lines came together and he edged Martin to the outside.
It was amazing racing from the Frenchmen and I hope to see more of this as the season winds down. Osborne, being Osborne, found another gear and made his way around Martin and found himself on the rear fender of Ferrandis. These two showed insane speed on the closing laps, but Ferrandis would prevail and ride away with his second moto win of the season.
Moto 1 Struggles
It was a rough day for Ferrandis’s teammate, Aaron Plessinger, as he was unable to finish the race after he crashed. The bike swapped and the front wheel tucked sending Aaron over the bars. He landed directly on his right shoulder and was done for the rest of the moto. It appeared was pointing to his collarbone/neck, but after further evaluation he was diagnosed with a concussion. He stated that he will be ready to race in Millville though!
He wasn’t the only one with struggles in the first moto though. The Pro Circuit team had one rider finish inside the top 10. Forkner and Hill had mechanical issues and were unable to finish the race (something with the front break, on ongoing problem for the Kawi tents). Adam Cianciarulo went down twice in the first lap, but was able to fight back to 15th. This left it up to Joey Savatgy who rode away with a 7th place.
250 Moto 2
The Second Moto was underway with clear skies and a Rockstar Husqvarna leading the way. Zach Osborne got a perfect start and showed us why he is the man to beat in the 250 Class. Osborne didn’t grab the 2nd moto win easy though. He was under severe pressure from the 108 of a Ferrandis as he was looking for the sweep. Unfortunately, another mistake would give Osborne the relief he needed as the rain began to fall.Osborne would run away with the moto win as the rest of the field would fight the rain to maintain their points.
Osborne is on fire. He is 4 for 7 in overalls this season and his worst finish is a 5th overall in Tennessee. Ferrandis was on rails all day, but those two mistakes would cost him the overall, but he would grab 2nd overall. Ferrandis showed us great potential at the 2017 Southwick National as the sand is relatable to the GP styled races that he is used to. Behind these two, Alex Martin would finish the line next, for third overall. RJ Hampshire followed him in 4th to take 4th overall. In Regards to the Pro Circuit Team, Forkner and Hill would both miss the second moto. It was a heart breaking day for the PC team to say the least.
450 Moto 1
The 450 first moto hopefully silenced KTM fans. Eli Tomac is the sandman and proved that as he dominated the 2017 Southwick National. Blake Bagget got out front with the holeshot after taking out his teammate Dakota Alix when they came together around the first turn. Baggett was caught in a blink of an eye by Eli Tomac, and Tomac made quick work of him. It didn’t matter if you were on the outside or inside, Tomac would rail each turn and pass you. His corner speed in the sand is unbelievable. Tomac ran away with moto 1 and finished 15 seconds in front of Baggett.
Marvin Musquin was the man on a mission this moto as he got buried deep in the pack around the 30th position. Musquin seemed to have a problem with his KTM, but that didn’t stop him from getting a top 5 finish. Despite having a horrendous start, Musquin would finish 4th in moto 1. Southwick was a disaster for two riders on the JGR team though.
Moto 1 Struggles 2.0
First it was Weston Peick’s bike that ceased while battling with Cole Seely for fifth mid moto. Second was Justin Barcia’s bike which stopped running with half a lap to go. Barcia’s issue seemed to be that he ran out of gas, but regardless of what it was he got a DNF for moto 1. The final result for moto 1 was Tomac, Baggett, and Webb. Cooper Webb has struggled this season on the 450, but this podium finish hopefully boosted his confidence and we can see him up front more often.
450 Moto 2
Moto 2 was amazing, but full of carnage. Marvin Musquin was running up front and had a great battle with Eli Tomac. Musquin got out front quickly and these two were running an incredible pace. It was insane to watch how fast these guys can go in the sand and you can hear the crowd screaming in every section of the track. They swapped mistakes and stayed together for the majority of the race, but Tomac would keep the lead for the sweep in the 2017 Southwick National.
After Marvin Musquin crashed, Blake Baggett would take over 2nd and ride there till the checkered. Rounding of the top 3 positions for moto 1 was Dean Wilson courtesy of a minor crash from Cooper Webb. These two would have the same amount of points, but Wilson’s 5th in moto 1 would overtake coopers 6th for his first overall podium. Tomac finished 1st overall with the 1-1 sweep, Baggett went 2-2 for 2nd overall and Wilson went 7-5 for 3rd.
Marvin Crashes Out | Barcia’s Struggles
Although Marvin would have a great battle with Tomac, he would have a huge get off that would take him out of the moto. Musquin got cross rutted and exited stage left when he should have went right. It was a scary moment as he launched into the fence just in front of spectators. It didn’t look like he hit the fence, but he was awfully close. Luckily he was okay and was able to ride into the mechanics area, but that was the last we would see of Musquin. Justin Barcia’s problems continued as he got ejected from his Suzuki; he was okay and remounted back around 12th. He would finish 11th overall.
Spring Creek National
Next on the list is the Spring Creek National in Millville, Minnesota. Eli Tomac is going to carry on and attempt to make it 4 in a row. The Martin Brothers will be at their home track and try to take advantage of the hometown crowd. These two need to make something happen now if they want any chance at taking down Osborne. Zach Osborne is clearly the man to beat as he has a 45 points lead of Alex Martin. As the season winds down, I am starting to wonder if Zach Osborne will get the back to back 2017 championships.