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Images from the 2019 RedBud National Motocross Event on Saturday July 6th in Buchanan, Michigan.
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Monster Energy Lights Up RedBud

Jul 082019

There’s nothing quite like the energy that comes with the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship’s annual visit to RedBud. Whether it’s the event’s association with the 4th of July, or the simple fact that it’s widely regarded as the epitome of the perfect motocross track, the buzz of the National is unlike anything else on the racing calendar.

Because of its prestige, winning at RedBud is one of the many accomplishments a rider seeks to achieve in his career. It’s a special feeling to celebrate a victory in front of the thousands of rabid fans that line the fences, and the path to victory is often grueling due to the varying demands the track presents, notably the iconic jump that is LaRocco’sLeap.

This year’s RedBud National marked the kickoff to the second half of the 2019 season, so it was a crucial point in the championship to make a statement. For Monster Energy, that statement came in the form of a sweep of the overall wins across the 450 Class and 250 Class.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac further asserted himself atop the championship standings by capturing his third win of the season. Tomac had to work hard for his victory, but it showed that he’s inching closer towards the form that saw him dominate the 2018 season. Tomac’s memories from a year ago at RedBud were nightmarish, so the return to the legendary track came with added incentive for Tomac as he looked to erase the past and rebound in the most emphatic way possible.

Over in the 250 Class, the dominant undefeated season amassed by Monster Energy athletes continued with the first victory of the summer for Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis. The Frenchman has been on the cusp of victory for the past several weeks, and he took full advantage of his build up of momentum at RedBud with the most dominant effort of the season in the division. Ferrandis claimed the class’ first 1-1 sweep of 2019, and made a statement to his fellow Monster Energy riders with the third victory of his career.

450 Class

 

Given how much change has taken place within the championship battle the past few weeks, it felt like RedBud presented a unique opportunity for Tomac to take a big step toward a third consecutive title. While rival Ken Roczen kept him honest throughout the early portion of the summer, the German’s form had dropped considerably during the most recent rounds of the championship, and it opened the door for Tomac to establish some breathing room in the points. In Roczen’s absence, fellow rival Marvin Musquinstepped up and built some momentum for himself, but Tomac made sure that Musquin’s surge in confidence was limited.

 

With the added complexity of the title fight, and a two-round drought since his last win, Tomac seized the moment at one of his favorite tracks. He started the afternoon solidly inside the top five of the timed qualifying chart, which provided an early gate pick for the always-crucial start. Behind him, fellow Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Joey Savatgy slotted inside the top five as well, while the Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing tandem of Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger followed in ninth and 13th, respectively.

 

That increased need for a strong start panned out for Tomac, who emerged near the front of the pack in third. Barcia fought his way to a top-five start as well, while Plessingerand Savatgy were in the thick of the fight for a spot inside the top 10. With the leaders in sight, Tomac immediately went to work on a quest for the lead. He showed patience with the heightened early pace behind Cooper Webb, and after a few laps of testing some alternate lines, Tomacpulled the trigger to move into second about a quarter way through the moto. From there it was only a matter of time before Justin Bogle’s handle on the top spot came under threat.

 

Like a shark with blood in the water, Tomac knew the opportunity to strike was there and he needed just one lap to seize control of the lead. Once he put his Kawasaki into the top spot, it was clear sailing for the champ to carry on to his class-leading sixth moto win of the season. Plessinger was the next best Monster Energy rider, just outside the top 10 in 11th, while misfortune plagued both Barcia and Savatgy and left them deep in the running order.

 

Things were a little more challenging for Tomac in Moto 2, when he emerged with a seventh-place start. However, he was still well in control of his own path to victory. Savatgyslotted in right behind him in eighth, with Plessinger not far behind in 10th. Barcia’s trying afternoon got even more difficult with a 37th-place start.

 

In typical Tomac fashion, he went to work in the opening laps and gained some valuable ground. He fought his way into the top five after just a few laps, and continued to climb forward. Once he moved up to fourth, Tomac had the overall in his grasp, but he wasn’t done. He fought his way by Jason Anderson for third, and with time running out in the moto, he stormed past Roczen for second. 

 

The late effort in the final moto ultimately translated into a big points day for Tomac. His 1-2 effort easily gave him the 20th win of his career, which ties him with James Stewart for fifth on the all-time wins list. The edge in victory was a huge seven points over Anderson, the runner-up, and eight points over Musquin, which pays big dividends in the championship standings.

 

In his second start of the season, Plessinger just missed out on the top 10 in 11th, while Barcia was resilient en route to a 14th-place finish. Savatgy endured through a nightmare day and finished 38th.

 

Tomac’s victory moved him out to a 34-point lead in the 450 Class standings, which should be a major cause for concern for the rest of his fellow competitors. It’s the largest lead he’s had at this point in the season compared to the previous two title-winning campaigns.

 

450 Class Results

1. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki (2-1)

2. Jason Anderson, Husqvarna (2-4)

3. Marvin Musquin, KTM (7-1)

4. Cooper Webb, KTM (3-5)

5. Ken Roczen, Honda (6-3)

11.​Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (11-11)

14.​Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (39-10)

38.​Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki (38-34)

 

450 Class Standings

1. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki – 304

2. Marvin Musquin, KTM – 270

3. Ken Roczen, Honda – 264

4. Jason Anderson, Husqvarna – 252

5. Cooper Webb, KTM – 238

7.​Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 170

18.​Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki – 54

23.​Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 28

250 Class

 

Whether it’s a Kawasaki or a Yamaha, the Monster Claw has been a consistent presence at the front of the pack this summer in the 250 Class. Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Cooper, and Dylan Ferrandis have been the class of the field all summer long, grabbing the win in all but two motos this season. That dominance has translated into an undefeated record in terms of overall victories, and with that this trio of riders has a firm hold on the top three spots in the championship standings.

 

While Cianciarulo has set the standard when it comes to capturing the overall, his Yamaha-mounted rivals have kept him honest, and on a couple occasions, have even got the better of him. The latest instance of this was at RedBud. Ferrandis made his mark early by posting the fastest time in qualifying, in which Monster Energy riders occupied the top four spots with Cooper second, Cianciarulo third, and Mitchell Oldenburg fourth. Colt Nichols was just a couple spots back in sixth, while Martin Davalos and Ty Masterpool rounded things out in 11th and 13th, respectively. Prior to the start of the motos, Davalos made the tough decision to sit out, as lingering injuries have continued to plague him all summer.

 

When the gate dropped on Moto 1, it wasn’t a surprise to see Ferrandis and Cianciarulo in a battle for the lead on the opening lap. A miscue by Cianciarulo ultimately allowed Ferrandis to assume control of the top spot, while the point leader later made another mistake that dropped him to third. The third member of the trio, Cooper, wasn’t far behind, but he got stuck in a rut and lost several positions.

 

The clear track allowed Ferrandis to add to his lead as the moto wore on, and he cruised to his third checkered flag over the last four motos. Cianciarulo would cross the line third, but a penalty from his earlier off-track excursion docked him two positions to fifth. That benefitted both Cooper and Masterpool, who were credited with third and fourth, giving Monster Energy athletes four of the top five positions. After a spirited battle for third with Cianciarulolate in the moto, a crash by Nichols caused him to drop outside the top 10 in 11th.

 

More often than not this season, the second moto has been where Cianciarulo has shined. However, Ferrandis got the upper hand this time around and was able to get around Nichols in the early stages of the moto to secure second behind Alex Martin. Cianciarulo was just outside the top three in fourth, but was also forced to duke it out with Nichols. After a few laps, Cianciarulo got the better of his fellow Monster rider, but Ferrandis had already passed Martin for the lead and was once again well on his way to victory. Cianciarulo was persistent in his pursuit and successfully caught and passed Martin for second, but the damage was already done.

 

The Frenchman’s hot streak continued with wins in four of the last five motos, highlighted by an emphatic sweep of the RedBud motos. Despite his penalty from Moto 1, Cianciarulo’s strong runner-up effort in the final motohelped him salvage second overall while Cooper’s less-than-ideal afternoon saw him finish in a distant third, capping off yet another 1-2-3 podium sweep for Monster Energy. Solid efforts from both Masterpool and Nichols landed them inside the top 10 as well, while Oldenburg soldiered home in 14th.

 

A big 12-point swing paid big dividends to Ferrandis in the championship standings, as he not only took second from Cooper, but also closed to within 25 points of Cianciarulofor the lead. While the momentum is squarely in Ferrandis’ favor following RedBud, Cianciaurlo still sits very much in control of his own destiny.

 

250 Class Results

1. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Star/YamahaRacing (1-1)

2. Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (5-2)

3. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing (3-6)

4. RJ Hampshire, Honda (2-8)

5. Hunter Lawrence, Honda (8-4)

6. Ty Masterpool, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing (4-11)​

7. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing(11-5)

14. Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing (15-13)

 

250 Class Standings

1. Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 307

2. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Star/YamahaRacing – 282

3. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Star/YamahaRacing – 281

4. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing – 204

5. RJ Hampshire, Honda – 200

11.​Ty Masterpool, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing – 111

15.​Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 63

18.​Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 54

22.​Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing – 45

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