The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its annual visit to the scenic Pacific Northwest on Saturday, with the ninth round of the 2019 season from legendary Washougal MX Park.
The 39th running of the MotoSport Washougal National, presented by Peterson CAT, featured near-perfect conditions and a massive crowd packed in and around the tree-lined circuit. It proved to be a dominant afternoon for reigning 450 Class Champion Eli Tomac, who enjoyed arguably his best performance of the season aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki, sweeping the motos en route to his fourth win of the summer. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis withstood heavy pressure all afternoon to earn his second victory of the season after a sweep of the motos.
450 Moto 1
The first 450 Class moto got underway with Monster Energy Kawasaki rookie Joey Savatgy capturing his first MotoSport Holeshot over Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb and Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen. While Savatgy was able to clear the field and grab hold of the lead, Roczen was on the move and stormed up into second. The German then closed in on Savatgy for the lead, and while the rookie was able to hold him off to lead his first lap in the 450 Class, Roczen pounced to seize control of the moto.
Roczen quickly sprinted out to a multi-second lead over the field, while Savatgy settled into second. Behind them a battle started to form for third, as Webb was under heavy pressure from his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team-mate, Marvin Musquin, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson, and Tomac. Musquin made multiple attempts to get around his team-mate, but Webb withstood every attack. This allowed Tomac, who passed Anderson for fifth, to close in and make it a three-rider battle. As Webb continued to hold them off, Anderson joined the fray as well. The increased pace of this group eventually allowed them to take big chunks out of their deficit to Savatgy, in second.
Musquin’s inability to get by Webb proved costly, as Tomac made the pass for fourth. Shortly thereafter, Anderson dropped the Frenchman to sixth. Tomac was determined to keep his forward charge going, and was soon all over Webb for third. A bobble briefly halted the KTM rider’s momentum, which made it easy for Tomac to move into a podium spot. Anderson attempted to follow by Webb as well, but was unsuccessful. With his exceptional pace, it was only a matter of time before Tomac closed in on his team-mate for second, and he easily took control of the runner-up spot. At this point, he sat about eight seconds behind Roczen.
Savatgy continued to lose positions and eventually dropped off the podium, and then out of the top five. Webb moved up into third, Anderson into fourth, and Musquin eventually into fifth. As Webb and Anderson engaged in a captivating battle for the final spot on the podium, Tomac was making his march toward Roczen. The Kawasaki rider effectively closed to within striking distance of the lead, and with three laps to go he started to look for a way around. Lapped riders brought them even closer together, but as he tried to make a pass, Tomac tipped over. That gave Roczen some breathing room, but a relentless Tomac closed back in as they approached the white flag. Tomac showed extra aggression as they traversed through the trees on the far section of the track and got alongside Roczen. They made contact, which sent Roczen off the track. Tomac successfully battled his way from eighth out of the first turn to first, and carried on to the win by 8.4 seconds over Roczen, who recovered to finish in the runner-up spot. Webb and Anderson both endured through late crashes to finish in third and fourth, while Musquin ended up fifth.
450 Moto 2
As the 450 Class field exited the first turn to start Moto 2 it was once again Savatgy, who just narrowly edged out Musquin to sweep the MotoSport Holeshots for the afternoon. Musquin applied the pressure immediately and was able to get around Savatgy for the lead. Behind them, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team-mates Zach Osborne and Dean Wilson got great starts as well, but they were soon challenged by Roczen, who was making several passes after starting outside the top five. Tomac was mired about mid-pack in 15th.
Musquin completed the opening lap with the lead, with Savatgy, Osborne and Roczen in tow. The early pace from Roczen allowed him to pass both Osborne and Savatgy in one section and move into second. He didn’t let up and looked for a way around Musquin. The sport’s two international stars went at it, but Musquin was able to withstand the early pressure and open up a lead of more than a second. Behind them, Tomac started to make his move through the field. He needed just a couple laps to break into the top 10, and he soon found himself knocking on the door of the top five behind Osborne.
As the moto neared its halfway point, Anderson made a controversial pass on Savatgy to move up to third, while Tomac made his way around Osborne for fifth shortly after that. Tomac then squared in on his team-mate, and Savatgy didn’t put up too big of a fight as his team-mate made the move for fourth. Free of their slower competition, Anderson and Tomac picked up their pace to try and catch the leaders. An aggressive Tomac didn’t waste any time in trying to get by Anderson, and he took control of third coming down one of the track’s big downhills.
With about 14 minutes left in the moto, Tomac sat four seconds behind Musquin and Roczen. With 10 minutes to go, Tomac caught Roczen, which initiated a battle for second. The increased pace of this battle carried both riders to Musquin and soon the top three were all within two seconds of one another. Tomac found an opening as they reached the top of one of the track’s uphill sections and took it, which moved him into second. He distanced himself from Roczen almost immediately and put the pressure on Musquin.
The Frenchman was able to counter Tomac’s advances and run more defensive lines, which helped him hold Tomac at bay. However, Tomac’s patience was tested during this exchange and he didn’t relent in the next pass attempt. He forced his way to Musquin’s inside and took control of the moto with about three minutes to go. Musquin did well to keep Tomac within reach, but the Kawasaki started to inch away as the race wore on.
Tomac left his rivals behind in the final laps to complete the moto sweep by 11.9 seconds over Musquin. Roczen finished third.
Tomac’s class-leading fourth win of the season, and his second 1-1 sweep of the season, gives him sole possession of fifth on the all-time 450 Class wins list, with 21 victories – breaking a tie with James Stewart.
“On the bike [today] it was like perfection, other than the starts,” said Tomac. “The second moto was pretty much mistake-free. Everything was in the right place, at the right time. It’s pretty cool when that happens. That was just a good day on a dirt bike.”
Roczen’s consistent day helped him grab a runner-up finish (2-3), for his first overall podium result since Round 4 at High Point. Musquin rebounded from his slow start to finish third (5-2).
Tomac added even more points to his cushion in the 450 Class standings, where he now sits 50 points ahead of Musquin. Roczen continues to hold onto third, 57 points behind Tomac.
250 Moto 1
The opening 250 Class moto of the afternoon saw a slew of Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing machines at the front of the field, as Justin Cooper grabbed the MotoSport Holeshot ahead of Ferrandis, Ty Masterpool and Colt Nichols. Cooper and Ferrandis were able to put a firm grasp on the top two, but their team-mates came under fire from Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Cameron McAdoo and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo. McAdoo soon fought his way up to third, but an aggressive Cianciarulo went on the attack to take over the spot and track down his two championship rivals.
Cianciarulo applied heavy pressure on Ferrandis in the early minutes of the moto, and the two nearly made contact when the Kawasaki rider dove to the inside for a pass attempt, but some slight bobbles caused the championship leader to settle in behind the leading Yamahas. With Cianciarulo on his rear fender, Ferrandis picked up his pace and started to close in on Cooper for the lead. He soon got within striking distance and wasted no time in making a pass happen. The Frenchman moved into the top spot just over 10 minutes into the moto, and in his attempt to follow, Cianciarulo tipped over. He remounted quickly but ran a distant third.
Once in the lead, Ferrandis put some breathing room between he and his team-mate, which allowed him to drop down to a more conservative pace and protect the advantage. As time ran out on the moto, the top three were each separated by about two seconds with two laps remaining. While they were all within reach of one another, their near-identical lap times stabilized the distance between them. Ferrandis carried on to his fifth moto win of the season, 1.9 seconds ahead of Cooper, with Cianciarulo right behind in third. GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton followed in fourth, while Nichols rounded out the top five.
250 Moto 2
The deciding 250 Class moto once again saw a slew of Star Yamahas leading the field through the first turn, this time with Nichols earning the MotoSport Holeshot ahead of his team-mates. However, the field was much more bunched up this time around and it was Ferrandis who emerged with the early lead ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Michael Mosiman and Cianciarulo.
Knowing he needed to act early, Cianciarulo forced the issue with Mosiman and made the pass for second. He kept up the pressure and started to stalk Ferrandis for the lead. The Kawasaki rider showed a wheel in a few spots, but the Frenchman didn’t flinch, and after Cianciarulo briefly went off course if put some distance between the two.
The field settled in through the middle portion of the moto, with Ferrandis maintaining about a second advantage on Cianiarulo. With just under seven minutes left, Cianciarulo started to force the issue and closed to within mere bike lengths of Ferrandis, showing the front wheel of his Kawasaki in a couple of spots. However, Ferrandis responded again and extended the lead.
With one lap to go, Cianciarulo let it all hang out to give himself a shot at making a move on Ferrandis, but it wasn’t enough. The Yamaha rider was able to secure the sweep of the day’s motos by five 10ths over Cianciarulo. Mosiman followed in a distant third.
It marked the fourth win of Ferrandis’ career and continues a recent hot streak in which he’s won five of the past 10 motos. Both of the Frenchman’s victories in 2019 have come via 1-1 sweeps, and the Washougal victory couldn’t have come at a more important time in the championship battle.
“It was crazy [in the second moto], but I had a really good start. It was good to get two good starts today. AC [Cianciarulo] was right there with me and I knew we were going to see who is the best,” said Ferrandis. “We were both giving it everything, and the track was so crazy. I really enjoyed battling with AC throughout the moto. I’m going to have to watch this one. I’m just happy to get this win.”
Cianciarulo’s runner-up finish (3-2) continues a streak of finishing on the overall podium at all nine rounds this season. Cooper rounded out the top three in third (2-4).
“You’re conscious of points, but at the same time we’re just racers. After winning a lot this year it’s all I’m craving,” explained Cianciarulo. “I want it. It’s what I expect of myself. I’m happy with all these seconds and thirds, but I’m a little disappointed in myself [today]. I was the fastest guy today, and not to take anything away from Dylan [Ferrandis] because he was riding awesome, but I maybe let that one get away. We’re in a really good position in the championship and I’m feeling great about where we’re at with our program.”
Ferrandis gained eight points on Cianciarulo in the 250 Class standings, where 28 points now separate the lead duo. Cooper maintains his solid hold of third, 48 points out of the lead.
Next up for Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
The 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take its final break in action this summer before returning for its three-round stretch run on Saturday, August 10, at upstate New York’s iconic Unadilla MX. First motos of the Circle K Unadilla National can be seen live on MAVTV at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET. The 250 Class will be showcased on network television for the first time ever with live final moto coverage on NBC at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET, while second moto coverage of the 450 Class will be shown via tape delay on NBC Sports Network at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET.