Muddy Creek Motocross Race Report 2016

What Really Happened in Tennessee at Muddy Creek MX.

Ken Roczen, Muddy Creek Motocross, 2016
Ken Roczen came away with another 1-1 performance, but this time he had to face a stiff challenge from Eli Tomac to get the job down.photo By Jeff Kardas

Ken Roczen continues to rack up wins in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Series, the RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John's/Suzuki Factory Racing-backed rider grabbing his fourth victory in five rounds this weekend at Muddy Creek Raceway, although Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac made it an exciting race. In the 250 class, Cooper Webb claimed his first win of the season, the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider going 2-1 to edge out point leader Joey Savatgy for the victory. Here’s a look at what really happened at Muddy Creek Raceway.

Eli Tomac, Muddy Creek Motocross, 2016
Did Eli Tomac's 2-2 in Tennessee signal a turnaround for the Kawasaki rider?Photo By Jeff Kardas

450 Class

Despite Roczen’s 1-1 sweep of the 450 class, the Muddy Creek race featured some of the best racing yet, with Tomac and HRC Honda’s Cole Seely pushing the 2014 outdoor champ on the rough and rutted course. Tomac had a shot at the overall, but Roczen managed to hold off a late-race pass attempt in the second moto to salvage the win.

While Roczen has been dominant from the beginning of the season, Tomac finally seems to have found his form and qualified second fastest in the morning behind Christophe Pourcel. After finishing second in the first moto, Tomac was able to claw his way from just inside the top 10 in moto two and into to second by lap three. From there, he played cat and mouse with Roczen for the remainder of the race, showing the Suzuki rider a wheel in a couple of places before settling for second at the finish, his 2-2 finish giving him second overall for the day.

“The track started off pretty soft and wet, making a pretty slick racetrack,” said Tomac. “The conditions made practice a bit difficult but the track came around quite well by the afternoon. Muddy Creek is a little tight, which makes it a bit of an effort to get past lapped riders, but overall it was a good day. In the second moto I did everything I could to push towards the end, I nailed a few more lines and was really close to the end goal. 2-2 is a good result and we’re going to continue to build off this momentum.”

Broc Tickle, Muddy Creek Motocross, 2016
Broc Tickle came away with his best finish of the season with third overall.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Aided by a holeshot in the second moto, RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John's/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Broc Tickle finished third over for the day with a 6-3 moto score, his first podium in the outdoor series since 2012. Tickle has been recovering from a wrist injury he suffered during the Supercross season and has been making good progress with each race during the outdoor series.

Cole Seely, Muddy Creek Motocross, 2016
Cole Seely led part of the first moto and diced with Roczen before settling into third.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Just missing the podium was HRC Honda’s Cole Seely, who parlayed a 3-6 moto result for fourth overall.

Seely jumped quickly into the lead in moto one, though Roczen and Tomac were both able to pass the Honda rider, forcing him to settle for third at the finish.

Moto two was more of the same, as Seely made his way to the front early, but eventually settled for sixth. Seely’s consistency has paid off as he sits third in the championship standings.

“It was a little bit of a bummer to not get on the podium after having such a good start to the day, but we’ve made our way into third in the points standings,” said Seely. “I can’t get down when the season overall is going well and we’re racing up front. We’ll just keep trying and hopefully get up there next weekend.”

Marvin Musquin, Muddy Creek Motocross, 2016
Despite putting up a good fight, Marvin Musquin fell short of a second moto podium position by one spot.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Marvin Musquin grabbed his second-straight top-five finish with a 7-4 tally for fifth. The Red Bull KTM rider went own in the first turn of moto one, but charged from last place, to finish seventh.

“Unfortunately I made a mistake on my own and went down on the start,” Musquin said. “I tried my best and passed a lot of riders to go from last place to 7th but I know I could have finished on the podium without that mistake at the beginning of the race.”

In Moto two, Musquin was second out of the first turn, but fell back to sixth place on the opening lap. At the halfway mark, Musquin was able to pass Seely to move into fourth behind Tickle. Despite putting up a good fight, Musquin fell short of a second moto podium position by one spot.

“I was really looking forward to this weekend after a podium finish at High Point last weekend. I wanted to get another result and improve, which didn’t happen with the crash in moto one,” said Musquin. “I know I’m capable of finishing on the podium so I will continue to work hard to make that happen.”

Cooper Webb, Muddy Creek Motocross, 2016
Cooper Webb grabbed his first win of the season, going 2-1 to claim the 250 class overall.Photos By Jeff Kardas

250 Class

Joey Savatgy appeared to have the Muddy Creek overall win in the bag after easily winning the opening moto of the day in the 250 class. However, a fall on lap three of the second moto dropped the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider from third to eighth. Savatgy dropped back as far as 12th after another tip-over on lap nine, but managed to work his way back into seventh by the finish, allowing him to salvage a runner-up finish.

“My first moto was great and I’m very happy with the result,” said Savatgy. “In the second moto I made a couple minor mistakes that ended up costing me more than I’d like. I tipped it over two times and both times I spent a lot of energy trying to make sure I didn’t stall the bike. The couple minor mistakes I made need to stop in order to keep the championship, I know it’s something we can do and with a 1-7 on today a second place is good. We know what to do, now it’s time to go home and get it done so we can come out at RedBud swinging.”

Cooper Webb overcame mediocre starts to claim his first win of the season, the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider going 2-1 for the overall, working his way from outside the top-five in moto one to finish second to Savatgy.

In moto two, Webb worked his way up from an eighth-place start and used a last-lap pass on Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Shane McElrath to claim the moto win and the overall.

“I didn’t make it easy on myself with the starts I got, I put my head down in both motos,” said Webb. “Second moto I wasn’t going to give up. I made some passes, some aggressive ones, but all in all a good day. We tested a lot this week on the east coast and we got some really good settings and feedback. But I think what honestly helped this week was the fans. I could hear them on the fence and it made me just keep going, keep going no matter what. I saw Joey crash and for a split second I thought I should be smart, but I did end up crashing, but he crashed again. I could have easily settled for third, and I’m stoked that I didn’t and I kept pushing. That’s the best I’ve ridden in a long time.”

Joey Savatgy, Muddy Creek Motocross, 2016
Joey Savatgy ran away with the first 250 moto, but a couple of falls relagated the Kawasaki rider to seventh for the moto and second overall (1-7).Photos By Jeff Kardas

Local boy Shane McElrath gave his hometown fans something to cheer about with a 5-2 for third overall. McElrath also came away with the holeshot in the second moto.

“I felt good despite the heat and a rough track, so I’m happy to get the good result, but felt like I should have had that win,” said McElrath. “It was really cool to have North Carolina represented on the podium. I had a lot of family and friends here so I’m happy to give them a good result.”

In addition to leading four laps of the first moto, Jordon Smith’s turned in an impressive 4-6 finish for fourth overall.

“Oh man it feels so good, especially after the last few races, they’ve been tough,” said Smith. “We’ve been doing some testing to try to figure things out. It feels good to have two good motos and to run up front both times. I led four or five laps there in the first moto. The only time I’d ever been in the lead outdoors was at Utah last year, and that time I was a little freaked out. This time I felt really comfortable up there and it was fun. I ended up getting a little bit of arm pump so I kind of had to salvage a fourth there. Arm-pump in both of the motos so that kind of hurt. But it feels good to run up front. I feel like that’s where I belong.”

"I'm just tired of losing. These fans are awesome. I could hear them out there and it kept me going," said Webb. "This is what I consider to be a home race, so I'd rather win this race more than any other. I just cannot thank all these fans enough for their support."

With his win, Webb cut into Savatgy's lead in the standings, and the Yamaha rider now sits just was 12 points behind Savatgy. Jeremy Martin’s fifth overall (6-5), leaves him sitting third, 32 points out of the lead.

RESULTS

450 Class

  1. Ken Roczen, Germany, Suzuki (1-1)

  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (2-2)

  3. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki (6-3)

  4. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda (3-6)

  5. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (7-4)

  6. Christophe Pourcel, France, Husqvarna (4-8)

  7. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Yamaha (5-9)

  8. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki (8-7)

  9. Justin Brayton, Fort Dodge, Iowa, KTM (9-11)

  10. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (13-10)

250 Class

  1. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha (2-1)

  2. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (1-7)

  3. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM (5-2)

  4. Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., Honda (4-6)

  5. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (6-5)

  6. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (3-10)

  7. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (10-4)

  8. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Honda (19-3)

  9. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (9-9)

  10. Arnaud Tonus, Switzerland, Kawasaki (12-8)