Spring Creek Motocross Race Report 2016

What really happened at the Millville Motocross

Ken Roczen, Spring Creek Motocross, 2016
Ken Roczen claimed his fifth 1-1 sweep if the season at Millville.Photo By Jeff Kardas

It didn't take long for Ken Roczen to get back in the swing of things after losing the overall to Eli Tomac at last week’s round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Southwick. And he did so in a big way by absolutely dominating the field this past weekend in Millville, Minnesota, going 1-1 the overall win. Meanwhile, defending 250 champ Jeremy Martin claimed his first win of the season at his hometown track with a 2-1 performance. Here’s what really happened at the Spring Creek National Motocross.

Ken Roczen back was on his game at Millville, and after claiming the fastest lap during qualifying by a margin of nearly two seconds, the RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John's/Suzuki Factory rider rode flawlessly in the two 450-class motos to claim his sixth overall victory of the season.

In moto one, Roczen followed Autotrader/Monster Energy/Yamaha's Justin Barcia and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac through the first turn and into the opening lap to start the 16-lap race. It wasn’t long, though, before the Suzuki rider was sitting second behind Tomac and breathing down the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider’s neck after the two had disposed of Barcia on the previous lap. By lap four, Roczen had positioned himself to put a move on Tomac and he wasted no time in taking the lead ahead of the Colorado rider with a spectacular pass a few turns later. Once out front there was no looking back for Roczen, who went on to claim his 11th moto win of the season ahead of Tomac, with Musquin in third. Barcia and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Christophe Pourcel rounded out the top five.

Marvin Musquin, Spring Creek Motocross, 2016
Marvin Musquin grabbed his best finish so far in the 450 class with a second overall.Photos By Jeff Kardas

In the second moto, Roczen was even more spectacular, coming from mid-pack off the start and into the lead by the end of the second lap. Having bent his shift lever in a turn-two get-together with another rider, Roczen had difficulty shifting for the remainder of the race, but that didn’t keep him from passing riders at will during his charge to the front. In the end, Roczen finished the race with a 28-second margin over Musquin.

Spring Creek marked the fifth 1-1 sweep if the season for Roczen.

"Today was tough as we were faced with a few challenges throughout the day, including a bent shifter during the second moto," said Roczen. "Fortunately I was able to grab clean shifts in order to make sure that I didn’t take the chance of losing points. Overall I'm happy to walk away with another win, but I need to go home and improve my starts so we can get out front a little sooner."

Eli Tomac, Spring Creek Motocross, 2016
Eli Tomac battled with Roczen early in the first moto, but couldn't maintain the pace of the Suzuki rider and eventually settled for third behind Roczen and Marvin Musquin.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Musquin turned in by far his best performance in the 450 class with a second overall. The Red Bull KTM rider admitted after the race that riding press day on Thursday gave him a bit of an advantage because it allowed him to make a few changes to the bike before race day.

During the first moto, Musquin put himself into a top-five position on the opening lap, but he soon charged past Barcia and into third place. Musquin eventually pulled to within striking distance of Tomac, but was unable to get close enough to attempt a pass. After a hard-fought performance, Musquin ultimately finished third for the moto.

Musquin grabbed the holeshot in the second moto, his first holeshot of the season, and battled with Roczen for the lead for a short time. Musquin even posted the fasted lap of the race on lap six, showing just how far the 450-class rookie has come during the 2016 season.

In the end, Musquin held off a late-race challenge by Tomac to finish the moto in second, giving the KTM rider second overall.

“I love this track and we made some changes to the bike that shows to be in the right direction,” Musquin said. “We always try to get better and it feels good to be able to ride the bike and feel comfortable to ride the way I know how.”

Musquin now sits third in the 450 Class Championship Standings with four rounds remaining in the season.

Christophe Pourcel, Spring Creek Motocross, 2016
Christophe Pourcel went 5-4 for fourth overall.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Tomac admitted after the race that the Millville course normally suits his style, but it beat him up a little this weekend. Just when he appears to be getting the fire back he had at the start of last season, Tomac turns in a mediocre performance like he did at Millville.

“Today went well,” said Tomac. “Our lap times in qualifying were good and we got off to a great start in Moto 1, where I was able to jump into the lead early. I made a small mistake at the bottom of the hill, which allowed second place to sneak by. I tried to fight back but made a few more mistakes, so I turned it down a bit to ride smoother. I didn’t get as good of a start in Moto 2 and by the time I worked my way into third, the leaders had already ran away with it. We’ll continue to work during the week and try and go for the win again next weekend.”

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Christophe Pourcel was strong as usual in qualifying, posting the third-fastest time, and said later that he felt confident going into the race. Pourcel’s 5-4 performance gave him fourth overall, solidifying his fifth place status in the point standings.

“The goal is always to be consistent,” said Pourcel. “I try to be strong in my motos and its tough because there’s so many good guys. It’s tough to crack the top five. I’m just trying to do my own thing and get good starts and stay with the top five. We have a good thing going on now. It’s just a matter of finding lines. It’s tough to fight with those guys because they are so fast. Overall it was a pretty decent weekend for me, though.”

Like Tomac, Barcia came into Spring Creek hot off of an impressive performance the week before at Southwick. Barcia was third at Southwick and he was hoping to improve on that performance in Millville. However, a fourth in moto one, and then a crash while running fifth in the second moto left the Yamaha rider with a 4-5 day for fifth overall.

James Stewart, Spring Creek Motocross, 2016
James Stewart made his return to race at Millville and finished 10th in the opening moto. The Yoshimura Suzuki rider pulled out of moto two while running 12th.Photos By Jeff Kardas

James Stewart made his return to competition at Millville, racing to a 10th place finish in the first moto. After getting off to a rough start in the second moto, Stewart pulled off while running 12th.

“I got an OK start and then got passed by a few guys,” Stewart said. “I kind of settled in and passed a few more guys and some of them went down and I got tenth. It was pretty solid. With all the stuff going on in my personal life I haven’t’ been able to ride as much. The second moto I was trying, but almost hit the deck a few times. It got to the point where I pulled out and I was bummed out about that.

“I’m happy to be back out here racing. I know what I need to do and that’s get more seat time to be able to race. The track was tough all day, especially in that second moto. I want to thank the team. I’m going to keep pushing here and building up and I think Washougal should be better for sure.”

Roczen's fifth 1-1 moto sweep of the season brings his season win total to six, setting a new single season record for the German rider. He's won 13 of 16 motos thus far and now has 12 career premier class victories. In addition, Roczen maintains a comfortable lead in the 450 standings, which now sits at 55 points over Tomac. Musquin is third, 144 points out of the lead.

Jeremy Martin, Spring Creek Motocross, 2016
Jeremy Martin kept the crowd on its toes with a popular hometown win.Photos By Jeff Kardas

250 Class

In the 250 Class, Jeremy Martin led his Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha teammates to a 1-2-3 podium sweep, with Cooper Webb in second and Alex Martin in third.

The first 250 moto started out as a battle between the Martin brothers, with Alex taking the early lead over Jeremy, although Webb was quick to move around Jeremy and into second on lap six. Alex would later go down in a turn, allowing Webb to take the lead on lap 17, while Jeremy moved into second. From there it was all Webb, as the North Carolina rider took a three-second win over Jeremy, with Alex in third. Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy finished fourth with Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger in fifth.

In the second 250 moto, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo took the lead when Alex Martin tipped over in the whoops on the opening lap; however, Jeremy Martin took advantage of a Cianciarulo mistake to assume the lead on lap four. In the meantime, Webb put on an impressive charge early in the race to move from fourth the second on lap nine, passing Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne and Savatgy in the process. By that point, however, Jeremy was out of touch, and Webb had to settle for second behind the two time and defending champ.

Jeremy’s 2-1 gave him a popular win in front of the hometown crowd.

"Anytime you are able to win your hometown race in front of family and friends is a special moment," said Jeremy Martin, who ended an eight-race gap between wins. "The last couple of weekends we have been able to turn things around and improve the bike, along with my health. I believe we are in a good position, but we need to start gaining some points on Cooper [Webb] so that we can take this championship down to the wire."

Cooper Webb, Spring Creek Motocross, 2016
Cooper Webb passed a downed Alex Martin en route to a 1-2 day and second overall.Photos By Jeff Kardas

Alex Martin's late charge to fourth allowed him to round out the overall podium in third (3-4). It was his first overall podium result at his home track, and capped off the first ever sweep of the overall podium for Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha.

Webb maintained his hold of the red plate as points leader, with his advantage sitting at 38 points over teammate Jeremy Martin, who moved into second. Savatgy, who finished fourth overall (4-5), dropped to third and trails Webb by 50 points.

"I'm happy to leave with a moto win today and maintain our points lead in the championship," said Webb. "The goal for me is always to win, but I knew Alex and Jeremy would be strong today and I'm happy to have been battling with them for the win."

Alex Martin, Spring Creek Motocross, 2016
Alex Martin (26) leads his brother in the first 250 moto.Photos By Jeff Kardas

450 Class

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

  2. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (2-3)

  3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (3-2)

  4. Christophe Pourcel, France, Husqvarna (5-4)

  5. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (4-5)

  6. Trey Canard, Edmond, Okla., Honda (6-6)

  7. Andrew Short, Colorado Springs, Colo., KTM (8-8)

  8. Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (7-10)

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

  10. Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Yamaha (14-7)

**250 Class **

  1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (2-1)

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

  3. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (3-4)

  4. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (4-5)

  5. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (5-6)

  6. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (7-8)

  7. Arnaud Tonus, Switzerland, Kawasaki (8-9)

  8. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Yamaha (11-10)

  9. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Honda (10-11)

  10. Luke Renzland, Hewitt, N.J., Yamaha (9-12)