What Really Happened: Utah Motocross 2015

Race Report

This week, the travelling Motocross circus journeyed to Salt Lake City, Utah, where Ryan Dungey clinched the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship title with a perfect 1-1 performance. Meanwhile, the race for the 250 title remains exciting, with a mere two points separating defending champ Jeremy Martin and his 2015 challenger Marvin Musquin heading into the series finale next weekend in Indiana. There was even a bit of controversy in Utah, but we’ve got it all covered right here. Let’s get to it.

Ryan Dungey went 1-1 to clinch the 450-class title.Photo by Jeff Kardas

Ryan Dungey went into the Utah race knowing he needed to finish just four points ahead of Justin Barcia to claim the 450 title, and the Red Bull KTM rider did so with an exclamation point at the end, doing so in the first moto!

Dungey then went on to add the icing on the cake by running down early leader Ken Roczen in the second moto to sweep the Utah race with perfect 1-1 moto scores, finishing 8.8 seconds ahead of Roczen at the finish.

“Everything went perfect and I’m really happy I was able to not just do what was necessary to clinch the title today, but win both motos and wrap it up with the sweep,” said Dungey. “The team and I have put in a lot of work over the past months to make this happen, and it’s just such a rewarding feeling for us all knowing we did it as a team. The crew has done an amazing job with the bike and I couldn’t ask for a more perfectly tuned race machine. I’m not planning on changing anything going into the final round at Indiana next week, as we love the feeling of winning and plan on racing the final round the same way we have raced the entire season.

“After Indiana I’m really looking forward to going on a long vacation and enjoying some much needed time away with my wife. Since we got married last year it’s just been go, go, go. Racing in the US is tough mainly because it’s basically 29 rounds of intense racing virtually back to back and as riders we don’t have much time in between to really rest our bodies and recover from any injuries we’ve sustained during the year. In past years I’ve just kept going and raced everything asked of me, however, I actually think I’m almost burned out by the time the new year comes around and the Supercross series starts. This year I have decided to take most of September off and actually rest my body. Then we have several races in October before going into boot camp mode for the month of November followed by Supercross testing and preparation in December.”

Ken Roczen was on his game in Utah, but just not enough to catch Dungey.Photo by Jeff Kardas

Over the last two races, RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns Suzuki’s Ken Roczen has returned the form that won him the title last year. Roczen led early in both motos in Utah, leading 13 laps of moto one, but the Suzuki rider could not hold back the charge of Dungey when the KTM rider made his move for the lead in each race. Still, a 2-2 is nothing to sneeze at when you’re going up against “the Dunge”.

Similar to the first moto, Roczen led the first 12 laps of the second moto, but finally could hold Dungey off no longer and settled into a solid second to complete his 2-2 runner-up finish.

Justin Barcia continues to be a fixture on the podium, finishing third in Utah.Photo by Jeff Kardas

Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha's Justin Barcia claimed his 11th holeshot of the season in moto one of the Utah race. Barcia’s teammate Phil Nicoletti got the holeshot in moto two, proving just how fast those JGR Yamahas really are. In fact, Barcia told us one of the team bikes had been protested and was torn down, but everything was found to be legal!

Barcia claimed a hard-earned third overall, going 5-3 to do so after going down in the first moto.

“I felt like I was just a bit off today,” said Barcia. “I was pretty tight in the first moto and ended up fifth after going down once. In the second moto, I got third and finished third overall, which is not bad, but I’m just a bit frustrated with it.”

Jeremy Martin came away with the 250MX overall win with a 3-1 tally.Photo by Jeff Kardas

Jeremy Martin got tangled up in a first turn pileup in moto one and started the race near the back of the pack, but still managed to work his way into third by the end of the moto, thanks in part to a last-turn crash by GEICO Honda’s JR Hampshire, who gave up third to Martin when he crashed just yards from the finish line.

In the second moto, Martin was fifth at the end of the first lap and passed teammate Cooper Webb for the lead on lap nine. From there, Martin rode pretty much unmolested to the finish, giving him a 3-1 performance for first overall.

With just one race remaining, Martin enters the finale with a two-point lead over Musquin in the title chase.

Marvin Musquin was second overall with a 1-3.Photo by Jeff Kardas

Marvin Musquin was pleased to be leaving Utah in the same position that he came into the race in, trailing Jeremy Martin by two points, since the Red Bull KTM rider is outspoken about the fact that he doesn’t particularly like the Utah racetrack, saying the dirt is very inconsistent and soft on some places but very hard in others.

Musquin came away with the win in the first moto, thanks in part to Martin going down at the start of the race, and then Cooper Webb going down on the final lap. The KTM rider led the final 10 laps of the race, holding off a hard-charging Cooper Webb to the finish.

In the second moto, Musquin admitted that third was the best he could do, and that Martin and Cooper were too fast for him to catch them.

Musquin’s 1-3 mirrored Martin’s 3-1 and the two riders enter the final race still with two points separating them in the standings.

Cooper Webb went 202 for third overall.Photo by Jeff Kardas

To say that Cooper Webb had an eventful first moto would be an understatement. The Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider went down in a first turn pileup, then worked his way back to second and then made a pass on Musquin on an outside line of a turn but went down in a soft rut but still got up to finish second for the moto.

In moto two, Webb passed Musquin to take the lead on the opening lap and held the lead for nine laps before his teammate Jeremy Martin came by to take the lead. Webb didn’t seem to put up much of a fight when Martin went by, and the second moto win for Martin definitely helped the defending champ in the overall scheme of things.

In the end, Webb went 2-2 for third overall.

Road racer Jake GagnePhoto by Jeff Kardas

Road racer Jake Gagne raced in Utah and not only did he qualify for the program but he finished 22nd in the first moto in his first-ever professional motocross. Gagne pulled out of the second moto due to an injury but he still left his mark on the motocross scene.

Utah Notes:

After the race, Roger DeCoster spoke about Dungey, his work and his reasoning for not riding this year’s Motocross of Nations.

“I’m extremely proud of the way Ryan has applied himself and really stepped up every facet of his program this year to win both Supercross and Motocross titles in the same year,” said DeCoster. “It’s truly an amazing year for him and the team. I’ve known Ryan for a long time and can honestly say the Ryan I know today is vastly different from seasons past. He is so focused and his will to win is undeniable. We sat down last year and talked about his career and what he still had to achieve in what was already a successful professional career. He did a lot of soul searching and identified his strengths and weaknesses and what he could do to make what was a great career even greater. Ryan brought Aldon (Baker) on board, which has proved to be a perfect match when it comes to work ethic and training.

“From here we turn our focus to Indiana next weekend where Marvin is in the hunt for the 250 title. As a team, obviously the most rewarding result we can get from this season would be to win both 450 and 250 titles. We won both Supercross championships this year and it would be the icing on the cake to replicate that result in the Motocross series.

“After Indiana Ryan will enjoy a little time off before we turn our focus to preparing for the upcoming Supercross season. His choice not to race Des Nations was his own and I have to respect his decision. Obviously I want to have the strongest team possible and would have loved for him to be there but I understand his reasoning and have selected a team that I am confident will put up a good challenge.

“After Des Nations there is the GP race at Glen Helen, which Marvin Musquin and Dean Wilson will race, then we have the Red Bull Straight Rhythm event and the Cup race in Vegas later in October. There is very little off-season here so as a team we will regroup after every event and keep doing what we have been doing all year and that is focusing on winning.”

Utah Motocross Results 2015

450MX

  1. Ryan Dungey (KTM) 1-1
  2. Ken Roczen (Suz) 2-2
  3. Justin Barcia (Yam) 5-3
  4. Blake Baggett (Suz) 4-4
  5. Broc Tickle (Suz) 3-7
  6. Trey Canard (Hon) 7-6
  7. Dean Wilson (KTM) 10-5
  8. Josh Grant (Kaw) 8-8
  9. Christophe Pourcel (Hus) 9-9
  10. Phil Nicoletti (Yam) 12-10

250MX

  1. Jeremy Martin (Yam) 3-1
  2. Marvin Musquin (KTM) 1-3
  3. Cooper Webb (Yam) 2-2
  4. Aaron Plessinger (Yam) 4-4
  5. Matt Bisceglia (Hon) 6-6
  6. Zach Osborne (Hus) 9-5
  7. RJ Hampshire (Hon) 7-7
  8. Alex Martin (Yam) 8-8
  9. Joey Savatgy (Kaw) 5-11
  10. Jessy Nelson (KTM) 11-9