Top Ten: Southwick
Most the tracks on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship schedule are fairly similar (especially in recent decades, as sawdust or other amendments get added to them). This gives sort of a similar character to many of them. But the one that really stands out among them is Southwick. While The Wick doesn't rival the bottomless sand tracks of the GP series, it's the closest thing we've got during the National season. How different is it? It's one of the few tracks where you'll see local riders qualify in the top ten (like Ryan Dowd did when he qualified seventh last weekend).
Some of the series regulars dig the soft stuff, while others flounder a bit...either fighting it, or struggling with bike setup.
There were a couple guys you'd expect to see in the top ten on the outside looking in, and both were victims of crashes. Marvin Musquin had a scary-looking crash in moto two of the 450 class action, which resulted in a DNF for the day (and hopefully he's okay). Also, Aaron Plessinger crashed out after losing the front end while leading 250 moto one.
Let's take a look at the top ten in each class from last weekend.
1Eli Tomac likes Southwick, and Southwick was very good to Eli this year. He came through the pack in both motos, took a pair of moto wins, extended his points lead. Watching him blaze through the outside lines in some of the fast sweepers, or charge the big sand rollers (like below) was a thing of beauty.
2While dealing with the thumb injury that he got in a moto two tangle at Red Bud with Jason Anderson, Blake Baggett was in survival mode in Southwick. The best description so far is it sounds like a skier's thumb type injury, with some possible ligament damage. While he couldn't put up much of a fight at Southwick, he was still plenty fast, and an off weekend gives him some time to rest and rehab before Millville.
3The big surprise of the weekend was finding an emotional Dean Wilson on the podium at the end of the day. A sixth in moto one was a good start to the day, but a third in moto two locked up third overall for him. He's been up and down over the years, and had struggled with injuries and finding a ride at the start of '17. But he persevered, and days like the one he had at Southwick was a great payoff.
4A third in moto one was the best so far for Cooper Webb in the outdoors, since moving up to the 450 class. Through the first ten laps of moto two, he was in the same spot, and it looked like he was actually heading for the podium. But a tangle with a lapper, and a tortuously slow restart process caused him to lose three spots, and a third-place trophy. We'd guess that he can't wait to move to the '18 YZF, and the electric start.
5Martin Davalos had a solid weekend in Southwick, with a seventh in moto one, and a fourth in moto two. That gave him fourth for the day, and his best result in the 450s so far.
6A pair of fifths netted sixth overall for Cole Seely. While not a bad day by any means, it was relatively unspectacular, and we can imagine that Cole's looking forward to moving on to the next round at Millville.
7The other half of Team Honda HRC, Christian Craig, had a tangle at the start of moto one, that had him 31st at the end of lap one. He battled back to tenth there, and upped the ante in moto two, with a seventh.
8Fredrik Noren had a full array of crazy stories from the weekend. Those included a blown-up turbo in the vehicle that was supposed to deliver his bike to the race (it didn't get there until after tech closed on Friday afternoon), and a blown-up engine in his bike four laps into the first practice. That caused him to have to hunt down an engine for the bike, since he didn't have a spare. He found one (thanks, Chris Makuta), and despite all that, he still turned in his best results of the season.
9Henry Miller has been showing some speed this summer in the 450 class, and we'd guess a 13-9 score for ninth overall turned a few heads for him and Triggr Racing.
10Justin Bogle will be a little lonlier in the RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rig for the rest of the summer, as Broc Tickle is out with a torn labrum. Justin held it down with a 9-13 tenth overall.
1Zach Osborne has been pretty much living the dream season in the 250s. He's been consistently fast, but best of all, he's had a variety of challengers, and most of them have struggled at one point or another this season. Zach's 2-1 day was the inverse score of the one laid down by Dylan Ferrandis, and Zach's points lead is now nearly two motos worth (45 points). Sure, he could cruise, but he's charging just as hard as ever.
2Dylan Ferrandis brought his European sand experience with him, and came from fourth to score a moto one win. He tipped over after taking the lead, which let Alex Martin get back by, but he still came back to take the win. Zach Osborne's win in moto two was the difference, and he had to settle for second overall.
3A pair of thirds in the two motos at Southwick gave Alex Martin a third overall for the day. Not bad, considering he said that he struggled with bike setup. He led a chunk of moto one after taking the holeshot, before losing spots to Dylan Ferrandis and Zach Osborne. He's still also holding down second in the championship chase.
4RJ Hampshire has had a rough season so far, having to sit out a few rounds at the start of the season, and then getting a few goose eggs in motos with some bike troubles. That's why it surprised us when he took over the lead from Alex Martin in moto one and leading a lap. Unfortunately, he lost the front end while exiting the sand roller section, and went down. Still he remounted and finished fifth in moto one, and backed it up with a fourth in moto two.
5The skies opened up a couple times in the second 250 moto, which was the last one of the day. The first time around it just knocked down the dust and if anything, made the track a little better. The second time, it started making the track a little loose, and caused some vision problems. Jeremy Martin scored a fourth in the first moto, after battling with his brother, and he came back to finish sixth in moto two.
6Joey Savatgy was the best of the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad, with a 7-5 day.
7Mitchell Harrison led some laps at RedBud, and backed it up by running inside the top ten in both motos at Southwick. A 6-7 day resulted in a seventh overall.
8Chase Sexton is slowly creeping up the results each week. After getting his season started at High Point, he was was ninth overall at RedBud, and eight overall (with a 9-8 score) at Southwick.
9Colt Nichols was the third member of the Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha squad in the top ten, with an 8-10 score. Not bad, after mid-pack starts in each of the motos.
10Adam Cianciarulo was the top qualifier in practice, but got roughed up in the first turn and started last in moto one. He came back to finish 15th in that one, and backed it up with a ninth in moto two.