450MX: KEN ROCZEN WINS AT BUDDS CREEK, CLINCHES TITLE
Tight turns and long jumps made up the layout of the GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National for Round 11 of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. With only one race left following the day, riders came in ready to get aggressive and do everything in their power to better their overall ranking prior to the final round of the series.
Right out of the gate it was all eyes on Ken Roczen who was earning the holeshot and taking off with an early lead on his way to potentially clinch the series by the day’s end. Also earning solid start was Andrew Short in second and Justin Barcia and third who continue to Rally around for the next two corners before settling into their positions.
Eli Tomac, on the other hand, found himself helping to lift the bike off of another rider following a crash leaving him in last place for the first lap. As the only rider mathematically within reach of Roczen, Tomac’s early moto crash was disheartening to say the least.
Eli Tomac struggled out of the gate in moto 1 with two crashes setting him way back to a seventh place finish. (Photo: Simon Cudby)
Within the first four minutes of the moto, Barcia found a way to pass Short to put him in second place, which left Short to deal with Marvin Musquin only a few bike lengths behind him. Only minutes later Musquin would find his way around Short and into the third. Rounding out the top five after the first eight minutes of the moto would be Phil Nicoletti.
After ten minutes had elapsed in the moto, Roczen was already 13 and a half seconds ahead of Barcia in second. Barica is one of the toughest riders to pass, but if anyone was determined to best him it was Musquin in third.
Nicoletti shook up the bottom end of the top-5 by making a pass on Short who had faded to fifth from his second place start.
At the nine-minute mark, Barcia and Musquin engage in a heated battle, where they trade positions three different times to ultimately allow Musquin to ride out in second. At this point Rozen had more than a 17-second lead on the two.
Ken Roczen earned the holeshot and the moto 1 win, but was not able to clinch the series title with his moto 1 finish alone. (Photo: Simon Cudby)
Without goggles, Dean Wilson made a late moto run, passing Short with two to go, to move into fifth.
Tomac finished in seventh, which confirmed Roczen would have to race well in moto two if he wanted to cling on the day.
At the end of the first moto the top three went Roczen, Barcia and Musquin, respectively.
The opening lap of moto 2 full of action starting with Matt Bisceglia earning the holeshot. Andrew Short was right on his tail and would make quick work to take the lead, but sure enough Roczen would best Short before the end of the first lap.
Tomac started off near the middle of the pack, but within the first five minutes found himself passing riders all the way into fourth to battle Barcia. Barcia, however, had his sights set on Musquin in third after losing that position to him at the end of the first moto.
Musquin lost his position first to Barcia, but then had Short to deal with. For few turns Musquin lost his positioning to Short, too, but after another quick exchange through a series of corners Musquin would reclaim fourth from Short.
By the halfway point in the race, Bisceglia’s holeshot position faded all the way to eighth, while Roczen found himself leading nearly two full seconds ahead of Tomac in second.
Nicoletti found his way around Short for the fifth place position and kept his speed to make some distance. Nicoletti nearly bounced himself of the bike, but held on and kept his speeds high. Short would continue to fade into the middle of the pack, but Wilson would arrive to challenge Nicoletti and eventually take that fifth position.
After a series of quiet laps, Musquin found another gear and managed to catch up within a bike length of Barcia. Musquin appeared to be bringing speed and an inside line take Barcia, but Barcia played it smart and took the line away from Musquin before opening up and creating a little distance once again.
With very little change over the final minutes, Roczen would secure more than a 23-second lead over Barcia and the moto win. Roczen’s 1-1 finish on the day awarded him the overall win and clinch the 2016 series title.