Jeremy Martin scores 250 Class Motocross win on home soil of Spring Creek

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Not only did Jeremy Martin leave his home track with the overall victory at the Spring Creek National, he also capitalized on mistakes from the other title contenders to significantly extend his points lead.

The most impressive 250 Class rider all year long in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Martin entered today’s race as the heavy favorite and backed that up with a dominant victory in the first moto of the day. After passing Christophe Pourcel for the lead on Lap 2, Martin was able to comfortably cruise to victory. Cooper Webb – who entered the day third overall in points – was on the move until he ran into the back of Justin Bogle’s bike trying to make a pass and crashed. Webb lost numerous spots and was left salvaging as many points as he could as he worked his way back up through the field for a ninth-place finish.

Webb would come back with a vengeance in the second moto. For a while it looked like Blake Baggett’s race to lose, but he crashed while leading and was shuffled back through the pack, landing outside the top-15. Baggett encountered bike problems later in the race and was unable to finish, leaving him with no points to show for the moto. After Baggett’s crash, Bogle inherited the lead but was soon passed by both Webb and Martin. Webb held Martin off to score the moto victory – his third of the season – but Martin’s 1-2 moto scores were more than enough to give him the overall win.

“I tried to put in a hard charge [in the second moto] for the home crowd to make it exciting but just came up a little short,” Martin said. “Cooper [Webb] rode good.”

Watch the recap of 250 Moto 2 below:

If it seemed like Martin was an expert with the track, it’s because he grew up riding the facility. His parents have owned Spring Creek MX Park since the late 1980s.

Marvin Musquin (2-4) and Webb (9-1) rounded out the overall podium alongside Martin.

Thanks to mistakes from both Webb and Baggett, Martin now has a lot more breathing room in the championship race. Webb managed to pass Baggett for second place in 250MX points, but he now faces a 43-point deficit behind his teammate Martin that will not be easy to overcome in the final four rounds.

Spring Creek 250 Class Overall Results
1. Jeremy Martin (1-2)
2. Marvin Musquin (2-4)
3. Cooper Webb (9-1)
4. Chrisophe Pourcel (3-6)
5. Dean Wilson (5-5)
6. Jason Anderson (11-3)
7. Joey Savatgy (8-9)
8. Alex Martin (12-7)
9. Cole Seely (7-13)
10. Jessy Nelson (14-8)
*Moto 1 and Moto 2 results in parenthesis

Schmidt Peterson aiming high with Hinchcliffe, Wickens

Photo: IndyCar
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The new Schmidt Peterson Motorsports duo of James Hinchcliffe and Robert Wickens expressed a high amount of confidence during Wednesday’s confirmation of Hinchcliffe’s return and Wickens’ signing, as the pair looks to return the Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson co-owned team to prominent status within the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“We’re hoping to give Toronto and Ontario and Canadian sports fans in general something to cheer about over the next season,” Hinchcliffe quipped during a teleconference on Wednesday.

Granted, there are likely to be several challenges to overcome, notably for Wickens, who returns to single-seater competition for the first time since 2011, when he was a champion of the Formula Renault 3.5 series and served as test driver for the now defunct Manor Racing (then known as Marussia Virgin Racing).

Having spent every year since then in DTM, where he won a total of six races and finished as high as fourth in the championship (2016), Wickens knows returning to open wheel competition will be an adjustment. However, he explained that the history of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, specifically its Indy Lights history, speaks to their ability to help a driver adapt, and he rates the program they’re putting together very highly.

“I think Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have a fantastic driver development program. They showed that in their multiple Indy Lights championships along the way. I think we will have a strong program in place. I have a feeling that the simulator will be my new best friend,” Wickens said when asked about getting reacquainted with an open-wheel car.

Of course, having an experienced teammate like Hinchcliffe to lean on will undoubtedly help the transition, something Wickens readily admitted.

“I’m very fortunate that I have James as my teammate because he’s so experienced, I can learn off him. Because we already have such a good off-track relationship, I feel like you can just take his word, trust him, kind of move forward with it,” he revealed.

They’ve been teammates before, both in karting where they first met in 2001, and then in the now-defunct A1 Grand Prix series in 2007-2008, a series that pitted nations against each other in spec open-wheel cars. Funnily, that A1GP type of vibe returns as Schmidt Peterson Motorsports now has that with its “Team Canada” mantra while all four of Andretti Autosport’s full-season drivers are American.

For Hinchcliffe, Wickens’ background, even if it hasn’t been in the single-seater realm since 2011, was a big selling point in adding him to the team.

“In Robby, we have a proven winner at a very high level. The level of technical expertise that he comes with from his time in DTM is very impressive,” he said of Wickens’ technical background.

Hinchcliffe added that Wickens’ ability to analyze the car and its setup was evidenced in two outings: one at Sebing International Raceway in March, in part of a “ride swap” between the two longtime friends, and a second at Road America, when he subbed on Friday practice for Mikhail Aleshin.

Wickens sampled Hinchcliffe’s No. 5 Arrow Electronics Honda earlier this year. Photo: IndyCar

Hinchcliffe revealed that Wickens’ feedback to the team and his ability to quickly adapt to the chassis took everyone somewhat by surprise.

“We did our ride swap. He had two hours in the car, hardly anything even resembling a test day, and his performance was pretty impressive. No doubt the time in Road America helped because that really gave us a better sense of his technical feedback, integrated with the team a little bit more. Everybody was happy to work with him on that day,” said Hinchcliffe.

Further still, Hinchcliffe is firm in his belief that the 2018 aero kit and its reduction in aerodynamic downforce will fall right into Wickens’ wheelhouse, based on Hinchcliffe’s own take after sampling Wickens’ DTM Mercedes earlier this year.

“In all honesty, I was saying earlier today, the 2018 car is probably better suited for him than the 2017 car because of the experience he’s had the last handful of series,” Hinchcliffe asserted.

“The (aero kit) was such high downforce, it would be a big change coming out of DTM. But with the loss of downforce that we’ve seen, the car is moving around a little bit more, brake zones, things like that, it won’t be as big a transition I think. Just based on the experience that I got in our ride swap, I think he’s going to adapt very quickly, be comfortable very quickly, and as a result be competitive very quickly. So it’s going to be exciting.”

As for expectations heading into next year, team co-owner Schmidt did not mince words and expects the team’s performance to resemble what they did in 2012, 2013, and 2014, when they won a total of four races (with driver Simon Pagenaud) and finished in the top five in the championship each year.

“We had a stint in ’12, ’13, ’14 where we finished fifth in the points (or better. I think we want to get back to that level of competition,” Schmidt added. “We felt like we were missing things in having two cars with equal funding and equal drivers and equal capabilities. We think this gets back there.”

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