Pro Motocross: Roczen, Martin begin title defenses today at Hangtown

Leave a comment

With a long and grueling supercross season in the books, it’s time for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship to take center stage today. Coverage of all four motos will air from 5-7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra, and NBCSN will also televise the second motos live at 7 p.m. ET.

Today’s race at Hangtown will be the first of 12 rounds throughout the summer that will decide champions in two separate classes, but both of last year’s title winners will be faced with tough challenges along the way.

For Ken Roczen, the path to defending last year’s 450 Class title is already getting off to a rough start. The RCH Suzuki rider is currently battling injury – he hurt his ankle during the supercross season and is reportedly dealing with a back issue now as well – and if his practice times this morning are any indication, he does not seem to be 100% today.

As of now, Roczen is still expected to line up for today’s races, but should he struggle, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey and GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac would stand to be benefit. Dungey already has two 450MX championships under his belt, and Tomac was the fastest qualifier this morning – more than three seconds better than the rest of the field. Both riders are expected to be title contenders this year, so Roczen can ill-afford a slow start to the season.

In the 250 Class, Jeremy Martin will embark on a title defense of his own after last year’s breakout campaign. His toughest competition though may come from his own Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha teammate, Cooper Webb, who recently dominated the 250 west region during the supercross season.

Martin and Webb both pit under the same rig, so all Webb has to do is look a few feet to his side to see Martin’s bike featuring the red #1 plate of a champion, something which gives Webb a constant reminder of his goal for the year – to earn a title of his own.

“It gives me motivation for sure,” Webb said. “Especially for me after winning the supercross championship and getting third in the series last year. To get beaten by Jeremy, I get a little motivated. It’s extra motivation to steal that plate off of the #1 and put it on the 17.”

Live coverage of the season-opening round begins at 5 p.m. ET with first motos in both classes. The 250 Class will take the track first, followed by the 450 Class. Second motos in both classes will then air live at 7 p.m. ET. All races are streaming live on ProMotocross.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, and NBCSN will also carry live coverage of the second motos at 7 p.m. ET.

Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

Leave a comment

Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.