Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross

Marvin Musquin wins back to back MX races at Southwick

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For the second straight week, Marvin Musquin scored the overall win at The Wick 338 in Southwick, Mass. to shave a few points off Eli Tomac’s points lead.

Musquin won Moto 1, finished second in Moto 2 and banked 47 points to gain five on Tomac for the day.

“Winning Southwick means a lot,” Musquin said on NBC Sports Gold after finishing second in Moto 2 and winning the overall.

Musquin had to keep Tomac at bay for two reasons. Most importantly, he desperately needs the points that would have swung with the pass if he want to have any hope of catching Tomac for the championship.

More Importantly, he is a racer and racers want to win.

Counting the Moto finishes in his head, he worried for a moment that Zach Osborne’s pair of podium finishes might displace him from the top. Then he realized the 1-2 he would come home with provided the overall win – but only if he stayed in second. If he lost the spot to Tomac, the tiebreaker would go to Osborne.

So Musquin dug even deeper and held Tomac at bay.

“I charged pretty hard because Tomac was charging from behind, but he kind of gave up at the end and I was glad,” Musquin said. “Zach rode really well; I couldn’t do anything (with him).”

Osborne took consolation in winning his first career Moto. With a 3-1, he finished second overall.

“It’s awesome to get a win and get it out of the way on a gnarly track,” Osborne said after the race. “I was close last weekend, but I didn’t have anything at the end.

“And the same today. If there had been an attack, I’m not sure if I could have withstood it.”

Tomac faded to fifth early in Moto 1, but he was able to recover and climbed back to second in that race. Considering how badly he has performed in the first races this year, this was almost as good as a win.

Tomac got an even worse start in Moto 2 and ended Lap 1 in ninth. As has been his trend all season, he charged back to the lead pack and finished third in the race. His 2-3 allowed him to take third overall and minimize his points loss.

Cooper Webb finished 4-4 and finished fourth overall.

Rounding out the top five was Jason Anderson with a 7-5.

It was a disastrous day for Ken Roczen. He fell to 12th in Moto 1 after fading badly in the second half of the race. Moto 2 was more of the same. Roczen raced among the top five early, but as the clock clicked down into the single digits, he faded again and finished 10th. With a 12-10, Roczen finished ninth overall and lost 22 points to Tomac in the championship.

Roczen’s loss at the end of the race was privateer John Short’s gain. The Texas rider who made the long haul to Massachusetts made the pass for ninth on the final lap.

Another feel-good story on the day belonged to Fredrik Noren, who took his new factory Suzuki to a fifth-place finish in Moto 1. He backed that up with a seventh in Moto 2 and finished seventh overall.

Aaron Plessinger returned to the field this week and finished 18-16 for a 16th ovrall.

450 Moto 1 Results
450 Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Points Standings

The top three in the 250 points standings are there for a reason.

Finishing 1-2-3 in Moto 1, Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Cooper and Dylan Ferrandis rode nearly the entire race in the top three.

Cianciarulo would go on to win the Moto and that gave him enough momentum to head into the second race and capture his fifth overall win in the first six races. With a 1-2, he bettered Ferrandis’ 3-1 by one position.

“I try to make good decisions as I’ve matured as a racer,” Cianciarulo said. “You just learn and luckily I have a great team I can learn from and lean on.

“I managed the race for sure. I’m not sure if I had Dylan’s pace in that (second) Moto; He’s really fast here; really fast in general. He rode great. He deserved that one. I think I rode smart. Made good decisions.”

Ferrandis did all he could in Moto 2 by passing Cianciarulo just past the halfway mark and then stretching his advantage to 10 seconds. Last year’s winner of this race won the second Moto for his second straight race win in the past two weeks.

Ferrandis slipped outside of the top three in Moto 1 briefly, but got a much better start than he has all season. That made a huge difference.

Cooper finished third overall with a 2-3, giving all three points’ leaders a sweep of the podium positions.

Ferrandis gained three points on Cooper, who currently sits second in the standings. He lost two points to Cianciarulo, however, who now has a 23-point advantage over Cooper and is 37 points ahead of Ferrandis.

RJ Hampshire was the best of the rest in both Motos. Finishing 4-4, he landed fourth in the overall.

Shane McElrath earned his best Moto finish of the season with a sixth in Moto 1. He almost backed that up with an equally strong performance in Moto 2, but his seventh in that race was good enough to allow him to round out the top five.

Seventh in Moto 1, Brandon Hartranft also earned his best Moto finish of the season. Like McElrath, he slipped one position in Moto 2 and finished eighth. He landed seventh on the overall grid.

250 Moto 1 Results
250 Moto 2 Results
250 Overall Results
Points Standings

Moto Wins

450MX
[5] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II, WW Ranch II)
[3] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[2] Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch I, The Wick I)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)
[1] Zach Osborne (The Wick II)

250MX
[5] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II, The Wick I)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[2] Dylan Ferrandis (WW Ranch II, The Wick II)
[1] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I)
[1] Chase Sexton (WW Ranch I)

Next race: RedBud, Buchanan, Mich., July 6

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

Michelin
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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”