Cooper Webb sweeps Spring Creek in route to his first Motocross win

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When Cooper Webb wins, he is determined to do so in grand style.

Weather delayed the start of Round 8 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship as a combination of rain and lightning kept the competition off Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minn. Moto 1 in the 250 class was a muddy affair. The track began to dry before the 450 class took to the track, but the ruts continued to deepen.

Webb did not allow a little moisture to rain on his parade. He scored his first career moto win in Moto 1 and then picked up where he left off. in Moto 2.

Prior to this weekend, Webb had not even stood on the podium in the Motocross series.

Webb was leading Moto 2 early when he saw Ken Roczen triple the uphill segment for the first time in the combined races. Emboldened, Webb was certain he could do that on the following lap. He couldn’t. Webb crashed and allowed Roczen to get around.

“I was feeling good,” Webb said. “Ken was riding awesome and I went and followed him up the triple and I crashed – which sucked. But I just got up and put my head down. I knew I had some tricks up my sleeve.”

Webb charged hard for the remainder of the race and finally caught back up to Roczen as time ran off the clock. With two laps remaining Roczen lost momentum in the whoops and allowed Webb to blaze past.

This is the first career win for the 2019 Supercross champion who has struggled for most of the outdoor season. Webb’s best finish so far this year was fourth, which he scored three times. In fact, Webb is coming off back to back fourth-place finishes at Southwick and RedBud.

Zach Osborne took second overall with two consistent motos. Finishing fourth in Moto 1 and third in Moto 2, he scored his third consecutive podium after finishing third overall in WW Ranch and second at Southwick. Osborne missed last week’s race at RedBud with a shoulder injury sustained in practice.

Eli Tomac padded his points lead over Marvin Musquin. He finished a comfortable second in Moto 1 and then struggled in Moto 2 to finish fifth. As has been the case all season, Tomac struggled to put two motos together. Tomac ran up on Justin Bogle and stalled his bike. The mark of his championships have been a refusal to give up. His 2-5 was enough to score third overall.

“I just wasn’t on it in that moto,” Tomac said after the second race. “No one to blame there but myself. Just some bad riding. The mistake there in the back didn’t help me at all – shuffled me back a few spots.

“Got to regroup and come out swinging for Washougal.”

A big pileup in Moto 2 gobbled up Marvin Musquin and pinned him under his bike for the second time in two weeks. Musquin was forced to overcome the loss of track position and finish seventh. Finishing 3-7, Musquin finished fourth overall but lost four points to Tomac.

Roczen came close to winning a fourth moto of the season and he needs a strong run. He finished second in Moto 2, but coupled with a 14th in Moto 1, he lost a ton of points. Roczen finished fifth overall.

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

Mud or dry – it doesn’t matter for Adam Cianciarulo.

In Moto 1, Cianciarulo was riding a snake after getting a clod of dirt in his goggles that limited his vision. He followed the leader Hunter Lawrence off course early in the race, had several instances during which he flew sideways across ruts, and finally went off course and then down with four minutes on the clock. Somewhere in the midst of all the chaos, he was forced to jettison his eyewear.

The mud giveth and the mud taketh away – but it tooketh away only one spot since then fourth-place Chase Sexton was more than 20 seconds behind him at the time.

Moto 2 was never in question. Cianciarulo grabbed the lead at the start and never looked back. While second through fifth battled with a few seconds between each position, he climbed to a 22-second advantage with about five minutes remaining. He cruised home and earned the overall with a 3-1.

“I’m not really an angry person,” Cianciarulo told NBC Sports Gold after the conclusion of Moto 2. “But after that first moto for some reason I was really mad. Just mad at the situation. It was frustrating and I had to get to my girlfriend in the semi and put my ear pods on and just breathe.”

Still angry by the time the moto started, Cianciarulo used that to focus him.

Alex Martin wanted to make a statement on his home track. With the family home literally on the property, this track is special and Martin pushed harder than in any race. Finishing second in both motos, he took second overall. Martin made a dramatic pass in Moto 2 as time ran off the clock and the 3-lap-to-go sign was shown.

After the race’s conclusion, Martin was penalized one position for not slowing sufficiently when he went off course. His 2-3 was still enough to finish second overall. This was Martin’s first overall podium since this race last year when he finished third.

Lawrence took the lead early in Moto 1. It is difficult to pass on a muddy track and despite making a few charges, Cianciarulo was unable to get to the lead before he went down. As has been the case too often this season, the second moto was Lawrence’s undoing. Missing a shift off the line, he finished sixth, but with a 1-6 he was able to stand on bottom step of the podium.

With nine minutes remaining on the clock, the second-place rider in points Dylan Ferrandis showed both what makes him so great and risky. Flying through the whoops, he blasted past Colt Nichols. At the end of the straightaway, he was unable to navigate the turn and went down – handing the position right back to his teammate.

Ferrandis finished fourth overall with a 5-4.

Shane McElrath rounded out the top five with a 4-5.

Chase Sexton’s return showed a lot of promise in the first moto. He was riding fourth when he went down in the mud and fell back through the field. Finishing seventh in Moto 2, he scored a respectable 12th overall.

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

Moto Wins

[6] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II, WW Ranch II, RedBud I)
[3] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[3] Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch I, The Wick I, RedBud II)
[2] Cooper Webb (Spring Creek I & II)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)
[1] Zach Osborne (The Wick II)

[6] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II, The Wick I, Spring Creek II)
[4] Dylan Ferrandis (WW Ranch II, The Wick II, RedBud I & II)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[2] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I, Spring Creek I)
[1] Chase Sexton (WW Ranch I)

Next race: Washougal MX Park, Washougal, Wash., July 27

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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3-time NHRA champ Larry Dixon gives back to save lives on the streets

Photo courtesy Larry Dixon Racing
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Three-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon is a man on a new mission: to save lives on the streets and highways as perhaps the fastest driving instructor in the world.

Because he’s not currently hurtling down a dragstrip at 330 mph on the NHRA national tour, Dixon is at a point where it was time for him to give back and help youngsters the way so many individuals helped him in his own life and career.

Much like when he became the protege of mentor Don “Snake” Prudhomme – first as a crew member and then as Prudhomme’s hand-picked choice to replace him when he retired as a driver – Dixon is now imparting some of his vast knowledge behind the wheel upon thousands of impressionable teens and young adults around the country.

Dixon recently signed on as an instructor with fellow former Top Fuel champ Doug Herbert’s nationally renowned B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) driver safety training program. Since Herbert formed the free, non-profit program in 2008 to honor the memory of sons Jon and James, who were both killed in a tragic car crash, B.R.A.K.E.S. has trained over 35,000 students across the U.S. and five countries to be better and safer drivers.

MORE: Drag racer Doug Herbert turns son’s deaths into program that has helped over 35,000 teens

After putting two of his own teen children through Herbert’s program (with a third child to go through the program soon), Dixon was so impressed with the training that his kids received that he told his old buddy he wanted to become involved with B.R.A.K.E.S.

“I’ve known Doug since we were in high school,” Dixon told NBC Sports. “We both worked at a chain of speed shops in Southern California, Doug at one in Orange County and me at one in the San Fernando Valley in Van Nuys. We came up together racing Alcohol cars and Top Fuel cars kind of along the same lines. That’s how long I’ve known Doug.

Photo: Larry Dixon Racing

“I ran my son through the course a couple years ago when it came through Indianapolis (where Dixon and his family now live), and then my daughter signed up for a class a couple months ago, and that kind of got the talk going because I’m not on the (NHRA national event) tour now and I’ve got more time and the conversation just snowballed and here I am.

“I obviously believe in the deal if I ran my own kids through the system. The program is very methodical but still personal. When you put the kids in the car, you’ve got one instructor and three students, so they’re getting taught one-on-one almost.”

Even though he’s been driving for nearly 40 years, Dixon, 52, readily admits with a chuckle, “I’ve even learned things from the program already, which shows you’re never too old to learn.”

In a more serious vein, Dixon said from his perspective as both an instructor and a parent of two of the program’s graduates is how parents are so vital to the program’s impact.

“It’s mandatory that when you’re running a student through the program that at least one parent or guardian is also there, so the message you’re teaching the teens, you have to rely on the parent to not only be on the same page as what we’re teaching, but to also drive that message home for the rest of their lives.”

Dixon isn’t teaching students to drive 330 mph or to become aspiring drag racers. On the contrary. Dixon is right at home giving instructions on how students can avoid incidents or accidents on streets and highways at speeds typically between 30 and 50 mph.

“It’s more impactful as far as your legacy,” Dixon said of his motivation to teach. “Obviously, I’ve won a lot of races, but what I have to show for those wins are trophies but they’re in the basement, and if you don’t dust them, they get dusty.

“What I’m doing with B.R.A.K.E.S., you’re making a difference for people hopefully for the rest of their lives, and that’s bigger. I remember when I first got my own racing license. The first day I had my license, I was a race car driver but I wasn’t a great race car driver right away, I just had a license. It took a lot of years and a lot of runs and laps down the racetrack to be able to be good.

“It’s the same thing with a driver’s license. You go through the driver’s education course and such and they hand you your license, but that doesn’t make you a great driver. It takes a lot of road time to be able to get that experience. And the great thing about this course is you’re trying to ramp up that experience and put the teens in situations ahead of time so that when they’re in the real world, they’ll know how to react to them.

Larry Dixon is interviewed recently during his debut as a driving instructor for B.R.A.K.E.S. Photo courtesy B.R.A.K.E.S.

“These cars nowadays have so many safety features on them, but they don’t get taught. When you go through a basic driver’s education course, they don’t teach you that you can slam on the brakes and if you have an ABS (anti-lock) brake system, let alone how to use it, so that’s part of what we’re running the kids through. It lets them speed up and then slam on the brakes and feeling what ABS does and that a car isn’t going to spin out or flip over like you might see in a ‘Fast and Furious’ movie. Most people don’t know what you can do with a car and how great cars will take care of you as long as they use the tools you’re supplied with.”

Dixon has already taught three different classes in the last month, with five more sessions scheduled primarily in the Midwest in the coming months. You can immediately hear the passion and self-satisfaction he’s getting from being a teacher.

“I really do enjoy it,” Dixon said. “You get to see the difference you can make in someone’s lives. When you get them on a skid course and they’re learning how to get out of a spin or slide, they’re having fun but also learning a valuable lesson.

“After they’ve taken the course, they have a bounce in their step and know and understand cars better and have a good time doing it. That’s what Doug has done, out of his tragedy, he’s really making a difference in other people’s lives. We’re not trying to turn the kids into Mario Andretti or anything like that … just to be better and safer drivers.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski