Dylan Ferrandis wins Motocross Round 9 at Budds Creek as time runs down for Ken Roczen

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Ken Roczen scored as many points as Dylan Ferrandis in Round 9 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season at Budds Creek, Md., but by virtue of winning Moto 2, Ferrandis took the overall win. More importantly, Ferrandis maintains his championship advantage with six motos remaining and time running off the clock on the 2021 season.

Ferrandis overcame a fifth-place start in Moto 1 and came out of the gate fourth in Moto 2.

Roczen grabbed the early lead in both motos with Ferrandis trailing behind. But while Roczen was able to hold his advantage till the end of Moto 1 and Ferrandis climbed to a distant second, Roczen could not keep the French rookie at bay in Moto 2.

“Last weekend at Unadilla, I go beat so bad by Ken,” Ferrandis told NBC Sports’ Ashley Reynard. “We came back this week as a team, all together, and addressed the problem. We made some changes on the bike this week and we understood why we were so slow last weekend. So we made the change and I was happy about it.  This weekend, the bike was insane.”

A slight bobble by Roczen at the halfway point of Moto 2 brought the top four together, which were Roczen, teammate Chase Sexton, Ferrandis and Eli Tomac.

Then Sexton almost jumped off course, allowing Ferrandis by – and once Ferrandis has the leader in sight in 2021, it’s only a matter of time before he attacks. With seven minutes remaining on the clock, Ferrandis swept past and slowly pulled away.

With the tie breaker of the better Moto 2 finish, Ferrandis was awarded the overall victory.

He will be much more interested in the fact that Roczen now needs to make up 13 points per round. That means Ferrandis is going to have to fail to podium a couple of times in the final six motos – something he has done only twice in 18 motos so far in 2021.

Ferrandis was fifth in Moto 2 at Spring Creek and Moto 1 at Washougal.

“It was fun,” Ferrandis said. “It’s most fun when you win.”

Roczen can only control what happens on his bike for the remainder of the season. With three moto wins in the last two rounds and a second-place finish, he has done his job. If not for a crash in Moto 1 of Spring Creek and a pair of motos outside the top five the following week at Washougal, the 450 points’ battle would be as tight as it is in the 250 class.

“I’m satisfied with a second-place,” Roczen said. “I gave it all I had. The track was tough and those guys were right behind me the whole time.”

Third and fourth-place went to another pair of riders who swapped positions in the two motos.

Tomac finished third overall with a 4-3.

“(Moto 2) felt much better than Moto 1 overall,” Tomac said. “The first two guys, we were basically doing the same pace. It was tough. I was happy to end the day on a stronger note than Moto 1.”

Chase Sexton was fourth with a 3-4.

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five with his 5-6.

450 results (moto finish)

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (2-1)
  2. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (1-2)
  3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (4-3)
  4. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (3-4)
  5. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (5-6)
  6. Joey Savatgy, Thoasville, Ga., KTM (6-7)
  7. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (10-5)
  8. Dean Wilson, Scotland, Husqvarna (8-9)
  9. Coty Schock, Dover, Del. (7-11)
  10. Max Anstie, Newbury, England, Suzuki (9-10)

450 points standings

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 392
  2. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 353
  3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 321
  4. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 308
  5. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 240
  6. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 240
  7. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas – 239
  8. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 224
  9. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 217
  10. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM – 189

In 250s, Jeremy Martin continues to impress with his third overall win in the last four rounds as Jett Lawrence shaved one point off Justin Cooper’s lead as they take a razor thin margin with six motos remaining.

Since his incredible performance on his home track of Springs Creek when he finished 1-1 while riding injured, Martin has arguably been the top rider in the field with a sweep of the podium and four moto wins.

Motocross Round 9 Budds
Jeremy Martin’s third overall win of the 2021 season gave him 20 for the career and moved him to fourth on the all time list. (ProMotcross.com / Align Media)

At Budds Creek, he got off to a relatively modest start – by his recent standards, at least – and finished third in Moto 1. He got the holeshot in Moto 2, however, and rode away from the field. With this win, he has 20 career victories and moves into fourth on all-time list, tied with Steve Lamson and one ahead of the legendary Ryan Villopoto.

“I’m able to dig deep because as a kid I had to do chores at Millville and weed whack all the hills and stuff in the middle of the summer,” Martin told Reynard after the race. “I’m kind of used to the heat.”

Despite these strong runs, he has not been able to make up any significant ground on the points’ leaders Cooper and Lawrence.

Cooper dominated the first race at Budds Creek to score his third consecutive Moto 1 win and fifth of the season. But the 1-1 he so desperately wants, and at this stage of the season needs, continues to elude him. Cooper got off to a slow start in Moto 2 and started seventh. His principle rival in the championship hunt, launched third and quickly gained second.

Cooper minimized the points’ loss by climbing to fourth at the end of Moto 2 and finishing third overall.

“I came down with a pretty big sickness a few days ago,” Cooper said. “Feeling really bad the last couple of days. Just happy to be here, honestly. My energy is really low right now and I didn’t have the fight for those guys.”

Lawrence’s bad start came in Moto 1. Like Cooper in the second race, he was mired in seventh at the start, but third was just in front of him through most of the first half of that moto. Lawrence caught second-place Austin Forkner with eight minutes remaining on the clock and as the two navigated heavy traffic, Lawrence surged into the runner-up spot. It was too late to catch Cooper.

Lawrence’s 2-2 was enough for second overall and with Cooper finishing 1-4, Lawrence gained a single point. Three points separate the leaders with three rounds remaining.

“Sadly, I’m still not happy,” Lawrence said. “I finally sorted my start. My start was really good. … Basically, I went to play poker with no money. I came into a pretty finish, but I had a pretty rough week. Feeling not the greatest.”

Jett’s brother, Hunter Lawrence actually helped gain that one point by finishing ahead of Cooper in Moto 2. With a 6-3, Hunter finished fourth overall.

Forkner rounded out the top five with a 4-5 to score his best result of the season. His previous best was a sixth overall at High Point in June.

250 results (moto finish)

  1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (3-1)
  2. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2)
  3. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (1-4)
  4. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (6-3)
  5. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (4-5)
  6. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (7-7)
  7. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (9-6)
  8. Ty Masterpool, Paradise, Texas, GasGas (8-9)
  9. Dilan Schwartz, Alpine, Calif., Suzuki (10-8)
  10. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (5-15)

250 points standings

  1. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 367
  2. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 364
  3. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 307
  4. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 298
  5. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 270
  6. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 220
  7. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna – 195
  8. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki, – 186
  9. Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha – 172
  10. Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 168

2021 SEASON SO FAR

Round 1: Dylan Ferrandis, Jett Lawrence victorious at Fox Raceway

Round 2: Ken Roczen’s perfect day as Justin Cooper takes 250s at Thunder Valley

Round 3: Dylan Ferrandis wins Motocross Round 3 at High Point, takes points lead

Round 4: Dylan Ferrandis wins again, stretches points’ lead over Ken Roczen

Round 5: Dylan Ferrandis remains hot in 450s; another new 250 winner with Hunter Lawrence

Round 6: Justin Barcia snaps Ferrandis streak at Spring Creek, gives GasGas first victory

Round 7: Chase Sexton gets first 2021 win at Washougal, Jeremy Martin doubles in 250s

Round 8: Ken Roczen gets back in the 450 chase; Jett Lawrence trims Justin Cooper lead in 250s

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”