After waiting 10 rounds to earn his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 victory of 2021, Eli Tomac scored back-to-back wins in Motocross Round 11 at Fox Raceway in Pala, Calif., while one championship was wrapped up and another is in firmly sight.
Brutal weather conditions have defined the last two rounds with extremely high humidity at Ironman Raceway last week and triple-digit temperatures at Fox Raceway – conditions that allowed two of the toughest motocross riders to excel. And for the second consecutive week, the results at the top of the board were identical with Dylan Ferrandis winning Moto 1 and Tomac taking Moto 2 and the overall.
For Tomac, it solidified his position among the top three in points and puts him in striking distance of second. He enters the season finale at Hangtown with a 73-point lead over Chase Sexton. He trails Ken Roczen by just nine points with two motos remaining.
“I just felt so good in Moto 2,” Tomac said. “Was a little bit back in the beginning, but was able to make passes that time a lot different than in Moto 1. In Moto 1 was struggling to get to that secondary line and make a move. That time, (in Moto 2), I was able to move around and get the job done.
“It’s a lot of fun when I get into the zone that way.”
But the news was even better for Ferrandis. He came into the Fox II Nationals with a 50-point lead over Roczen. As long as he maintained that advantage, he knew he would be the 2021 450 Champion.
Known as a poor starter, Ferrandis settled into third early in Moto 1.
Roczen earned the holeshot and rode away from the field. Ferrandis was in jeopardy of losing five points of his cushion until he caught Cooper Webb 13 minutes into the race and saw Roczen not very far ahead.
When Ferrandis gets another rider in sight, it doesn’t take long to pounce. He passed Roczen for the lead two minutes later – just shy of the halfway point.
Moto 2 showcased an even better start for Ferrandis.
Passing the holeshot line in fourth, he easily got around Coty Schock, Webb and Roczen – who briefly held the lead. Once he was caught by Tomac, Ferrandis chose not to fight. He cruised through the second half of the moto and crossed under the checkers 40 seconds behind Tomac.
“I think I’ve run out of emotion right now,” Ferrandis told NBC Sports’ Ashley Reynard. “It was hard. Today was hard; last week was hard. I pushed really deep to get this result.
“I dreamed when I was young to be a 250 champion, but I never dreamed to be a 450 champion: It’s not even a dream come true. I think it’s just the best best thing I will ever do in my life and now it’s done, so wow, it’s just unreal.”
More than a dream come true 🤩
Congrats Champ 🙌 @DylanFerrandis
— Pro Motocross (@ProMotocross) September 5, 2021
Also making his way through the field, it took a little too long to get around Webb and Roczen for Tomac to catch the leader. He settled into second in Moto 1.
For the third consecutive week, Ferrandis won the first race only to be beaten in the overall as Moto 1’s runner-up went on to win Moto 2 and earn the tiebreaker. Ferrandis finished second in all three Moto 2s, however, and never lost a point in the round.
Like Tomac, it took nearly the entire season for Webb to find the front of the field. Last week, he scored his first overall podium of the year and his third top-five in 10 rounds. With a 4-3, Webb finished third overall at Fox.
After finishing third in Moto 1, Roczen faded even further at the end of Moto 2 to finish sixth, giving Ferrandis a 62-point lead entering the final round next week. The most a rider can earn in a round is 50.
After missing last week with a multitude of relatively minor injuries – by Pro Motocross standards, anyway – Christian Craig was back in action. He swept the top five in both motos and finished fifth overall with a 5-4.
Englishman Max Anstie earned his best overall finish of the season. He scored his best moto finish of the year in the first race with a sixth. In Moto 2, he earned his first top-five and finished sixth overall with a 6-5.
450 results (moto finish)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (2-1)
- Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-2)
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (4-3)
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (3-6)
- Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (5-4)
- Max Anstie, England, Suzuki (6-5)
- Coty Schock, Dover, Del. (7-7)
- Brandon Hartranft, Brick, NJ, Suzuki (10-8)
- Joey Savatgy, Thoasville, Ga., KTM (9-9)
- Fredrik Noren, Sweden, KTM (11-10)
450 points standings
- Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 486
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 424
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 415
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 342
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 316
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 258
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 240
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM – 240
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas – 239
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 232
— Pro Motocross (@ProMotocross) September 5, 2021
Jett Lawrence will have to wait until the final round to secure his 250 championship, but if he rides like he has during the past two weeks, he will not have to wait long.
With a perfect sweep last week at Ironman, Lawrence wrenched the red plate off Justin Cooper’s bike. He was perfect again at Fox and left with a 23-point advantage and could secure the title in Moto 1 if he is able to win a fifth consecutive race at Hangtown.
Lawrence was forced to track down Michael Mosiman in Moto 1, but when the leader went down just past the halfway point, Lawrence had a clear path to the top spot of the podium. Moto 2 was never in question. Lawrence earned the holeshot before running away from the pack.
“I think everything just fell into place,” told NBC Sports’ Ashley Reynard. “It’s a hard day today. It’s very hot. I think it’s been one of the hottest weekends in a while. It’s a different type of heat than Florida; it was just real tawdry out there.
“It’s good to go 1-1. Dreams are starting to come true. I was pumped I could go three for three at Pala.”
Lawrence also won the season opener on this track in May as well as last year’s edition of this race.
Cooper was on his back foot for most of the afternoon.
In Moto 1, he fell back to eighth at one point before mounting a charge to fifth to keep his title hopes alive. He finished second in Moto 2 and was third overall. In doing so, Cooper kept Lawrence from leaving Fox with a one-race lead. Cooper kept a perfect streak of top-five overall finishes alive, but with Lawrence earning nine consecutive moto finishes of second or first, he was simply outrun.
“Just digging deep,” Cooper commented on rebounding to second in Moto 2. “Man, it was hot today. I gave it everything I had like I always do, but I didn’t have it for Jett today. He got the holeshot in the second moto and I just tried to tag along.”
After missing three rounds earlier in the season, Mosiman rebounded with a podium at Ironman and a top-five position in the overall. He was even stronger at Fox with a 2-4 and second-place overall finish.
“So rewarding, so rewarding,” Mosiman said. “This is what we work for. So many years of preparation up to this point. Two really good races. The highs and lows, it’s a real thing. Blood sweat and tears, it’s no joke. We’re out here putting in our all.”
For the first time this year, Jo Shimoda earned back-to-back overall top-fives. He matched Cooper in points, but lost his second straight podium position on the tiebreaker. His 4-3 at Fox was enough to secure fourth overall. Last week, he swept the podium and finished second overall.
With a 6-6, Hunter Lawrence rounded out the top five.
In his first start on a factory ride, Joshua Varize earned his first top-10 of the season. He finished 9-9 in the motos and eighth overall.
250 results (moto finish)
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-1)
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GasGas (2-4)
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (5-2)
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (4-3)
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (6-6)
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (3-14)
- Dilan Schwartz, Alpine, Calif., Suzuki (10-8)
- Joshua Varize, Perris, Calif., (9-9)
- Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (12-7)
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (15-5)
250 points standings
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 464
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 441
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 349
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 327
- Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 307
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 300
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki, – 240
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GasGas – 229
- Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 202
- Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna – 195
2021 SEASON SO FAR