Eli Tomac decided it was time to make this a two horse race. Photo by: Hoppenworld

The 2016 Red Bull Tennessee National and round five of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship was another win for RCH / Soaring Eagle / Suzuki’s Ken Roczen. Ken won both 450MX motos at Muddy Creek—making it nine moto wins in ten tries this year—but this time Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac reignited some excitement into the series by giving the German a race down to the checkered flag in moto two. Heading into round four, nobody had even challenged the #94, but the former Roczen-Tomac rivalry from their 250MX days may be finding some traction on the big bikes now. Joining Roczen and Tomac on the box for the first time in 2016 was RCH / Soaring Eagle / Suzuki’s forgotten rider, Broc Tickle. The #20 climbed out of the shadow of his Championship leading teammate, Roczen, and stepped into the spotlight of the podium.

In the 250MX class, Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy picked up in Tennessee right where he left off in Pennsylvania with a moto one win, but after two crashes in moto two, the red plate holder crossed the line in seventh and gave up a grip of points to Star Racing / Yamaha’s Cooper Webb. Cooper followed up two mediocre starts with incredible charges to the front in front of what the North Carolinian considers his home race fans. In moto one, the #17 charged from sixth to second, and he backed that up with coming from eighth to make a last lap pass on Troy Lee Designs / KTM’s Shane McElrath for the win in moto two—scoring his first overall win of 2016. McElrath had a breakout ride with a 5-2 score on the day for third overall and his first podium.

Webb was feeling the flow at Muddy Creek.
Webb was feeling the flow at Muddy Creek.

The racing for the overall in the 450MX class was the closest it’s been all year and the battle between Roczen and Tomac for the quickest time around Muddy Creek was just as close. In moto one, Tomac (1:53.115) finished second—eight seconds behind Roczen—but the #3 edged out HRC Honda’s Cole Seely (1:53.174) for the fastest lap in the moto. But in moto two, Roczen (1:52.555) fired back with the fastest overall lap of the day, just a few 100th’s of a second over Tomac’s (1:52.597) second fastest overall lap in moto two. Seely’s first moto lap time of 1:03.174 held up as the third fastest overall lap.

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Click to check out what’s new at Race Tech
Top 10 450MX Times Top 10 250MX Times
1. K. Roczen – 1:52.555
2. E. Tomac – 1:52.597
3. C. Seely – 1:53.174
4. B. Tickle – 1:54.961
5. C. Pourcel – 1:55.782
6. P. Nicoletti – 1:55.912
7. M. Musquin – 1:55.921
8. J. Brayton – 1:56.022
9. J. Barcia – 1:56.145
10. W. Peick – 1:56.190
1. C. Webb – 1:55.155
2. A. Cianciarulo – 1:55.234
3. S. McElrath – 1:55.419
4. J. Savatgy – 1:55.611
5. A. Martin – 1:55.698
6. J. Smith – 1:55.790
7. Z. Osborne – 1:56.884
8. A. Forkner – 1:57.188
9. J. Martin – 1:57.333
10. M. Davalos – 1:57.383
Even if Tomac finds his groove, he still has a 47 point mountain to climb to take the red plate away from Roczen.
Even if Tomac finds his groove, he still has a 47 point mountain to climb to take the red plate away from Roczen.

Roczen and Tomac were also tight at the top of the fastest overall average lap times with the Suzuki rider clocking an average lap time of 1:54.228 and the Kawasaki rider just a tick off that with a 1:54.343. Both were nearly three seconds a lap faster than their nearest competitor in lap time average category. On the technical Muddy Creek circuit, Tickle (1:57.188) had the third fastest average lap time and the fourth overall fastest single lap (1:54.961).

The fifth fastest lap (1:55.782) of the day was turned in by the man best known for going fast long before the first gate ever drops on the day. Rockstar Energy / Husqvarna’s Christophe Pourcel probably has one of history’s best career averages for qualifying first in morning qualifying, and he did it again on Saturday with the fastest 450MX qualifying lap in Tennessee. Christophe took advantage of the first gate pick and matched his season’s best sixth overall in the motos. That’s two sixths in a row for the former World Champ, and with the field thinning out quickly to injury, we expect to see the #377 scoring some top fives and possible podiums.

250MX Overall podium at the 2016 Tennessee National. Cooper Webb (center), Joey Savatgy (left), Shane McElrath (right).
250MX Overall podium at the 2016 Tennessee National. Cooper Webb (center), Joey Savatgy (left), Shane McElrath (right).

In the 250MX class, it seems as though the Star Racing / Yamahas are just rotating the top spot for fastest lap time, and this week that honor goes with the man on the top of the box, Webb. Webb ran a 1:55.155 at the 20-minute mark of moto one while trying to get to the front. Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo was just a tick off with a 1:55.234, but the former amateur rival of Webb had a very different day. While Webb was moving forward all day, Adam spent a good majority of his day picking up his factory Kawasaki after silly tip overs. Well, there was also that one time Webb mistakenly center punched Cianciarulo in moto two and sent them both down. Webb went on to take the overall while Cianciarulo went 11-22 for 16th overall. Webb openly apologized to Adam for the incident.

The third, fourth and fifth fastest laps of the day were clocked by McElrath (1:55.419), Savatgy (1:55.611) and Star Racing / Yamaha’s Alex Martin (1:55.698). Savatgy clocked his fastest lap in moto one on his way to the moto win. Both McElrath and Martin laid down their heaters while battling for the lead in moto two. Unfortunately for both of them, Webb was on a mission in moto two and picked off the #26 on lap sixteen and the #30 on lap eighteen—the final lap of the day. A-Mart was frustrated to see another race win slip away, while McElrath was obviously bummed to get passed on the final lap but pumped to lead a race for that long.

Broc Tickle's 3rd overall put two RCH / Suzuki's on the same podium for the first time in the teams history.
Broc Tickle’s 3rd overall put two RCH / Suzuki’s on the same podium for the first time in the teams history.

Full 2016 Tennessee National results here>>>

Top 10 450MX Avg Lap-Times Top 10 250MX Avg Lap-Times
1. K. Roczen – 1:54.228
2. E. Tomac – 1:54.343
3. B. Tickle – 1:57.188
4. M. Musquin – 1:57.599
5. J. Barcia – 1:57.963
6. C. Seely – 1:58.167
7. B. Baggett – 1:58.305
8. C. Pourcel – 1:58.368
9. W. Peick – 1:58.767
10. J. Bogle – 1:59.440
1. J. Savatgy – 1:57.849
2. C. Webb – 1:57.943
3. S. McElrath – 1:58.257
4. A. Martin – 1:58.520
5. J. Martin – 1:58.845
6. A. Forkner – 1:58.857
7. Z. Osborne – 1:59.022
8. J. Smith – 1:59.315
9. S. McElrath – 1:59.331
10. M. Davalos – 1:59.497

Scroll down to see how the motos broke down lap-for-lap and how the 250’s matched up against the 450 riders in Blountville, Tn. with MotoXAddicts’ lap-time comparison charts.

Check out some highlights of the 2016 Tennessee National

Each graph charts the lap times of the top five finishers in each moto. You can run your cursor over the lines to see which rider the line signifies and that rider’s time for each lap. Click on a rider’s name on the right to remove them from the chart so you can run riders’ times against each other heads up. Also, scroll down to see how the top three 250MX class finishers matched up against the top three 450MX class finishers.

Click here for the current 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship standings>>>


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.