Photo by: Octopi

The 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship headed to the eastern part of the US for the first time in 2018 for the High Point National from Mount Morris, PA, and round number four. It was once again Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac taking the overall win in the 450 class, but his moto win streak was ended at six when Red Bull / KTM’s Marvin Musquin took the moto one win. In the end, Eli’s 2-1 took the overall over Marvin’s 1-2 and the two were joined on the 450 overall podium by Monster Energy / Yamaha’s Justin Barcia–who finished third with a 3-5 scorecard.

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In the 250MX class, Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger scored his second 1-1 day of the year, but this time his moto two win was gifted to him when GEICO / Honda’s Jeremy Martin‘s Honda quit while he was comfortably leading. Aaron’s 1-1 day combined with Jeremy’s 2-DNF day put the red plate solidly on Aaron’s Yamaha heading into round five. Joining Aaron on the 250 overall podium was Monster Energy / / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner (4-2) in second and Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha’s Justin Cooper (3-4) in third.

Eli (#1) and Marvin (#25) put on a show for the fans at High Point with battles in both motos, but especially at the end of moto 2. Photo by: Octopi

After the racing was over, we gathered numerous quotes from riders about their fourth outdoor MX race of 2018.\

Eli Tomac: (1st in 450MX) “There was no lack of ruts today; that’s for sure. Shoot, it was good, you know. I was able to get out front early and didn’t eat a lot of roost here, so that was good. It’s got that heavy clay here. It’s important to keep the goggles clean. This place always has the big rutted character to it, so it’s tough to race on. That first one was tough. I wasn’t as good as Marv [Marvin Musquin] in that one. I was fighting my turning a little bit and you gotta be just really perfect if you want to be the guy on top right now in this class. I wasn’t that. I was fighting and wasn’t flowing. I at least went back, regrouped and got closer. Marv was all over us at the end of the second one but it was just good enough.”

 

Aaron Plessinger: (1st in 250MX) “We had a really good day at Glen Helen and I really liked my bike there, but then we changed some stuff. We actually changed some stuff for Glen Helen, but then my bike didn’t work too well for Colorado. We went back and did some testing on the week off and we got it to where I like it again. I think that showed today. I got the good starts and pretty much rode my own race. In the second moto, everyone was riding good. It’s hard to pass out there, but I got it done. Something happened to Jeremy’s [Martin] bike I guess. Yeah, I came away with a 1-1 on the day.”

 

Marvin Musquin: (2nd in 450MX) “That’s the goal [to win] and it was amazing. Overall, the weekend was great, but that first moto was definitely awesome. I could see following Eli that I had good lines. I was able to see where he was going and I had better lines. I was feeling really comfortable so to pass him and get that first moto win was awesome. I wanted to do the same thing in the second moto, but I could tell he had better lines, better flow and that intensity was really high. I’m not sure how far back third place was, but I’m pretty sure it was a big gap. We pushed really hard and that’s what I want to do. I want to fight with whoever is out front and battle for the lead. I had a blast! I know I came up shirt. That’s a bummer–it’s a 2nd overall–but to win a moto and get 2nd overall is something to build on.”

 

Austin Forkner: (2nd in 250MX) “I was going to make it as hard as I could for guys to pass me in that second moto. I had pressure the whole moto from multiple guys and was able to keep it together. The track was really gnarly and the weather was tough being so hot and humid. It makes me feel like we can go to Tennessee, be aggressive and have a good weekend.”

250 overall podium. Photo by: Octopi

Justin Barcia: (3rdin 450MX) “For sure, it was deep [the soil] today. It got rough. It’s a difficult track, for sure. It’s always challenging with the hills, the sideways doubles and things like that. I think it was a good race track. There were plenty of places to pass and make things happen. All in all, I think the track was good. [No front brake in moto 2] I ran into someone in the second corner. It just happened. This is one of the hardest tracks to ride without a front brake I feel like. It was difficult. (laughs)”

 

Justin Cooper: (3rd in 250MX) “I’m here to stay. I’m here to be up front and it was a pretty sick feeling to get both holeshots today. I put myself in a good position. I was able to run up front and get some more experience up there. I’m feeling more and more confident, and I feel like I belong up there now.”

 

Ken Roczen: (4th in 450MX) “I kind of struggled with the track, especially in practice. I wasn’t really gelling with the new layout. As always though, I went to the first start confident. I got a decent jump, but there was a big pileup in the first turn that I was involved with. I got run over, had bikes on top of me, and was basically at the bottom of the pile. Luckily nothing was hurt or wrong with the bike, so I just had to come from behind and made my way up to seventh. After the first moto, I came back in and just tried to get as much rest as possible before the second race. I told Oscar [Wirdeman] that I was going to get the holeshot and I did, so I was pretty stoked about that. I tried to run up front as long as possible, but I didn’t have it today and faded. I still finished third, which is good. I have to be okay with it, even though I’m a little bummed. The first start crash could’ve been worse, and I’m happy I was able to bounce back in the second race with a good start and be up front for a bit. I’m happy with fourth overall.”

 

Jeremy Martin: (10th in 250MX) “I felt good and I got a good gap and honestly I was just putting it into cruise control,” said Martin. “Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened, it just died. Didn’t feel any symptoms developing or anything like that. It’s a bummer but there’s a lot of racing left in the series. I’m just going to have to come back and dominate the rest of the rounds.”

After just one week without it, Aaron Plessinger got the red plate back on his Yamaha. Photo by: Octopi

Garrett Marchbanks: (DNF, injury in 250MX) “I’m hopeful that it’s not as bad as it first felt but we’ll have to wait and see what the doctors say this week. It’s such a bummer especially since I felt my best all season. Hopefully we’ll get some good news this week, but until then I am thankful that it wasn’t worse.”

 

Justin Hill: (5th in 450MX) “High Point was gnarly. You could not go around a single section without your teeth rattling out of your head. It was not my style of track. It was less about technique and more about powering through everything. I feel like Muddy Creek will be more my style. Historically, I haven’t done well at High Point, so I am happy to get out of there with a top-five finish. I had a brake issue in the second moto, so I wasn’t able to catch up to fifth place, but I was running a decent pace. My first 450 National taught me that I have to make things happen right away. I didn’t get the holeshot in either moto, but I tried to make good moves and work toward the front.”

 

RJ Hampshire: (5thin 250MX) “The team made big improvements on the bike this weekend and I also rode better. Practice went well and then got tangled up in the first turn first moto. Was pretty far back and made some good passes, pulled up onto Jordon Smith in fifth and couldn’t make the pass, and then I lost my flow and couldn’t get going again. Second moto had a decent start, then crashed twice the first lap. I got tangled up with Joey Savatgy when he crashed which then dropped me back to 20th. Put in a good charge but felt like I was better than my results over the weekend.”

 

Weston Peick: (6th in 450MX) “High Point was up and down. Practice was pretty technical and the track was muddy. We went into the first moto with a couple of changes to the bike, and then I was involved in a first-turn pile-up. I had to come from about last to ninth place. For moto two we made a few more adjustments, and that made a big difference. I also got off to a better start and was able to work from up front. I’m looking forward to next weekend.”

Justin Hill rode to an impressive 5th overall in his 450 debut. Photo by: Suzuki

Phil Nicoletti: (11thin 450MX) “This was my first round with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory racing team. I think I prepared well coming into the race, but California tracks are nothing like the track here at High Point so I kind of had to relearn a few things and make some changes. I got taken out in the first turn of the first moto, then went down two more times after that. I ran up front for awhile in the second moto but ran out of steam and ended up ninth in that moto and 11th overall. I’m ready for next weekend.”

 

Michael Mosiman: (11th in 250MX) “”It was good to get out of here healthy. This track was mean. I didn’t get the best start in the first moto and I made a mistake. I was in 11th then took a slightly different line in the last lap through the jumping rollers and the bike jumped up and I had to bail. I landed the double while running. I lost two spots and finished 13th. I got a little bit of a better spot in the second moto and was flowing and making passes and ended up ninth. I’m excited for next weekend’s race in Tennessee.”

 

Joey Savatgy: (13th in 250MX) “The track was really gnarly and everyone was going fast so it was hard to make up a lot of ground when I didn’t get good starts. In the second moto I was in a groove and was passing a lot of guys but made a mistake that ended up costing me a finish. We’re going to regroup this week and be back for Tennessee.”

 

Mitchell Harrison: (15th in 250MX) “It was an interesting day for me. I felt off-pace. I got a good start in the first moto but faded, then didn’t get the best start in the second moto but rode strong. I have some work to do, and this was a rough track to come back to. I’m going to keep working and will step it up.”

The rookie Justin Cooper continued to show he is for real by leading laps and finishing on the overall podium for the second weekend in a row. Photo by: Octopi

Chase Sexton: (16th in 250MX) “High Point wasn’t the best for me. Never felt quite comfortable all day and wasn’t riding like myself. Moto one got an awful start and made my way through the pack to tenth which isn’t great at all. Moto 2 I told myself I was going to do everything in my power to get the holeshot and I think I came around fourth or fifth. Much better, and for the first time the whole day I actually felt good on the bike and was in a decent flow, but about five laps in I had a bike malfunction and it ended my moto early! Nothing against the team there at all, they do everything in their power to make things right but sometimes thing just happen in racing. Hasn’t been the start to the season I’ve been looking for but it’s time to turn it around next weekend and start pulling holeshots. It was a good feeling to be up front going into the first turn this time!”

 

Cameron McAdoo: (17th in 250MX) “It was good to finally be back at the races! Moto 1 we had some unfortunate issues and weren’t able to finish the moto, and I ended up 13th moto 2. I’m glad to get that first one out of the way so now we know what to work on and can start building back to where I know I belong!”

 

Jordan Bailey: (21st in 250MX) “High Point was probably one of the gnarliest tracks I’ve ever ridden. Practice was ok, but the ruts were so deep. I got off to a decent start in the first moto and finished 16th. I didn’t get a great start in the second moto, but was riding way better. I crashed mid-jump and got clobbered by the bike, but I’m ok. I’m looking forward to Muddy Creek. If the guys at Muddy Creek are reading this…it would be good if they could tone down the ruts!”

 

Kyle Chisholm: (DNF in 450MX) “It’s definitely a bummer way for the weekend to go. I recovered well over the break and felt great coming into the day, but I just caught my toes on the outer edge of the rut and that was all she wrote. I wanted to get out there and represent sponsors but also am trying to have a big picture attitude this season. Thanks to everyone for the support.”

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Enzo Lopes: (25th in 250MX) “It was the craziest track I’ve ever ridden in my entire life. The ruts were deep and didn’t seem to end. I had a good start and was running third, but I got tight and went back to 11th. I had a crash, and then I crashed again and got my leg stuck under my bike. I had a decent start in the second moto, but I fell while going down one of the hills and had to stop. It turns out that I broke my collarbone, which is a heartbreak. I’ll give it some time to heal and be back as quickly as possible.”