Rainy conditions defined the second of back-to-back visits to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch to open the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, resulting in a wild afternoon of racing at the MotoSport.com Loretta Lynn’s 2 National. Riders were presented with incredibly challenging track conditions, and as a result, the action from the second round of the season was unpredictable across both classes. In the end it was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne who prevailed with his second straight 450 Class victory, while GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin made his long-awaited return to the top step of the podium in the 250 Class.
The 450 Class was greeted with a muddy track and sunny skies for its first moto. As the field stormed out the start gate it was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia who captured the MotoSport.com Holeshot and sprinted out to a comfortable lead early on. Behind him, JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki’s Fredrik Noren settled into second, with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Broc Tickle in third.
Barcia, one of the savviest riders in the mud, continued to pull away from the field, soon establishing an insurmountable margin of more than 20 seconds within a matter of a few laps. Behind him the battle for position jockeyed between several riders. Noren crashed and lost several positions, leaving Tickle to battle Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac and the Team Honda HRC duo of Chase Sexton and Christian Craig. A determined Tomac was able to sustain his forward progress and eventually made the pass on Tickle for second. Several laps later Tickle lost his hold of third to Craig.
As Barcia continued to ride in a class of his own out front, things behind them got interesting in the closing moments of the moto. Craig encountered misfortune and dropped out of podium contention, which appeared to all but ensure a runner-up finish for Tomac. However, the reigning series champion’s bike lost pace in the closing laps and caused him to lose several positions before eventually coming to a stop on the final lap. Barcia took the win by 48 seconds over his teammate Tickle, who brought home a second-place finish, while Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo made a late charge to finish third. Noren followed in fourth, while Osborne rounded out the top five. Tomac ended up with a ninth-place finish.
The best track and weather conditions of the day highlighted the final 450 Class moto. When the gate dropped it was the Twisted Tea/H.E.P. Motorsports Suzuki of Max Anstie who charged to the MotoSport.com Holeshot ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin. The Frenchman was able to get by the Brit for the lead, but Anstie responded to reclaim the top spot. Behind them, Tomac made contact with his teammate, Cianciarulo, and went down in the first turn, which forced him to start at the rear of the field. In his search for the overall win, Barcia began the moto in sixth, but later crashed and dropped deep in the running order.
The lead duo was able to build a gap over the rest of the field, with Anstie enjoying a multi-second advantage on Musquin. Cianciarulo gave chase from third and positioned himself with an opportunity to claim the overall in doing so. As the race wore on, the intrigue of the moto ramped up as Osborne started to make a move to the front. The point leader was able to close in on Cianciarulo for third and make an aggressive pass for the position. From there, Osborne continued his charge and tracked down Musquin for second. After making the pass on the KTM rider, Osborne had Anstie within sight and dropped the hammer in pursuit of the lead. Anstie responded initially, but when a lapped rider crashed in front of him and briefly halted his momentum it opened the door for Osborne to get by and seize control of the moto.
As things changed dramatically at the front of the field, the same could be said for both Barcia and Tomac as well. Both riders encountered misfortune and were ultimately unable to finish the moto, ending their days on a sour note.
Despite some occasional smoke coming from the exhaust pipe of his Husqvarna, Osborne never wavered and was able to hold off a charge from Musquin on the final lap to take the moto win by 2.2 seconds to cap off one of the wildest days of his career. Anstie capitalized on his stellar start to bring home a first career moto podium in third.
Osborne’s win moved him to the top of the overall classification (5-1) for his second straight victory. Cianciarulo earned his first career 450 Class podium finish in second (3-5), while Musquin’s late push helped him round out the overall podium in third (8-2). After winning the first moto Barcia finished seventh overall (1-32), while Tomac carded the worst finish of his career in 16th (9-24).
“Man, what a day. To be the points leader and miss a practice as we did earlier in the day, it’s just crazy,” said Osborne, who needed to join the slower qualifying group after his bike failed to start in his scheduled session. “I couldn’t have done this without my team today. I know it’s cliche, but they did everything they could to keep me and my teammates out there with a shot to make things happen. I wasn’t necessarily looking to win, but stacking points was on my radar today. I had to fight hard and battle back to finish fifth in that first moto, and then we were able to come away with a win in moto two. I’m so grateful to be up here.”
Osborne extended his lead atop the 450 Class standings to 19 points over Musquin, who moved into second. Barcia now sits third, 29 points out of the lead, while Tomac dropped to seventh and sits 40 points behind Osborne.
A storm cell brought a surge of rain to the track just prior to the start of the first 250 Class moto, so riders took off at the drop of the gate unsure of what conditions they’d be facing. As the field rounded through the first two corners it was Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Shane McElrath who emerged with the MotoSport.com Holeshot just ahead of JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki’s Alex Martin. The Suzuki rider was able to make the pass for the lead, but he hit a soft spot on the track shortly thereafter and went down. That allowed McElrath to reassume the lead, with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire in second and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Cameron McAdoo in third.
After a near-crash, McElrath stalled his Yamaha while leading, which allowed McAdoo to take over the top spot with Hampshire in tow. Jeremy Martin then moved up to third, while Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis, the class point leader, slotted into fourth. Out front, Hampshire was able to take advantage of a wide line by McAdoo to move into the lead. Behind them, Ferrandis and Martin battled for third, with Ferrandis taking the spot.
The Frenchman continued his charge forward and was able to track down McAdoo to make the pass for second. He then set his sights on Hampshire for the lead, with the Husqvarna rider hindered after being forced to remove his goggles. As the race wore on, the track became more challenging and it ultimately forced Ferrandis to tip over. Soon after, the point leader got rid of his goggles and came into the pits for a new pair. With the clean goggles, Ferrandis was able to put on a charge to catch Hampshire and got within a few bike lengths of the lead with just two laps to go. However, Hampshire dug deep and withstood the challenge to take his first moto win of the season over Ferrandis by nearly 10 seconds. Martin followed in third, with McAdoo fourth and GEICO Honda rookie Carson Mumford in fifth.
Light rainfall greeted the 250 Class field for Moto 2 as well and when the gate dropped it was once again McElrath and Alex Martin racing to the MotoSport.com Holeshot, with McElrath sweeping the day’s accolades. Unfortunately for McElrath, his time out front was short-lived as he bobbled in a corner and handed the lead to Martin, with his brother Jeremy following in second as McElrath dropped to third.
With such difficult track conditions, the field quickly spread out, which allowed Alex Martin to establish a comfortable lead over his brother. From there the attention shifted towards the battle for the overall classification, as Ferrandis was mired outside the top 10 and Hampshire outside the top 20 to begin the moto. While the Martin brothers strengthened their hold of the top two positions on the track, McAdoo made the move around McElrath for third. Further back, both Ferrandis and Hampshire were putting on a charge through the running order, with both riders eventually finding their way into the top 10 after the halfway point of the moto.
While Alex Martin appeared to have the moto fully in hand, smoke and steam began to come out of Jeremy’s Honda, which forced the former champion into conservation mode. The same could be said for Ferrandis and Hampshire, who each experienced similar issues with their own motorcycles. Ferrandis was able to battle all the way up to fourth in the waning laps, while Hampshire got up to seventh before his bike stopped running.
Alex Martin stayed out of trouble and carried on to capture his first moto win for Joe Gibbs Racing by more than a minute, while Jeremy made it a Martin Brothers 1-2 in second. McElrath edged out Ferrandis for third.
The late drama weighed heavily on the battle for the overall win, with Jeremy Martin’s runner-up finish enough to put him atop the overall classification (3-2), a mere two points ahead of Ferrandis (2-4). Alex Martin’s moto win vaulted him to third overall (7-1), while opening moto winner Hampshire ended up sixth overall (1-18).
“Honestly, the track was gnarly. It rained again on the start line and I thought, ‘Oh boy here we go.’ Fortunately, it held off and I got a good start,” said Jeremy Martin, who captured his first win since the 2018 season when he suffered a major back injury that sidelined him for the entirety of the 2019 racing season. “The track was in good shape [considering the rain] and we were able to make passes around people, which helped. That was a nail biter [at the end]. My GEICO Honda was smoking, but thankfully the engine is bulletproof. I did all I could to save it and I’m just so relieved it made it [to the finish]. I didn’t expect to get my first win [since coming back from injury] so soon, but we’re definitely going to celebrate.”
Ferrandis’ podium effort helped him retain his hold of the point lead, where he currently has a six-point advantage over Martin. Alex Martin moved into third, 19 points out of the lead.
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will travel to the greater Indianapolis area for the third round of the 2020 season next weekend. The Guaranteed Rate Ironman National from Crawfordsville, Indiana’s Ironman Raceway will commence on Saturday, August 29, with live first moto coverage of both the 250 Class and 450 Class on MAVTV, beginning at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET. Coverage of the second motos will air via tape delay on NBC Sports Network at 4:00 p.m. PT / 7:00 p.m. ET. Uninterrupted, commercial-free coverage of every moto can be seen live via the “Pro Motocross Pass” on NBC Sports Gold, beginning at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET.