2017 Thunder Valley Motocross 250MX Results and Coverage |
Savatgy Grabs Overall
It was an incredible battle for the overall victory in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross 250SX class in the hills west of Denver at Thunder Valley Park. With just one point separating the top four riders overall at the True Value Thunder Valley National, Joey Savatgy (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) took the win on a tiebreaker with Alex Martin (Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/Kawasaki), while Jeremy Martin (GEICO Honda) beat out Austin Forkner (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) for the final podium spot. In an unusual twist, Forkner’s 2-3 finishes were not good enough for an overall podium.
250MX Moto 1
Although Alex Martin grabbed a holeshot and was never headed on his way to victory, the moto was a barnburner.
Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross 250SX Championship Series leader Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna Factory Racing) lost the front end on the first lap while in contention for the lead. Remounting to finish the first lap in 16th place, Osborne was never a factor.
Jeremy Martin held second until Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) blew by him on Lap 2. However, Cianciarulo tipped over in a rut, dropping him back to seventh place. Jeremy Martin’s difficult time in second place continued, as Mitchell Harrison (Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha) passed him less than five minutes into the moto.
As Jeremy Martin was pressured by Savatgy and Aaron Plessinger (Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha), Harrison lightly cased a jump, allowing Jeremy Martin back into second behind his brother Alex, who had a seven-second lead with 10 minutes gone. At this point, there was a seven-way battle for second place.
By the halfway point, Osborne had worked back into the Top 10, while Jeremy Martin was closing in on brother Alex. Savatgy was holding third, with Plessinger constantly pressuring him.
With just under 13 minutes remaining on the clock, Savatgy began stalking Jeremy Martin. Three minutes later, Plessinger was hounding Savatgy. When the clock read eight minutes remaining, it was a four-way battle for second between Jeremy Martin, Savatgy, Plessinger, and a surging Cianciarulo. Within a minute, the group of four began catching Alex Martin.
Alex Martin responded, but was unable to break away. Less than five minutes before the two-lap flag was due to be waved, six riders were in contention for the win, as Forkner joined the battle. Concurrently, Savatgy had snatched second from Jeremy Martin.
At just under four minutes, Forkner passed Plessinger, while Savatgy closed in on Alex Martin, only to be rebuffed in the deep ruts. Alex Martin built up a two second lead, but nearly crashed exiting a turn, with a minute to go. A lapper slowed Savatgy, but Alex Martin made another mistake.
With two laps of the 16-lap race remaining, Forkner passed Jeremy Martin for third and then Savatgy for second place. Forkner took off after Alex Martin, but lost contact when Forkner cross-rutted.
On the final lap, Jeremy Martin pounced on Savatgy, moving into third place. The top four of Alex Martin, Forkner, Jeremy Martin, and Savatgy had one-second gaps between them as the last lapped wound down. None faltered, and that was the final finishing order, as Cianciarulo faded out of contention in fifth.
Plessinger fell victim to teammate Colt Nichols, who took sixth, and Osborne was well back in eighth.
“I got a little tight and started thinking too much,” Alex Martin said, explaining the loss of a solid lead in the second half of Moto 1.
Forkner lamented his slow start. “I didn’t get going in the beginning. I had to settle in,” Forkner said. “I didn’t get that tired—went the same speed the whole time.”
Jeremy Martin also felt like he didn’t ride was well as he would have liked early on. “It took me a little bit to get going,” Jeremy Martin said. “It came down to who had better lines. I learned from Forkner and was able to get Savatgy back.”
250MX Moto 2
Savatgy grabbed the holeshot in Moto 2, with Plessinger right behind him and Jeremy Martin in the mix. After a battle, Plessinger took the lead from Savatgy, with Harrison (who dropped to 11th in Moto 1) and Ferrandis (who was stuck in the starting gate in Moto 1) fighting over the last podium spot.
Jeremy Martin, Forkner, Alex Martin and Osborne were closing in on Ferrandis, when Ferrandis passed Harrison 3:30 into Moto 2. Harrison quickly fell through the field, as he did in Moto 1.
On Lap 4 (of 16) with just over seven minutes gone in the moto, Plessinger threw his Yamaha away on a jump and it landed on the backside, not visible to oncoming riders. Flaggers were unwilling to get onto the course to protect the riders from Plessinger’s downed bike. That caused Cianciarulo to land on Plessinger’s bike, though Cianciarulo didn’t go down. Plessinger was not able to cross the track and rejoin the race until the entire pack went through and a backmarker went down. Although Plessinger got going again, he eventually retired from the race.
Savatgy inherited the lead and was never fronted, but it was not an easy win. Four minutes later Ferrandis was closing in on Savatgy, with Jeremy Martin close behind Ferrandis. Forkner, Alex Martin, and Osborne were involved in their own battle, though Osborne went off the track and lost touch. Jeremy Martin passed Ferrandis on Lap 8.
Jeremy Martin, Ferrandis, and Forkner were running together and closing on Savatgy at the halfway point. The trio battled for another five minutes and with 10 minutes remaining before the two-lap flag, the Top 4 riders were only three seconds apart. Moto 1 winner Alex Martin was in fifth, followed by Osborne, Ferrandis, and Cianciarulo.
Two minutes away from the two-lap alert, Savatgy made an error and Jeremy Martin was all over him. However, Savatgy responded and retrieved some breathing room ahead of Jeremy Martin. Cianciarulo suffered a bike problem and dropped out of the race with three laps remaining, while Forkner and Alex Martin fell far off the pace of Savatgy and Jeremy Martin.
Going into the final lap, Savatgy appeared to have a solid lead, but Jeremy Martin put on one last charge. Jeremy Martin closed in on Savatgy, but was not quite close enough to take a shot for the lead. As the checkers flew, Savatgy was less than a half-second clear of Martin. Forkner took third, over 16 seconds behind Jeremy Martin, and over three seconds clear of fourth place Alex Martin.
“It’s been a rough couple of weeks,” overall winner Savatgy admitted. “This is like a first one for me. It’s been so long, it seems like.”
A three-way battle for fifth materialized, with Osborne coming out on top, followed by Ferrandis and Justin Hill (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki). Hill’s seventh place Moto 2 finish was his best in the 250MX class after Hill won the 250SX West Championship. Hill sits 14th in the standings, with a DNF at Glen Helen.
When the dust settled, Osborne—who had been sick this week—retained the lead, though it is now just nine points over Alex Martin, who described this as a “breakout weekend.” Jeremy Martin is nine points behind his brother, and Savatgy is fourth, another eight points back. Forkner and Colt Nichols (who struggled to 12th in Moto 2) are tied for fifth with 89 points, just four points ahead of Cianciarulo.
Cianciarulo started the day second in points and now sits in seventh. Plessinger dropped from fifth to eighth in the standings. On the flipside, Jeremy Martin charged from sixth to third in one week, and Savatgy moved from seventh to fourth.
Photography by Jeff Kardas
2017 Thunder Valley Motocross 250MX Results
- Joey Savatgy, Kawasaki, 4-1
- Alex Martin, KTM, 1-4
- Jeremy Martin, Honda, 3-2
- Austin Forkner, Kawasaki, 2-3
- Zach Osborne, Husqvarna, 8-5
- Dylan Ferrandis, Yamaha, 9-6
- Colt Nichols, Yamaha, 6-12
- Mitchell Harrison, Yamaha, 11-8
- Shane McElrath, KTM, 10-9
- Michael Mosiman, Husqvarna, 12-10
- Justin Hill, Kawasaki, 17-7
- Sean Cantrell, KTM, 15-11
- Kyle Cunningham, Suzuki, 13-13
- Adam Cianciarulo, Kawasaki, 7-37
- Aaron Plessinger, Yamaha, 7-39
- Jimmy Decotis, Honda, 16-14
- Bradley Taft, Yamaha, 18-15
- Mark Worth, Yamaha, 14-19
- Nick Gaines, Yamaha, 19-16
- Jerry Robin, Yamaha, 25-17
2017 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross 250MX Championship Series Standings (after 3 of 12 rounds)
- Zach Osborne, 119 points (2 moto wins)
- Alex Martin, 110 (1 moto win)
- Jeremy Martin, 101 (1 moto win)
- Joey Savatgy, 93 (1 moto win)
- Austin Forkner, 89
- Colt Nichols, 89
- Adam Cianciarulo, 85
- Aaron Plessinger, 78
- Mitchell Harrison, 66
- Dylan Ferrandis, 64 (1 moto win)
- Michael Mosiman, 60
- Shane McElrath, 60
- Sean Cantrell, 56
- Justin Hill, 52
- Nick Gaines, 33
- Mitchell Oldenburg, 24
- Jimmy Decotis, 23
- Lorenzo Locurcio, 22
- Bradley Taft, 20
- Kyle Cunningham, 16