2018 Unadilla National Motocross Results: Musquin Wins Mudder
Weather played havoc with the 2018 Unadilla National at Unadilla MX in upstate New York. Marvin Musquin took the overall with a 2-1 performance, with Tomac maintaining his lead in the 2018 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series by going 1-2 in the rain and mud at the historic venue. The rain was pouring down so hard prior to Moto 1 that the track was modified to eliminate a steep downhill/uphill portion. Phil Nicoletti scored his career-first overall podium, going 3-5 on the gloomy day.
With torrential rain in Moto 1 and sticky mud in the second moto, the Massey Ferguson Unadilla National was more about survival than racing. Most riders were forced into the pits for goggle changes in the rain of Moto 1, while motor- and clutch-killing tacky mud resulted in only 26 motorcycles running at the end of Moto 2. Passes were few and far between, and authentic battles even more rare.
It was a stalemate for Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin. With each scoring big moto wins—25 seconds in Moto 1 for Tomac, and 35 seconds for Musquin in Moto 2—along with a second place finish, they each take home 47 points. That benefits Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki), as it takes a round off the table. Musquin (Red Bull KTM) now has just four motos to make up a 15-point deficit—certainly a doable proposition. This 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series is nowhere near over yet.
Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna Factory Racing fill-in rider Phil Nicoletti earned the first overall podium of his career. Nicoletti, a native of the region, was looking like a threat for a moto win in the first half of Moto 1. However, Nicoletti never could get past Musquin, and then Tomac stormed away from both riders for his convincing win. Nicoletti parlayed a great start into leading the first two laps of Moto 2, until the charging tandem of Musquin and Tomac motored by. At the halfway point, Justin Barcia and Cooper Webb swallowed Nicoletti up, though both of those riders had suffered problems in Moto 1. Nicoletti fought back and repassed Webb for fourth on the penultimate lap, only to give the spot back on the final lap. Still, Nicoletti had enough of a cushion to turn a 3-5 day into an overall podium.
Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing teammates Justin Barcia and Cooper Webb went at it in Moto 2. In the best tussle of the day, Barcia and Webb went at it before and after passing Nicoletti for third and fourth places. Eventually, Barcia pulled away from Webb for the final Moto 2 podium spot, but not until after Barcia gestured broadly at Webb when Webb flew out of a rut and nearly took Barcia out. In the first moto, a starting-straight crash put Barcia in the back of the pack, though he battled back to eighth place. Webb was running in seventh place when a rock hit his face on the penultimate lap and sidelining him. Webb was credited with 16th place in Moto 2.
It was an off day for Ken Roczen, and he lost third place in the standings to Justin Barcia. Between middling starts and falls, Roczen (Team Honda HRC) never got going. Roczen went 7-7 for seventh overall, putting him five points behind Barcia in the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross standings.
KTM wild card rider Kailub Russell looked like he might pull off a miracle in Moto 1. The five-time GNCC Champion—filling in for suspended Broc Tickle on the Red Bull KTM team—looked like a threat to win Moto 1 early on. However, he dropped back for a still-impressive sixth place finish in his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross debut. Russell struggled in Moto 2 before going down hard in an over-the-bars crash on a straightaway, ending his ride on Lap 6.
Team HRC Honda’s Japanese rider Toshiki Tomita had a career-best day. Tomita came into the day 19th in the standings with no top 10 finishes. He went 9-10 at the Unadilla National, and is now 14th in the series.
A two-stroke scored points at the Unadilla National. Gared Steinke (Motosport Hillsboro/Bel Ray/Vurbmoto) has been trying all year to get in the points on his KTM 250 SX two-stroke motocrosser. Steinke had only earned one top 30 moto finish in 2018, and that was a 28th at the Glen Helen National. However, in Moto 2, Steinke rode well into the points, scoring a 16th place finish on his ring-ding.
The penultimate round beckons next week at Budds Creek in Maryland. It’s almost over—just two rounds remaining in the 2018 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series. NBC Sports Gold—a pay subscription service—runs all four motos from Budds Creek Motocross Park live on Saturday, August 18. Fortunately, all four motos will also be live on cable. The first motos will be on MavTV, starting at 1 p.m. (ET), with the second motos starting at 3 p.m. (ET) on NBCSN.
2018 Unadilla National Motocross Results, Unadilla MX, New Berlin, NY
Marvin Musquin, KTM, 2-1, 47 points
Eli Tomac, Kawasaki, 1-2, 47 points
Phil Nicoletti, Husqvarna, 3-5, 36
Justin Barcia, Yamaha, 8-3, 33
Blake Baggett, KTM, 5-6, 31
Benny Bloss, KTM, 4-10, 29
Ken Roczen, Honda, 7-7, 28
Weston Peick, Suzuki, 9-8, 25
Cooper Webb, Yamaha, 16-4, 23
Toshiki Tomita, Honda, 10-9, 23
Jeremy Hand, Honda, 11-13, 18
Cody Cooper, Honda, 12-14, 16
Kailub Russell, KTM, 6-30, 15
Kyle Cunningham, Suzuki, 28-11, 10
Ben Lamay, Honda, 20-12, 10
Chris Canning, 18-15, 9
Henry Miller, Yamaha, 13-24, 8
Nick Gaines, Yamaha, 14-36, 7
Dylan Merriam, Yamaha, 15-34, 6
Gared Steinke, 33-16, 5
Jacob Runkles, KTM, 37-17, 4
Tyler Stepek, Kawasaki, 17-31, 4
Ryan Surratt, Kawasaki, DNS-18, 3
Zack Williams, KTM, DNS-19, 2
Nick Fratz-Orr, KTM, 19-33, 2
Brandon Scharer, Yamaha, 32-20, 1
2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series Standings (after 10 rounds of 12)