2018 Ironman National Motocross Coverage: Tomac Secures Title; Barcia Sweeps In Mud
Marvin Musquin stayed alive in the 2018 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series chase into the final moto of the season, but Eli Tomac retained his 450MX class championship in the mud at Ironman Raceway in Indiana. As Musquin struggled and Tomac protected his slim lead, Justin Barcia won both motos convincingly to take his first overall win since 2015.
Like last year under similar circumstances, Eli Tomac was unable to clinch the championship in the first moto. Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) brought a 20-point lead into the Ironman National. Tomac needed to score five more points than Musquin in the first moto to clinch the title. Both riders got decent starts, with Tomac in fifth and Musquin two spots behind after the first lap. Tomac eventually caught everyone but Barcia, while Musquin was kept off the podium by Ken Roczen. Tomac extended his lead to 24 points, keeping Musquin in the championship hunt. However, if Tomac scored a single point in the second moto, or Musquin didn’t win, Tomac would win his second straight 450MX title.
In the second moto, Marvin Musquin did not do what he needed to do to have a shot at the championship. Musquin (Red Bull KTM) needed to win if he were to have any chance to grab the title away from Tomac in the last moto of the year. Musquin started the moto by boxing out Tomac off the line—a smart move—but Musquin was out of the top three after the first lap. Musquin was only able to pass Cooper Webb for third place, and Musquin had to do it twice due to a fall. At the end, Musquin was over 40 seconds behind winner Barcia.
With Marvin Musquin failing to win, Eli Tomac didn’t even have to finish Moto 2, but he did. After being caught out by Musquin right after the gate dropped, Tomac was outside of the top 20 early, though worked his way up to 15th place by the end of the first lap. A 20th place was all Tomac needed to clinch the title. Riding conservatively, Tomac made it up to ninth place by lap 5 (of 14) and stayed there to the end.
Justin Barcia ended a three-year overall-win dry spell in style with a 1-1 day. Barcia (Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing) nailed two excellent starts, and won both motos convincingly. Barcia did have a bit of trouble in Moto 1, as he had to abandon his goggles early. Barcia relinquished the lead to Phil Nicoletti for three laps, before blitzing past Nicoletti on lap 7, permanently taking the lead. Barcia parlayed another strong start in Moto 2 into leading every lap. Roczen hounded Barcia for the first five laps before Barcia broke away. Barcia had a fall and a near-fall on the penultimate lap of Moto 2, but Barcia had enough of a lead over Roczen that he wasn’t threatened for the win.
Ken Roczen barely held onto third place in the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series standings. Roczen (Team Honda HRC) had a nine-point lead at the beginning of the day, and lost five of those points after the first moto. Roczen gave up another three points in the second moto, but he had four to spare. The final tally had Roczen ahead of Barcia, 445-444.
Chad Reed rode his first National in years, and looked strong in the mud as a fill-in rider for the Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing/JGR team. Reed was right up front at the start in Moto 1, and held on to fifth place at the checkers. Reed followed that up with a holeshot in Moto 2. However, he faded to eighth place, and was eighth overall despite going 5-8. Reed is looking for a Supercross ride for 2019, and this was likely an audition he passed.
Top Canadian racer Tyler Medaglia crossed the border to take an impressive sixth overall on his Kawasaki. Going 7-6, Medaglia (Husqvarna Canada) was hanging it out with the factory riders. Scoring 29 points along with Reed (5-8) and Nicoletti (6-7), Medaglia won the tiebreaker with a sixth in the second moto.
There will be a break in championship motocross on American soil until the 2018 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations at Redbud MX on October 6. The United States, which hasn’t won the prestigious MXoN since 2011, is sending Tomac, Barcia, and 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250MX champion Aaron Plessinger into the fray in front of the home crowd. The TV schedule has not been set yet. Puerto Rico will have an unlikely team consisting of Travis Pastrana, Kevin Windham, and Ryan Sipes—all on two-strokes—as part of a charity effort to help rebuild Puerto Rico after last year’s Hurricane Maria. Former MX and SX champion Rick Johnson is the Puerto Rico team manager.Photography by Jeff Kardas
2018 Ironman National Motocross Results, Ironman Raceway, Crawfordsville, Indiana
Justin Barcia, Yamaha, 1-1, 50 points
Ken Roczen, Honda, 3-2, 42
Marvin Musquin, KTM, 4-3, 38
Eli Tomac, Kawasaki, 2-9, 34
Cooper Webb, Yamaha, 9-4, 30
Tyler Medaglia, Kawasaki, 7-6, 29
Phil Nicoletti, Husqvarna, 6-7, 29
Chad Reed, Suzuki, 5-8, 29
Valentin Teillet, Husqvarna, 8-10, 24
Blake Baggett, KTM, 16-5, 21
Benny Bloss, KTM, 11-11, 20
Henry Miller, Yamaha, 14-13, 15
Toshiki Tomita, Honda, 17-12, 13
Ben Lamay, Honda, 15-15, 12
Justin Hill, Suzuki, 10-32, 11
Kyle Cunningham, Suzuki, 12-20, 10
Isaac Teasdale, Honda, 13-37, 8
Nick Gaines, Yamaha, 31-14, 7
Joseph Crown, KTM, 20-16, 6
John Short, Yamaha, 24-17, 4
Jeremy Hand, Honda, 23-18, 3
Josh Osby, KTM, 18-23, 3
Jason Anderson, Husqvarna, 19-DNS, 2
Nathen LaPorte, Honda, 30-19, 2
2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series Final Standings
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!