MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, is nearing its stretch run and this Saturday the series will make its return to the west coast for the eighth stop of the 12-round season.
The Peterson CAT Washougal National from scenic Washougal MX Park in Washougal, Wash., will cap off a six-round run through the heart of the championship schedule with the sport’s lone visit to the picturesque Pacific Northwest.
In the 450 class, RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen is back in dominant form, chasing a seventh victory as he inches even closer to a second premier class title.
In the 250 class, the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha duo of Cooper Webb and Jeremy Martin sit atop the standings, with defending back-to-back titleholder Martin hoping to track down his championship-leading teammate Webb following his first triumphant effort of the season.
One week after he missed out on winning a moto for the first time all season, Roczen rebounded in resounding fashion at the previous stop from Minnesota’s Spring Creek MX Park. In the first moto the German rider outdueled championship rival and Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac, who beat Roczen with a 1-1 sweep of his own the week prior, to take his 12th moto win of the season.
In Moto 2, Roczen managed to overcome a bent shifter on the opening lap to soon take the lead from Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin and eventually run away to a near 30-second advantage. It was the dominant form that fans have come to expect from Roczen this season and added to his incredible win totals this season, winning 13 out of 16 motos and securing six overall victories in eight rounds, setting a new personal single season record.
All six of Roczen’s wins this season have come via 1-1 sweeps and it’s given him a very comfortable 55-point lead with four rounds remaining.
Tomac has done all he can to keep pace with Roczen, posting nine consecutive moto finishes inside the top three, but his two moto wins compared to Roczen’s 13 has proven to be the biggest disparity of the entire season. Roczen has been able to outscore Tomac at all but one race this season, consistently inching away with each passing round.
While Tomac is still very much in the title fight, his ability to overcome a deficit of more than two motos will likely need to be complemented with some hard luck for Roczen. Nevertheless, Tomac won’t go down in his chase of a first career 450 Class title without giving it his all in all eight of the remaining motos. He and Roczen have put on a show for the fans on several occasions this season and there’s no reason to think their battles won’t continue Saturday at Washougal.
Neither Roczen nor Tomac has ever won at Washougal and with defending series champion Ryan Dungey, winner the last two seasons, sidelined by injury, the opportunity is there for a new rider to emerge victorious. While the lead tandem in the title fight will enter as favorites, Musquin is confident in his ability to challenge them after posting the best result of his rookie season last weekend with a runner-up effort.