So far during the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, we have already seen so much happen in just four rounds. The 450 points lead has bounced between Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen at every race, Adam Cianciarulo has managed to sweep every single second 250 moto and the overall, and new faces seem to pop up at the front of the pack just in time to keep things interesting. Round four at High Point in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania was no different, so here are our top ten moments from the day. (For extended coverage of the 2019 High Point National MX, click here).
10: Osborne and Anderson leave High Point Tied in Points
With Jason Anderson coming back from injury and Zach Osborne being the rookie in the 450 class (also coming off an injury of his own), the Rockstar Energy/Husqvarna boys are sure making strides quickly in this 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship. Consistently good finishes have put them both on the podium at different points throughout the summer and have now left them tied for third in the points chase going into round five. The Husky duo should be feeling confident heading down to “home soil”, as their training facility is not too far away from the next stop of the nationals.
9: Justin Cooper Finishes Outside the Top 5
There’s no doubt that Justin Cooper has picked up the pace coming into the 2019 outdoor championship, but after winning the first motos at rounds one, two and three, Cooper not only didn’t win a moto at High Point, but he didn’t even land inside the top five overall in either moto. During the first moto, he started out like he usually does, out front and even grabbing the holeshot. From there, he just seemed to fall backward. He got a bit of help from his teammate Dylan Ferrandis, sending Cooper off the track and causing him to get passed by a couple of riders, leaving him in sixth for the moto. A bad start in the second moto didn’t do him any favors as he finished further back than in the first moto in ninth. This step backward could be due to a plethora of things, but hopefully we’ll see the regular Justin Cooper back for round five.
8: Tomac and Roczen Are the New Points Leaders
We’ve continually seen the battle for the points lead go back and forth between Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac and HRC/Honda’s Ken Roczen from round to round, one of them coming to the race with the red plate and the other leaving taking it home with them. High Point threw a bit of a curveball into that routine, as the two are now headed into round five in Florida tied up in the points chase. After four rounds and a lot of exciting racing, they’re both headed into next weekend with a red plate on their bikes and ready to knock it back off the other’s. It is also interesting to note that Tomac was able to make up his point deficit to Roczen without winning a single moto in Mount Morris, while Kenny snagged the second moto victory. It seems like they each find new strengths from moto to moto, so it’ll be interesting to see if the story keeps playing out next weekend at the new location or if one rider will begin dominating over the other.
7: Cooper Webb Leads Half of the Second Moto
Cooper Webb is another rider that has been very impressive with the progress he has been making. Of the eight motos the riders have raced so far this season, Cooper has landed on the podium in three of them and has battled up front more times than that. After surprising almost everybody with his success in Supercross and the speed he quickly picked up on the new ride, it was only inevitable to see a similar rate of progression out of the past 250 class champion in the outdoors. Webb has had his fair share of setbacks in the motos as well, keeping him from staying on the overall podium more consistently or to even win a moto, but the speed is definitely there for him to run out front. His maturity has definitely increased as well, this weekend being a perfect example of it. After taking that gnarly tumble in the first moto, he not only got up and finished, but he turned around in the second moto and led half the thing. As the summer moves along, it’d be more shocking to me if we didn’t see a moto win or even an overall by the end of it.
6: Sexton Lands on the Podium
It’s hard to believe that round four of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship was the first time we not only saw Chase Sexton land on the overall podium, but the first time he finished a moto inside the top three so far this summer. After staying consistent throughout the Supercross championship and being able to capitalize on the misfortune of Austin Forkner to win the 250 East Championship, his rides just didn’t seem to come as naturally as they did during the first half of the year. The quick turnaround time between Supercross and Outdoors might have something to do with the lack of results, but this last weekend off sure seemed to work in the young rider’s favor. It was almost like watching a whole new rider out there on the High Point track, with Chase’s newfound intensity and speed bringing him closer to the front of the pack where I’m sure he believes he belongs. Sexton is another one of the many riders now training down in Florida, so with his some confidence in his corner we could see an even better performance out of him at round five.
5: Webb Takes a Tumble
While battling with Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb took a wicked dive off his bike after what looks like him getting his feet dug down too far in the ruts. See for yourself:
4: Sexton, Cianciarulo and Ferrandis Fastest at High Point
At some of the races, there always seems to be a few riders that are just on a whole different level than the rest of the competition. At round four in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania, those riders were Chase Sexton, Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis, during qualifying practice, at least. The three riders not only took the top spots among he 250 field, but they had the three fastest times of anybody out of the 450 class as well with times of 2:02.698, 2:02.720 and 2:02.765. It wasn’t until the first 450 moto that we saw Blake Baggett bringing around the heaters, dropping into that 2:02 threshold twice, once with the fastest time of the day at 2:02.552. Other than Blake, though, nobody else went below a 2:03, and Chase, Adam and Dylan all did it on 250s.
3: Cianciarulo Makes it Four in a Row
Before the start of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Adam Cianciarulo only had one overall victory to his name when it came to the outdoor racing series. Obviously, his speed has picked up recently, but after his mishap in Vegas at the final round of Supercross and not racing the outdoor championship in 2018, a lot of people were skeptical of how Adam would perform during the 2019 season. Clearly, he’s doing something right as he has now won every single overall this summer, winning every second moto as well. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider has impressed many with how he’s been riding, and now with a 26 point gap on second place, Adam is surely changing the minds of the skeptics from the beginning of the season.
2: Hunter Lawrence Wins a Moto
It was only a matter of time before we saw the new MXGP transplant of Hunter Lawrence take his first victory at the American nationals, it just may have come later than he had expected. He almost locked up that first win back at round two at Fox Raceway, as he led a lot of that second moto, but a tip over ruined his chance of gaining the victory there. His speed was very impressive at the Pennsylvania venue and his riding seemed a bit more like his natural self than what we’ve seen the rest of the year. He would make passes exactly where he chose to and he just seemed to connect with the track really well. This definitely won’t be the last time we see Hunter on the top step of the podium.
1: Blake Baggett dominates Moto One
I think it’s fair to say that the biggest moment of the day was Blake Baggett pretty much out of nowhere and absolutely crushing the rest of the 450 class in the first moto of the day, building up a ten second lead by the end of the moto. Now, it definitely helped that Tomac and Webb went down during the race, but they’ve had their problems the rest of the year without Blake crushing it like he did on Saturday, so something must’ve made him feel a lot more comfortable at round four. We haven’t seen that kind of performance out of Blake in quite some time, but it sure was a nice refresher to those that forgot what he’s capable of. Hopefully that won’t be the last we see of El Chupacabra this summer.