Muddy Starting Gate at IronmanPhoto Credit: Kardy Photo

The 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship finished out the season over the weekend with the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, IN. With tons of rain and a messy, difficult track to contend with, the final round of the outdoors was one to remember. Eli Tomac clinched the 450MX Championship for the second year in a row.

450MX Report

450MX Starting Gate at Ironman

After not racing the outdoor season for three years, Chad Reed was first out of the gate and in line to grab the holeshot in the 450MX moto 1. However, Dylan Merriam came up fast and grabbed the holeshot away from Reed. Merriam lost the lead to Barcia during the first lap and fell back from there due to the challenging track. Multiple riders experienced difficulties right from the start, including Cooper Webb, Cody Cooper, Lorenzo Locurcio, and several others who went down in a pile up around one of the first turns.

Chad Reed at Ironman

Barcia, running up front and leading the pack, got stuck in the mud a few minutes into the moto and lost the lead to Phil Nicoletti before getting back on the bike. Tomac, who finished the first lap in 5th place, slowly began working his way forward. Not long after Barcia fell back to 2nd, Tomac made up two positions to get behind Barcia in 3rd place. However, Barcia wasn’t content to stay in 2nd place. He made a pass on Nicoletti through the rollers and took over the lead. A couple of laps later, Tomac followed suit and passed Nicoletti to inherit 2nd place. With the championship still undetermined, Tomac needed every position he could get.

Justin Barcia at Ironman

After a very promising beginning, Reed continued to do well, hanging on to 4th place for half of the race before being passed by Ken Roczen. Marvin Musquin—20 points down from Tomac and still in the running for the championship—was also able to get past Reed for 5th place.

Ken Roczen at Ironman

As the race neared its end, Roczen got around Nicoletti for 3rd. With two laps left, Musquin got around Nicoletti to take 4th place. Musquin’s position forced the championship to go for one more moto, as Tomac needed a 25-point lead to clinch the title. With Musquin in 4th, Tomac only had a 24-point lead. The top four riders remained the same for the remainder of the race. Barcia finished in 1st place for the first time since 2015. Tomac followed behind in 2nd, Roczen in 3rd, and Musquin in 4th. Reed got past Nicoletti and finished moto 1 in 5th place.

Marvin Musquin at Ironman

The track was slightly more manageable by the time moto 2 rolled around. Once again, Reed shot out of the gate ahead of the rest, and this time, he clinched the holeshot. However, Barcia quickly moved his way towards the front and took away the lead. Roczen rode in 2nd, Webb in 3rd, and Musquin in 4th. While 5th place changed hands between several riders, including Tyler Medaglia, Phil Nicoletti, and Rocky Mountain ATV/MC’s Blake Baggett, the top four stayed consistent for more than half of the race.

Eli Tomac at Ironman

The race leaders felt plenty of pressure as they tried to gain position on one another. Roczen pressured Barcia from behind, while Webb and Musquin pushed each other in a battle for 3rd place. Both rode very aggressively, passing each other back and forth at regular intervals. Musquin finally made a pass stick to take over 3rd place, but he got caught up on a downed lapped rider, allowing Webb to pass once again. Musquin caught up to Webb with three laps to go and another battle commenced. Musquin got past, once again.

450MX Podium at Ironman

Barcia went down twice with just a couple of laps to go, but he had a big enough gap on Roczen, that he didn’t lose his lead. Barcia won the moto, giving him the overall win on the day. Roczen crossed the line in 2nd, and Musquin finished in 3rd. The overall podium for Ironman mirrored that of moto 2.

Eli Tomac Takes 2018 450MX Championship

Although Eli Tomac only finished the race in 9th place, he still finished with a 16-point lead over Musquin, earning himself the championship title in the 450MX class for the second year in a row.

450MX Results

151Justin Barcia1150444
294Ken Roczen3242445
325Marvin Musquin4338511
41Eli Tomac2934527
52Cooper Webb9430186
6555Tyler Medaglia762929
754Phillip Nicoletti6729311
822Chad Reed^582929
9537Valentin Teillet8102424
104Blake Baggett16521391
1160Benny Bloss111120298
1248Henry Miller141315111
13718Toshiki Tomita171213111
14907Ben Lamay151512100
1546Justin Hill103211143
1639Kyle Cunningham122010169
17921Isaac Teasdale133788
1849Nick Gaines3114741
1995Joseph Crown2016625
2057John Short2417424
21332Jeremy Hand2318323
22174Josh Osby182333
2321Jason Anderson19293
24139Nathen LaPorte301922
25794Bryce Backaus212500
2644Lorenzo Locurcio2621071
2796Zack Williams252202
2877Ryan Surratt272608
29637Robert Piazza223103
30270Jacob Runkles332404
31444Brock Papi322801
32265Nick Fratz-Orr372702
33146Jake Masterpool3829065
34412Jared Lesher283900
3586Dylan Merriam*3533095
36723Tyler Enticknap343400
37727Bradley Esper294000
3873Brandon Scharer3935086
39596Carson Tickle363800
40121Cody Cooper40360146

* Moto 1 Holeshot
^ Moto 2 Holeshot

250MX Report

250MX Starting Gate at Ironman

Ironman proved to be a tough round for the 250MX class. The amount of rain earlier in the day caused practice to be condensed into one session, and the worsening track gave the earliest riders the advantage. As a result, several of the top-10 qualifying riders came from Group B, none of which were factory riders. Only those factory riders who were already in the top 10 had a guaranteed spot at the gate. The lineup at the moto-1 gate was much different than usual on race day.

Justin Cooper at Ironman

Justin Cooper grabbed the first 250MX holeshot of the day with Chase Sexton riding close behind. Not much further past the holeshot, a half dozen riders went down on the track.

Multiple Riders Struggle on the Muddy Creek at Ironman

Aaron Plessinger gained 3rd place by the end of the first lap and kept working to catch Sexton and Cooper. Halfway through the race, Plessinger gained enough ground to pass Sexton and then quickly overtake Cooper as well. Dylan Ferrandis worked through the pack as well and made it all the way into 3rd before his bike stalled with only two laps left to go. He was unable to get it going again and had to push it off of the track.

Aaron Plessinger at Ironman

Plessinger grabbed the moto-1 win, followed by Sexton in 2nd and Cooper in 3rd.

Dylan Ferrandis at Ironman

RJ Hampshire earned the moto-2 holeshot, but Plessinger quickly passed him to take the lead. Plessinger stayed there for the remainder of the race and opened up a decent gap on the rest of the field. The top five remained consistent for the first five laps with Hampshire, Sexton, Colt Nichols, and Ferrandis all falling in behind Plessinger. However, a mistake on the track took Hampshire down, allowing both Sexton and Nichols to get by. Not much later, Sexton made a mistake that set him back as well. Ferrandis worked his way towards the front, but even he didn’t escape the clutches of the muddy track. He went down, surrendering a podium spot for moto 2.

250MX Podium at Ironman

Plessinger won the moto for a 1-1 sweep on the day, a nice little victory to add to his championship title. Nichols, Hampshire, Ferrandis, and Sexton followed behind to round out the top five. However, Sexton was penalized a position for riding outside of the track. That gave Austin Forkner the 5th-place spot in the official results.

250MX Results

123Aaron Plessinger1150500
236RJ Hampshire^4338337
340Chase Sexton2637324
431Colt Nichols8235181
562Justin Cooper*3734352
635Austin Forkner7530314
724Dylan Ferrandis10429310
828Shane McElrath51027332
964Michael Mosiman61125233
1026Alex Martin9924390
11367Hunter Sayles12141616
1217Joseph Savatgy26813275
13258Justin Rodbell17131212
14993Austin Wagner15151212
15606Taylor Strauss14181010
16841Jeffrey Walker11391010
17133Jordan Bailey129124
18622Zac Maley133288
19546Tylor Skodras351655
20522Cole Zitterkopf162255
21136Joshua Philbrick391744
22142Collin Fletchall183333
23162Maxwell Sanford361922
24824Carter Stephenson192822
25668Ryan Blanford242011
26847DJ Christie212600
27168Cale Kuchnicki202411
28340Blake Taylor292100
29529James Justice272300
30155Drayke Sizemore222900
31336Chaz Braden282500
32738Kyle Hameister233100
33767Mason Wharton302700
34440John Weaver333000
35509Alexander Nagy254000
3666Cameron McAdoo31350126
37220Travis Hardcastle343400
38303Michael Hand323700
39219Lukas Cobian373600
40520Dennis Ponton III383800

* Moto 1 Holeshot
^ Moto 2 Holeshot

Photo Credit for All Gallery Images: Kardy Photo