RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. – Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis put the finishing touches on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 class championship with his sixth victory of the year Saturday during the Carson City Motorsports Hangtown Motocross Classic.
The opening 450 class moto of the afternoon saw Ken Rozen, Ferrandis and Cooper Webb side-by-side coming to the holeshot, from which Roczen emerged with the lead. While Roczen asserted his position at the head of the pack, the jockeying for position behind him was exciting as Ferrandis, teammate Christian Craig, Webb and Eli Tomac all fought for second and third in the running order.
After a couple laps the field settled in, with Roczen, Ferrandis, and Webb occupying the top three spots, while Tomac ran fourth. As the moto approached the halfway point a battle for the lead started to take shape between Roczen and Ferrandis, as Tomac made the pass on Webb to take over third. Ferrandis moved to within striking distance of Roczen and began to look for alternate lines, but the Honda rider fended off the challenge. Tomac was the fastest rider on the track and made big inroads on his deficit to the leaders, only to give it away with a tip over that dropped him back to fourth behind Webb.
Out front, the season-long championship rivals from Europe went bar-to-bar for the lead. Ferrandis looked for a way around at various points on the track, but Roczen didn’t waver and was able to inch away. Ferrandis persisted and finally got the upper hand. He made the pass happen with less than 10 minutes left in the moto.
Once out front, Ferrandis ran away with the moto and opened up an advantage of more than 10 seconds. He cruised to his eighth moto win of the season, 12 seconds ahead of Roczen at the finish, while Webb followed in a distant third. Tomac finished in fourth, while Craig rounded out the top five.
The final 450 Class moto of the season began with Webb at the head of the pack with the MotoSport.com Holeshot, but he was quickly passed by Craig. Behind them, both Roczen and Ferrandis were collected in incidents off the start, with Roczen unable to continue as Ferrandis got underway at the tail end of the field.
Back up front, Craig asserted himself as the leader while Webb and Tomac gave chase. Further back, Ferrandis was making quick work in his climb through the field and it wasn’t long before he broke into the top 10. As the moto surpassed its opening 10 minutes, Craig was forced to deal with both Webb and Tomac, who were eager to get by. Webb made quick work of his Yamaha counterpart to reclaim the top spot, while Tomac followed through into second shortly thereafter.
The battle was on at the head of the pack as the moto reached its halfway point and Tomac made a push to put the pressure on Webb. The distance between the leaders ebbed and flowed as they both took advantage of strong portions of the track, but eventually Tomac’s continued pressure allowed him to make the move and seize control of the moto with a dozen minutes remaining. Webb battled back and looked to keep Tomac honest.
With 10 minutes remaining in the moto the battle for the overall saw added intrigue as Ferrandis’ comeback continued with a climb into the top five. Tomac built his lead over Webb to more than four seconds and appeared to have the moto win in hand, while Webb sat comfortably ahead of Craig in third. Ferrandis was still on the charge and made an easy pass for fourth. He then set his sights on his teammate in third and got around Craig with two laps to go to take over third.
Tomac ended the season with his third moto win in the last six motos, taking the checkered flag 5.8 seconds ahead of Webb, while Ferrandis completed an improbable comeback to finish third.
Ferrandis’ resilient second moto was the difference maker in the overall standings, as he wrapped up his sixth win of the season on the heels of 1-3 moto scores. Tomac completed his tenure with Kawsaki in the runner-up spot (4-1), while Webb ended the season with a third straight podium finish in third (3-2). A total of three points separated the top three finishers.
“I gave it everything I had today with a clear mind (with the championship wrapped up),” said Ferrandis. “I just went out there and rode as hard as I could. That was my plan. I didn’t know that I won. I thought I was too far back to win the overall, especially with a crash on the start, so I didn’t believe it when my team told me I won. It’s been an unreal season and I’m just so proud to do this for my team and everyone that supports me.”
Eighteen-year-old Team Honda HRC rider Jett Lawrence emerged with the Gary Jones Cup as the first Australian champion 250 class.
Lawrence’s championship-winning ride wasn’t without serious drama as Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper did all he could to try and steal the title with his first 1-1 moto sweep and his second win of the season. Lawrence’s title-winning effort came on the heels of one of his worst finishes of the season in fifth (8-3), but the podium effort in the final moto allowed him to finish six points ahead of Cooper in the final standings.