The grassy hills were littered with lawn chairs, the pits were packed with professionals and the air roared with the revs of bikes of all sizes.
On June 3rd, Colorado became host to one of the largest racing circuits in the world. The Lucas Oil Pro Championship stopped by Lakewood for a day of racing that would excite all fans as it brought a mix of battles and winners.
The 250cc class in the prior two rounds of the series had been dominated by one Husqvarna rider, Zach Osborne. Fresh off his East supercross title, he kept the momentum rolling going 1-1 at Hangtown and 4-2 at Glen Helen (for the overall). The steep hills mixed with the deep ruts and the high altitude brought a new set of challenges to each rider, including Osborne himself.
In the first moto, the riders barreled up the hill and watched Alex Martin put on a clinic. He grabbed the holeshot and the first moto win. The next rider to cross the line after 30 minutes plus two, was the young gun Austin Forkner, who is really finding his stride in his second season of outdoors. Forkner would put on a charge through several riders to snag 2nd right on the back fender of Martin. Jeremy Martin would put in a consistent and quick ride for a 3rd place finish. The current points leader Zach Osborne would be nowhere near the podium after a first lap crash costed him around 15 positions.
The second moto brought a new batch of winners after the 450’s and sun weathered the track. This time, Joey Savatgy hammered up the start for the holeshot, but early on Plessinger commanded Savatgy to give him the lead and he did. Shortly after this though, he fell on the blind side of the jump and his bike suffered after a sh*tton of riders landed on it, so it was no longer operable after that. Savatgy shifted back into first with high pressure from the Minnesota native Jeremy Martin. Austin Forkner put in an another impressive ride to round out the podium.
The overall podium would require some math, but it went Savatgy with 4-1, Alex Martin with 1-4, and Jeremy Martin 3-2.
An honorable mention goes out to Colorado native Cody Gray, for not only qualifying in his first professional national, but also for placing 31st on a grueling track. Kudos to Gray.
The first moto for the 450s was characterized by chaos, crashes and more carnage. A first corner crash would leave riders Marvin Musquin, Blake Baggett and Josh Grant in the rear. Grant would not be able to finish the first moto, but don’t count out the Frenchman and El Chupacabra. Martin Davalos would enjoy the lead now on his newly dawned 450, but only for a short time as he fell victim to the slick track. Bogle set himself in prime position to inherit the lead, and inherit the lead he did.
The RCH/Suzuki bike enjoyed the sight of no one, but a fast and confident Tomac came charging from the rear. His leg dropped in a rut throwing it off the other side like an on the ground nac-nac causing him to fall as well. Musquin and Baggett charged from the rear, making passes, losing friends, and gaining fans. In the end the podium went Bogle, Jason Anderson, and a quick Blake Baggett. This win by Bogle would be his first 450 moto win, marking a huge moment in the young man’s career.
The second moto, just like in the 250cc class, brought a new list of challenges and winners. Broc Tickle would earn the holeshot, but Baggett would take the lead quickly and cleanly. Baggett’s speed was truly ready to open up with a clear track, but Tomac wasn’t letting him run away with it. They go on to swap positions and dance the tango for most of the moto, but Baggett would ultimately prove who was leading that dance. Marvin Musquin would round out the podium of the second moto, with another great rider from the creative racer.
The overall podium of this class also required AMA officials to take out their calculators and a scratch piece of paper. Baggett earned the overall with a 3-1, Musquin would take silver with a 4-3, and Anderson would grab 3rd with a 2-6.
An honorable mention goes to every Colorado ripper who took on this incredible challenge and qualified: Mitchell Gifford, Todd Bannister, Joey Olson, and even though he moved, Connor Olson. To those who tried, but didn’t make it, Colorado is still proud of every rider who represents the state so well.
FMF Triple Crown
While the 250’s and 450’s dominated the show as well as they do the industry, one class has made a small, but highly anticipated return. Before the 4-strokes fill the air with their deep rumbles and high torque, the bumble bees parade through the pits and take to the track. The FMF 125 Triple Crown series made its way to Colorado and it felt like a blast from the past. So the bungs lined up and fought the hills and elevation.
Ryan Sipes would channel his inner motocross racer for a dominant victory over the competition as he pushed that bike to the edge. Tyler Livesay would hold on for second, and Colorado boy Michael Sweney would holehsot and ride his way to a podium in front of his home crowd.
Thunder Valley proved to create great races and turbulent conditions. Any race that is not dominated by consistency fuels the excitement of the sport, so here’s to the 3rd round of the championship held in Colorado. We salute you riders, track crew and promoters.