250 Class Moto 1
Entering Washougal championship leader Aaron Plessinger was on a tear, and moving closer towards his first-ever national title. The Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha rider had won back-to-back races in dominant fashion and was in control of a commanding point lead. While he didn’t enjoy the best of days at Washougal, Plessinger still did enough to emerge victorious and become an even clearer favorite to take home the championship.
As has been the case or most of the season, Plessinger’s Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha teammate Justin Cooper posted the fastest lap of qualifying, but when the gate dropped on Moto 1 it was the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki duo of Joey Savatgy and Austin Forkner who jumped into the early lead. Plessinger, Cooper, and their teammate Dylan Ferrandis all started inside the top 10.
The highly motivated tandem of Savatgy and Forkner were both looking to turn around the fortunes of Pro Circuit, which has endured some bright spots and a rash of heartbreak this summer. Neither rider had any interest in doing anything but winning the moto, and it showed in their incredible battle up front. A determined Forkner forced the issue a bit in his pass for the lead on Lap 5, but he was able to put some distance between he and Savatgy after doing so. Meanwhile, Plessinger had worked his way up to fourth and was desperately trying to keep the leaders in sight.
Forkner controlled the middle portion of the moto, but Savatgy came on strong in the closing laps. He returned the favor on Forkner with an aggressive pass to retake the lead on Lap 12, and quickly sprinted to enough of a lead that carried him to what was shockingly his first moto win of the season, and just the second for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki this season. Forkner was 1.9 seconds back in a Pro Circuit 1-2, followed by Jordon Smith in third. Plessinger followed in fourth, with Cooper sixth, Ferrandis 11th, and Colt Nichols 15th.
250 Class Moto 2
Things got interesting almost immediately in Moto 2 after Savatgy went down in the second corner and was mired deep in the field. Out front, Plessinger grabbed the holeshot but was forced to settle into second after Shane McElrath took the lead. Forkner was right behind in third, along with Ferrandis, Nichols and Cooper all inside the top 10. Savatgy completed the opening lap in 24th.
That same lap, disaster struck for Forkner. As he looked to mount a challenge on Plessinger, a slight miscue going up the infamous Horsepower Hill sent Forkner to the ground hard and ended his race. That allowed Ferrandis to take over third, with Nichols slotting into fourth.
Things soon stabilized up front, with McElrath maintaining a comfortable lead on Plessinger and Ferrandis. As a result, all eyes focused on Savatgy to see if he could salvage a positive result. The veteran rider made huge gains to get all the way up to 11th place by the halfway point of the moto, and shockingly it was enough to put him back into contention for the win.
A mistake by Plessinger sent him to the ground a short time later, and handed second to Ferrandis. This added even more drama in the battle for victory as Savatgy had broken into the top 10 and needed to make just a couple more passes to secure the overall.
When all was said and done, McElrath enjoyed a stress-free moto win, while Ferrandis secured second just ahead of Plessinger. Despite his best efforts Savatgy was only able to muster a ninth-place finish. A total of five Monster Energy riders landed inside the top 10, with Nichols fifth and Cooper eighth.
When the overall results were tallied, Plessinger’s 4-3 scores barely edged out McElrath and Savatgy, who finished in a tie for second with identical finishes. Ferrandis put three Monster Energy riders in the top five in fourth, while Cooper finished seventh.
It wasn’t pretty, but Plessinger’s win was effective in the battle for the championship as he was able to add another 10 points to his lead, which officially sits at more than one full race (+59 points) with three rounds to go. Cooper remains locked in third.
250 Class Results
1. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (4-3)
2. Shane McElrath, KTM (9-1)
3. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (1-9)
4. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (11-2)
5. RJ Hampshire, Honda (10-4)
7. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (4-3)
12. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (15-5)
13. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (2-29)
250 Class Standings
1. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 371
2. Alex Martin, KTM – 312
3. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 267
4. Shane McElrath, KTM – 251
5. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 238
9. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 214
10. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 204
17. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 102
19. Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 87