450 Class Moto 1
Hours of heavy rain drenched the already challenging Ironman Raceway layout before racing got underway, which gave way to deep, heavy mud. It became immediately apparent that this race would be a battle of survival, and nothing would be more important to a rider’s ability to do so than to grab a good start.
When the gate dropped on the first moto, it was privateer Dylan Merriam who grabbed the holeshot, while veteran Chad Reed put his Suzuki at the front as well in his first Pro Motocross start in three seasons. Barcia’s aggressive style carried him into the lead group as well and he immediately went to work, emerging with the lead before the completion of the opening lap.
An early mistake cost Barcia the lead briefly, but he battled back to reclaim the top spot. Tomac also enjoyed a strong start to the moto, taking advantage of a top-five start to eventually move into the top three and then into second behind Barcia.
The lead duo pulled away from the field and as he looked to track down Barcia for the lead Tomac crashed and fell back to third. He remounted quickly and reclaimed the runner-up spot.
Despite ditching his goggles early in the moto, Barcia was able to use the clear track to his advantage and opened a lead of more than 20 seconds following Tomac’s crash. He carried on to the moto win, with Tomac second and Ken Roczen third. Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb battled his way to a ninth-place finish.
The runner-up finish left Tomac just a single point shy of clinching the title before the second moto as Marvin Musquin put on a late charge to salvage his title hopes with a fourth-place effort.
450 Class Moto 2
Reed pulled another strong start in Moto 2, this time securing the holeshot over Barcia, who again dropped the hammer early and fought his way into the lead before the completion of the opening lap. Roczen was able to slot into second.
Tomac had his work cut out for him after Musquin, who lined up in the gate next to Tomac, gained a slight edge out the gate and slid over on the champ. This forced Tomac to drop back and ultimately left him outside the top 20 exiting the first turn. True to his nature, he went into attack mode and found his way into the top 10 by the third lap.
Reed dropped out of the top three following an incident, which moved Webb, who got one of his best starts of the season, into podium contention. Out front, Barcia and Roczen were in a class of their own and it wasn’t long before they enjoyed a double-digit margin on the field. That ultimately put Webb into a fight with Musquin for third. The two riders went at it for an extended period before the Frenchman got the upper hand. He gave the position up after coming into contact with a downed lapper, but soon enough Musquin was back on Webb’s rear fender and reclaimed third.
Barcia’s consistent lap times in the treacherous conditions allowed him to put some distance between he and Roczen, and soon enough he had the race in hand. Meanwhile, Tomac was riding for the championship and took a conservative approach. Once into the top 10, he settled into a casual pace that allowed him to keep it on two wheels and avoid any issues with his Kawasaki. With Musquin stuck in third there was no threat to Tomac, which allowed the champ to focus on getting to the finish.
Barcia had an eventful final lap littered with mistakes, and even a crash, but his control of the lead was never in doubt. He took another easy moto win to secure the first 1-1 effort of his 450 Class career.
“It’s crazy to think where I started the year [without a ride]. It was difficult times and I had to revamp my whole career, basically. I was given an opportunity [at Yamaha] and my never give up attitude paid off. To end it here with a 1-1 is awesome and we’ve come a long way. I’m just so happy with how the season ended up.”
Webb equaled his best moto result of the season in fourth, while Tomac brought home the championship with a ninth-place finish. The result ultimately dropped him off the overall podium, but he still walked away with the most prestigious trophy in all of motocross.
“We missed the [championship] clinch in the first moto by one point again [like last year], so it kind of gets your head spinning. I knew we could do it, and once we got through the first turn I felt like I was at least in control of my own race. This season put us to the test and we were really challenged, so even though we won twice as many races it was still tough. It feels great to get it done.”
All three Monster Energy riders finished inside the top five, for arguably the best collective outing of the season for claw.
The effort from Monster Energy received an additional boost with an incredible performance from Canadian Tyler Medaglia. The Canadian Motocross Championship veteran made the trip to the U.S. to give it a go at Ironman, showing an exceptional talent in the mud to post 7-6 moto scores for sixth overall.
450 Class Results
• Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (1-1)
• Ken Roczen, Honda (3-2)
• Marvin Musquin, KTM (4-3)
• Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki (2-9)
• Cooper Webb, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (9-4)
• Tyler Medaglia, Monster Energy/Alpinestars/Piller’s Kawasaki (7-6)
Final 450 Class Standings
• Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki – 527
• Marvin Musquin, KTM – 511
• Ken Roczen, Honda – 445
• Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 444
• Blake Baggett, KTM – 391
9. Cooper Webb, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing – 186