250 Class Moto 1
As the only sand track on the championship schedule, Southwick is know for producing unpredictable action and some exceptional performances, and given how the first moto of the afternoon unfolded it appeared as though a different Monster Energy rider was going to stand atop the podium at the end of the afternoon. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner put on a clinic in a march to the front, slicing through the ever-changing track surface with ease and maintaining an unparalleled level of speed and momentum.
After starting fifth, Forkner methodically worked his way forward and broke into podium position by Lap 3, just behind Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha rookie Justin Cooper. Forkner made quick work of his fellow Monster rider and set his sights on leader Shane McElrath, who enjoyed a margin of more than eight seconds. Within a matter of laps Forkner had completely erased the deficit and was hounding McElrath for the lead. An bomber of an outside line allowed Forkner to seize control of the moto just past the halfway point, from which he never looked back.
In his battle for a spot on the podium Cooper encountered misfortune, but point leader Aaron Plessinger was there to take his place aboard his Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha. It took a while for Ferrandis to get rolling after he started 10th, but he was patient and took advantage of opportunities as they came, eventually climbing all the way up to fourth behind his teammate.
Forkner took his and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s first moto win of the season by 1.2 seconds over Alex Martin, while Plessinger and Ferrandis helped Monster Energy occupy three of the top four spots.
250 Class Moto 2
With momentum on his side Forkner wasted little time putting his Kawasaki back out front in Moto 2. Although he missed out on the holeshot, Forkner had the pace to surge into the top spot and begin distancing himself from the field. His Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Joey Savatgy was just a few spots behind in fifth, while the Star Yamaha riders all jockeyed for a spot in the top 10.
With Forkner well in control out front, Plessinger and Ferrandis teamed up to climb up the standings, making passes on several riders until they closed in on Savatgy in fifth. At this point Ferrandis began to mount what would be his winning charge to the lead. After working his way around Plessinger, the Frenchman then got by Savatgy and found himself in the top five. He continued to pick off one rider a lap until he jumped into third place in the late stages of the moto.
At this point Forkner’s lead had been erased and he found himself in a fierce battle with Martin for the top spot, in what became a battle for the overall win. With mere minutes left in the moto Martin’s impatience got the best of him and he forced the issue with Forkner. The lead pair made contact and both riders fell to the ground, with Forkner receiving the worst of the situation. That allowed Ferrandis to go from third to first with just a few of laps remaining.
While the overall was still in flux, Ferrandis put his head down and charged to the checkered flag to take his second win in the past three motos by just under a second over McElrath. Fortunately for Ferrandis, Martin was unable to recover enough positions to clinch the overall, which gave the Frenchman an unlikely, yet well-deserved maiden victory.
Ferrandis’ 4-1 scores were enough to edge out Martin’s 2-4 results in the overall classification. When all was said and done, no rider was more disappointed than Forkner, who had a surefire podium finish and likely a win taken away from him. After getting the wind knocked out of him in the incident with Martin, Forkner managed to get back into the action and earn the final point-paying position in 20th.
“I’m happy with the way I’m riding and I really expected to at least be on the podium today. We’ve put in a lot of work, particularly for Southwick, and I couldn’t have been more prepared for the sand. It’s disappointing for things to end the way they did because I was doing everything I could to run clean and just put two solid motos together. We had a really good shot at the win, so it’s hard to swallow having that taken away from us like that.”
Plessinger’s up and down 3-7 results landed him fifth overall, while teammate Colt Nichols followed in sixth (8-8) just ahead of Forkner in seventh (1-20). Savatgy and Cooper both endured through some hard luck, with each collecting a top-15 result.
Despite not being much of a factor in either moto, Plessinger still maintains control of the point lead and currently sits 23 points ahead of Martin in the 250 Class standings. Cooper is on the verge of breaking into third in points, while Forkner is just a single point out of fifth.
250 Class Results
1. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (4-1)
2. Alex Martin, KTM (2-4)
3. Shane McElrath, KTM (6-2)
4. RJ Hampshire, Honda (7-3)
5. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (3-7)
6. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (8-8)
7. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (1-20)
14. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (32-5)
17. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha (17-9)
250 Class Standings
1. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 233
2. Alex Martin, KTM – 210
3. Jeremy Martin, Honda – 176
4. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 174
5. Shane McElrath, KTM – 170
6. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 169
10. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 128
11. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 111
15. Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 72
21. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 3