It’s been all Monster Energy to start the West Region. Through the first three rounds of the season, three different Monster Energy riders stood atop the podium, allowing Justin Cooper, Dylan Ferrandis and Forkner to establish themselves as the clear cut riders to beat.
Coming into Glendale, both Ferrandis and Forkner had been saddled with adversity, with each forced to swallow finishes outside the top 10. Meanwhile, Cooper was as rock-solid as he could be, locking down 1-2-2 finishes to start the year and double-digit advantage in the points. It made for an intriguing dynamic amongst this trio, with both Ferrandis and Forkner needing to make up ground on Cooper.
What ensued throughout the night’s three Main Events resulted in a major shuffle, as Cooper battled through his toughest night of the season, while Forkner and Ferrandis pounced on their rivals’ misstep. For Cooper, he was fortunate the Triple Crown format was in play, as it allowed him to improve on the 17th-place finish he carded in the opening Main Event.
Forkner’s penchant for getting out of the gate made easy work for the Kawasaki rider in the first Main Event, where he led every lap. Behind him followed Ferrandis, whose uncanny ability to come through the field allowed him to move up from a fifth-place start.
The second Main Event saw Cooper grab the early lead, only to suffer more misfortune and fall to the dirt. Forknerpositioned himself amongst the front runners and while he took a little longer to get to the front, he seized control at the halfway point and never looked back. Ferrandis, meanwhile, was doing all he could to overcome a ninth-place start, and he did just that, methodically picking off riders until the tail of the race when he once again secured second. Cooper salvaged ninth after dropping to the tail end of the field.
In search of a much-needed reprieve, Cooper was finally able to put everything together in the final Main Event, with an impressive wire-to-wire victory that helped lessen the sting of an otherwise miserable night. Ferrandis was able to get the better of Forkner in his third attempt, but the Kawasaki rider was admittedly riding more conservatively, fully aware that he was en route to capping off a huge night in terms of the championship.
While Ferrandis kept him honest throughout each Main Event, it was a convincing effort for Forkner that reasserted the hold he can have on the West Region. It signified the fourth straight 1-2 finish for Monster Energy to start the season and allowed Forkner to move within 10 points of the championship lead, while Ferrandis climbed up to within three points of his teammate. While ninth overall was far below the expectation Cooper had set for himself, his resiliency made the most out of what could have been an even more difficult night.
With 10 points separating these Monster Energy riders, the intensity surrounding their fight for the West Region crown is just getting started.
Western Regional 250SX Class Results
1. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki (1-1-3)
2. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy Star YamahaRacing (2-2-2)
3. Michael Mosiman, Husqvarna (4-4-6)
9. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy Star YamahaRacing (17-9-1)
Western Regional 250SX Class Standings
1. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy Star YamahaRacing - 86
2. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy Star YamahaRacing - 83
3. Brandon Hartranft, KTM - 77
4. Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 76
20.Cameron McAdoo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 17