With three different winners through the first three rounds, the 450SX Class has been a wide-open, unpredictable battle each time the gate drops. Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia made the first statement with a win at the season opener, while Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac has been one of the most consistent rider in the class, despite still searching for his first win of the season. Alongside this veteran duo, rookies Aaron Plessinger and Joey Savatgy have fought valiantly to find their way in the premier division, showing the potential for a breakthrough.
Savatgy led the way for Monster Energy in practice and qualifying, where he posted the third-fastest time of the afternoon. He and Tomac were the only Monster riders to earn a spot in the top 10 after what proved to be a very competitive field in which the top 12 riders all sat within a second of one another. For Barcia, who ended up 13th, it was an encouraging afternoon following a big get-off at the previous round from which he suffered a bruised tailbone.
Tomac and Plessinger had the first chance on track in the opening Heat Race, and it provided an opportunity for Tomac to build some confidence entering the Main Event. He passed Blake Baggett on Lap 1 and proceeded to pull away to victory. Plessinger held steady from his sixth-place start to maintain the position the rest of the way.
The second Heat featured Savatgy and Barcia, and the hot start Savatgy enjoyed in qualifying carried over into his Heat. Savatgy started right behind Cooper Webb and paced the KTM rider for several laps before making a pass for the lead halfway through. He was able to stay up front and earn the first Heat Race win of his 450SX Class career. Barcia wasn’t much further behind in fifth.
The track was in its most deteriorated state when the gate dropped on the Main Event, where Webb came away with the holeshot. Plessinger earned his best start of the season in fourth, with Savatgy right behind in fifth. Barcia and Tomac followed each other in ninth and 10th, respectively, and immediately went to work to try and move forward.
With his teammate Marvin Musquin in tow, Webb was able to put some distance between he and the rest of the field. After Plessinger went down while battling up near the front, and dropped to the tail end of the field, the fight for second turned into a five-rider clash between Musquin, Savatgy, Ken Roczen, Tomac, and Baggett. Savatgy continued to impress and fought his way around Musquin into second. However, heartbreak struck on the following lap when his bike appeared to lose power and forced him out of action.
At about the halfway point of the Main Event, Roczen and Tomac had fought their way into the top three, but in his chase of second the Kawasaki rider bobbled and lost momentum, which allowed Musquin and Baggett to get around.
Webb went on to take his second straight win, followed by Musquin and Baggett, leaving Tomac just off the podium in fourth. Barcia earned a hard-fought seventh-place finish.
While he missed out on a spot on the podium, Tomac is still in the thick of the championship battle. He sits third, just three points behind new point leader Webb, while Barcia is fifth, 11 points out of the lead.
450SX Class Results
1. Cooper Webb, KTM
2. Marvin Musquin, KTM
3. Blake Baggett, KTM
4. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki
5. Ken Roczen, Honda
7. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing
19. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing
20. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki
450SX Class Standings
1. Cooper Webb, KTM - 83
2. Ken Roczen, Honda - 81
3. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki - 80
4. Marvin Musquin, KTM - 79
5. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing - 72
10. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing - 49
16. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki – 24