Seattle also signified the anticipated return of the full West Region field, which hasn’t competed since San Diego, six rounds ago. Unfortunately, less than ideal conditions welcomed the riders back into action, but one rider who was never fazed by the mess Mother Nature provided was Plessinger, who fittingly sat in control of the championship. The Ohio native has made a name for himself in arduous conditions, which stems from a combination of his long 6’2” frame and wealth of experience riding through the woods in Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) competition.
A sign of the dominance to come from Plessinger began with the heat race. After jumping out to the early lead the Yamaha rider absolutely checked out and ended up winning by nearly a full minute on the rest of the field. If he was able to put his Yamaha out front one more time when it mattered most in the Main Event, there was little doubt anyone would be able to keep pace.
To the chagrin of his fellow competitors Plessinger did exactly that, prevailing with the holeshot from which he immediately established some distance on the field. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy, Plessinger’s main championship contender entering the race, started second, but as he looked to settle in Savatgy’s Kawasaki veered off track and into a precarious spot in between lanes that would severely hamper his night.
With his closest rival out of contention, Plessinger simply needed to continue doing what he had done all night, which didn’t appear to be a problem. While virtually everyone behind him suffered through the tough terrain, Plessinger kept himself clean and out of harms way, and looked exceptionally comfortable doing so. With the win in hand, the attention shifted to other Monster Energy riders who made their presence felt.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo had a tough journey to the Main Event when a DNF in the heat race forced him to spend additional time on track in the LCQ. That poor gate selection didn’t help his cause to start the Main Event, and he was forced to work his way from 10th on the opening lap. Likewise, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha’s Mitchell Oldenburg, who crashed out of the lead in his heat race, was mired deep in the field to start the Main Event when he went down on the opening lap and started in 14th.
The adversity faced by both riders ultimately worked in their favor as they showed tremendous patience and methodically worked their way forward while others faltered along the way. Soon enough Cianciarulo found himself in the top five with a shot at contending for a podium, while Oldenburg followed just a few positions back.
Out front, Plessinger posted an utterly dominant wire-to-wire victory and took his fourth win of the season 33 seconds ahead of runner-up Chase Sexton. While most of the field appeared to be grateful the mess was over, Plessinger seemed like he was ready for more.
"That was fun. That was a sick race; it reminded me of a lot of GNCCs, so it was good to get out there and have some fun and rip some ruts. There were some times where the ruts were two feet deep, and you just had to pick a good line. I knew I could do it here. I love Seattle. I love all these fans here; they make it exciting."
A wild final two laps put Cianciarulo in a position to seize a spot on the podium, and following a path throughout the evening in which a top-three finish might have seemed like a long shot, he prevailed with his third consecutive podium result.
“I really want to get my first win of the season, but on a night like tonight I’ll take a podium. We get another couple weeks off and my goal is to finish strong. We’re 17 points back and we’ll do everything we can to be in contention at the end.”
Oldenburg rebounded from his early misfortune to finish sixth in his first race back since he missed three races with an injury. Savatgy fought valiantly as well to bring home a 12th-place effort.
Another win puts Plessinger in control of his own destiny in the West Region Championship, where he now holds a 17-point advantage over Cianciarulo, who surpassed Savatgy to move into second. Savatgy sits an additional seven points back in third to keep Monster Energy 1-2-3 in the standings.
250SX West Region Results
1. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha
2. Chase Sexton, Honda
3. Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
4. Shane McElrath, KTM
5. Justin Starling, Husqvarna
6. Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha
12. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
West Region 250SX Class Standings
1. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 177
2. Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 160
3. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki – 153
4. Shane McElrath, KTM – 146
5. Chase Sexton, Honda – 132
12. Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 75
31. Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha – 14