Western Regional 250SX Class
The final Western Regional race before their annual breakput an added emphasis on the San Diego round, and when combined with the adverse conditions it set the stage for a night that would have a big impact on the season.
The Monster Energy foursome of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates Cianciarulo and Garrett Marchbanks, along with the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha duo of Colt Nichols and Dylan Ferrandis, all looked good in the lone practice session of the day with Ferrandis, Marchbanks, and Cianciarulo all inside the top five, with Nichols in seventh.
The first Heat Race featured Ferrandis and Cianciarulo, who established themselves as the dominant force. They easily seized control of the race and put on an exciting battle for the lead. Ferrandis ultimately prevailed, but it looked as though the battle for the win might come down to one of these two.
The second Heat Race quickly turned into a nightmare for Marchbanks who found himself on the ground in the first turn. It took him an extended amount of time to get restarted, which all but guaranteed a trip to the LCQ. Nichols, meanwhile, was engaged in a battle for the lead with RJ Hampshire. The championship leader didn’t force the issue and settled for a solid second-place result. In the LCQ, Marchbanks was able to avoid trouble and took an easy win to secure his spot in the Main Event.
Tensions were high when the Main Event got underway, where Cianciarulo emerged with the holeshot. Ferrandiswas right behind in third, with both Marchbanks and Nichols also inside the top 10. Cianciarulo pushed the pace as much as he could in the opening laps and it helped him put some distance between he and Ferrandis, who moved into second. The Frenchman kept his Kawasaki counterpart within reach and ended up bringing along Marchbanks, who was defying the odds given all the additional track time he endured. With his closest rivals out front, Nichols had his work cut out for him after a start deep inside the top 10. Things only got tougher when he went down and dropped to about 15th.
Cianciarulo withstood the early pressure from Ferrandis and inched away slightly, while the Frenchman was forced to fend off pressure from Marchbanks. After holding off an initial pass from Marchbanks, Ferrandis went down as he navigated the finish line jump. That gave the position to Marchbanks, while Ferrandis was able to get going again in third.
The Pro Circuit duo controlled the remainder of the race and went on to capture the first 1-2 finish for the team since the Las Vegas finale in the 2017 season. Given how eventful of a night Marchbanks had, it made the result even more improbable, but nevertheless is was a well-earned, hard-fought first ever podium for the rookie.
"What a night! It has been an up and down first couple weeks of racing for me, but to get the win tonight is huge,” said Cianciarulo. “It eases my mind going into the break with points lead and the red background plate, although I can't wait to see it on my KX250. I also want to give a shout out to my teammate Garrett Marchbanks on his first ever podium. It was awesome to have the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team go 1-2 tonight."
“Tonight is a night I will never forget. I felt good all day as I qualified in third place and I got a good jump in my heat race but then another rider took me out off the start and I wasn't able to recover,” said Marchbanks. “In the LCQ, I knew I needed to just get out front which I did. I didn't have the best gate pick so I knew I just needed to send it off the start. By Lap 2 I couldn't see out of my goggles and just ditched them, and once I was able to see I was able to make some passes into second place. I can't thank my whole team enough, it feels so good to put my Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki up on the podium!”
Ferrandis appeared to have third place locked up, which would have led to yet another Monster Energy sweep of the podium, but his bike stopped running on the final lap. Misfortune plagued both Star Yamaha riders, but they dug deep to both pull out top-10 finishes, with Ferrandis seventh and Nichols 10th.
Nichols had led the championship since his opening round win, but his worst result of the season, combined with Cianciarulo’s third victory in five races, put the Kawasaki rider on top of the standings. Cianciarulo now holds an eight-point lead over Shane McElrath, with Nichols third and Ferrandis fourth. Marchbanks’ runner-up finish moved him into the top 10 as well.
Western Regional 250SX Class Results
1. Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
2. Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
3. Jimmy Decotis, Suzuki
4. Shane McElrath, KTM
5. Jess Pettis, KTM
7.Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha
10.Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha
Western Regional 250SX Class Standings
1. Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 114
2. Shane McElrath, KTM - 106
3. Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha - 104
4. Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha - 102
5. RJ Hampshire, Honda - 75
8. Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 71