250SX East/West Showdown
Monster Energy riders topped the charts in qualifying for both regions, with the Star Yamaha duo of Ferrandis and Cooper leading the way. These two riders have undoubtedly been the fastest and most consistent riders yet to earn a win this season, but they set a promising tone with that impressive speed as the only two riders to break into the 47-second bracket. Monster Energy ultimately secured the top three spots in West Region qualifying with Cianciarulo second and Nichols third, while Garrett Marchbanks put all four West riders inside the top 10. In the East Region, Monster Energy landed a trio of riders in the top five, with Forkner third and Martin Davalos fifth, while Mitchell Oldenburg unfortunately suffered an injury and was forced to sit out the rest of the night.
In the East Region Heat Race, Forkner had his hands full with perennial challenger Jordon Smith early, but it took just a couple laps for the championship leader to take over the lead and cruise to an easy win, keeping his unbeaten Heat Race streak intact. Davalos rode to a solid third-place finish, while Cooper punched his ticket to the Main Event in fifth.
The Monster Energy squad was held in check in the West Region Heat Race, where Shane McElrath seized the moment out of the gate and parlayed it to a win. Nichols, arguably the best starter in the West Region, was right there with McElrath every step up the way, but didn’t force the issue en route to second. After a poor start in which he emerged from the first turn in seventh, Cianciarulo valiantly fought his way into third while Ferrandis endured through an even worst start to claw his way back from 14th to seventh. Marchbanks grabbed the ninth and final transfer spot.
With a loaded 22-rider field on the gate for the East/West Showdown Main Event it was a pair of red-plated Kawasakis racing side-by-side into the first turn as Forkner and Cianciarulo went bar-to-bar for the holeshot. As has been the case more often than not this season, Forkner crossed the chalk first and sprinted out to an early advantage. Cianciarulo made slight contact battling another rider for second and got off rhythm, which dropped him into a fierce battle for third, chasing down Chase Sexton in second. Ferrandis earned a much better start than his Heat Race to emerge fourth, with Cooper sixth, Davalos seventh, and Nichols 10th. Marchbanks was the only Monster Energy rider outside the top 10 after contact off the start forced him wide and mired him back in 18th.
With so much experience leading this season Forkner was easily able to put some distance between he and Sexton, who started to fall into the clutches of Cianciarulo and a hard-charging Ferrandis. Despite the pressure, Sexton was able to keep the Monster Energy riders at bay for nearly half of the Main Event and, in turn, kept Forkner within his reach. As a result, when Cianaciarulo eventually got by the Honda rider just over a second sat between he and his teammate. Sexton continued to lose ground and then dropped off the podium when Ferrandis stormed by into third.
The battle for the lead intensified just past the halfway point as Cianciarulo continued to chip away at the deficit to Forkner. The two riders were close in speed, but Cianciarulo was able to pick up chunks of time by charging deep into the corners and forcing his teammate to ride more defensive. The dueling red plates put on a show for the thousands of fans in attendance, where Cianciarulo was able to get the upper hand on Lap 11. Once he had the lead, Cianciarulo was able to inch away.
The head-to-head battle between Pro Circuit riders allowed Ferrandis to keep his charge going and close in to within just over a second of the leaders. Soon enough, the top three were separated by 1.5 seconds. Ferrandis kept the pressure on Forkner and attacked in the whoops on Lap 12, stealing second.
The top three quickly spread out at that point, with about two seconds separating each of them. Cianciarulo continued to add to his advantage and was able to back in down on the final lap to take the win by 4.8 seconds over Ferrandis, while Forkner followed in a distant third.
It was the landmark 10th win of Cianciarulo’s career and further distanced himself from his rivals in the West Region Championship.
“I learned a lot throughout the day, kept a positive attitude to not let the bad moments of the day get to me. This is the best Pro Circuit bike I’ve ridden and I think it shows with both Austin and I leading laps. My team never stops pushing for the best and I’m very grateful to give them another win. It’s crazy because I never even had two wins in a row and now I have three. It feels great.”
Ferrandis’ runner-up effort helped minimize the damage in the championship battle, where moved into second and now 15 points behind Cianciarulo. While he had to settle for something other than a win for the first time in 2019, Forkner’s third-place finish still made him the top-finishing East Region rider, and he too was able to extend his advantage in the championship standings to 18 points over Cooper, who moved into second.
Collectively, six of Monster Energy’s seven riders finished inside the top 10.
250SX East/West Showdown Results
- Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
- Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha
- Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
- Chase Sexton, Honda
- Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha
- Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha
- Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
- Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
Eastern Regional 250SX Class Standings
- Austin Forkner, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 99
- Justin Cooper, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha - 81
- Chase Sexton, Honda - 79
- Jordon Smith, KTM - 70
- Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 58
- Mitchell Oldenburg, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha - 50
Western Regional 250SX Class Standings
- Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 140
- Dylan Ferrandis, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha - 125
- Shane McElrath, KTM - 123
- Colt Nichols, Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha - 120
- RJ Hampshire, Honda - 86
- Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki - 74