At Thunder Valley, Savatgy and the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team found the redemption they were looking for.
At the start of 250cc moto one, Alex Martin and his brother Jeremy led the pack, with points leader Zach Osborne just behind them, followed by Savatgy’s teammate Adam Cianciarulo, Mitchell Harrison, Savatgy, his teammate Austin Forkner, and the rest of the field. Osborne went down early on lap one and had to start working his way back up through the field from mid-pack.
Savatgy slowly started working his way forward through the front group until he went by Jeremy Martin for second late in the race, but he was soon joined by his young teammate Forkner up front, and Forkner brought Jeremy Martin back up to Savatgy with him.
Forkner was on rails and went by Savatgy in short order, and before Savatgy could study up on Forkner’s lines, Jeremy Martin snuck by, too.
At the finish, it was Alex Martin with the win, Forkner second, then Jeremy Martin, Savatgy, and Cianciarulo. Three of the top-five finishers in moto one were Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasakis.
“I didn’t really get going in the beginning,” Forkner said after the moto. “They have a little bit more speed than me in the beginning, and I just kind of had to settle in. I found a couple better lines about halfway, and I really didn’t get that tired, and I really didn’t go slower toward the end, so I was able to go the same speed the whole time and I started reeling some guys in...”
Savatgy did one better in the second moto, grabbing the holeshot, only to lose the lead to Aaron Plessinger later in the opening lap. Savatgy applied pressure right away, and a few laps later, Plessinger went down, handing the lead back to Savatgy. Behind Savatgy came Dylan Ferrandis, Jeremy Martin, Forkner, Harrison, Osborne, Alex Martin, Cianciarulo and his teammate Justin Hill.
Jeremy Martin fought his way into second a few laps later, and then for the final 9 laps of the race, he was all over Savatgy, but couldn’t do anything with him. Savatgy ended up winning the moto over Jeremy Martin, Forkner, Alex Martin, Osborne, Ferrandis, Hill and the rest of the field.
For Savatgy, his 4-1 score gave him the overall win, proving that he is back where he needs to be.
“I’ve got to be honest with you, it’s been a rough couple weeks,” Savatgy said. “Obviously, supercross didn’t end the way I wanted it to, and I’d love to have a replay button, but that’s life, and we don’t have that. I’m beyond blessed to be up here, and my Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki got me off to a great start, and that was a hard-fought battle. Jeremy [Martin] rode well, but this feels like the first one for me; it’s been so long. We’ve had so many ups and downs this year, and so many little mistakes, and I was glad to take that all the way to the end. I just can’t thank the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki guys enough. Mitch, Bones, Adam from Showa... [And coach] Johnny [O’Mara]... He’s been believing in me when it’s hard to believe in me, but I have a good support system – my family, my girlfriend, Jeannie and Ricky Carmichael, and Big Rick... I’m stoked to get it going.”
Young Forkner, in his second season of racing at the professional level, put in a great day of work himself, and somehow he ended up fourth overall even though he ended the day with 2-3 scores. For perspective, last week’s winner Osborne won the race with a 4-2.
“I should probably get a little bit better starts,” Forkner said. “In the first one, the guys around me kind of flinched, and I flinched... And in that one, I just really didn’t get a super-good shift going up the hill. But with better starts, my speed’s there, and my fitness is there, so I should be up there good. A 2-3 today is really good, but it’s just weird that I got 2-3 and got fourth overall... I mean, it is what it is, and we’ll come back in a couple weeks and try to do it again.”
The success at Thunder Valley moved Savatgy up to fourth in points, with Forkner right behind him in fifth, and there are still 18 motos left to run.