The Pro Motocross race series made it's way through the rolling hills of eastern Minnesota for round 9 of the Pro Motocross National in Millville, Minnesota. Arguably one of the roughest and most fun tracks in the world, Spring Creek always thrills race fans with it's unique layout. Spring Creek is home to some of the most challenging uphills and roller whoops sections around. Not to mention the loose and loamy type soil that always yields some unbelievably deep ruts and bumps. Race fans and industry staff alike were all excited to see how the race action would shape up. The TCE team riders Henry Miller, 450 privateer rider, and Jerry Robin, 250 privateer rookie, both hail from Minnesota and were quite familiar with the track and it's many obstacles. The mass of fans that swarmed around them really showed how deep their roots and fans base are in the area. Both riders looked very well prepared and focused heading into practice.
The morning practice sessions were a battle for all teams in attendance as rain a few days prior turned the track in a muddy and mucky mess. Traversing the track and attacking the large uphills was a feat for even the fastest factory riders. Many teams struggled to find good setting to tackle the unruly track. However, as the day rolled on the sun began to dry out the track and gave way to some very fast and creative lines. Fans lined the track and hills watching riders like Cole Seely and Justin Bogle, both of which are having great seasons, rev their factory machines around the track. Even with all of the high profile riders in attendance, most eyes were on the local boys. Jerry Robin looked comfortable on his newly tuned Blue Buffalo Savij Racing YZ250F. Even in the mud and up against some quick riders, Jerry was able to post a fast time of 2:39.214 in qualifying group A. In the 450 group A practice Henry Miller locked down a solid 16th place qualifying position with a highly competitive 2:35.417. Henry's Triggr Racing tuned YZ450F has been able to really hold its own against some of the factory equipment of other riders, a very impressive effort by his whole team.
Riders and teams talked strategy throughout the day as line choice and pacing were two major keys to a successful race day. Many teams played around with tire choices and suspension settings to optimize the bike's performance. Once the races were underway both TCE riders had their equipment all ready to go. The first motos of the day were greeted by hoards of cheering fans, direct sunshine and high humidity that was sure to test even the most fit riders.
The 250 race saw a holeshot by Joey Savagty with the usual front runners of the Martin brothers, RJ Hampshire, Aaron Plessinger in tow. The riders let it all hang out and diced back and forth for position giving the fans something to get excited about. FXR Racing and TCE team rider Jerry Robin got off to a mediocre start, but started to have bike issues early on which led to him dropping back quite a ways. Jerry ended up having to push his bike off the track due to a re-starting issue after a minor mistake. The Savij team raced back to the pits to remedy the issue and get ready to moto 2. The race win would go to Savagty with Alex Martin and Aaron Plessinger rounding out the podium. All the 250 riders were noticeably winded and tired after the race due to the high humidity and roughness of the track, something that the smaller less powerful bikes have slightly more trouble with.
In the second 250 moto it was Shane McElrath with a very impressive holeshot. Moto one winner Joey Savagty ran a very close second with Adam Cianciarulo sitting within immediate striking distance behind the two leaders. The track, now completely dry, had developed some very massive braking and acceleration bumps along with long deep ruts that made the riders have to really focus on being smooth and picking the correct lines. Jerry Robin got off to another mediocre start and was able to catch up to the 21st spot before another unforeseen bike issue caused him to exit the race early. One of the many positives about the Spring Creek MX course is that the long layout and wide racing lanes allows for many lines to be created and in turn gives great passing opportunities to the riders. Because of this the fans were treated to battles all throughout the pack of the 250 class. Riders diced and manuvered past each other to with precision all over the track. The front runners stayed very consistent throughout the race and set a very impressive pace early on. One rider who was coming through the pack with a vengeance was points leader Zach Osbourne. Osbourne set some incredibly fast lap times which allowed him to catch the leaders and make a seemingly easy pass for first place. After a very long and hard fought moto Osbourne was able to secure the win. However, Joey Savagty was able to go 1-2 on the day to secure the overall. Joey Savagty and Shane McElrath rounded out the podium for moto 2 with very strong rides.
In the 450 class the racing was just as action paced and thrilling. Almost all eyes were on Henry Miller, the local hometown hero. When the gate dropped it was Marvin Musquin who got out to a very early lead. Marvin looked very fast on the sandy soil and was able to amass a very sizeable lead early on. Series points leader Eli Tomac fell back after some uncharacteristic mistakes were made. Dean Wilson snuck up front to do battle and was one of the stand out riders of the weekend. FXR Racing and TCE team rider Henry Miller got off to a respectable start as well and was able to work his way up the pack. Henry looked very aggressive and confident and was able to settle into a great pace and battled with a few factory riders. Even with the "superstars" of the sport leading upfront, fans cheered the loudest for Henry all day. At the end of the moto Musquin had a 17+ second lead and Henry had fought his way up to 9th. Something that most privateers only dream of. This was another amazing ride by the hard working privateer.
Between motos the riders typically enjoy a relaxing break in some cool off areas such as small pools. Henry was able to cool off for a bit, but soon became the center of attention in the pits with fans crowding around hoping to speak with the hometown hero. Henry was swarmed all day with loyal fans who were also very proud of the TCE rider. By the start of the second moto fans were keen on cheering for Henry and expected to see him clinch another top 10 finish. Once the gate fell the riders blazed down the loamy soil and to everyone's surprise Henry Miller rounded the first turn in the top spot! Henry grabbed a massive holeshot on his Triggr Racing Yamaha. The awestruck crowd cheered their hardest for a few seconds until a small hole claimed Henry's bike and sent him flipping over the handle bars. Henry got right back and continued to finish the race despite a banged up thumb and bruised legs. Musquin resumed his number one position from his first moto domination. The top riders were stunned by the heat and rough track conditions very noticeably. Several had the pull off because of this. Musquin and Tomac put on a great show for fans and seemed undaunted by the conditions and heat. When the checkered flag waved it was ultimately Musquin taking the overall win with 1-1 moto finishes on the day. Henry was able to come from almost dead last and put together some solid laps. Henry pulled through to finish 14th and ended up 12th overall. Not a bad ride for a privateer who was in almost last place.
Overall Spring Creek MX gave fans exactly what they wanted...great racing on an incredible track! Local riders were given a very warm welcome and Jerry and Henry both had a blast meeting new people and hanging with old friends. It was great to see local guys receive so much fan support and get a lot of much deserved attention. Henry got several interviews and signed more autographs than most can count. Things should be shaping up very nicely in the coming weeks for the privateer rider following his stand out performances. The Unadilla MX Pro National and The Iron MX Pro National still have spots open for TCE MX Fan Experience! Follow the link to reserve your spot today. Also, be sure to sign up for our FREE online TCE MX Experience giveaway with Henry Miller and Triggr Racing brought to you by The MotoHub. This is your opportunity to go behind the scenes and make some killer connections with industry professionals and experts. There's no better way to attend a race. Spend the day going all access with us and make some dreams into a reality. Stay tuned for more giveaways and an upcoming race report from Washougal MX Park.