The great part about our TCE MX Fan Experience program is that fans get a complete and immersive experience with the giants of the sport. No other program offers fan such an in-depth and action packed day at the races. Our trip to round 11 of the Pro Motocross race series offered nothing less. The Budds Creek MX track in Mechanicsville, Maryland welcomed race fans to a picturesque race course complete with tons of eye catching attractions. The championship in each class was heating up and enthusiasts from all over the country and many from overseas wanted to see how the action unfolded and if champions would be crowned at the historic Budds Creek race. The Savij Racing Waynesberg Yamaha team of Jon Ames came into the event expecting to get some valuable seat time and get used to running with the stars of the sport. The team was also thrilled to host a long time fan of the sport who was looking to make some connections in the industry and get some valuable experiences working with a team. Triggr Racing rider Henry Miller was looking to nab another top ten finish and prove to the factory teams that he has the skills needed to get the job done on a regular basis.
The day started off with Jeremy Martin logging in the fastest practice time in the 250 with a 2:04.187 and Marvin Musquin locking down the fastest lap in the 450 with a 2:04.990. Fans and industry staff alike were keen on watching Zach Osbourne possibly clinch the 250 championship a race early. Everyone in attendance watched as the gates were filled for the start of the races. The 450 first moto with started out with Martin Davalos and Matt Bisceglia leading the pack through lap one. Davalos has been showing some impressive results in the 450 class and has been a series podium threat. The two duked it out for several laps as RCH Suzuki's Justin Bogle slowly made his way up to the two leaders and snuck by in a jaw dropping charge. Bogle rode incredibly smooth and was able to extend his lead over Davalos in second. Title hopeful Marvin Musquin pushed is Red Bull KTM to third behind Davalos after a late pass was put on HRC rider Cole Seely. Triggr Racing Yamaha rider Henry Miller had some overheating issues before the first moto after a clamp malfunctioned. The crew rushed to get him on the gate and ready for battle. Henry was able to salvage a 18th after a terrible start due to a less than ideal gate pick. The race ticked on as Musquin made a move past Davalos for second and set himself up for a good points paying race. Once the checkered flag flew it was Justin Bogle who secured his second win of the season proving that he has what it takes to win. Points leader Eli Tomac struggled with a 12th place finish, leading everyone to believe that this championship could turn into an all out brawl in the coming motos.
Moto number two for the 450's saw Justin Bogle leading the race early with a surprise battle with Rocky Mountain KTM rider Blake Bagget who got the better of the Bogle and made the pass for the lead. The two laid down some impressive laps, however a revitalized Eli Tomac was coming through the pack and was looking for redemption following lack luster first moto. Tomac sliced through the pack and past Bogle and Bagget to get his Monster Energy Kawasaki to the first place spot. Musquin rode a hard fought race and was able to salvage a 4th in the second moto. On the last lap it was clear that Tomac had this race locked up and it was he who took the moto win. On the day it was Justin Bogle with his first ever premier class overall win followed by Musquin and Tomac in third. The points chase closed slightly and Tomac knew that he had to be on his toes at Ironman MX in a week's time. Henry Miller had an unfortunate race as his first moto troubles progressed into more engine trouble as oil was being pushed out of his breather tube. Henry was forced to pull of after more than half the moto was ran. Henry and his team soon fixed the issue and secured some much needed resources to get ready for the final round in Indiana.
The 250 races delivered no shortage of drama and excitement in the least. The first moto started off with Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Adam "AC" Cianciarulo getting the holeshot, however all eyes were on Husqvarna rider Zach Osbourne as he had a vicious crash in the first turn. Osbourne would remount in near last place and put on a charge to salvage as much points as possible. UK privateer and MTF rider Steven Clarke also got mixed up in the carnage along with a handful of other riders such as Geico Honda's Chase Sexton. The rage waged on as Cianciarulo lead with Jeremy Martin hot on his heels and looking to capitalize on any mistakes. AC rode strong and looked very confident and comfortable up front. 250 class rookie Jon Ames put on a masterful ride as he took his Savij Racing ride to the top 10 and battled in 6th for a majority of the race. Towards the end Jon made a few minor mistakes and dropped back to 22nd. Jon looked very at home at the higher pace and showed some serious talent rounding each lap. This was a huge accomplishment for a rookie and a glimmer of hope for the team who is expected to do great with Jon in the coming rides. As expected Osbourne rode with a lot of aggression and focus as he made his way through the field and towards the front. Osbourne would fight his way to 8th by the end of the moto. At the end of the race it was Cianciarulo who nailed the first moto win with Jeremy Martin close behind. A very fast RJ Hampshire worked up the third and silenced many critics.
The second moto saw a pack of factory riders do battle for the top spots in a cluster of passes. This lead group of Martin, Osbourne, Cianciarulo, Plessinger, and Shane McElrath swapped positions and fought for a top spot. McElrath rode in first place on his TLD KTM and began to slowly pull away with some brilliant laps and blazing speed. Martin made a small mistake and went down leaving his chances of a win in the dirt. Part way through the race Osbourne was able to come through to take the lead away and secure some much needed points to get the title at the races end. Jon Ames rode strong after a decent start and worked on understanding the track and layout. Jon would finish up in 22nd again and end the day with a 24th overall. The 3-6th positions swapped briefly and gave way to several other battles. This was a spectacle to fans who cheered endlessly with each move and advancement. At the end it was Osbourne who took the win and the 2017 250 Pro Motocross Championship, making him the best 250 rider all year. AC would cross he finish line in second giving him his first ever MX overall win as well. AC was ecstatic and celebrated with his team o the podium. Osbourne would score second overall and Shane McElrath would finish out third. A very impressive ride.
The races have been heating up and the action is the best it's been all year. If you want your chance to experience it as an industry insider than make sure to sign up for the TCE MX Fan Experience. There's no better way to make lasting connections and get one step closer to your dream position within the industry.