Thick mud and the deepest ruts of the season covered the track for the Round 12 finale at the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Racers rode as hard at the last round of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship as they did at the opening round.
Ken Roczen came out of the gate and around the first corner to earn the holeshot in the moto 1, and Justin Barcia came out right on his tail where he held strong for second with Phil Nicoletti not far off behind in third.
After the opening laps Roczen did his best to make distance between him and the rest of the racers, but Barcia would stick with him. Barcia is known for his enjoyment of tracks covered in mud and has been looking for the right track and opportunity to pull off an overall all season long.
Nicoletti would settle back closer to the set of riders behind him. 450 class rookie Marvin Musquin and professional status rookie Benny Bloss rounded out the Top-5. Bloss and Musquin would exchange positions a number of times within the first five minutes.
Marvin Musquin came into Ironman to hold his overall ranking to third on his rookie season. (Photo: Simon Cudby)
Musquin would emerge ahead of both Bloss and eventually Nicoletti to earn third. Bloss would fall victim to Musquin’s pass and within a few short laps see Eli Tomac emerge and overtake him as well
Next in the pack lineup was Jason Anderson who had been sidelined since Round four prior to racing at Ironman. Anderson finding seventh place after the first 10 minutes of racing showed promise for his return and opportunity for a strong finish on his day and season.
In two minutes Anderson would make two passes to get around both Nicoletti and Bloss, but Nicoletti would hold on with him to keep him engaged for another couple of laps.
Tomac would keep his momentum moving forward following his passes to Bloss and Nicoletti. Tomac would find himself within bike lengths of Musquin to make for a battle that lasted through a series of turns and ultimately series of laps. The two racers would get neck-and-neck to find themselves in an all out dragrace style battle across a straightaway. Then Tomac would find the line to set him up for a long outside around a bend to leave Musquin fighting through deep, inside ruts and ultimately falling behind.
A few laps later, however, Musquin would find a gift as he came out from around a corner to see Tomac down and picking up his bike after slipping out in another deep rut wreck.
The Tomac and Musquin exchange would happen again after the drop of the two-lap marker was flown. Tomac was simply riding with more of an aggressive style over the course of a few laps while Musquin looked like he was trying to ride smooth rather than ride fast. Tomac would square up to leave a corner and drag past Musquin for the third place spot.
The moto would finish with Roczen 10 seconds ahead of Barcia in second.
Ken Roczen earned the holeshot and moto 1 win at Ironman. (Photo: Simon Cudby)
Following bike troubles just before the gate dropped for moto 2, Andrew Short found the holeshot to start the final moto of his professional career perfectly. Barcia and Roczen were right behind Short but quickly made their ways around him. Barcia took the lead, but Roczen kept on him and took the front before the first lap was over.
Musquin, Anderson and Nicoletti rounded out the Top-5 in front of Tomac, Matt Bisceglia and Weston Peick. The front eight would see no change for the first eight minutes of the moto until Tomac made move around Nicoletti despite Nicoletti’s solid efforts to hold him back.
Five more minutes of pushing forward, Tomac moved his way ahead of Anderson to place himself into fourth. Clearly showing he was hungry for more, Tomac was hauling around every inch of the track and found himself closing in on Musquin quickly and made incredibly fast work of him for third.
With only five minutes left in the moto Barcia found himself pulling his bike out of the mud after crashing while exiting a corner. Barcia had to scramble to get back on his bike, and then to kick it back to life after a short stall. With Tomac closing in, Barcia started his bike and quickly made moves to hold onto second place before Tomac could take it away.
The rest of the racers stayed steady through the remainder of the moto with no change to the Top-5 order. Roczen finished 1-1 on the day to cap off his already Champion Title season, while Barcia and Tomac rounded off the podium behind him. The season was over.
450 CLASS RESULTS
- Ken Roczen (1-1)
- Justin Barcia (2-2)
- Eli Tomac (3-3)
- Marvin Musquin (4-4)
- Jason Anderson (5-5)
- Phil Nicoletti (6-8)
- Weston Peick (8-7)
- Matt Bisceglia (11-6)
- Fredrik Noren (9-9)
- Benny Bloss (7-11)
450 CLASS STANDINGS
- Ken Roczen, 584
- Eli Tomac, 498
- Marvin Musquin, 401
- Justin Barcia, 360
- Phil Nicoletti, 229
- Benny Bloss, 228
- Christophe Pourcel, 217
- Weston Peick, 197
- Andrew Short, 197
- Fredrik Noren, 192
450 MOTO 1: KEN ROCZEN'S HOLESHOT
450 MOTO 1: ELI TOMAC, MARVIN MUSQUIN BATTLE
450 MOTO 1: RACE RECAP
450 MOTO 2: ANDREW SHORT'S HOLESHOT