After a disappointing pair of finishes one week ago at Glen Helen, Joey Savatgy bounced back at Thunder Valley and showed the form he displayed at the start of the season.
Savatgy captured the overall victory thanks to a second-place finish in Moto 1 and a victory in Moto 2, but it very easily could have been a sweep.
It was a Star Yamaha parade out front to start Moto 1. Cooper Webb grabbed the holeshot, while Jeremy Martin, Aaron Plessinger and Alex Martin all started off inside the top five along with GEICO Honda's Jordon Smith.
Jeremy Martin quickly emerged as the fastest of the bunch but struggled to get around Webb. The two crossed the finish line jump side-by-side after the first lap, and things remained intense from there. It took about ten minutes, but on Lap 5, Martin finally cleared his teammate and moved into the lead.
As for the other two members of the Star Yamaha squad, Aaron Plessinger and Alex Martin – who is riding with the red plate for the first time in his career – both went down in the same incident and fell outside the top ten.
Despite a crash early on, Alex Martin charged forward eight spots in four laps to salvage an eighth place finish in moto 1. (Photo Simon Cudby)
Savatgy moved up to fourth after the Plessinger/Alex Martin wreck. He proceeded to pick off Jordon Smith, then Cooper Webb, and on Lap 9 he got Jeremy Martin for the lead.
Every time Savatgy got past a rider, he left them in the dust. Once he took over the top spot from Jeremy Martin, it seemed there was no looking back. Savatgy built up a significant gap but then surprisingly went down and allowed Martin to reassume the lead. Savatgy remounted in second but did not have enough time to close the gap. Martin won the moto with a 2.9 second margin of victory, giving him his second consecutive moto win.
After the race, Savatgy said that his footpeg got caught in the dirt while he was following a lapper through a double.
In the final laps, Savatgy had to deal with a lightning-fast Webb, but Savatgy was able to hold him off to secure second place. Webb rounded out the podium, Zach Osborne finished fourth, and Smith rebounded from last week's misfortunes to take fifth.
Alex Martin put forth an incredible charge late in the race, picking up eight spots in the span of just four laps to end the moto. He salvaged an eight-place finish despite his early crash.
In Moto 2, Savatgy got a much better start, opening the moto in second behind Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate Adam Cianciarulo. Savatgy quickly moved around AC into the lead. As for Cianciarulo, he crashed on Lap 4 while running in second and ultimately pulled out of the race.
Joey Savagty returned to form at Thunder Valley and finished the day with 2-1 finishes. (Photo: Simon Cudby)
Cianciarulo's crash moved a surprising Martin Davalos into second place. Davalos seemed to be on pace for one of the best motos of his career, but he was faced with pressure from Alex Martin, who had moved from seventh to third since the opening lap. Alex Martin finally executed the pass on Lap 9 and quickly began closing in on Savatgy.
By the time they reached the two laps to go mark, Alex Martin had cut Savatgy's lead down to less than a second. By this point in the race, Jeremy Martin had moved into third and was in position to take the overall victory if his older brother could successful pass Savatgy. It was not to be though. Despite possibly being one of the fastest riders on the track all day long, Alex Martin could not catch him.
Savatgy won the moto by 1.2 seconds over Alex Martin. Younger brother Jeremy was 26 seconds behind Alex in third.
Austin Forkner finished fourth, giving him three top-five moto finishes in four tries. Davalos rounded out the top five.
Savatgy (2-1) narrowly edged out Jeremy Martin (1-3) for the overall victory. Alex Martin (8-2) finished third and is the only rider to finish on the overall podium at all three rounds of the season.
Leading the 250 Class with three moto wins and two overall victories, Savatgy successfully recaptured the points lead and will take the red plate into Round 4 at High Point. Savatgy holds a slim 3-point lead over Jeremy Martin. Alex Martin is 9 points back of Savatgy, and Webb is 13 behind Savatgy.
Round 4 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take place Saturday, July 18 at High Point Raceway.
250 CLASS OVERALL RESULTS
1. Joey Savatgy (2-1)
2. Jeremy Martin (1-3)
3. Alex Martin (8-2)
4. Zach Osborne (4-6)
5. Cooper Webb (3-8)
6. Martin Davalos (7-5)
7. Jordon Smith (5-12)
8. Shane McElrath (12-7)
9. Austin Forkner (17-4)
10. Mitchell Harrison (11-11)
11. Aaron Plessinger (14-10)
12. RJ Hampshire (10-14)
13. Arnaud Tonus (18-9)
14. Adam Cianciarulo (6-38)
15. Colt Nichols (15-13)
16. Mitchell Oldenburg (9-25)
17. Jessy Nelson (13-34)
18. Luke Renzland (39-15)
19. Anthony Rodriguez (21-16)
20. Kyle Cunningham (19-18)
250 CLASS POINT STANDINGS
1. Joey Savatgy, 123
2. Jeremy Martin, 120
3. Alex Martin, 114
4. Cooper Webb, 110
5. Aaron Plessinger, 81
6. Austin Forkner, 80
7. Zach Osborne, 78
8. Jessy Nelson, 65
9. RJ Hampshire, 59
10. Jordon Smith, 52
250 MOTO 1: RACE RECAP
250 MOTO 1: WEBB, J. MARTIN BATTLE EARLY
250 MOTO 1: J. MARTIN PASSES WEBB FOR LEAD
250 MOTO 1: SAVATGY PASSES J. MARTIN FOR LEAD
250 MOTO 2: RACE RECAP
250 MOTO 2: SAVATGY GRABS EARLY LEAD
250 MOTO 2: MARTIN BROTHERS BATTLE
250 MOTO 2: A. MARTIN PASSES DAVALOS FOR 2ND