2020 Fox Raceway Motocross Recap
The 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series concluded on Saturday at Fox Raceway in Pala, CA with some surprise first-time winners but expected Champions getting their hands on the #1 plate.
In the 450 class, Zach Osborne, who held the Red Plate all year, endured what he called the longest Moto of his life and rode to a safe sixth overall to clinch his first 450 class title in a nine-round season cut short by three dates because of the coronavirus pandemic. Osborne (5-7) almost retired in March after breaking his back which knocked him out of Supercross for a time but looked every bit the title contender from the get-go taking the opening round win at Loretta's along with three other overalls. But a flat tire in Moto 2 at Spring Creek cost him valuable points that opened the door for rookie Adam Cianciarulo.
Cianciarulo (2-3), who won the 250 class Motocross title last year, grabbed two overalls and four Moto wins to Osborne's six and came within 12 points of taking the 450 class title as a rookie. A crash in the second race on Saturday kept him from another overall win and making the title chase even closer which could have put more pressure on Osborne to stay upright. Ultimately, Osborne prevailed in just his second season in the premier class.
Lost in the celebration was rookie Chase Sexton (3-1) getting his first Moto win and first overall victory in the 450 class. Sexton took third in Moto 1 and took the lead in Moto 2 after Cianciarulo got tossed from the bike. Three-time defending Champion Eli Tomac (1-4) who lost a whole lot of momentum early on in the series when he endured two DNFs during a mud race for Round 2 at Loretta Lynn's came on strong in recent weeks taking the overall for Round 8 and passing Cianciarulo with two laps left in Moto 1 on Saturday for the race win which gave him second overall on the day. Though Tomac was mathematically still alive for the Championship coming in to the final round it was a real long shot and he finished third in the series, 34 points from first. Still, he left many to wonder if Tomac had three rounds left, as he would have in a traditional season, could he have made things interesting?
Elsewhere, Christian Craig (4-2) put in his best race of the season and narrowly missed out on the overall as he was unable to take the checkers from Sexton in Moto 2 and settled for fourth overall. Marvin Musquin (6-5) finished fifth on Saturday and fourth in the standings.
In the 250 class, Dylan Ferrandis (2-5) capped off his 2020 with another Championship holding off a hopeful Jeremy Martin who was the only viable competition entering Round 9. Ferrandis, who won the 250 West class Championship in Supercross, almost secured the title after Moto 1 but was unable to pass rookie Jett Lawrence, settling for second and a taking a mostly casual ride to fifth in Moto 2 which gave him third overall on the day and the 250 class Championship. Ferrandis moves to the 450 class next year.
The doughnut eating Lawrence (1-2) got his first career win after a successful battle with the dog loving Justin Cooper (2-DNS) in Moto 1 but absolutely no one could keep up with Martin who checked out in Moto 2 and crossed the finish by more than 18 seconds over second-place Lawrence. In the second race, Lawrence had no competition from Cooper whose bike malfunctioned on the sighting lap and was unable to line up for a season-ending showdown that started earlier this week on Instagram that involved dogs and donuts. The overall win by Lawrence allowed him to move into fourth-place in the final standings six points ahead of Cooper.
Martin (4-1) finished second overall and missed out on a third Championship by 13 points. He returns next year to the 250 class in search of the elusive third title, his last coming in 2015. Shane McElrath (5-4) took fourth overall and third in the Championship standings while rookie Joe Shimoda took a career best third in Moto 2 for fifth overall.
The season is over. Hopefully we get a 2021 Supercross series and if so, with a start date in January, gates drop just mere months away. Until then, live Fox Raceway MX all again! Photos by Ryne Swanberg.