The 2021 High Point Motocross was something special. Excellent racing in California and Colorado, a weekend off, and a move to the East Coast all added to the excitement for round three of the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Threats of severe storms and hail didn’t dampen the mood at the track on Saturday morning, and those that lined the Pennsylvania hills were treated to four memorable motos.
Last Wednesday was a sad time for the Southern California MX community, as longtime rider and KTM National Sales Manager Rocky Aiello passed away following a crash at a local track. "Ride For Rocky" stickers were made as a tribute to Aiello and were passed out to all the KTM/Husqvarna/GASGAS factory-supported teams, as well as the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha squad (Aiello was a Yamaha employee before KTM). Our thoughts are with the Aiello family and Rocky's many friends.
Gratuitous shot of Adam Cianciarulo's Monster Energy Kawasaki. Check out the carbon fiber skid plate and water pump cover, the fabricated covers over the footpeg pivots, the mounting point for data acquisition on the linkage pull rod, a stopper insert that prevents the brake lever from being forced up, and the colors of the titanium header.
Eli Tomac's FACTORY Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450.
Lots of red. We've noticed Roczen has switched from the Renthal FatBar 36 to a traditional Twinwall, which says something about the difference in chassis feeling between the previous and current generation CRF450R.
Get lost in the details of Ken Roczen's Team Honda HRC CRF450R, which includes lots of safety wire and exotic metals. The transponder mount is the epitome of a factory part. The piece bolts onto the triple clamp and is complete with a small rubber bumper which prevents it from grinding on the Showa fork leg.
We're starting to hear more about the new Honda CRF250R. The small-bore bike should be debuted in the next few weeks and share many characteristics with the CRF450R, including a new frame, revamped engine, and corresponding components.
Michael Mosiman has had a rough go of things lately. Elevation-induced bike issues at Thunder Valley kept the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing rider from finishing near the front of the field, and a recent practice crash kept him from lining up at High Point. Fortunately, the team is hopeful Mosiman will be back on the bike at RedBud.
After a few years working with Malcolm Stewart, mechanic Jason Montoya has been hired by the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing team and will spend the rest of the season with Pierce Brown. The mid-season change shows how much is going on in the paddock this year, as longtime TLD employee Kristian Ortiz took on a new job away from MX (congrats KO), and Stewart's future factory team (Husqvarna) wants him to work with one of their current wrenches.
We took a long look at Justin Barcia's Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing MC 450F. The oversized tank is for sure the most eye-catching thing on the red bike, but it's not the only thing that got our attention: Barcia has switched back to a standard WP spring shock. We were somewhat surprised by this, especially after Barcia's praise for the air shock during SX and WP's experience/data on the pneumatic part from riders in the MXGP series, but it makes sense seeing how this is his first summer on the steel frame bike.
Bespoke toolbox organizers.
Shoutout to the Tire Guys at High Point, who mounted dozens of mud-sand tires onto wheels when the forecasts called for rain and mud, then quickly swapped everything over to traditional knobbies after the weather front missed the track.
News flash: the Aussie teen is very, very popular.
It was good to see Grant Harlan at the track. The TiLube/Storm Lake Honda rider was sidelined earlier in the year after a hard crash at the Daytona Supercross left him with a brain bleed and broken elbow, but he's been back on the bike for a few weeks and plans to follow the Pro Motocross tour through the summer months. Harlan went 19-17 for 20th overall in the 250 Class.
The FXR/Chaparral/Honda bikes have their share of trick parts, like these easy-to-use adjusters on the enzo-tuned KYB forks.
Did your parents dress you and your siblings in matching clothes, too? Alpinestars put both Lawrence brothers in their latest colorway, "AMS 21," at High Point. Like the neon-accented/military-inspired setup? The release includes a SuperTech M10 helmet, TechStar gear, and Tech 10/Tech 7 boots.
What do Pierce Brown and Stilez Robertson have in common? Both are recent guests on the SML Show. Hit the homepage when you get done with Kickstart and watch our extended video interviews with the fast friends.
Ty Masterpool had a good day at High Point. The AEO Powersports-backed rider was quick at the California and Colorado races but had his overall results ruined by crashes. Masterpool put it together in Pennsylvania, and 9-10 scores put him seventh overall in the 250 Class, the highest finish of a non-factory rider.
Hunter Lawrence was the heavy favorite going into the High Point. A past winner at the track, the Team Honda HRC rider was second-fastest in the 250 Class during Timed Qualifying and got to the front of the pack early in the motos. Unfortunately, Lawrence went down on the opening laps in both races (while leading in Moto One and then again in Moto Two) and charged back to 8-11 finishes for eighth overall.
Big Trans-Am vibes on Eli Tomac's Moto10. Be on the lookout for more styles and colors on the all-new helmet when Bell releases its complete 2021 collection later this summer.
Amy Noren is a true motocross wife. When husband Freddie needed help at High Point, the mother of two put on a team shirt and worked the mechanic's area for the privateer during his run to 17-16 finishes in the motos.
How does suspension tech Ricki Gilmour distinguish the KYB suspension components used at Star Racing? Aaron Plessinger's parts are finished with a cartoon by Bee G Creations...
While Dylan Ferrandis gets a sticker of Thanos, the main supervillian from the Marvel Universe, on his shock.
With Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson both sidelined by injuries, Dean Wilson will have to hold it down for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing in the 450 Class this summer. Wilson told us he's dealing with health issues after a 12th place overall result at High Point, and on Monday, announced that he's been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr Virus. Surprisingly, it doesn't sound like Husqvarna will hire a fill-in rider for the 450 Class; Dean will continue to race in spite of the energy-draining illness while Anderson is expected to be back for the last few rounds of Pro Motocross.
Curious how Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha reportedly shaved seven pounds off the YZ450F? Parts from Illinois fabrication shop Race Tech Titanium, including these billet footpeg mounts, certainly helped. CNC machined and heat-treated, the pieces are a half-pound lighter than stock and retail for $450. You can see the company's full line of fasteners, axles, and accessories at racetechtitanium.com
Justin Bogle worked hard for his 14th place overall at High Point. A get-off and early pit stop for goggles in 450 Moto One put him at the back of the pack, and he spent the rest of the race passing back to 16th place. A much better start put Bogle in the top-10 during 450 Moto Two, but he was low on energy after the early effort and crossed the finish line in 13th place.
High Point went well for Carson Mumford. The FXR/Chaparral/Honda rider moved from 28th on the opening lap to 13th at the finish in 250 Moto One, then held his own against factory-backed teams for a seventh-place finish in 250 Moto Two. Mumford's 13-7 scores put him 10th overall on the day, his first top-10 of the summer.
We might be entering a new era of track prep for Pro Motocross. The course conditions at Thunder Valley were somewhat of a surprise (overnight winds zapped the moisture from the Colorado dirt) but were praised by riders, who said the smoother, drier lanes made for better racing. The threat of rain kept High Point from getting deeply ripped and heavily watered, but the storms never came and instead left the mixed terrain of hard pack and loam in near-perfect condition.
That's not to say that every inch of High Point was pure PA clay. Loads of mulch were dumped in a few key areas, mainly around the starting area and the downhill sections, to the point that tires touched more wood than dirt in certain spots.
Joey Savatgy has been one to watch these last few weeks. The Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM rider has battled for top-10 finishes in the previous four Motos, and 8-9 results at High Point earned him ninth overall. A look at the lap times shows that Savatgy is on pace with top-five finishers (2:07.853 in Moto One, 2:07.866 in Moto Two), and he could become a factor in the Silly Season negotiations later in the summer.
Marvin Musquin was another rider who was expected to excel at High Point, but surprisingly, the Red Bull KTM rider wasn't in the mix for the podium in either race. When we talked with MM25 after the race, he said that a new setting on the rear shock held him back in Moto One and that the team reverted back to a previous setup for the Moto Two. "I know the result is not great, but from where I started, it was some improvement, and at least I was racing the track and passing. Before that, in all the Motos, I was not even passing people, so that was no good." We're sure there will be plenty of testing sessions between now and RedBud.
Tomac Attack. Eli hammered this inside line harder than anyone during the morning's Timed Qualifying sessions.
Dilan Schwartz has been very impressive through the first three rounds of the season. The BARX/Chaparral/ECSTAR/Suzuki rider has scored points in five of the six motos run so far, and 6-13 runs at High Point put him ninth overall on the day, a career-best result for the second-year pro. Schwartz is currently 11th in the championship standings.
The calls for rain didn't keep crowds from filling High Point's hillsides. This was by far the most enthusiastic group of fans we've seen at a Pro Motocross since 2019, and the East Coast crew came prepared for the worst with raincoats, ponchos, umbrellas, and booze.
Shoutout to Zack Williams for his excellent reaction in 250 Moto One. The Minnesota privateer blasted out of the gate on his GASGAS bike and was even with a few factory bikes going into the first turn. A full-time worker and part-time racer, we'll have a Privateer Power video with Williams on the site soon.
Max Vohland got caught up in the usual first lap chaos in 250 Moto One. The Red Bull KTM rider was one of the many to go down near the holeshot stripe, a crash that knocked his clutch lever out of place. The rookie tried to kick it back, but realized it was a pointless effort after a few minutes, rejoined the race, and worked back to 18th place.
Jarrett Frye's 250 Moto One was up-ended by first turn crash and stalled motorcycle. The second year pro pushed the bike to the side of the track, got it going after nearly a full lap, chased after the pack, and finished the race in 29th place. A 12th place in 250 Moto Two boosted the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider's overall score and he ended the day ranked 17th.
How big are the High Point hills? This is just the bottom half of the long, fast descent into the center valley.
Jalek Swoll's win in 250 Moto One might go down as the surprise of the summer. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider hung around the top-10 through the first few rounds but got to the front of the pack early at High Point and held his own against the field. Swoll led the first three laps, got passed by teammate RJ Hampshire, and retook the top spot when Hampshire had a mechanical issue.
We didn't think Jett Lawrence would finish 250 Moto One after his Team Honda HRC CRF250R started to give off puffs of smoke just a few minutes into the moto, an often fatal sign from a four-stroke engine.
The issue continued well into the race, but surprisingly, Lawrence was able to coax the bike to the checkered flag and finish in third place. Lawrence's smooth, controlled riding style definitely helped the bike make it all the way to the end.
Did you listen to our Kickstart Podcast recap? Racer/co-host Alex Ray explained that High Point's track conditions are tough to read, because hidden beneath the top layer of loam is a slick, hard base. Riders wore through the mulch and down to the clay in only a few laps.
You have to feel for RJ Hampshire. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider has been near the front a few times this summer, but crashes and mistakes hindered his results, particularly at Thunder Valley. Determined to get a win, Hampshire made an early pass on teammate Swoll in 250 Moto One, put in flawless laps, and was well ahead of the pack when the chain malfunctioned on his bike and forced him to DNF. Hampshire overcame a poor gate pick in 250 Moto Two to finish in eighth place, and the 38-8 rides put him 15th overall. Hampshire is one of the many in need of a new contract this year, and his effort at High Point is proof that he can be one of the fastest in the class.
Colt Nichols took a step forward at High Point. The newly crowned 250 East Coast SX champion put himself in an excellent position early in 250 Moto One, survived the madness of the sloppy race, and ended up in second place. The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider aced the start again in 250 Moto Two, and after a long fight for position against guys like Garrett Marchbanks and Austin Forkner, he finished in fifth place. The 2-5 scores earned Nichols fourth overall, his best result of the summer so far, and showed that he will be one to watch as the season continues.
Jett's jersey contest is going to bring out a lot of special pieces this summer. We're thinking RedBud will have its share of over the top art, Washougal's fans will be very creative, that the Budds Creek fences will been lined with posters, and hopefully a Porta John is burned in his honor at Unadilla.
"It was just like I didn't even feel like I was trying, really. I was just in such a flow and everything. I was just focused," Swoll told us after the race. "I didn't even see the halfway flag; I didn't see anything. I literally just saw the two-lap card come out."
Everything is going good for Jalek right now. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Racing just re-signed him to a two-year contract and word is that the documentary series on his upbringing is being pitched to major syndication platforms.
It was all hands on deck under the Team Honda HRC team between 250 Class races. As soon as the Jett's bike crossed the finish line, it was taken back to the rig, washed, and readied for a full engine swap.
Be your own title sponsor. Nick Fratz-Orr is a full realtor in Maryland and part-time privateer during East Coast rounds of the Pro Motocross series.
ummed that your parts are on backorder? Hit the convenience store and get creative.
Riding partners Adam Cianciarulo and Chase Sexton found each other at the front in 450 Moto One. The two will spend the rest of the summer putting in laps together at the Stewart Property in Haines City, a routine that could net them more race wins as the season continues. After six motos, the two are tied in the championship standings with 101 points.
Adam Cianciarulo was untouchable in 450 Moto One. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider has openly said he needs to race his way back into shape after missing most of SX, yet led every lap on the way to his first race win of the summer.
Another week, another Aaron Plessinger-Cooper Webb battle. We're a little caught off guard by rumors that AP's move to Red Bull KTM might not happen after all, especially considering Star Racing's 450 program and KTM's need for another possible winner on the orange bike in the future seasons. More to come on this, for sure.
Who was the busted roll-off more of a distraction to: Tyler Stepek, who had to go most of 450 Moto One without proper goggles, or the guys behind him that were trying to make passes?
Yes, Dylan Ferrandis is a real contender for the 450 Class championship. The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider was considered a potential race winner before the summer started, but after six motos, he's got the best average finish of the 450 Class (2.0), has finished on the podium each time, and has the most points (133). Our post-race talks with the 450 Class rookie have been very entertaining, thanks to Ferrandis' praise for the competition and ability to recall everything that happened on the track.
Max Anstie had a rough go of things in 450 Moto One. The Twisted Tea/HEP Motorsports/Suzuki rider was in 11th place at the end of the opening lap, a prime position for the MX specialist, but an electrical issue caused the bike to cut out and stall. After a few long kicks, Anstie got the bike restarted and worked from 35th on Lap Two back to 18th place at the finish line.
Honest question: what's it like to day drink at a National? I've never gone to an Outdoor race in a non-working capacity. - Anton
What would a Cianciarulo win be without a little anxiety? A run-in with a downed rider feet from the flag spat AC off his Monster Energy Kawasaki, but he managed to get up and across the finish line a few seconds ahead of Ferrandis.
RJ's second moto wasn't easy, either, evident in the busted fork guard and long list of riders he got around during the push from 27th on Lap One to eighth at the finish.
Christopher Prebula sends it. The Team Imperial-backed rider has lined up for all six 250 Class Motos so far this summer, and although he is yet to score points, just making the cut is an accomplishment for an independent rider. Prebula went 24-25 for 26th overall at High Point.
The Swoll-Marchbanks battle for third place in 250 Moto Two was excellent. Marchbanks closed the gap in the middle of the race and started to apply pressure to Swoll in the closing minutes. Both riders had a lot on the line (Swoll the overall, Marchbanks a podium finish), and neither seemed stressed by the situation as they got into lapped traffic. Swoll took advantage of the slower riders best and was able to pull further away from Marchbanks on the final lap.
Is the 250 Class title already a two-man fight? Despite not winning a Moto at High Point, Jett Lawrence maintained control of the championship and has 132 points to his credit. Justin Cooper, meanwhile, made up for his "subpar" fifth place result in 250 Moto One with a win in 250 Moto Two and sits second overall with 121 points. Hunter Lawrence is currently ranked third overall, but trails the duo by more than 30 points.
How many teenagers does it take to pop a champagne cork?
SML SuperFans of the Week.
Anyone know the total number of moto wins, 250 & 450, earned by guys in this shot?
We're not joking when we say that the crowd noticeably perked up when Eli Tomac got behind Adam Cianciarulo. The Monster Energy Kawasaki teammates were 1-2 in the early laps of 450 Moto One, and it didn't take long for everyone to notice that Tomac was visibly faster. This race will be one of those that we watch for years.
Further back in the field was an excellent match-up between Ken Roczen and Dylan Ferrandis. The two title contenders were going all-out, with each having their better moments and slight struggles around the track, and they simultaneously chipped away at Tomac's lead. Less than a second split the two at the finish line, with Ferrandis getting second and Roczen third. After the moto, Ferrandis told us that Roczen was a tough challenge, saying, "I just didn't want to let him by and he was riding amazingly. His speed was crazy. I was feeling really good, like physically and stuff, I was tired. I could have pushed for more, but I kind of hit my top speed at some point, so I couldn't go faster. And some places on the track, he was faster, some places I was faster, but the place where he was faster, I couldn't match his speed. I think we both were great today."
The Cianciarulo-Ferrandis match-up will be a common thing in these next few years.
3-3 finishes for fourth overall. Ken Roczen's efforts at High Point didn't earn the Team Honda HRC rider any podium hardware or the red plate, but his speed on the track and determined finishes in both motos proved that he will be a force for the rest of the summer. Roczen trails Ferrandis by three points going into RedBud.
Another incredible weekend for Coty Schock. The FXR/Chaparral/Honda rider was once again the highest-ranking non-factory racer in the 450 Class with 13-15 finishes that put him 13th overall.
The run-in Ferrandis had with a lapper in the middle of 450 Moto Two was all the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha could talk about at the podium. Ferrandis somehow saved what could have been a big crash in rutted off-chamber corner, and told us later, "I just expected him to let me go and he didn't. We got together and I didn't know what happened because I hit my visor hit the handlebar. I lose the vision for like a millisecond, but just enough to do a tsunami or something. And then, when I saw I was on the bike, I cracked the throttle. You forget and just focus on the next turn. But yeah, that was really, really sketchy [Laughs]. I've raced enough in my life to be in that zone, in that moment where nothing matters, like you just want to pass the guy in front of you until you're in first and then reach the checkered flag."
Eli seemed very excited by his 450 Moto Two win. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider was off the pace early in the season due to a lack of comfort and flow that he couldn't explain (a trend that's become noticeable over the last year), but his all-out speed at High Point proved that he can still go faster than anyone when things break the right way. "It's weird. I don't know. I'm just going to call myself on the five-moto slump it was, and this was my normal self," he told us after the race. "I got off to a way better start. I've been starting pretty buried in the pack, but still, that's not all the problems that I've been having. I was really just riding like I should be. I don't know. It's weird. I asked myself the question, like, 'How can it be that much different?' So, I don't know." Tomac's title hopes seem unlikely, he's roughly 50 points behind Ferrandis and Roczen, but the three-time champion will certainly be a factor for race wins through the rest of the season.
Props to AC for hand-delivering his Monster Energy Kawasaki podium hat to a kid in a cast.
Michael Antonovich has a wealth of experience with over 10 years of moto-journalism under his belt. A lifelong racing enthusiast and rider, Anton is the Editor of Swapmoto Live and lives to be at the race track.