2021 Unadilla Motocross | Race Report
Riders returned to the starting line for the 2021 Unadilla Motocross, round eight of the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. One of the few places that has remained on the schedule, has retained numerous elements of the original layout through the decades, and consistently makes for excellent racing, the Upstate New York track is practically hallowed ground.
This year’s four Motos on the old-school track saw the title contenders go at it for the lead positions, tightened up the point standings, and gave a few riders a much-needed morale boost as they get ready for a five-week marathon to end the season.
250 Moto One
The first 250 moto was off and Justin Cooper was off to the early lead with Jett Lawrence and Jeremy Martin just behind. Jett Lawrence made a quick and aggressive pass on Martin early to take over second place. Jett then immediately went after Justin Cooper for the lead, as he cut under him at the bottom of the hill but then lost traction and fell a few bike lengths behind. Maximus Vohland sat just behind Jeremy Martin in fourth place with Hampshire trailing. Hunter Lawrence was charging his way towards the front as he made the pass on Jalek Swoll for seventh place. Up front, Jett Lawrence was back on Justin Coopers rear wheel and challenging. Pierce brown was down in the same spot Aaron Plessinger had gone down in the last moto. Back to the battle up front, Jett and Justin swapped lines but Justin continued to hold down the lead over Jett. Austin Forkner went down while running in the top-10 and dropped outside of 30th. Jett and Justin continued to battle over the lead, all while pulling away from Jeremy Martin and the rest of the field. Forkner was now out of the race after his crash, as well as Marchbanks. RJ Hampshire began to reel in Jeremy Martin and challenge for third place. Hunter Lawrence continued to charge ahead, as he made the pass on Hammaker and then went after Vohland for fifth place. After trailing for a few laps, Hunter was finally able to make the pass on Vohland for fifth place. With three laps to go, Justin Cooper continued to lead with a 6-second lead on Jett, while Jeremy Martin held down third place. Carson Mumford had a quiet but solid moto as he sat around tenth place throughout the race. As the checkered flag waved, Justin Cooper snagged the moto win after a dominant ride at his home town race.
250 Moto Two
The gate was down and the second 250 moto was off, as Justin Cooper was off to the early lead again with Jeremy Martin just behind. RJ Hampshire sat in third, but Jett Lawrence was trailing and pressuring. Jett shut the door on RJ and took over third place. Jeremy Martin pulled alongside Cooper after taking an inside rut but Justin managed to hold onto the lead for the time being. Jett Lawrence was now knocking on Jeremy Martin’s door, as he took a shot at second place but was rejected. Jeremy then found another gear and went back after his teammate and the lead. Meanwhile, Hammaker ran in fifth place with rookie Kilroy trailing in sixth. Back up front, Jeremy Martin beat Justin Cooper up the hill and made the pass for the lead after a drag race between identical bikes. Jett Lawrence then went after Justin and made the pass momentarily before going outside, allowing Cooper to retake the spot. Jett Lawrence would now have to remount another charge at Cooper and second place. On the side of the track, Pierce Brown was being helped into the medical rig after another crash. A few laps later, Jett Lawrence railed around an outside rut to make the pass on Justin Cooper and secure second place. Jett continued on with that lap to log his fastest time of the moto, ultimately cutting the gap between himself and Jeremy Martin in half. RJ Hampshire was now on Justin Cooper’s rear wheel and pressuring for third place. RJ beat Cooper to an inside line and was able to take the third place position away from the points leader. Up front, Jett Lawrence was just behind Jeremy Martin and took the same outside rut he had used to pass Cooper to make a run at Martin for the lead. In the following corner, Jett beat Jeremy to the primary line and took away the race lead. Back in the pack, things were cooking up for Levi Kitchen, as he began to pressure Maximus Vohland for sixth. Levi took that seemingly popular outside rut through the sweeper to make the pass on Vohland for sixth. After going down on the first lap, Jo Shimoda was making his way through to the pack as he passed Jalek Swoll for ninth place and was then going after Frye. Jo Shimoda was going for the pass on Frye through an inside line but a track marker was sticking out on the track and Jo clipped his hand on it, leading to Jo cruising off the track in obvious pain. Jett Lawrence crossed the checkered flag first and after a dominant second moto, took the moto win and the overall win in Unadilla.
450 Moto One
As the first race of the day left the gate, Ken Roczen lead the field into the first turn with Aaron Plessinger and Dylan Ferrandis just behind. Chase Sexton high-sided as they exited the second turn and went down hard. Roczen and Plessinger, your top two qualifiers, began to gap the rest of the field after just a few laps. Justin Bogle sat behind Ferrandis in fourth place with Cooper Webb trailing. Plessinger ran close to Roczen, but after a slight mistake, Ken pulled away to a 2-second lead. Eli Tomac made the pass on Webb, but Cooper came right back as he darted for the inside before Eli closed the door to hold onto the position. A few laps later, Aaron Plessinger began to close-in on Roczen, as he cut Ken’s lead down to under a second. Just as Aaron caught Ken’s rear wheel, Roczen seemed to up the pace a tad and pull back away slightly. Meanwhile, Eli Tomac had passed his way into fourth place and Marvin Musquin followed to secure fifth. Joey Savatgy then made the pass on his teammate Justin Bogle for sixth. Ken Roczen continued to lead but Aaron Plessinger seemed to have a quicker pace, as he stalked Ken from a second back awaiting a time to strike. As the leaders began to hit lapped traffic, Plessinger looked inside of Roczen but then Aaron bobbled at the bottom of the hill a corner later and lost his momentum for the climb out. Aaron Plessinger went down hard after his bike bottomed out and shot him back into the ground, almost backflipping, but then body-slamming Aaron into the ground. Roczen now had a 14-second lead on Ferrandis, who quietly remained in second place. Meanwhile, Chase Sexton had climbed his way back up to 13th place after his second turn crash. Ken Roczen crossed the finish line first and grabbed an impressive win in the first moto at Unadilla.
450 Moto Two
The second 450 moto was off and Chase Sexton was off to the early lead with Cooper Webb just behind. Ken Roczen sat in third place after making an early pass on Ferrandis. Kenny then went after Webb and power-slid underneath him before jumping down-hill to make the pass for second. Dylan Ferrandis was now pressuring Cooper Webb and made the pass after jumping to the outside line. Marvin Musquin then made the pass on his teammate Cooper Webb, dropping Webb to fifth. Up front, the HRC Honda teammates had already pulled away from the rest of the field after just a lap. Ken Roczen began to apply the pressure on teammate Chase Sexton and challenge for the lead, just before Chase made a slight mistake and had to roll a step up, while Ken jumped past and into the lead. Brandon Hartranft was unfortunately out of moto two after a strong showing in the first moto. Back up front, Chase Sexton managed to reel back in Ken Roczen and now sat just a second out of the lead. However, after a few laps and a few mistakes, Ken built his lead back up and now sat 5 seconds ahead of Sexton. Dean Wilson made the pass on Coty Schock for eighth place, and Max Anstie was now knocking on Schock’s door. It took a few more laps, but Anstie managed to make the pass one Coty before the moto reached its end. As the checkered flag waved, Ken Roczen took the second moto win and went 1-1 at Unadilla.