Last call for coverage of the 2021 Washougal Motocross! The 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship headed back to woods of southern Washington for the seventh round of the summer series, and yeah, it was quite the day at the track. A month of continuous racing seemed to catch up with everyone, because what little “summer break” we have started as soon as the checkered flag flew on the day’s four Motos.
Here’s a quick collection of shots and storylines that saw during the weekend…
It was good to be back at Washougal. The trip to the PNW is always one of our favorites, and while we were bummed when it was clipped from the condensed 2020 schedule, this year's return added even more excitement to the championship chases. We were most interested to see how riders like Jett Lawrence/Justin Cooper/Jeremy Martin/Marvin Musquin/Cooper Webb/Dylan Ferrandis/Eli Tomac/Ken Roczen would do on the deceivingly slick hardpack and how everyone else would close out a month-long run of racing.
Jalek Swoll got the worst of the first-turn pile-up in 250 Moto One, and the resulting concussion brought the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider's day to an early end. Jalek recounted the crash for our How Was Your Weekend interview, saying he and teammate RJ Hampshire made accidental contact and that, "My jersey hooked onto his throttle hand or something like that, which it just ripped me. I literally just took the front-end out from under me and yeah, just really went straight to my head. And then I got ran over by either Shimoda or Forkner." Swoll told us that he was seeing stars after the wreck, hence the time with the medics, and that he'll get his head checked out further during the break.
Stilez Robertson has gone through his share of ups and downs this summer. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider had a run of results through the past three rounds (12-8-8-8-11-35) but got overcome by illness and was unable to race at Washougal. We saw Robertson hanging out at the Husky truck when the first call horn sounded for 250 Moto One, and he seemed zapped of energy.
Joey Savatgy spent the week before Washougal working with WP suspension techs in Southern California to get a better feel of the 450 SX-F, and dare we say, the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM rider looked better at round seven. Savatgy's lap times in the morning practice, 10-9 Moto scores, and a 10th place overall finish show that he can run the pace of the widely-praised top-10 without being on the ragged edge. Did you like the three shots of the 2022 Fly Racing gear?
Factory bling in the morning light.
The FXR/Chaparral/Honda team went over every part on Coty Schock's bike after two chain issues at Spring Creek and, out of precaution, replaced the swing arm and other parts on the rear-end. Schock made it through both Motos at Washougal without a mechanical issue (he threw up between Motos) and went 17-14 for 15th overall. As for the team's CRF450R, it's worth pointing out that most of the critical parts, like engine and transmission components, are Honda OEM. "We have an ECU and piston and all that type of stuff, but I want to say 70-percent of the bike is stock, like OEM internals," said Schock. "We're pushing this OEM bike to that limit right now, and you never know with stuff because it's a brand-new bike and nobody really has answers for why things happen."
Pierce Brown posted 6-4 finishes for fifth overall at Washougal, career-best results for the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing rider. This was a nice bounceback for Brown, especially after the multi-rider pile-up forced him to DNF 250 Moto Two at Spring Creek and told us that he felt comfortable running in the main group. "It's almost easier to be up there with those guys because that's my speed," he said during HWYW. "But when I'm stuck in the back, I'm trying so hard just to get by guys, wasting energy. And I'm trying twice as hard, riding twice as bad. So yeah, it was cool just to ride with the guys in the mix and just feel that pace, because it wasn't anything crazy to me. I just needed to clean up a few things."
The Road Jump at the back of the property is a must-see attraction during Timed Qualifying. We headed back there for the second Expression Session of the morning and snapped shots of Dean Wilson, Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Justin Rodbell, and Carson Brown. You can download them in wallpaper sizes by clicking the "Complete Coverage" link at the top of this post.
Morning stretch with Justin Bogle. Look how he has his toe tucked under the gearshift while the back of the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM whips out.
Troy Lee Designs always does something special with his sponsors at Washougal, as it was one of the races that Troy Lee always lined up for in his past life as a pro. This year's partner was Sony Pictures, who hyped the upcoming "Venom" movie with custom-painted helmets and gear that looked like the Marvel character. I'll be honest, comic book movies are not my thing, but seeing and hearing Barcia on his GASGAS bike through the woods in that setup was incredibly cool.
We heard from multiple people affiliated with Washougal MX Park that this was their most-attended National in years, and yeah, we have to agree. Fans were already filing in when we got there at 7 AM, had the prime hillside spots occupied before bikes hit the track for practice, and spread out over every inch of the property by early afternoon. Can you blame them?
Two lads enjoying the ride.
Jordan Jarvis ran the entire race day in the 250 Class at Washougal. The SGB Racing/Maxxis/Babbitt's Kawasaki rider was outside looking in after being 44th in Timed Qualifying and fifth in a hard-fought LCQ, but after Stilez Robertson withdrew from the day, Jarvis was sent to the gate as the first alternate. This was the second time that Jarvis had made it into the main show at a round of Pro (she was on the track in 250 Moto Two as an alternate in Florida last year), and the first time that she raced both Motos; 36-30 finishes put her 34th overall.
A hot, dry summer was a major factory that the track crew had to deal with in the weeks leading up to the race, as workers told us that they'd spent days hauling in new topsoil and soaking the track for it to have some moisture. We applaud their efforts because while some still said it was the driest, slickest Washougal of recent memory, it could have been much worse.
The two leading title contenders lined up side-by-side in 250 Moto One, which meant that their battle was going to begin the moment the gate dropped. We were very interested to see how this played out, given the two rider's recent strengths (Cooper) and weaknesses (Lawrence) when it comes to starts.
Cooper had an advantage on Lawrence (and most of the pack) as they went over the slight rise on the straightaway, a move that played a part in the rest of the race.
o Shimoda's bike received quite a bit of damage in the first-turn incident, and it took him and the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team a few moments to sort out the damage (twisted controls, a plugged up exhaust pipe) before they got it bump-started. Shimoda's decision to file in with the front-runners after getting lapped helped him tremendously because he ran their pace, caught up to the rest of the pack, and worked from the last place to 24th at the checkered flag. Shimoda turned a 2:15.104 lap time despite the crash, which was the eighth-fastest of 250 Moto One.
Another batch of rough early laps put Jett Lawrence in the middle of the pack. The Team Honda HRC rider was scored in 14th during the first pass over the scoring loop, and when we took this shot on lap two of 250 Moto One, he'd just gotten around two riders. Starts have admittedly been an issue for Lawrence in recent rounds (a practice start before this Moto had a small mistake, his second Moto seemed better), and it's something that he and the team will aim to improve going into the second part of the summer.
Carson Mumford isn't one of those West Coast kids with a great record at Washougal. "I honestly, to be straight up, I hate this place. I never won here as an amateur and, not to sound cocky, but I normally I won most places I went, especially if I went there multiple times. I normally got it done. Here, I struggled. I’d be leading a Moto, got a flat, just like weird stuff happened," he told us during How Was Your Weekend.
An excellent start, holeshot, and five laps at the front of the 250 Class will probably change Mumford's opinion on the place, as the FXR/Chaparral/Honda rider held his own against Justin Cooper during the opening lap, a feisty performance that included a fast, close pass after cresting Horsepower Hill. Arm pump and some unsettled breathing dropped Mumford back to 11th in the Moto, but he was happy with the effort, saying, "Even fading or whatever, it’s still cool to see, to still show speed, just kind of back to my old ways. I straight up was smiling in my helmet for like five laps. It was just like it was coming so effortless to me. It was just like, 'Wow, this is sick.'"
Hunter Lawrence found out how easily you can lose grip and go down at Washougal. The Team Honda HRC rider was in the thick of things during 250 Moto Two and had passed up to sixth place when the rear-end of his bike stepped out in a shadowy section of the track, a mistake that put him on the ground. Unharmed by the simple spill, Lawrence quickly remounted the bike and finished the race in 10th place; 5-10 scores put him seventh overall on the day.
Justin Cooper never lifted the throttle in this small set of rollers at the back of the property, and apparently neither did our camera, because we fired off a burst of shots that showed the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider going through waves.
Pierce Brown and Hunter Lawrence's tussle for a top-five finish was one of the highlights in 250 Moto One. Brown had the early advantage and controlled the lines, but Lawrence managed to get by him late in the race.
The 250 Class is loaded with talented riders right now and we're starting to figuring out which guys will be battling one another for years to come. Oh, and there's a new crop of rookies who will join the field after Loretta's. What a time to be a race fan.
Derek Kelley had a solid week in Portland. The TPJ-backed rider placed second at the Thursday Night Motocross race at PIR and collected $2140 for his efforts, then went 14-14 for 14th overall in the 250 Class on Saturday at Washougal and earned the FMF Racing Privateer Power award.
Who is responsible for this hat? The Wu would not approve.
Chase Sexton's holeshot to win in 450 Moto One is proof that a start is very, very important in Pro Motocross. The Team Honda HRC rider told swap at the Alpinestars intro this week how he and the team made some small changes to his CRF450F, including a 5mm reduction in subframe height for improved body positioning and a launch control map in the ignition that limits the bike's revs on the starting line.
Carson Brown gave the locals plenty to cheer about at Washougal. The BBR-backed rider came into the weekend with a Husqvarna TC 250 two-stroke and a "blown out" shoulder, put down the 21st-fastest lap in Timed Qualifying, wheelied through the whoops on his way to the checkered flag in 450 Moto One, and finished in 18th place.
1040 - Progress for Red Bull KTM. Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin's results through the first part of the summer haven't been what many expected for the factory team, and after changes to bike setup (they were back to the split clamp at Washougal) and practice programs (Webb confirmed he's out of the Baker's Factory for the summer, Musquin has been in California recently), both riders finished in the top-10 at Washougal.
Webb/Barcia/Ferrandis going at it for a spot in the top-five? You know this was a scrappy battle.
SML Super Fans of the Week. We've seen this same crew cheer riders on during every lap at Washougal, so it was cool to hear them call out "Swapmoto Live!" when we walked by during 450 Moto One. The support is appreciated.
Ryan Sipes is something. The do-it-all rider made the trip from Kentucky to Portland, finished third at Thursday Night Motocross, joined Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing at Washougal, and held his own against the pack of full-time racers in the 450 Class for 14-20 finishes and 17th overall. So what else is on his summer to-do list? A trip to California to learn FMX Quater Pipe ("I'm a little terrified of it. But if they can do it, I can do it, right?" he said in HWYW), followed by the Big Hill Jam in Oregon, a Hard Enduro in Tennessee the Peoria TT, and the ISDE in Italy.
There's always room in Kickstart for photos of world class riders going at it for position.
Ken Roczen held Marvin Musquin off for a few laps in 450 Moto One, but Musquin made his move on Roczen halfway through the race and took the position.
Dilan Schwartz went through somewhat of a mid-season slump, but 13-6 finishes and eighth overall at Washougal have the BARX/Chaparral/ECSTAR/Suzuki rider back on everyone's radar. There's no denying that Schwartz has speed, because his 2:16.698 lap time in 250 Moto Two was within fractions of a second of everyone in the top-10, including winner Jeremy Martin. Keep an eye on the Suzuki rider.
Wil Hahn, hard at work.
Jeremy Martin was fired up by his 3-1 finishes and overall win, his first at Washougal. The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider told us that the track is not one of his best, so this victory (his second in a row, making him the only two-time winner this summer) was extra special. "I’ve been coming here since 2013 and never have I won a Moto, never have I gotten an overall," he said during HWYW behind the podium. "You can see I’m happy. It was a bummer to see J Cooper go down, that’s how I got it, but that’s racing. I’ve gone down before, too, so, I’m just glad he’s okay."
Can we consider JMart to be a title contender? The Washougal win boosted him to fourth in the point standings and he's the only past champion in the group. Currently down 61 to leader Justin Cooper with 10 Motos left on the calendar, he'd need to finish an average of six points better per Moto/12 points better per event. It's a longshot, but given the history of the 250 Class, it's not entirely out of the question.
Jeremy's HWYW interview was impromptu, as we pulled out the phone and asked him to recount the race and his decision to keep going despite injuries. "You know, sometimes things in life aren’t always fair. You know, other people get better breaks or more luck and everything else like that," he told us. "And I’m not bitter. I’ve asked that question, 'Why?' You can ask why and cry about it, or you have one choice and that’s to move forward, let it build character and push through it. And then one day, hopefully you can become a badass and look back and think about it. So I’m just thankful."
Justin Cooper's 250 Moto Two crash up Horsepower Hill was wild. The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider was going all-out to keep the battle with Martin going, landed in a tricky/chewed up spot, and was shot toward the fence. Unharmed and unfazed, Cooper got back on the bike, rode it to a turnaround spot down the hill, and rejoined the race in the top-10.
Cooper goes into the second half of the season with the red plate and an eight-point advantage in the championship.
Eli Tomac's charges were something to see at Washougal. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider is hell-bent on overcoming his "subpar" first Moto scores-overall finishes, and it showed in the last seven minutes of both Motos when he tracked down Chase Sexton, passed him using outside lines, and then went after Dylan Ferrandis. The crowd cheered to Tomac's charge around the track, and you could hear their excitement pick up anytime he went through a section or made noticeable gains on the competition.
Dylan Ferrandis made a statement in 450 Moto Two. The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider got into the lead pack early, reeled in Chase Sexton for the top spot, and put some distance between himself and the rest of the pack in the last half of the race. Tomac's late push gave Ferrandis reason to step it up and he told us that the last laps of the race were everything he had. "When I see Eli was second, I was like, ;Okay, now all the energy I have left, I need to use it. And yeah, I really tried to keep him away from me and this last lap was crazy. But yeah, I was managing my energy a little bit deep inside me to protect my position," he told us. How did he know the attack was coming? Ferrandis said that he's watched footage from past races and knows where-when to expect these sorts of things. "before every race, I watched the past years video of racing at every track, and I mean, Eli was on fire every year, and I think he won so many times with 1-1, and every time from the back, came back sometime in last lap. I was like, 'Okay, now it’s me to prove that I can fight Eli.' And yeah, that was a good moment. I was really proud to win this Moto against him." Ferrandis is now ahead by 47-points going into the break.
Farm to table trophies. The wooden awards for the 2021 race came from trees on the Huffman family property in Washougal and were complete with hand-finished paintings of the track's starting gate. Thanks for reading Kickstart; hit the homepage for more from Washougal.
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.
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