HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. – Zach Osborne earned his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 class victory Saturday as the series finally kicked off its season at Tennessee’s famed Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.
The first 450 class moto of the afternoon saw the pair of JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzukis at the head of the pack, with Freddie Noren edging out Joey Savatgy for the holeshot. The teammates battled one another for the lead, which allowed Jason Anderson to take advantage and get around both riders before the conclusion of the opening lap. The clear track proved to work into Anderson’s favor as he quickly surged out to a multi-second lead.
Both Noren and Savatgy continued to receive pressure from a slew of riders and started to lose additional positions, with Cooper Webb soon taking over second and Chase Sexton slotting into third. Behind them, reigning three-time champion Eli Tomac was battling his way forward as well, pushing his way into a three way fight for third aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki alongside Osborne and Sexton.
As Anderson continued to build on his lead and Webb asserted himself into second, the fight for third persisted and forced a miscue by Sexton, who went down and lost multiple spots. That allowed Osborne to take over third and moved Tomac into fourth. A determined Osborne kept his charge going and it allowed him to close in on Webb.
After spending several laps in pursuit of second, Osborne took advantage of Webb’s difficulty getting by a lapped rider to move into the runner-up spot. Behind this battle Tomac started to lose touch with the leaders, which put him into the clutches of Justin Barcia, Marvin Musquin and his teammate Adam Cianciarulo, who all eventually got around the No. 1 of Tomac.
Out front, Anderson enjoyed a stress-free race to secure his third moto win by a handful of seconds over Osborne. Barcia’s late charge saw him get around Webb for third, while Musquin also passed his teammate to grab fourth. Webb completed the top five. Tomac soldiered home in seventh.
The second and deciding 450 class moto saw Osborne put himself at the head of the pack off the gate to claim the holeshot, with Cianciarulo right on his rear fender. In just his second moto in the 450 class, last year’s 250 Class titleholder put the pressure on Osborne for the lead, which saw Cianciarulo move to the front of the field for the first time. Unfortunately, just a couple laps later he crashed and dropped out of contention, which moved Osborne back on top. Anderson got by Sexton to take over second, with Tomac lurking in fourth.
Osborne jumped out to a lead of a couple seconds on his teammate, while Tomac made the pass on Sexton for third and looked to pressure Anderson for second. The champ went to work on Anderson and his patience eventually paid off, taking over the runner-up spot from the opening moto winner.
The remainder of the moto became a see-saw battle between Osborne and Tomac, continually trading momentum lap after lap. Whenever Tomac closed in, Osborne responded to pull back out. About a second separated them throughout the waning laps, and with two laps to go a slight bobble by Tomac gave Osborne the breathing room he needed. Osborne raced to his second career moto win a handful of seconds ahead of Tomac. After maintaining his hold of third for most of the moto, Anderson dropped several positions to sixth, which allowed Sexton to record his first moto podium in third.
Osborne’s charge in the final moto was enough to vault him to his first overall victory in the premier division (2-1), while Anderson parlayed his strong start into a runner-up effort (1-6). After a slow start to the day, Tomac’s strong finish helped him earn the final spot on the overall podium (7-2).
“I worked so hard to come back from injury, so it means a lot to be up here,” said Osborne. “I’m so grateful that we even have the opportunity to be here and race. I’m appreciative of all the hard work everyone put in to make this happen, because we’re in hard times right now. This track raced unbelievably today, and it showed why it’s so legendary.”
The win allowed Osborne to open up a seven-point lead in the 450 class standings over Anderson, while Tomac sits 11 points back in third.
Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis was dominant in the 250 class with a 1-1 sweep of the motos. He won the first moto by nearly 20 seconds and backed it up by winning the second moto by nearly 15 seconds.
“It was a perfect day,” said Ferrandis. “When you don’t race for a long time you never know how you are going to be when you come back. But, getting good starts and a good set up on the bike makes it easier. I think if I can keep trying to win every time then maybe we can have a perfect season. That’s what I want to do. I’m just so happy with today. It couldn’t have been better.”