Tennessee National Belongs To Roczen

Cooper Webb earned his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250 class victory Saturday at Muddy Creek Raceway. (Simon Cudby Photo)
Cooper Webb earned his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250 class victory Saturday at Muddy Creek Raceway. (Simon Cudby Photo)

Coming into Muddy Creek, every moto win and overall victory in the 250 Class was split between two riders – Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett. The former series champion Baggett entered the day with back-to-back wins at the previous two rounds, while Martin controlled the championship points lead.

As the gate dropped on the first moto, Frenchman Christophe Pourcel put his Valli Motorsports Yamaha out front for the Motosport.com Holeshot Award, with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Justin Hill hot on his rear fender. Behind them, Martin found himself on the ground in the first corner following a multi-rider incident and started at the rear of the field.

As Pourcel and Hill did battle out front, GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle and Webb closed in. Both Bogle and Webb moved past Hill before Webb then took over second place from Bogle just a couple laps later. Baggett started inside the top five and also began a surge to the front, and before long it became a three-rider battle for the lead between Pourcel, Webb and Baggett. On lap 11 Webb took control of the moto from Pourcel and brought Baggett with him.

The pair pulled away in the closing laps, which allowed Baggett to make a desperate move in the final corner and somehow pass Webb on the outside to edge him out at the line by .080 seconds. Pourcel finished third, with Bogle fourth and Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin fifth. Martin fought his way through the field to finish 10th.

With a four moto winning streak in his favor, Baggett sought to claim three-straight overall victories for the first time in his career but had to overcome a slew of riders at the start of the second moto. Bogle earned the Motosport.com Holeshot Award but was pushed by Pourcel and Webb early, with each rider making the pass to set the tone out front. Webb wasted little time in putting himself in control, passing Pourcel for the lead before the conclusion of the opening lap.

Once out front, Webb was able to maintain his advantage even though Baggett made his way from another top five start to come within bike lengths of Webb with just a handful of laps remaining. After several pass attempts, Baggett made a slight bobble that opened some space between he and Webb. Shortly thereafter, Baggett made contact with a lapped rider that forced him to the ground, allowing Bogle to assume second and causing Pourcel to crash as well. Webb raced on knowing the win was his and capped off a career day by winning his first career moto and securing his first overall victory in the process. Bogle finished second with Baggett coming back to finish third.

“I’m on cloud nine, I’m not going to lie. I was beating myself up when I got passed in the last turn [in Moto 1], but I was able to come back and get the job done,” said Webb, who hails from North Carolina and considers Muddy Creek to be his home race. “To do this at my home race, I could hear these guys [the fans] every single lap. Baggett was on me the whole moto, but I told myself I wasn’t going to let him by. I’m so pumped.”

Webb had earned five runner-up finishes in nine motos prior to the win, including two second place overall finishes. Baggett’s 1-3 results placed him second overall, while Bogle’s runner-up finish in the second moto helped move him to third overall (4-2). Pourcel was fourth (3-4) while Musquin rounded out the top five (5-5).

Martin was never a factor in either moto after difficult starts and ultimately finished a season-worst seventh overall after posting 10-6 moto scores. Despite that, he still sits atop the 250 Class standings albeit by just eight points over his teammate Webb. Baggett closed in to within 17 points of the lead in third.

“The only thing I’m concerned about is getting a good week of practice and coming out strong at RedBud,” said Martin, who also earned his first career win earlier this season. “I rode as hard as I could today and gave it everything I had, so I can walk away knowing I did everything I could. We’ll just come back stronger.”