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RedBud 250MX: Aaron Plessinger earns third 1-1 sweep of season

Round 7 of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is underway at RedBud. Check back here for recaps and highlights from the 250 Class throughout the day.

QUALIFYING

One of the strongest riders in recent weeks has been Shane McElrath, and that trend continued at RedBud. McElrath, who won his first career 250MX overall two weeks ago, has been on the podium at each of the last two rounds and was the fastest qualifier today. The KTM rider’s time in the first session (2:05.135) was nearly a full second better than anyone else, and that will give him the first gate pick for Moto 1.

Aaron Plessinger enters the day with a 23-point lead over Alex Martin in the championship standings. Qualifying hasn’t exactly been Plessinger’s strong point this season — his best result is just fifth place — and once again he’ll have to overcome a weaker gate pick after qualifying in 11th place. Despite the lack of qualifying success, Plessinger’s average starting position in the motos (5.7) leads all active riders in the 250 Class, so he’s been able to make up for it when it counts. After missing the overall podium at the last two rounds, the Star Yamaha rider will look to get back on track today.

250 Combined Qualifying Times
1. Shane McElrath, 2:05.135
2. Chase Sexton, 2:06.012
3. Justin Cooper, 2:06.035
4. Austin Forkner, 2:06.125
5. Joey Savatgy, 2:06.674
6. Michael Mosiman, 2:06.771
7. Sean Cantrell, 2:06.930
8. Alex Martin, 2:07.046
9. Dylan Ferrandis, 2:07.332
10. Colt Nichols, 2:07.526
11. Aaron Plessinger, 2:07.576
12. Jordan Bailey, 2:07.852
13. RJ Hampshire, 2:07.955
14. Garrett Marchbanks, 2:08.166
15. Jordon Smith, 2:08.519
16. Hayden Mellross, 2:08.871
17. Mitchell Harrison, 2:09.719
18. Challen Tennant, 2:10.377
19. Ryan Sipes, 2:10.935
20. Jimmy Decotis, 2:10.949

Full Results

MOTO 1

More success for Shane McElrath — on the opening lap of the race, he overtook holeshot winner Austin Forkner for the top spot. Aaron Plessinger soon joined the fray to make it a three-way battle for the lead, and on Lap 2 he successfully used LaRocco’s Leap to pass Forkner for second place.

Five minutes into the moto, Plessinger was all over the back of McElrath, and when they came back around to LaRocco’s Leap, Plessinger was once again able to use the jump to make a pass. That gave Plessinger the lead, which he would go on to hold for another 15 minutes or so. By that point, Forkner — who had gotten back up to second place — was all over him and battling hard. Forkner found a line around Plessinger, but his time in the lead only lasted about 20 seconds. In an attempt to re-pass Forkner, Plessinger took an inside line that intersected with Forkner’s outside line, and the two riders collided. Plessinger stayed upright, but Forkner went down and appeared to be in some pain. He then pulled into the pits and did not finish the race.

With Forkner out of the running, Plessinger’s lead was uncontested for the rest of the moto and he took the checkered flag by a comfortable margin (even with a quick tip-over on the final lap) to score his fifth moto win of the season. RJ Hampshire finished second, a new season-high for the GEICO Honda rider, and Dylan Ferrandis rallied from 15th after Lap 1 to finish third.

As for Plessinger’s chief championship rival, Alex Martin got a strong start and was running in the top five early, but then he fell on Lap 3 and lost several positions. It was the continuation of a recurring problem for Martin, who has now crashed in six of the last seven motos he has raced. And it wouldn’t be the end of that problem either — Martin went down again while battling with Garrett Marchbanks late in the race, though he quickly remounted and was running in fifth place. A late pass on McElrath moved Martin up to fourth for the moto.

250 Moto 1 Results
1. Aaron Plessinger
2. RJ Hampshire
3. Dylan Ferrandis
4. Alex Martin
5. Shane McElrath
6. Garrett Marchbanks
7. Colt Nichols
8. Justin Cooper
9. Michael Mosiman
10. Jordon Smith
11. Chase Sexton
12. Jordan Bailey
13. Mitchell Harrison
14. Dakota Alix
15. Cameron McAdoo
16. Ryan Sipes
17. Joey Savatgy
18. Hayden Mellross
19. Ramyller Alves
20. Challen Tennant

27. Jimmy Decotis
35. Austin Forkner (DNF)
38. Sean Cantrell (DNF)

Full Results

MOTO 2

A huge pile-up in the first turn claimed several riders including Shane McElrath, RJ Hampshire and Colt Nichols. Meanwhile out front, Aaron Plessinger, Joey Savatgy and Alex Martin came away with the top three spots while holeshot winner Mitchell Harrison faded back.

About 10 minutes into the moto, Austin Forkner — who nearly won Moto 1 before his DNF — caught Savatgy and Martin and initiated a three-way battle for second place. With the racing as tight as it was, all three riders were forced to jump LaRocco’s Leap, and after a few minutes, Martin and Forkner both got around Savatgy.

The battle then came down to Forkner and Martin, who were involved in an incident while battling for the lead last week at Southwick. This time around, the two riders avoided contact, and Forkner successfully passed Martin for second place shortly after the midpoint of the moto.

Forkner couldn’t make a run at the leader though, so Plessinger finished off the 1-1 sweep with ease. Forkner, Martin, Dylan Ferrandis and Savatgy rounded out the top five in the moto.

The pair of moto wins also gave Plessinger his third overall victory of the season, with all three of those wins coming in the form of 1-1 sweeps. Martin (4-3) finished second overall but lost ground to Plessinger in the championship standings. The gap between the two riders now stands at 35 points as the series heads into Round 8.

Ferrandis (3-4) rounded out the overall podium for the day at RedBud.

250 Moto 2 Results
1. Aaron Plessinger
2. Austin Forkner
3. Alex Martin
4. Dylan Ferrandis
5. Joey Savatgy
6. Chase Sexton
7. Justin Cooper
8. Mitchell Harrison
9. Shane McElrath
10. Jordan Bailey
11. Michael Mosiman
12. Dakota Alix
13. Ryan Sipes
14. Cameron McAdoo
15. Hayden Mellross
16. Challen Tennant
17. Colt Nichols
18. Austin Root
19. Kevin Moranz
20. Jordon Smith

24. Jimmy Decotis
39. Garrett Marchbanks (DNF)
40. RJ Hampshire (DNF)

Full Results

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