AMA Monster Energy Supercross Series
Round 6: AT&T Stadium
Courtesy of Feld Entertainment
ARLINGTON, TX, FEB. 11, 2017
Monster Energy Supercross made its annual trip to Texas on Saturday night for the sixth round of the 2017 season. On a dramatic night of racing, Frenchman Marvin Musquin rode brilliantly to score his first career 450SX-class victory with a dominant wire-to-wire effort aboard his Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine, in front of a crowd of 57,807 fans inside AT&T Stadium.
In the Western Regional 250SX class, Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki’s Justin Hill took advantage of misfortune experienced by Troy Lee Designs/ Red Bull/ KTM’s Shane McElrath to claim his fourth consecutive win and extend his championship points lead.
When the gate dropped for the 450SX-class main event, it appeared as though Monster Energy/ Yamalube/ Chaparral/ Yamaha Financial Services/ Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb would become the first rider to earn multiple SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Awards this season. However, a downed rider off the start forced officials to throw the red flag, which immediately brought the race to a halt and forced a restart.
When the 22-rider field launched off of the starting line for the restart, it was Musquin who captured the holeshot and put his KTM out front for the first time in 2017, narrowly edging out RCH/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing’s Justin Bogle and Webb. Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider and championship leader Ryan Dungey was buried outside of the top 10 following his worst start of the season.
As Musquin rode effortlessly at the front, Webb began his attack by jumping his way past Bogle for second on lap one.
On the ensuing lap, Cole Seely followed Webb past Bogle for third. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac, who’d started seventh and entered the night with back-to-back wins, broke into the top five on lap two and started to make a run for the lead group. Tomac was on fire as he clicked off blazing-fast laps and inched onto the rear wheel of Bogle, making the pass for fourth on lap six. By then, Musquin had opened up a comfortable lead over the rest of the field a quarter of the way into the race.
On lap seven, Webb slowed quickly after suffering a flat rear tire in his chase of the leader. He lost several positions before ultimately getting some attention in the mechanics’ areas and falling out of contention. Webb’s misfortune allowed Seely to move into second, and a hard-charging Tomac to move into third. However, shortly after moving into podium position, Tomac crashed on lap eight and dropped out of contention because of the damage his Kawasaki sustained.
The hard luck of his fellow competitors worked to the advantage of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson, who jumped into third, just ahead of his teammate Dean Wilson and Dungey, who had valiantly fought his way into the top five after starting 13th. In just his second race for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, Wilson fended off the attacks from Dungey for several laps, but the two-time and reigning champion’s persistence paid off with a pass for fourth on lap 20.
With no one to challenge him, Musquin rode steadily the entire 26 laps and took the checkered flag by a margin of 5.3 seconds for his first premier-class win. Seely equaled his season-best result in the runner-up spot, followed by Anderson with his first podium of the year. Dungey enjoyed an impressive comeback, but saw his current six-race podium stream come to an end, finishing fourth.
Musquin is now the 61st different 450SX-class winner in history and the first Frenchman to claim victory since David Vuillemin did so this same weekend 15 years ago, in 2002. He dedicated the win to his brother Mika Musquin, who suffered career-ending injuries in a crash at the end of 2015 in Europe.
“I grabbed the holeshot on the restart and just tried to focus on what was in front of me; it was so easy to make a mistake out there tonight,” said Musquin. “This [victory] feels so good, to stand up here [on top of the podium] for the first time in my career. I’ve dreamed of this since I was a little boy in France and would like to dedicate this to my brother, who has been so supportive of me and gone through difficult times the past few years.”
Despite finishing off of the podium, Dungey still managed to leave Texas with a larger advantage in the championship due to Tomac’s troubles. He now holds an 18-point lead over Musquin and sits 22 points ahead of Seely, who both surpassed Tomac, who finished 15th, in the standings.
In the Western Regional 250SX-class main event, McElrath was quick out of the gate and raced to his second SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award of the season, with Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki teammates Justin Hill and Austin Forkner in tow. McElrath and Hill instantly set the pace at the front of the field, while Forkner settled in behind them.
The battle for the lead was on immediately, as the championship’s most consistent and successful duo, McElrath and Hill, paced each other during the opening laps, establishing a small cushion over their fellow competitors. Rookie Forkner continued his pursuit just behind the duo, while GEICO Honda’s Jimmy Decotis was hot on his rear fender.
As McElrath encountered lapped traffic near the halfway point of the race, he meticulously found his way around without any difficulty, which allowed him to pull away from Hill. He maintained that comfortable lead out front, but then disaster struck McElrath on lap 16, when his bike lost pace and caused him to lose positions, ultimately allowing Hill to take over the lead. McElrath would continue to drop back and eventually had to retire from the race. Forkner then moved into second, while Yamalube/ Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger found his way into third after starting 12th.
Hill consistently laid down fast laps out front to grab his fourth consecutive victory and seventh win of his career by a margin of just over two seconds. He’s the first Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki rider to win four in a row since Christophe Pourcel did so in 2010. Hill has now won more races this season alone than in his entire career entering 2017.
“It was a tough break for Shane [McElrath] tonight; I hate to win like that, but we never gave up all night,” said Hill. “This is the first time I’ve been in the championship fight this late in the season, and I’m going to do all I can to bring it home. It’s great for the entire team to extend our lead heading into the break.”
Forkner earned a career-best finish in second, giving the Pro Circuit team its first one-two sweep since the season-ending East/ West Regional Shootout in Las Vegas during the 2014 season, which was won by Hill.
Plessinger put in an incredible come-from-behind effort to finish third.
Hill extended his lead in the Western Regional Championship to 21 points over Plessinger, whose third-place finish moved him into second in the standings. After a 22nd-place finish, McElrath slid back to third and now faces a 25-point deficit to the lead, one full race.
The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross season will continue next Saturday, February 18, with the seventh round and its debut inside the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. It will mark the championship’s return to Minnesota for the first time since 2013. The action can be seen via tape delay on FS1 at 7 p.m. PT/ 10 p.m. ET.
For more information on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, please log on to www.SupercrossLIVE.com, the official website of Monster Energy Supercross.
Results: February 11, 2017 (Round 6)
450SX: 1. Marvin Musquin (KTM); 2. Cole Seely (Hon); 3. Jason Anderson (Hsq); 4. Ryan Dungey (KTM); 5. Dean Wilson (Hsq); 6. Broc Tickle (Suz); 7. Jake Weimer (Suz); 8. Davi Millsaps (KTM); 9. Justin Bogle (Suz); 10. Malcolm Stewart (Suz).
WESTERN REGIONAL 250SX: 1. Justin Hill (Kaw); 2. Austin Forkner (Kaw); 3. Aaron Plessinger (Yam); 4. Jimmy Decotis (Hon); 5. Dan Reardon (Yam); 6. Jeremy Martin (Hon); 7. Martin Davalos (Hsq); 8. Cole Martinez (Yam); 9. Hayden Mellross (Yam); 10. Kyle Chisholm (Hon).
450SX Class Championship Points Standings (After 6 rounds): 1. Ryan Dungey (129); 2. Marvin Musquin (111); 3. Cole Seely (107); 4. Eli Tomac (100); 5. Jason Anderson (85); 6. Davi Millsaps (83); 7. Cooper Webb (71); 8. (TIE) Chad Reed (64)/ Dean Wilson (64); 10. Broc Tickle (55).
Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Points Standings (After 6 rounds): 1. Justin Hill (138); 2. Aaron Plessinger (117); 3. Shane McElrath (113); 4. Martin Davalos (106); 5. Jimmy Decotis (91); 6. Austin Forkner (90); 7. Dan Reardon (72); 8. Kyle Chisholm (60); 9. Jeremy Martin (55); 10. Phil Nicoletti (54).