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Osborne, Tomac repeat in 50th Hangtown Classic

Annual motocross event draws thousands
By: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
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Nearly 28,000 people trek into the Prairie City Off Highway Vehicle Recreation Area during the month of May to witness the opening of the professional motocross season. This year was no exception, as sunny skies and mild temperatures made the 50th celebration of this grand event enjoyable for fans and riders alike for the opening leg of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship season.

After three days of preliminary events, amateur competition and community engagement events, riders got down to business on Saturday for the final day of competition. The afternoon kept spectators on the edge of their seats or on their feet, as all four of the final motos for the day were filled with excitement.

In the first 250 moto, Austin Forkner aced the start and led the field through the sweeping first turn, but his lead was vanquished by Justin Cooper. Cooper made a pass on Forkner within the first moments of the moto and sped off with the top spot.

Behind Cooper, the roster of riders settled into the running order, as Forkner, Jeremy Martin, Zach Osborne, and Joey Savatgy filled out the top five. Martin made a move on Forkner to take second early in the running, but Osborne worked his way by both soon after and took over the spot.

Things got interesting 10 minutes into the moto, as Osborne made the move on Cooper and sped off with the lead. Martin then took a fall and allowed Forkner by, which dropped Martin from third to fourth place. As Osborne pulled clear with the lead, the others in the pack continued their battle.

The final laps had plenty of action, as Martin regrouped after his early issue and passed Forkner for second place. Forkner then tipped over on his own in a turn, which let Aaron Plessinger pass by for third place. But up front, Osborne had the moto and won by just over five seconds.

In the second moto, Martin and Plessinger swapped the lead multiple times in the opening lap, as Martin nabbed the holeshot, Plessinger made a pass within a few turns, and Martin countered. Plessinger experienced issues in the early moments of the moto, which allowed Osborne and Martin to get by. Once into second, Osborne chipped away at the gap that Martin had built in the early moments of the moto and nine minutes into the race, Osborne made the deciding pass for the top spot. The sweep of the day gave Osborne the overall, while Martin finished second overall and Plessinger third.

“I came in here super nervous and anxious after last year when we started off with a 1-1 like this” said Osborne.  “I was almost over-trying to make it happen again, but in the end we did it. It was a pretty standard Hangtown. I’m pretty tired now, my kidneys and I feel I like I got punched repeatedly, but we left here with the 1-1 and I’m happy.  There’s a lot of racing ahead, but this is a good way to start off the season.

In the 450 class, Christian Craig claimed the holeshot over Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen, and Justin Barcia. The first laps were chaotic with multiple passes, as Marvin Musquin moved up the running order and into third while Anderson pushed his way to first. Eli Tomac pushed from outside the top-five to third with a series of fast passes.

Nine minutes into the moto, both Musquin and Tomac made moves on Anderson, which put the two rivals at the front. With a clear track, Tomac took advantage of an error by Musquin to take over the lead. This was all that the defending champion needed, as he sped off to win by thirteen seconds.

In the final 450 moto of the day, poor starts by each of them put Musquin and Tomac outside the top-10 on the first lap, but the two wasted no time getting back in the fight for the top spots. While in pursuit of Musquin, Tomac tipped over, but remounted quickly and was back on Musquin within a matter of moments. With the pace that Musquin and Tomac ran, they passed Anderson for the lead, then battled for the overall-deciding spot. Tomac took over the lead with a fast pass in the pipe section. This was the final pass for the lead, as Tomac took off and claimed the moto win.

“It was sweet, got out of the here with a 1-1 this year,” said Tomac. “Had to work for it in both motos; the first one was easier than the second one. The second moto, I had a really big moment before the table top in that second turn. I should have crashed, should have died, but somehow I stayed on my bike. I went to work and got up to the front of the pack. In the middle I tipped over, but I was able to get back up there to Marvin.”

The annual Hangtown Motocross Classic is the longest running outdoor motocross event. The annual affair brings strong tourism revenue into Folsom, that proudly is the host city year after year. Profits from the Hangtown Motocross are used to benefit local charities. Over the years, the club has assisted various charities, including the Firefighters Burn Institute. Additional profits go back into enhancing the facility for future events.