The return to The Wick 338 for Round 7 of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship kicked off with the 450 class letting the sand fly at the Red Bull Southwick National.
Marvin Musquin lead into the first turn, but Justin Bogle (who has been on fire with his starts in recent races) came thru to steal the holeshot and lead immediately. However, these two would exchange positions back and forth once more before they settled into their positions with Bogle holding the lead for the first lap.
Roczen started a little bit deeper in the pack than usual but made quick work of the competition. The first rider to put up a battle was Christophe Pourcel who managed to hold him off for a few turns but Roczen would not be held back. Next in line was Musquin in second and following a slip of the hand and a bobble in a turn Roczen would push through for that number two spot.
Eli Tomac was playing a very similar game as Roczen taking no time to move up in the pack early on. Tomac blasted past Pourcel and then Musquin shortly after.
Roczen found his way around Tomac and then with just more than 17 minutes left before the 2-lap marker, Roczen took over the leader’s position and Tomac maintained his range to Roczen as he passed Bogle as well.
Tomac ran out of goggle tear-offs extremely early in the moto. Considering the way the sand flys at Southwick, Tomac was in real trouble without his ability to quickly clear his vision and rode through the corners with his head turned and hands ready to wipe.
Still, Tomac didn’t let up on his attack toward Roczen. With a downhill sprint into a turn, Tomac found an inside line to Roczen and made his pass attempt a success and took off to lead the lap for only the second time this season. Tomac then ran away with the moto and went on to create more than a 25-second gap over Roczen.
Behind Tomac would be Roczen finishing in second and Musquin right behind him in third.
Bogle snatched up his fourth straight holeshot but around two turns later Pourcel came in to steal the lead and Bogel went down.
Roczen wasted no time and took the lead away from Pourcel and Tomac followed quickly behind knocking Pourcel back to third.
Looking back at Musquin in fourth and Barcia in fifth they were riding very close as they tried to catch the leaders. Barcia came into a corner wide but then squared up and cut across the inside and on his exit of the corner he swiped the front tire of Musquin that sent him down and deep into the pack to stabilize in ninth.
As Roczen attempted to stretch his lead in the front Tomac would do his best to close the gap. As the two came within bike lengths of each other they approached the corner that Tomac made his moto winning pass on Roczen before. Roczen played it extremely smart, though, and took away the inside line Tomac used before.
Less than a lap later, Tomac found a new inside line to take the lead. Tomac made it happen once again and started to stretch it out with half of the moto still to go. However, unlike the first moto, Tomac would not get the distance from Roczen he managed in the earlier moto so the two stayed very close.
Looking back to the front Tomac came up on a lapper and was slowed to a point where he actually dumped the bike on the inside of a corner. Roczen flew past Tomac for the lead, but Tomac was quit to pick up his bike and hit the gas. Without hardly any time elapsing and over the course of just a few quick turns, Tomac found his favorite corner to take the inside line and the lead away from Roczen.
As the two riders approached the 2-lap mark there was essentially no gap between them. Though Roczen was not able to get close enough to touch or take the lead, the final two laps provided more intensity that maybe the entire first half of the season.
In the end, Tomac held on for his first overall win of the season while Roczen finished second and Barcia took third.