The top pro motocross riders in the world descend upon Millville this weekend for the annual AMA Motocross Pro Nationals at Spring Creek MX Park.
Many of the riders in the sport’s top division, the 450 class, have had success at Spring Creek in the past, which should make for good battles in both of the 450 motos on Saturday.
Here’s a look at five riders to watch in the 450 division at Spring Creek:
The 27-year-old from Avignon, France, has only raced in the AMA Pro Series for four years, but he quickly made his mark on the 250 class, and this year has moved up to take the 450 class by storm. Ferrandis swept both motos to win the overall in the 250s at Spring Creek last summer, en route to winning the national championship. Ferrandis holds a 19-point lead in the 450 standings entering Saturday’s races. The rider of the No. 14 Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha bike has won four of the five overalls this season and finished second in the other. He finished on the podium (top three) in all 10 motos this season, with three moto victories to his credit.
The rider of the familiar No. 94 Team Honda HRC bike is doing all he can to stay within reach of Ferrandis in the 450 points standings. Roczen trails by 19 points, 224-205, entering this weekend, which marks the halfway point of the season. Roczen won the one overall this season that Ferrandis didn’t -- on June 5 at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colo. -- and has finished second overall twice. Roczen won three of the first four motos this season, but hasn’t won since. He has one career overall win at Spring Creek. That came in 2016, when he swept both motos.
Tomac, a Cortez, Colo., native, is seeking consistency after a tough start to the 2021 outdoor season. Tomac opened the season with ninth- and 10th-place finishes on the first two weekends. He’s been better since, winning the second moto of the day each of the past three rounds. But the first moto continues to be an issue. He’s finished in the top five in the first moto just once this year. Spring Creek could be the cure for what ails Tomac, though. The rider of the No. 3 Monster Energy Kawasaki traditionally been tough to beat at Millville. He won the overall twice in the 250 class (2012, 2013) and twice in the 450 class (2014, 2018).
Barcia sits fifth in the 450 points standings, but he’s coming off his first overall podium finish of the season, placing third at Southwick, Mass., last weekend. He has three podium finishes in 10 motos this season, including his best finish of the season last weekend, placing second in the first moto at Southwick. Barcia has traditionally raced well at Millville, placing no worse than sixth overall in his seven appearances on a 450 at the track. His best finish came in 2015, when he placed third overall. Last year, Barcia, who rides the No. 51 bike for Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS finished second behind Adam Cianciarulo.
The defending national runner-up -- and the overall winner at Spring Creek last year -- has had an up-and-down first half of the 2021 outdoor season. The rider of the Monster Energy Kawasaki No. 9 sits seventh in the 450 points standings, mainly due to a pair of overall finishes outside the top 10 this season. He placed 11th in the season opener at Pala, Calif., and 13th at Red Bud in Buchanan, Mich., on July 3. The “up” part of Cianciarulo’s season came in the two races sandwiched between Pala and Red Bud, when he placed third at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colo., and second at High Point in Mt. Morris, Pa.
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AMA MOTOCROSS PRO NATIONALS
What: Round 6 of the AMA Motocross Pro National championships
Where: Spring Creek MX Park, near Millville (directions)
When: Saturday, pro practice 8 a.m.; 450 consolation race, 11:10 a.m.; 250 consolation race, 11:25 a.m.; opening ceremonies, 11:45 a.m.; racing begins, 12:15 p.m.
Tickets: Saturday-only adult GA, $50; Saturday-only child (ages 6-11), $25.