450MX rookie becomes first French rider to win title in 30 years.
With one round to spare in the 2021 Pro Motocross season, Dylan Ferrandis has been crowned 450MX champion in his rookie year in the premier class as Eli Tomac took his second overall win in succession at Fox Raceway.
It was a hot day in Pala, California for the penultimate round of the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Fox Raceway, the weather providing some of the most grueling conditions the series has seen all summer.
Ferrandis got the day going on the right foot by logging the fastest lap of the morning qualifying sessions, edging out title rival Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC) in the closing moments of the session.
When the gate dropped in moto one, Roczen blasted out to the lead with a massive holeshot ahead of Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) and Ferrandis. Roczen gapped the field early, with Ferrandis slotting into second early in the moto.
At the halfway point, Ferrandis found his way around Roczen, with Tomac eventually closing and making the pass for second. Ferrandis would go on to win the moto with Tomac and Roczen rounding out the podium.
In moto two, Webb grabbed the holeshot, with Roczen quickly making the pass to take the lead early on. Ferrandis wasted no time heading toward the front after a third-place start, passing Webb and then Roczen within one lap.
From deep in the field, Tomac began to charge, making short work of everyone in front of him, finding the lead and taking off immediately with incredible pace.
Roczen faded through the field to an eventual sixth-place finish, while Tomac took the moto win in dominant fashion over Ferrandis and Webb. Tomac’s 2-1 finish saw him take the overall over the 2021 450MX champion Ferrandis.
Third place went to Webb who took his second podium in succession and he continues to find form late in the season. Major changes to the bike helped propel him to the front last week and the benefits are continuing to pay off.
Roczen managed to finish fourth overall with 3-6 scores on the day as the heat clearly took it’s toll on the former champion. Tomac is now looming behind him in the points standings for second place overall with just two motos left in the season.
Rounding out the top five was Christian Craig (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) in his return to racing after missing round 10 with injuries sustained at Budds Creek. Craig took home consistent 5-4 moto’s on the day to notch his third top five of the season.
Twisted Tea HEP Suzuki rider Max Anstie found his way further up the leaderboard than he has all season, taking his first top five finish in the second moto, ultimately finishing sixth overall on the day.
Another impressive day saw Coty Schock (FXR Chaparral Honda) finish seventh overall. Despite an inspiring season of Pro Motocross, Schock announced he’s on the hunt for a new ride for 2022 with the announced closing of the FXR Chaparral Honda team.
Anstie’s teammate Brandon Hartranft finished the day in eighth overall with 10-8 moto scores taking him to his third top 10 overall of his rookie 450MX season.
Ninth on the day was Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM rider Joey Savatgy who had an impressive qualifying effort with fifth, eventually parlaying that momentum to 9-9 finishes.
The final spot in the top 10 went to Fredrik Noren with 11-10 moto scores aboard his privateer KTM. Noren completing just his eighth Pro Motocross race of the season, notching his first top 10 overall of the year.
Ferrandis’ title is the first in the 450MX class for Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha, in just their first season taking over the factory 450 effort for Yamaha. Their first premier-class title since 2007 also see’s Ferrandis become the first Frenchman to win the championship in 30 years.
The series now heads for the final round next Saturday at Hangtown just outside of Sacramento, California as the battle for second place is now the focus of the championship standings.