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Hangtown 250MX: Zach Osborne opens title defense with 1-1 sweep

Zach Osborne is picking up right where he left off as he attempts to make history with his fourth 250 Class title in two years.

Hangtown 250MX: Zach Osborne opens title defense with 1-1 sweep

The Rockstar Husqvarna rider has won two regional supercross titles in addition to last year's Lucas Oil Pro Motocross title, and he'll once again hold the 250MX points lead after sweeping Round 1 of the 2018 outdoor season.

 

Read on for recaps and highlights from a full day of racing at Hangtown.

 

QUALIFYING

Joey Savatgy emerged from the first practice session with the fastest time and was on track to repeat the feat again in the second session, but then Jeremy Martin and Zach Osborne turned on the burners for their final laps to leapfrog the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider. Martin (2:16.930) was the lone 250 Class rider to clock a lap time under 2:17.

 

The only two past champions in the 250 Class, Osborne and Martin have frequently been picked as title favorites this season and now they'll get the first gate picks for Moto 1.

 

Behind Martin, Osborne and Savatgy, Chase Sexton was fourth and Austin Forkner, who is back racing just one month after breaking his collarbone, was fifth.

 

One of this year's breakout candidates, Justin Cooper, qualified in sixth. He was second-fastest behind Savatgy in the earlier session and recently has been gaining some hype ahead of his first full season of Pro Motocross.

 

250 Qualifying Results
1. Jeremy Martin, 2:16.930
2. Zach Osborne, 2:17.128
3. Joey Savatgy, 2:17.290
4. Chase Sexton, 2:17.714
5. Austin Forkner, 2:18.451
6. Justin Cooper, 2:18.677
7. Alex Martin, 2:18.687
8. RJ Hampshire, 2:19.282
9. Aaron Plessinger, 2:19.339
10. Jordon Smith, 2:19.362


Full Results

 


250 Moto 1

 
 
250 Moto 2
 
 
 

MOTO 1

As Austin Forkner grabbed the holeshot, Justin Cooper and Jeremy Martin made moves of their own. Cooper quickly overtook Forkner for the lead while Martin settled into third ahead of Zach Osborne.

 

Cooper stayed out front to lead the first official lap, but he had Forkner close behind him the entire time. On the next lap though, Forkner dropped back a bit and found himself in a battle with Martin. After some back-and-forth racing between the two, Martin made the pass to take second place. Forkner soon dropped another position to Osborne.

 

About seven minutes into the race, Osborne used the track's "halfpipe" section to make a move on Martin for second place. Though Martin refused to relinquish the position easily, Osborne was soon able to make the pass stick.

 

With Osborne into second place, he was able to set his sights on Cooper and started applying pressure about nine minutes in. As the two riders went through the new uphill whoops (the ones replacing the old FLY 150 jump), Osborne took an outside line, and as they came out of the turn and headed downhill, Osborne blew by to take over the lead. All in all, it was a formula that we saw from Osborne last year—picking off riders and mounting a patient charge to the front of the field. Once moving into first, the defending champ was able to use the second half of the moto to pull away from the rest of the field.

 

WIth Osborne checking out, the main action on the track shifted to the fight for second. With under ten minutes to go, Forkner and Martin (who had fallen earlier) both caught up to Cooper and made passes. Forkner and Martin the continued their own battle for several minutes until Martin was able to get to the inside of Forkner and get around him for second place—a position he would hold on to.

 

Meanwhile Cooper found himself in another tense battle, this time with his teammate Aaron Plessinger. Plessinger, who is coming off a 250 regional supercross title, eventually got around Cooper for fourth and then caught up to Forkner for a shot at third place. They ran into some lappers with two laps to go, but they were able to clear them in time for the final lap. It was shaping up as a dramatic race to the checkered flag, but Forkner surprisingly stalled the bike in a turn, which allowed Plessinger to cruise by to take third place. Forkner quickly recovered and salvaged fourth, while Cooper rounded out the top five.

 

250 Moto 1 Results
1. Zach Osborne
2. Jeremy Martin
3. Aaron Plessinger
4. Austin Forkner
5. Justin Cooper
6. Joey Savatgy
7. Alex Martin
8. Jordon Smith
9. Shane McElrath
10. RJ Hampshire
11. Chase Sexton
12. Garrett Marchbanks
13. Enzo Lopes
14. Brandon Hartranft
15. Michael Mosiman
16. Justin Hill
17. Sean Cantrell
18. Dakota Alix
19. Jordan Bailey
20. Martin Castelo


Full Results

 

MOTO 2

Jeremy Martin edged out Plessinger for the holeshot, but Plessinger got past Martin almost immediately to move into the lead. Martin battled back throughout the opening lap and was able to execute a successful pass as the two riders came out of the halfpipe section, giving him the lead just in time to complete the first lap.

 

Meanwhile Osborne didn't get a great start but was able to pick off some riders to move into the top three. Less than five minutes into the moto, Osborne caught up to Plessinger and took the same line that Martin used earlier—going inside of Plessinger as they exited the halfpipe—and moved into second.

 

Osborne soon caught up to Martin, which initiated a good back-and-forth battle for the lead. After a few minutes though, Osborne was out in front and able to put some distance between the two riders. Though it wasn't a runaway victory, Osborne maintained a comfortable lead throughout the rest of the race and finished about four seconds ahead of Martin to complete his sweep of both motos at Hangtown.

 

Osborne, who also swept Hangtown one season ago, will keep the red plate as the series heads into Round 2.

 

Martin's 2-2 moto finishes earned him second overall for the day.

 

The battle for third place in the moto came down to Alex Martin and Plessinger. Martin had gotten by Plessinger earlier in the race, but Plessinger started reeling him back in toward the end. Though Martin was ultimately able to hold the Star Yamaha rider off for third place in the moto, Plessinger's fourth—when combined when his third from Moto 1‚Äč—was enough to put him on the day's overall podium in third place overall. Alex Martin (7-3) finished fourth overall.

 

Behind the veterans, several youngsters were making noise. Last season's Rookie of the Year, Chase Sexton, took fifth place in Moto 2, and Garrett Marchbanks, making his professional debut, finished sixth. Justin Cooper, who impressed with a fifth-place finish in Moto 1, took ninth in Moto 2 and ended up fifth overall.

 

One rider who did not finish the race was Forkner. As previously mentioned, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider is only about five weeks removed from a collarbone injury. Though he was cleared to race Hangtown, he pulled off the track midway through Moto 2 and looked to be in some pain. According to NBC Sports pit reporter Will Christien, the team said that it was unrelated to his shoulder injury and instead was a lower back issue.

 

250 Moto 2 Results
1. Zach Osborne
2. Jeremy Martin
3. Alex Martin
4. Aaron Plessinger
5. Chase Sexton
6 Garrett Marchbanks
7. RJ Hampshire
8. Jordon Smith
9. Justin Cooper
10. Joey Savatgy
11. Michael Mosiman
12. Brandon Hartranft
13. Justin Hill
14. Shane McElrath
15. Enzo Lopes
16. Sean Cantrell
17. Dakota Alix
18. Gustavo Souza
19. Jordan Bailey
20. Ryan Surratt
...
39. Austin Forkner (DNF)


Full Results

 

Photo: Chris Ortiz


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