Motocross: Plessinger sweeps 250 class, Martin rallies after tough start
MILLVILLE — One tactical decision left Alex Martin second-guessing himself late Saturday afternoon.
“It was an error on my part. We made a tire change after practice because of the track, and I’m regretting it,” Martin said.
Martin, in his 11th season as a professional motocross racer, was looking for his first victory of the season during Round 8 of the AMA Pro Motocross national championship series. He also was seeking his first professional win on his home track, Spring Creek MX Park, owned and operated by his parents, John and Greta.
But as has been the case during the past month, Ohio native Aaron Plessinger was too fast for everyone in the 250 Class, Martin included.
“All I can do is ride to the best of my abilities,” Martin said. “I tried to hold off AP, but he’s riding really well. All I can do is try to bring my A-game every weekend.”
Plessinger swept both 250 motos at Spring Creek, winning the overall title for the day and extending his lead over Martin atop the national points standings. Plessinger now has 333 points, while Martin is 49 points back at 284. Four rounds — eight motos — remain in the season.
Riders can earn a maximum of 25 points in each moto, so while Plessinger’s lead isn’t insurmountable, Martin said he knows he has some work to do.
“Well, I didn’t crash. I kept it on two wheels all day, so that’s a positive,” Martin said with a laugh after the final 250 race of the day. “Aaron just had my number today, but all in all, being back at home, it feels good to end up on the podium (top-three finish).”
Martin switched tires on his bike to adjust to the track — which was soaked by heavy rain on Thursday — prior to the first moto. He was in the top 10 from the start of the opening race, but couldn’t reel in the riders ahead of him and finished seventh.
He adjusted between motos and got off to a tremendous start, getting the hole shot — being the first rider to make the turn onto the track out of the starting gate — and led for most of the first lap. But Plessinger showed no fear on the slick downhill areas of the track and he got past Martin coming down the big hill on the west side of the track known as Mount Martin.
Plessinger pulled away and led the rest of the 35-minute moto to sweep the motos and extend his lead in the points standings over Martin, who finished second in the second moto and third overall for the day. Justin Cooper, who placed fourth and third in the two motos, finished second overall.
“It can’t get much better,” said Plessinger, who won the AMA Supercross national title this year. “Things have been clicking with my bike and the whole team. We’ve all been putting in the work and it’s paying off right now.”
No rider in the 250 Class seems to have an answer for Plessinger’s speed and all-out style of riding. He earned his fourth 1-1 finish of the season and has now won four consecutive motos.
“There’s a lot of traction going down these hills at Millville,” he said. “I just decided to send it one time and I made it, so I just kept doing it.
“We don’t need to change anything, just keep doing what we’re doing. If we change anything now, it might hurt us. I’ll just keep doing my thing and hopefully click off some more wins.”