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Motocross: Changes ahead for Millville’s Martin

September 5, 2018

Henry Miller, Rochester, pro motocross

CRAWFORDSVILLE, IND. —Six weeks ago, Aaron Plessinger and Eli Tomac stood tall on the podium at Spring Creek MX Park near Millville.

The veteran motocross riders had just completed a sweep of the days motos in their respective classes, Plessinger in the 250 class and Tomac in the 450 class.

On Aug. 25, the duo stood atop a podium again, this time at the conclusion of the Ironman National, which also happened to be the conclusion of the 2018 season. They stood on the podium this time as national champions.

Plessinger’s path was more clear-cut. He had the title wrapped up entering the final race of the season; Tomac had to hold off veteran Marvin Musquin of France. Musquin entered the Spring Creek races in July with a slim lead in the points standings, but Tomac regained it for good that day and he ultimately finished 16 points ahead of Musquin for the season.

The 2018 season ended on a muddy track in Crawfordsville. Plessinger swept both 250 class motos to out a stellar season aboard his factory Yamaha bike. He won nearly half of the motos contested this summer — 11 out of 24 — en route to his title. He was rewarded with a new contract with Yamaha and will move up to the 450 class in 2019.

Millville’s Alex Martin had a tough final day of the season. Martin finished ninth in each moto, for a 10th-place overall finish. He closed the season as the runner-up to Plessinger in the national points standings, but the gap was broad, as Plessinger finished with 500 points, to Martin’s 390. Justin Cooper placed third at 352.

A moto victory eluded Martin all year long, he was in the lead late at several rounds, but small mistakes cost him the top step of the podium. While not the championship season he and his KTM team wanted, it was still a success having finished the year on the podium (top-three finihs) nine times, with three second-place moto finishes and six third-place moto finishes. He also finished third at his home track, placing seventh and second in the two motos at Spring Creek.

The Ironman National also marked the end of Martin’s relationship with the KTM team. The 28-year-old, who lives and trains in Florida throughout the year, has signed a multi-year deal with the JGR Suzuki team and will continue to ride in the 250 class.

TOMAC WINS IN DRAMATIC FASHION

Tomac’s second consecutive championship came down to the final moto of the season.

The Colorado native simply had to put his Kawasaki in the top 20 to secure his second national motocross title after collecting second-place points in the first moto at Crawfordsville.

Tomac was 15th after lap one, but worked his way slowly forward until he earned a ninth-place finish, which gave him a comfortable victory in the points standings. Tomac proved over the course of the season to be the fastest rider, able to consistently post lap times several seconds quicker than others.

He will return next year looking for a third consecutive championship aboard an all new Kawasaki 450.

Musquin piloted his KTM to second in the 450 standings for a second consecutive year. Musquin used his smooth and creative style to gather five moto victories and 11 second-place finishes. He is scheduled to return next year with KTM. He said his goal is to work on finding the raw speed needed to keep pace with Tomac.

Rochester native Henry Miller had one of his best seasons as a pro, if not his best. Miller finished the outdoor season 13th in the 450 class points standings, despite missing several races due to an early season injury.

Miller has caught the eye of many of the larger well supported teams with his riding this year and he could land a ride with one of them next season. His easy-going personality and work ethic will be valuable assets for a team looking to find success in professional racing.

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