Jul 5, 2014, 12:52 PM EDT
Four hours of live motocross action from historic RedBud are about to get underway, as the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship reaches the halfway point with a critical round of racing that will go a long way toward shaping the outcome of the championship races in both classes.
Although it may feel like Ken Roczen has dominated the 450 Class this year – statistically, he’s clearly at the head of the field – he is only leading his Red Bull KTM teammate Ryan Dungey by 16 points in the championship race. That means that one bad moto or one ill-timed DNF could easily swing the points lead and the momentum from Roczen to Dungey.
Having finished on the podium in all ten motos this season, Roczen’s consistency is incredible, but he started off strong last year as well when he was racing for the 250 Class championship. Roczen held the points lead for much of the season, but Eli Tomac hung close, and at the ninth round of the series, Roczen finally made one key mistake – he crashed in a moto, surrendered the points lead to Tomac and never got it back. Sometimes that’s all it takes, so as good as Roczen has looked thus far in 2014, he can’t back off the throttle now.
Jeremy Martin is currently learning that lesson the hard way in the 250 Class. Through the first two-and-a-half rounds, the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider looked unstoppable and left his competition with a daunting amount of points to make up in the championship race. In the five motos since then, he’s only recorded one top-five finish and has seen has lead dwindle down to eight points over teammate Cooper Webb and 17 points over Blake Baggett.
This will be an important race for Martin, Webb and Baggett. Webb and Baggett were the best riders a week ago at Muddy Creek and seem to be developing a competitive rivalry after Baggett stole the Moto 1 win from Webb with a last-second pass that nearly resulted in a photo finish. Martin needs to re-assert himself as a frontrunner today before he ends up ceding the points lead.
RedBud is also home to the most iconic feature on the circuit – LaRocco’s Leap. This giant jump will be a make-or-break obstacle, rewarding the riders brave enough to launch themselves over it with faster lap times.
First motos begin at 1 P.M. ET and can be seen live on MAVTV. NBC will televise the second 450 Class moto live at 3 P.M. ET, then NBCSN will wrap up the coverage with the second 250 Class moto live at 4 P.M. ET.
All four motos can also be seen live online on ProMotocross.com and NBC Sports Live Extra. Click here to access the Live Extra stream.