THE AFTERMATH | THE 2020 PRO MOTOCROSS SEASON OVERVIEW
Photos and Story by Trevor Nelson
It was a miracle that the 2020 Pro Motocross Season happened, but thanks to MX Sports, the teams and the riders, we got the opportunity to witness one of the most exciting seasons of outdoor racing in recent memory. From a race reduction of 12 races to 9, to revisiting of a venue most of racers hadn’t visited since they were amateurs, the 2020 season was full of unexpected sights. And with Covid-19 having the largest impact we have ever seen in the sport, we are just thankful to witness one of the most historic seasons in all of Pro Motocross. Here is a wrap up of all the drama that occurred in the season.
For the first round of the 2020 AMA Motocross Championship, we visited one of the most famous locations of all of motocross in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch is where young racers venture every year to test their skills and talent against amateurs from all across the United States. And with the hectic rescheduling and delays of the first round of AMA Nationals, Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch would unexpectantly be drafted to become the first round of the 2020 Championship season for the first time in Pro Motocross history. Heading into the first round, there would be the one and only Press Day for the entire season, and it would be completely canceled due to poor weather and track conditions.
The first round would result in Dylan Ferrandis going 1-1 in his motos followed by RJ Hampshire and then Jeremy Martin. It was made clear that the Star Yamaha team meant business this season by snagging the holeshots and qualifying exceptionally fast. This would be made extremely apparent in the later rounds.
In the 450 class, Zach Osborne would take the overall win and mark his ground for the rest of the season. Jason Anderson would get the second overall followed by the previous year’s champ, Eli Tomac. Cooper Webb crashed during one of the motos which would end up disrupting a prolonging back injury that he had obtained in the Supercross season earlier in the year. This injury would take the #2 out of the rest of the season and would be the beginning of many injuries for some of the top riders.
With the cancellation of Washougal, the riders and teams would stay in Tenessee for another go at Loretta Lynn’s ranch. But unlike the previous weekend, the weather would not get better. It would take a turn for the worse as a huge rainstorm would swamp the area and track resulting in a test of man and machine against the elements. During qualifying, Zach Osborne’s bike would malfunction resulting in him missing his qualifying session and having to qualify in the B class’s qualifying session.
For the 250 class, Jeremy Martin would take the overall in the day and sit second in points to the Frenchman, Dylan Ferrandis. In third place, the Troll Train, Alex Martin, would rise up in points right under his younger brother.
In the 450 class, Justin Barcia would race with flying colors in the first moto, completely mastering the mud and wet riding conditions. But when it came to the second moto he would have a bike failure giving Zach Osborne the opportunity to take the win and overall. Adam Cianciarulo would get second overall and then Marvin Musquin in third. Just like Justin Barcia, Eli Tomac would also suffer a similar fate and have not just one bike malfunction, but two.
Fortunately for the riders, Ironman would provide considerably better riding conditions both weather and track condition wise. Despite the good dirt, deep ruts weren’t afraid to form.
Jeremy Martin would continue his close battle with Dylan Ferrandis and end up taking the overall. Dylan miraculously reached the podium position after getting a dead last start in the second moto.
As expected with how exciting the 450 class has been, each race has shown us how close the top 5 riders are, especially when contending for the championship. Eli would take the overall followed by Marvin Musquin, Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Barcia and then points leader Zach Osborne in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
Pro Motocross would stay at Redbud for the next two rounds. Despite the usual contenders dominating the first round of RedBud, other riders like Adam Cianciarulo, Chase Sexton, Ty Masterpool, and Alex Martin gave the top normal guys a run for their money. With a race on a Friday and the second of the two RedBuds on the following Monday, racers were only given a few days to completely recover and go head to head for another serving on the Michigan dirt.
For the 450 class, Zach Osborne continued to grab holeshots and would end up taking the overall while being chased by the 450 rookie Chase Sexton.
Heading into the second round of RedBud, Zach Osborne and Dylan Ferrandis continued to hold onto their red plates. Despite not performing as well as he did on the previous Friday, Zach’s consistency would pay off in his favor but unfortunately for Dylan, he would hand over his plate to his rival Jeremy Martin.
Dylan Ferrandis looked hard to beat coming into the second RedBud but on his own accord, would make several mistakes that would cost him the possession of the red plate.
When it came time for the Spring Creek National, Fall was in the air and leaves fell onto the race track. The Martin brothers had the advantage as they were at their home track and we all believed them to do exceedingly well, however that was not the case when Dylan Ferrandis came to upset the race on their own turf. Despite qualifying the fastest, the Martin brothers could not beat out the Frenchman’s speed and Dylan would take the overall win.
In the 450 class, we witnessed one of the closest moments for the current points leader Zach Osborne. After putting a charge on the riders in front of him, Zach would suffer a flat front tire and would avoid his mechanic’s signals to pit and switch out the front wheel. This may have paid off in Zach’s favor as he was still able to earn points over the weekend and continue to hold onto the red plate.
After getting beat out by his competition, we expected Jeremy Martin to put up quite the fight in Jacksonville, Florida. However, Dylan didn’t get the memo as he soared away from the competition creating a sizeable gap and went 1-1.
In the 450 class, Chase Sexton qualified the fastest and it would be no surprise as he rides in the Florida sand fairly often. The 450 contenders would go back and forth throughout the day and again, Zach Osborne would win both of his motos.
With two races left we saw the gap for the championship increase and that gap would further grow as the points leaders continued to ride well. By time Pro Motocross found itself at Thunder Valley for racing, the hills were bright green and beautiful. However at this time of the year, the hills were brown and drab and after facing a drought earlier in the year, the dirt became slick on top and formed large deep ruts that tested the riders’ precision. Star Yamaha was extremely strong in the 250s by getting out in the front early in the race and exceptionally well-qualifying results from Adam Cianciarulo.
Justin Cooper took the overall with his teammate Dylan Ferrandis coming in second. Dylan still had a pretty comfortable lead coming out of Thunder Valley for the championship points lead.
The 450 class was quite exciting as Adam Cianciarulo would show incredible strength on the track but unluckily for him, Eli Tomac, Zach Osborne and mistakes were there to challenge him. Eli Tomac took the overall followed by his teammate with Zach Osborne third. Despite not winning, Zach still would head to Fox Raceway with a healthy 24 point lead on his opponents.
The ninth and final round of the 2020 Pro Motocross Season was one of the most exciting and jam-packed races of the year. Thousands of spectators came to witness the season finale and because of the race being held on Indian land, the laws that govern normal events in California don’t apply. For the 250 class it was a battle between Ferrandis and Jeremy Martin and in the 450 class, it was a battle between Cianciarulo and Osborne. In the end, Martin and CIanciarulo gave it everything they had to bridge the points gap, but they were unsuccessful. Dylan Ferrandis became the first French rider to ever win a 250 National title, while Zach Osborne brought Husky to their very first 450 National motocross championship.