The penultimate round of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season takes riders to Budds Creek Motocross Park for the GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National. The Maryland circuit, part of a sprawling complex that also includes a dirt oval and drag strip, celebrates the 30th anniversary of its annual Pro Motocross event in 2019—but unlike the past three seasons, it may not celebrate the crowning of a champion this time around.
With hard-fought competition in both the 450 and 250 classes, it’ll take a good weekend and some even better luck for Eli Tomac and Adam Cianciarulo to mathematically clinch their respective titles at Budds Creek on Saturday. Here’s what we’re watching out for coming into the event:
If we can learn anything from the past few decades at Budds Creek, it’s that this weekend’s race is one of the biggest wild cards on the Pro Motocross schedule. No active rider has won here more than once, and no active rider has won here in both the 450 and 250 classes, but two riders—Justin Barcia in 2015 and Justin Bogle two years later—have won their first 450 events here.
It’s hard to tell if that’s good news or bad news for Tomac, the defending winner who would love to wrap up this year’s championship with a repeat on Saturday. His fellow podium finishers in 2018, Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin, are also his closest championship threats right now: Musquin is second, 40 points back, while Roczen is just one point behind him in third.
Roczen, the 2016 Budds Creek winner, is also coming off of a dominant 1-1 performance at Unadilla last week, showing flashes of the brilliance we saw every week before multiple major injuries sidetracked his career. He and Tomac can become the only active repeat winners at Budds Creek with an overall win by either of them this weekend.
Meanwhile, a number of top 450 riders have already taken 250 wins and can join the legendary Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart as dual-class winners with an overall this weekend. Musquin won here on a 250 in 2015, as have Zach Osborne (2016), Dean Wilson (2010), and Blake Baggett (three times).
Dylan Ferrandis just won’t go away. The biggest thorn in Cianciarulo’s side all year long, dating back to when he stole the Monster Energy Supercross title out from under him in Las Vegas, Ferrandis scored his third overall win of the season last weekend at Unadilla. Both riders scored a first and second, but the Frenchman’s second moto victory broke the tie.
That means the championship lead remains at 28 for Cianciarulo, who has already announced his intent to move up to a 450 in 2020. Justin Cooper is a further 31 points back of Ferrandis, but the rest of the field is well behind them.
Sadly, the 250 field will be one rider short in Maryland, after privateer Jonathan Mayzak was killed in an accident in the paddock at Unadilla last weekend. Mayzak entered four events in 2019, making it to the “Fast 40” at both the Florida National and Southwick National.