The race itself was over in the first corner, Tomac then blitzed the first triple, gapped the field and put on a master class of speed. He loves it out front with no pressure, while Anderson had no answer and settled into second having passed Musquin, leaving him a long way back in third. It was a race of singles up front with the win time of over 20 seconds and another big gap to Musquin in third. Anderson couldn’t have been too unhappy limiting the damage to a mere three points lost to Tomac while extending his lead over Musquin. For the fans, it was all a little boring really, the entertainment coming from the riders fighting for the minor positions.
The 250 East Coast championship races at St Louis were nail biters and the split E/W format and competitiveness in this class makes this class super-exciting to watch. Before we get to next week’s triple crown format and the first East /West showdown it was all about which of the two riders sharing the red plate was going to wrestle it away from other and take a grip on the championship. Would it be youth over experience, Forkner or Osborne?
The two heat races in the 250 class set the stage with Forkner and Osborne each winning their heats. The main event start was frenetic, both Forkner and Osborne exited the first turn side by side but it was Forkner with the line and the cajones (or just youthful lack of fear) that saw him triple the first rhythm section out of the first turn and take the lead while Osborne settled into second place.
Zach Osborne has to be one of the most complete riders out there right now, he’s poised, confident and aggressive but mostly he’s smooth and fast. His ability to adapt his pace and hunt down his competition is legendary. Osborne is known for his ability to come from behind and tonight would be no different. At the start it looked like Forkner was simply too fast and riding confidently, but Osborne was trying new lines, exploring the track and slowly he began the reel Forkner in. Once he had Forkner in his sights the game was up and, as so often is the case, the pressure forced Forkner into a mistake and a trip over the bars.
Once Osborne got out front the red plate had found its home as he stretched out a comfortable lead. Forkner on the other hand was to have a nightmare, stuck behind and then ‘stood-up’ by a lapper who was ignoring the blue flags. In the end Forkner finished fifth behind Jeremy Martin, Jordon Smith and Kyle Peters.
That’s two podiums in a row for Martin, the multi-time champ seems to have regained his mojo but needs a little more yet to be able to run with Osborne and Forkner. Both Smith and Peters continue to impress each week and the depth of talent makes the racing tight and competitive.
Osborne ended the night eight points clear of Forkner as they head into the combined event next weekend, and while in the 450 class we can only hope for some scintillating racing we suspect that the excitement and adrenalin will again come the ‘lites’ class, stacked as it is with talent and will to win.