Ferrandis wins 450 season championship, Cooper second in 250 

The 2021 AMA Pro Motocross series concluded Sept. 11 at the Hangtown Motocross Classic track in the Sacramento County town of Rancho Cordova, and the overall winners were Lake Elsinore rider Dylan Ferrandis and Menifee’s Justin Cooper.

Ferrandis won the 450cc class and Cooper took first place in the 250cc class. Both ride for the Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha team.

“It’s nice to see and I really enjoyed it. It was a good way to end the season on a positive note,” Monster Energy senior vice president of sports marketing Mitch Covington said.

Lake Elsinore rider, Dylan Ferrandis, holds up his championship plate after clinching the AMA Pro Motocross 450cc season championship at Fox Raceway in Pala. Valley News/Monster Energy photo

Ferrandis was also the 2021 season champion for the 450cc class. He accumulated 531 points during the season. Colorado rider Eli Tomac was second with 458 points. Temecula’s Christian Craig, who is also part of the Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha team, finished sixth with 292 points.

“The championship that Dylan won was really special. We know at Monster Energy how hard it is to win a championship,” Covington said. “It’s just fantastic news for Monster Energy and all the Monster family.”

Cooper finished second in the 250cc standings. He had 491 points while Jeff Lawrence of Florida won the championship with 497 points.

“Justin continues to perform at a championship level, and we’re super proud of Justin and all his hard work,” Covington said. “He came so close to winning a championship and represented himself and the team.”

The Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha team also includes Murrieta rider Colt Nichols, and Jo Shimoda of Menifee is a Monster Energy ProCircuit Kawasaki rider. Shimoda accumulated 340 points to finish fifth in the 250cc class. Nichols missed the final five races and also did not finish the second moto July 24 at Washougal Motocross Park in Washougal, Washington, where he was injured but still finished 14th in the season standings with 172 points.

The qualifying positions are based on a rider’s fastest time in either qualifying session. In the first 450cc session Sept. 11 Craig had a fast lap of 2:13.808 for the fourth-fastest time and Ferrandis completed his best lap in 2:14.742 to rank eighth. A fast time of 2:12.994 made Ferrandis the fastest qualifier in the second session while Craig’s best time in the second session 2:17.597 which placed seventh. Overall, Ferrandis qualified fourth and Craig qualified fifth.

Each moto is 30 minutes plus two laps. The first 450cc moto was 16 laps. Ferrandis placed first and was 12.022 seconds faster than second-place Ken Roczen of Florida. Craig finished fifth, 36.958 seconds behind Ferrandis and 2.146 seconds after Tomac, who was fourth.

Menifee rider, Justin Cooper, hits a jump at the Hangtown track in Rancho Cordova. Valley News/Monster Energy photo

The second 450 cc moto was 15 laps. Tomac won that moto with Cooper Webb of North Carolina finishing 5.800 seconds behind. Ferrandis took third and crossed the finish line 16.519 seconds after Tomac. Craig trailed Tomac by 26.104 seconds and was fourth in his final moto of the season. Finishing first and third gave Ferrandis first overall. Tomac placed second overall, Webb was third and Craig took fourth.

In the first 250cc qualifying session Cooper led all riders with a fast lap of 2:13.418. Shimoda was sixth in the first qualifying session with a premier lap of 2:15.846. Cooper was the second-fastest qualifier in the second session with a time of 2:17.753 while Shimoda had a best lap of 2:19.459 for ninth. Cooper’s time in the first session made him the fastest overall qualifier while Shimoda was sixth.

Both 250cc motos Sept. 11 were 15 laps and Cooper won both. In the first moto he finished 3.570 seconds ahead of R.J. Hampshire of Florida and 7.724 seconds before third-place Hunter Lawrence of Florida. Shimoda was fourth and was 17.334 seconds behind Cooper. Shimoda finished second in the second moto, 3.024 seconds after Cooper and 6.602 seconds before Jeff Lawrence’s third-place finish. Finishing fourth and second gave Shimoda second overall.

Ferrandis and Craig rode Yamaha YZ450F models for the season. Cooper and Nichols were Yamaha YZ250F riders. Shimoda competed on a Kawasaki KX250F. This year’s AMA Pro Motocross season began May 29 at Fox Raceway in Pala, four weeks after the conclusion of the AMA Supercross season.

“It was another great season,” Covington said. “Just want to congratulate all the riders for putting on a good season, and we’re looking forward to Supercross around the corner.”

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at jnaiman@reedermedia.com.