Another year of heavy downpours and muddy conditions on a difficult racetrack challenged Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac, as he powered through the trials to take second overall after finishing 1-2 at the historic Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Joey Savatgy captured fourth overall after finishing 8-3 for the day.
Tomac embraced the challenge of the torrential rains as he qualified third after setting a 2:11.1 lap time to open Round 10 of the 2018 AMA Pro Motocross Championship. After a mid-pack start in Moto 1, Tomac charged the sloppy track aboard his KX™450F making his way up to fourth before running into an issue with his goggle‘s roll-off canister, which forced him to pull off into the mechanic’s area. The entire Kawasaki crew made quick work to switch out Tomac’s goggles for a fresh pair, reviving his vision and allowing him to return to the track without losing his fourth-place position. After jumping every hurdle thrown at him and nine minutes remaining on the clock, Tomac made his way around three of his contenders and rode on to an incredible 25-second margin of victory.
As the gate dropped on Moto 2, the rain had finally come to an end, but only to create yet another obstacle for the riders as the track became tacky and limited to one ideal line. Although he shot off the gate in third, Tomac stayed focused on the ultimate goal of winning the title. Due to the tough conditions, Tomac decided to ride at a consistent, steady pace in order to finish the race without incident. Tomac went on to pass one other rider to finish second in the moto for second overall (1-2) and retain his 15-point lead in the championship with only two rounds remaining.
“Wow, what a crazy day of racing,” said Tomac. “That first moto was intense because of all the rain and mud. I couldn’t have pulled off the moto win or the day without the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team behind me, they put in a lot of work today. Obviously, we would’ve liked to take both moto wins today, but winning the championship is the ultimate goal and I felt more comfortable playing it safe and staying on two wheels in the second race to hopefully achieve that goal.”
In addition to the action displayed on the track throughout the day, the defending champion and the rest of the Monster Energy Kawasaki team also participated in the exciting announcement of being selected to represent Team U.S.A. as the team captain at this year’s Motocross of Nations (MXoN) at RedBud in Buchanan, Michigan on October 6-7th.
In the 250MX class, Savatgy looked to pick up where he left off last year at Unadilla by coming out in the first timed practice session and setting a blistering time of 2:11.5, almost a full second ahead of the rest of his competition for pole position. Meanwhile, teammate Austin Forkner qualified 10th aboard his KX™250F.
As the rain began to subside and the gate dropped for Moto 1, it was Savatgy who immediately jumped out to a second-place start, looking to stay clean, dry, and maintain clear vision in the sloppy conditions. Ultimately, the challenges of the mud would send him off-course and off his motorcycle as he exited the famous “Gravity Cavity.” After a quick remount and hard charge, Savatgy was able to navigate his KX™to eighth in Moto 1. Forkner also succumbed to the muddy conditions and suffered a crash in Moto 1, crossing the finish line in 23rd place.
As the gate dropped on Moto 2, both of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki machines rocketed out of the gate to start inside the top 10. Savatgy quickly found his way into a five-rider battle at the front of the pack, which lasted for the majority of the race. As the race went on, Savatgy continued to push, setting his best lap times later in the race. He was able to finish the moto on the podium in third place, giving him an 8-3 score for fourth place overall. Forkner was forced to weave his way through traffic for a consistent race, finishing in ninth in Moto 2, which earned him a 14th overall on the day (23-9).
“Obviously we would have liked to be up on the podium this weekend, and fell just shy of that, but with all things considered there are a lot of positives to still take away,” said Savatgy. “We started the morning out right by qualifying first, but with the weather conditions the way they were today it was a bit of a free-for-all out there. We are leaving Unadilla healthy and with a fourth place overall, so we will build on this and take it into the final two rounds.”
“Man, today was a tough race and the muddy conditions were challenging and fun, but I need to put together two motos,” said Forkner. “I’m staying positive and we are leaving here in one piece and just going to let it all hang-out the next two weekends to finish out the season strong.”
250MX Race Results
1. Dylan Ferrandis (1-1)
2. Aaron Plessinger (2-2)
3. Mitchell Harrison (4-4)
4.Joey Savatgy (8-3)
14. Austin Forkner (23-9)
250MX Rider Point Standings
1. Aaron Plessinger415
2. Alex Martin337
3. Justin Cooper291
8. Austin Forkner250
9. Joey Savatgy247
450MX Race Results
1.Marvin Musquin (2-1)
2. Eli Tomac (1-2)
3. Phil Nicoletti (3-5)
450MX Rider Point Standings
1. Eli Tomac448
2. Marvin Musquin433
3. Justin Barcia363