The power of perseverance was the theme of the day for Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac and his KX™450F, as he powered through the competition to claim his eighth overall victory of the season at the iconic Budds Creek National in Mechanicsville, Maryland. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Austin Forkner reached the podium in the first 250 moto and ended up fifth overall after finishing 3-7 for the day.
Tomac started the day by showing his competition why he is defending champion by setting the fastest lap time in qualifying with a 2:04.6 to open Round 11 of the 2018 AMA Pro Motocross Championship. After a top 10 start in Moto 1, Tomac charged the rolling hills aboard his KX™450Fmaking his way up to seventh place by the end of the first lap. From there, Tomac would spend the next 30 minutes slicing and dicing his way through the field and was able to move into third place on Lap 12, which is where he would finish the moto.
With a championship at stake and the temperatures rising, the stage was set for an incredible race in Moto 2. Tomac would put in a heroic ride in the last moto of the day after finding himself in sixth place by the end of Lap 1. Tomac quickly started picking off his competitors one-by-one. After passing his way into third place on Lap 7, Tomac set his sights on the two front-runners and charged his way to the front by averaging lap times, almost two full seconds faster than his competitors. By Lap 10, Tomac had moved into second place and wasn’t going to settle for anything less than the top spot of the podium and by the end of Lap 11 he had achieved just that. Tomac rounded out the day with a 3-1 score, which was enough to take first place overall and extend his championship points lead to 20 with only one round remaining.
“Winning the championship is the ultimate goal, and today we were able to add some more points to put us in the best possible position going into the final round next weekend,” said Tomac. “In Moto 1 I struggled a little bit making my way through traffic, but in Moto 2 I was just feeling it and after I got around a couple guys I knew I could catch the leader and win. I am pumped I was able to do that!”
Eli Tomac and the Monster Energy® Kawasaki race team will head into the final round of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship next weekend at the Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The defending champion has a 20-point lead over second place and is poised to bring home his second 450MX Championship.
In the 250MX class, Forkner has been blistering fast all season long and long overdue for a solid overall result. In qualifying, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy tookclaim to the top honors for the team, qualifying seventh and teammate Forkner ninth aboard their KX™250F motorcycles.
As the gate dropped for Moto 1, it was Forkner who immediately jumped out to a third-place start and avoided some turn one carnage. Forkner was able to ride a clean race the whole moto and rode his KX™ to third place. Savatgy struggled to find a rhythm in Moto 1 and ultimately came across the finish line in 11th.
In Moto 2, the story was almost identical to Moto 1 for the teammates, as both of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki machines rocketed out of the gate to start inside the top 10. Forkner once again was able to start in third place, while Savatgy found himself in a four-rider battle for the vast majority of the race. Forkner, who had been battling a cold during the week, ultimately succumbed to the high heat and humid temperatures and crossed the finish line in seventh place, giving him a fifth overall (3-7). Savatgy would end up finishing in 16th place in Moto 2, which earned him a 13th overall on the day (11-16).
“I have been the first to admit that I need to put two motos together and this weekend was definitely a huge step in the right direction,” said Forkner. “In Moto 1, I was able to get a good start and ride my own race finishing in third and I was set to do the same in Moto 2. I have been battling a cold this week so the heat just melted me, and I wasn’t able to hold onto third, unfortunately. We are leaving here with a fifth overall, so we will rest up and come out swinging for the last round next weekend.”
“We had high expectations heading into the event, but I struggled all day getting into a groove and just had one of those off days,” said Savatgy. “It’s been a long season, but we still have one round left and I plan to leave it all out on the table next weekend and finish strong.”
250MX Race Results
1. RJ Hampshire (2-1)
2. Chase Sexton (7-2)
3. Aaron Plessinger (1-11)
5.Austin Forkner (3-7)
13. Joey Savatgy (11-16)
250MX Rider Point Standings
1. Aaron Plessinger450
2. Alex Martin366
3. Justin Cooper318
7. Austin Forkner284
9. Joey Savatgy262
450MX Race Results
1.Eli Tomac (3-1)
2. Ken Roczen (1-3)
3. Marvin Musquin (2-4)
450MX Rider Point Standings
1. Eli Tomac493
2. Marvin Musquin473
3. Ken Roczen 403
Words and image courtesy Kawasaki