Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac proved to be the only thing more captivating than the lush, green scenery in Washougal, Washington after a dominating performance once again with a pair of moto wins at Round 9 of the 2018 AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Joey Savatgy captured his first moto win and overall podium position of the season in third after going 1-9 for the day.
Tomac arrived ready to go at the Washougal National as he qualified first after setting a blistering 2:10.2 lap time to open the day. As the gate dropped for Moto 1, Tomac kept the momentum rolling as he positioned himself in third out of the gate. By Lap 4, Tomac took over the lead and began creating his gap from the rest of the field. Tomac went on to lead the remaining 13 laps and cross the finish line to win with a commanding 11.68 seconds over second place. Tomac’s teammate Josh Grant made his first appearance of the series and his first race in six months after recovering from injury and rode his KX™450F impressively as he shot off the gate in fifth. Unfortunately, the technical and hard-packed clay track turned out to be too rough on Grant’s newly recuperated ankle injury, causing him to lose positions and withdraw from the second moto due to the pain, but managed to finish 10th in the race.
Moto 2 provided the most epic race of the day as the crowd lined the fence cheering Tomac on as he looked to turn a middling start from ninth place into a victory. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Tomac muscled his way around six of his competitors in just five laps. Just as he made his move into third, Tomac made a minor error and tipped over on his KX™ but was able to remount quickly in fourth. While the other riders were running 2:16 lap times, Tomac continued at untouchable speeds of 2:14 lap times, allowing him to move in on the leaders and close the gap. By Lap 12, Tomac made his late-race charge to pass for second with the leader in his sight. With only two laps to go, Tomac made his final pass to go on and capture his second moto win and overall victory (1-1) to extend his championship points lead to 15.
The defending champion and the rest of the Monster Energy Kawasaki team will take a week off as Round 10 of the 2018 AMA Pro Motocross Championship will pick up on August 11th in New Berlin, New York for the Unadilla National.
“Today was great. It was another 1-1 which is what we want to do, and that second moto was crazy,” said Tomac. “I was only anticipating getting 2nd, but we got it done and took the win and overall. Washougal was good to us, and I felt great all day. We’ll take the weekend off to rest and prepare for the last three rounds.”
“I was really excited to come back for Washougal, and felt great in that first moto,” said Grant. “Unfortunately, my ankle was hurting and couldn’t start the second moto, but we’ll take advantage of the weekend off and let the ankle rest a little more and be ready to go for Unadilla. I’m just happy to be back to racing.”
In the 250MX class, Savatgy and teammate Austin Forkner kicked the day off qualifying second and third, respectively. Looking to keep the momentum going, both Kawasaki riders shot out of the gate leading the pack as Savatgy grabbed the holeshot and Forkner following. The teammates went on to continue their battle throughout the entirety of the moto, exchanging positions in first and second. Although both riders rode flawlessly, it was Savatgy who reached the checkered flag first with his teammate close behind.
As the gate dropped on Moto 2, Forkner got off to another great start and was running in third when his front tire clipped a jump while attempting a scrub, and he went down hard forcing him to retire from the race (2-DNF). Savatgy had a quick tip over at the start of the race as well, sending him all the way back to 24th. Determined to capture his first overall podium position, Savatgy dug deep to pass 15 of his competitors to finish ninth and third overall (1-9).
“Obviously it would have been nice to get the overall, but considering how things have gone this year, it’s a step in the right direction,” said Savatgy. “It felt good to get the win and I know I’m capable of it. When things are clicking it’s awesome, so I hope to keep this momentum going and finish the season strong.”
“Everything happens for a reason and I’m not entirely sure what the reason is, but you just have to keep believing,” said Forkner. “It was a tough day after starting out so strong, but that’s racing. We will take the weekend off to regroup and will come back at Unadilla ready to fight again.”
250MX Race Results
1. Aaron Plessinger (4-3)
2. Shane McElrath (9-1)
3. Joey Savatgy (1-9)
13. Austin Forkner (2-39)
250MX Rider Point Standings
1. Aaron Plessinger 371
2. Alex Martin 312
3. Justin Cooper 267
5. Austin Forkner 238
9. Joey Savatgy 214
450MX Race Results
1. Eli Tomac (1-1)
1.Ken Roczen (3-2)
2.Marvin Musquin (2-3)
450MX Rider Point Standings
1. Eli Tomac 401
2. Marvin Musquin 386
3. Ken Roczen 330