Home-State Hero Eli Tomac Remains Undefeated with Third Consecutive Sweep at Thunder Valley National
Foothill Ranch, Calif. (June 3, 2018) – Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac carried momentum into Round 3 of the 2018 AMA Pro Motocross Championship in the mountainous scenery of Lakewood, Colorado. Entering the Thunder Valley National, Tomac had a personal goal of capturing the win in his home state, which he successfully achieved and now carries a six-moto winning streak.
After qualifying with the fastest lap times in both practice sessions, Tomac and his KX™450F lined up for Moto 1 feeling confident. Unlike previous rounds this season, Tomac did not have to work hard to get to the front as he shot out of the gate in third and quickly moved into second place. With a little over 10 minutes completed, a red flag was drawn due to a crash, forcing the riders to line up for a restart with 19:36 set back on the race clock. Fortunately, Tomac got off to another great start in fourth and once again proceeded to make his way to the front where he found himself battling for the lead for several laps. Eventually making his move with 10 minutes remaining the No.1 took charge and set the fastest lap of the race and went on to take the win with a margin of victory of nearly five seconds.
In 450MX Moto 2, Tomac grabbed another top three position right out of the gate.
Just as he made his move for second, the leader went down right in front of him, forcing him to hit the brakes and fall back to third. Recovering quickly, Tomac made his way back to second with incredible speed and was gaining on the leader. As he continued to closely follow behind his competition, Tomac remained patient and waited for the right time to make a pass stick. Once out front, Tomac seemed to catch a second wind as he rode with pure aggression to pull away from the competition and take the checkered flag this time by more than 11 seconds. The 1-1 moto scores gave Tomac his first 450 overall victory in front of his home state crowd.
The undisputable red plate holder and the rest of the Monster Energy team will take a well deserved week off as Round 4 of the 2018 AMA Pro Motocross Championship will pick up on June 16th in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania for the High Point National.
"After a couple of years with bad results at Thunder Valley, it feels really good to bring home a win," said Tomac. "My team set me up with an awesome bike that allowed me to just get out there and attack the track. We’re rolling and looking forward to the next one.”
In the 250MX class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders Joey Savatgy, Austin Forkner and Garrett Marchbanks all seemed to be off to a great start as they qualified first, second and 10th respectively. Looking to repeat his Thunder Valley success for the third year in a row, Savatgy shot out of the gate in second in Moto 1, while his teammate Marchbanks snagged a top-10 start as well. Unfortunately, Forkner was pushed towards the back but took on the challenge with tenacity as he climbed his way forward. Halfway through the moto, Savatgy took over the lead and quickly opened a gap on his nearest competitor. With just two laps to go, misfortune struck as Savatgy coasted to a stop with a mechanical issue that forced him to retire from the race early. Forkner fought hard to finish seventh, followed by Marchbanks in eighth.
The second 250MX moto saw Forkner power out of the gate to a top-five start, while Marchbanks trailed in 13th. Savatgy once again was struck by misfortune as he fell victim to a first turn pileup and remounted near the tail end of the field. Forkner began making moves to the front and engaged in an intense battle for the final podium position. Eventually Forkner would make the pass stick to capture third in the moto, which was good enough for fourth overall (7-3). The young gun Marchbanks was able to pass his way up to 11th for the moto, resulting in ninth overall (8-11). Savatgy displayed grit and determination as he salvaged valuable points to charge through the pack for 12th and ended up 17th overall (34-12).
"Obviously I would’ve liked to be on the podium, but today was definitely a step in the right direction," said Forkner. "My bike was good and I feel like I was fast, but I need to focus on getting a better start so I can put myself in a better position. I’m feeling more like myself and we’ll be ready for High Point in a couple weeks."
"Unfortunately, today’s results don’t match where we should have been," said Savatgy. "I came into this weekend feeling great and we were really fast in qualifying. Obviously Moto 1 was a tough one for me to experience with a mechanical issue while leading at the end and Moto 2 started rough with a first turn crash. My team did an awesome job to set me up with a great bike and I’m leaving here healthy. We’ll get back to work and look forward to High Point.”
"I didn’t get the starts needed to be out front, but I feel really good about how I’m riding," said Marchbanks. "Our goal is to continue to put in consistent laps and minimize mistakes so that we can get better every week. I’m learning more and more every race and the Kawasaki team has me on a great bike. I’m feeling good and looking forward to a great summer of racing.”
250MX Race Results
1.Jeremy Martin (2-1)
2.Alex Martin (3-2)
3.Justin Cooper (1-8)
4. Austin Forkner (7-3)
9.Garrett Marchbanks (8-11)
17.Joey Savatgy (34-12)
250MX Rider Point Standings
1.Jeremy Martin 129
2.Aaron Plessinger 121
3.Jeremy Martin 116
8. Austin Forkner 75
9. Garrett Marchbanks 72
11. Joey Savatgy 68
450MX Race Results
1.Eli Tomac (1-1)
2.Ken Roczen (2-2)
3.Blake Baggett (3-3)
450MX Rider Point Standings
3. Justin Barcia104