Monster Energy® Kawasaki Rider Eli Tomac Leads Team U.S.A. at 71st Annual Motocross of Nations
At the 71st annual FIM Monster Energy® Motocross of Nations, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider and Team U.S.A. captain Eli Tomac experienced all-time levels of American patriotism on his way to finishing fourth overall in the MXGP classification. While overcoming the elements and track conditions, Tomac and his fellow U.S.A. teammates, Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger persevered together to represent their country and went on to capture sixth overall.
Known for its dynamic track layout and diehard fan base, RedBud became only the fourth venue in the United States to host the FIM Monster Energy Motocross of Nations since its inception in 1947 and saw a large crowd as fans from across the world showed up to support their countries. Although RedBud is a track the Americans are accustomed to, the track conditions for the weekend were anything but familiar and the MXoN schedule was an adjustment as well. The event expanded over two days with practice and qualifying occurring on Saturday and all three races following on Sunday. After qualifying ninth, Team U.S.A. was motivated to defend their homeland, but it wouldn’t come easy as a deluge of downpours overnight and early in the morning added to the muddy track.
Race 1 (MXGP and MX2) saw Tomac out of the gate in ninth and aggressively made his way up to sixth by the third lap, following fellow Kawasaki rider Tommy Searle (Bike It DRT Kawasaki) of the United Kingdom right in front of him. Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team rider Clément Desalle of Belgium started just outside of the Top 10 but managed to power his way through the mud quickly, finding himself right behind Tomac halfway through the race. With 1:45 left on the clock, Tomac uncorked “LaRocco’s Leap” to gain time on Searle, who was running fourth for most of the race until running into some complications, forcing him to retire from the race. Tomac went on to finish fourth, Desalle followed in fifth.
After grabbing the holeshot aboard his KX™450F in Race 3 (MXGP and Open), Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki Team rider Alessandro Lupino assisted Team Italy to an impressive second place overall, only missing the top spot by two points. Lupino maintained good speed throughout the race to finish in fifth position and second overall in the Open classification (12-5). Unfortunately, Tomac got off to a bad start in the mud, forcing him to play catch up for the entirety of the race. Tomac fought his way up to seventh before running out of time, while Searle would round out the Top 10, going 34-10 for 11th overall. When all the motos were combined, with the lowest finish thrown out, Team U.S.A. finished sixth overall.
“This event has been an incredible experience,” said Tomac. “Obviously this wasn’t the result we were looking for and I know I have some work to do but I’m honored to have been chosen to be part of this race and to represent our country. The weather and track conditions made it very difficult and I’ve never seen RedBud like this before, but it was a great opportunity to learn some things we may not have been able to replicate in a testing situation. It’s been an honor and I’ve really enjoyed the entire experience. The fans were awesome!”