Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac chased down both Ken Roczen (Honda) and Jason Anderson (Husqvarna) at the weekend, on his way to winning both the 450cc class races at round two of the United States Motocross Championships, the AMA Pro Motocross Nationals, in San Bernardino, California.
It was Tomac’s second straight back-to-back result after he also went 1-1 at the season opener the previous weekend, at the Hangtown Classic, just outside Sacramento, California. But his 1-1 result again at Glen Helen was perhaps even more remarkable.
After winning both races at Glen Helen, the Colorado man was obviously also the overall winner for the day, followed by Marvin Musquin (KTM), Anderson, Justin Barcia (Yamaha) and Roczen.
Kiwi fans were buoyed by the news that New Zealand’s Cody Cooper (Honda) qualified 15th fastest and then also posted two solid results in the races proper, ending his day 10th overall.
The 34-year-old from Mount Maunganui, a multi-time national MX1 champion in his native New Zealand, had started race one down in 21st position, but he steadily advanced his cause, moving up five positions over the following laps to eventually claim 16th spot at the chequered flag.
In race two, Cooper found himself in 15th position soon after the start and moved up to eighth through the middle part of the race before slipping back to settle for 10th at the finish.
Coupled with his 12-15 moto score from round one at Hangtown, Cooper is now 12th in the championship standings after two rounds.
But it was Tomac who was the man of the moment for a second consecutive week, although he needed to produce an amazing fight-back and a late pass to secure the victory in race two.
Supercross champion Jason Anderson took the lead quickly in moto two and he pulled ahead of the pack, while Tomac began his charge to the front. By lap three, Tomac had climbed into third place behind Anderson and Musquin, and, by lap eight, he had climbed into second spot.
But he was still eight seconds off the lead.
Gaining time on each lap, Tomac cut Anderson’s lead to less than eight seconds on lap 10, under six seconds in the 11th lap and blow three seconds on lap12.
He catapulted into first place on lap 13, after racing two of his fastest laps of the moto, and went on to win by 16 seconds. Anderson finished second and Musquin, Barcia and Weston Peick filled out the top five.
In the first moto, Tomac contended for the lead from the beginning but didn’t get there until midway through the 14-lap race.
Christian Craig was first to the turn, then crashed and fell to last place, leaving Roczen in front, followed by Benny Bloss, Tomac and Anderson.
Tomac quickly got past Bloss in lap two, and Anderson and Musquin soon followed suit as the four leaders bunched up and put distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.
Tomac stalked Roczen for six laps before passing him on lap eight, but, once out in front, he quickly distanced himself from the crowd. At the end of lap eight, he had a 2.515-second lead, and at the finish line, a 12.231-second margin of victory over Musquin.
Roczen, who is only just returning to racing after a year of injuries, finished third. Anderson was fourth, followed by Blake Baggett.
Earlier on Saturday, Tomac qualified second at Glen Helen Raceway, just .138 of a second slower than Anderson.
Photo courtesy Simon Cudby
Words by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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450MX results from round two at Glen Helen:
- Eli Tomac (Kawasaki) 1-1, 50 points
- Marvin Musquin (KTM) 2-3, 42
- Jason Anderson (Husqvarna) 4-2, 40
- Justin Barcia (Yamaha) 6-4, 33
- Ken Roczen (Honda) 3-8, 33
- Weston Peick (Suzuki) 7-5, 30
- Blake Baggett (KTM) 5-9, 28
- Phillip Nicoletti (Suzuki) 10-7, 25
- Kyle Chisholm (Yamaha) 11-11, 20
- Cody Cooper (NZ, Honda) 16-10, 16
450MX standings after two rounds:
- Eli Tomac (Kawasaki) 100
- Marvin Musquin (KTM) 86
- Jason Anderson (Husqvarna) 73
- Justin Barcia (Yamaha) 73
- Blake Baggett (KTM) 60
- Weston Peick (Suzuki) 60
- Ken Roczen (Honda) 53
- Phillip Nicoletti (Suzuki) 49
- Benny Bloss (KTM) 42
- Kyle Chisholm (Yamaha) 39
- Bradley Taft (Husqvarna) 33
- Cody Cooper (NZ, Honda) 31
250MX results from round two at Glen Helen:
- Aaron Plessinger (Yamaha) 1-1
- Alex Martin (KTM) 3-3
- Jeremy Martin (Honda) 5-2
- Zach Osborne (Husqvarna) 2-5
- Joey Savatgy (Kawasaki) 6-4
- Justin Cooper (Yamaha) 4-7
- RJ Hampshire (Honda) 8-9
- Garrett Marchbanks (Kawasaki) 7-10
- Chase Sexton (Honda) 10-8
- Austin Forkner (Kawasaki) 13-6
250MX standings after two rounds:
- Aaron Plessinger (Yamaha) 88 points
- Zach Osborne (Husqvarna) 88
- Jeremy Martin (Honda), 82
- Alex Martin (KTM) 74
- Justin Cooper (Yamaha) 60
- Joey Savatgy (Kawasaki) 59
- Chase Sexton (Honda) 50
- RJ Hampshire (Honda) 50
- Garrett Marchbanks (Kawasaki) 49
- Jordon Smith (KTM) 43