Monster Energy Kawasakis Eli Tomac Sweeps Southwick
- Eli Tomac wins his first moto and overall of the season
- Rookies Austin Forkner gets his second podium finish and first overall podium finish
Irvine, CA (July 10, 2016) – After a three-year hiatus, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship headed back to the sandbox of Southwick, Massachusetts. For four decades Southwick held a special place in American motocross with its sand based track producing great races throughout the years. Race day began with Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac qualifying second with a lap of 2:02:99. When the gate dropped for Moto 1 and the 40 riders came barreling through the sand into the first turn, Tomac sat 10th. The Colorado native, wasted no time powering his KX™450F through the field and by the end of Lap-1 had passed his way into the top five. Within another two laps he had reeled in the leader and began applying pressure for the lead. By half-way, he had taken over the lead and checked out. Within one lap, Tomac had pulled a six and half second lead, by the next lap, it was up to a ten and half second lead, and when the checkers finally flew, the No. 3 machine had pulled a 20+ second gap on second place to win his first moto of the season. Teammate Tyler Bowers had a slow start to the day having to qualify through the 450 consolation race. As a result, Bowers had a poor gate pick for Moto 1 and was unfortunately caught up in a first turn pile up. Bowers rode strong for 35 minutes and passed nearly half of the field to finish 17th.
In Moto 2, Tomac came charging around Turn-1 inside the top-5 and by the end of the lap he had worked his way into second place. Once again, the two riders atop the points would battle through the sugary sand of “The Wick.” For 15 minutes the gap between the two rarely exceeded one second, however, Tomac had finally eaten enough roost and made a pass for the lead by railing an outside berm, the long way around. A tip-over with five laps remaining pushed Tomac back into second, but it wouldn’t last long as he would bounce back and re-pass for the lead two corners later. Tomac went 1-1 for his first overall of the season while teammate Bowers went 17-14 for 15th overall.
“It feels great to win again,” said Tomac. “We’ve been working so hard as a team to improve every weekend and to see it pay off feels good. The track conditions were really rough today, so it really came down to maintaining momentum and riding as smooth as possible through the bumps. Overall I am pumped to be back on top. This is only the beginning.”
“Fortunately, I was able to win the consolation race,” said Bowers “I was caught up in a first turn pileup at the start of Moto 1. I charged as hard as I could to get back up inside the top 20 to salvage some points. Got a great start in Moto 2 and just rode my own race and had fun. I’m looking forward on improving next week.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki arrived at Southwick determined to regain the points leading red number plate which they lost last weekand. Upon conclusion of qualifying they seemed poised to do just that. Rookie Austin Forkner displayed his raw talent yet again this weekend as he set the fastest time in qualifying, followed by his teammate Joey Savatgy. Moto 1 saw the Arnaud Tonus showcase his smooth and flowing style in the sand. Tonus ran fifth for 25 minutes until moving into third with four minutes to go and achieving his second ever AMA 250 motocross podium finish. Forkner brought home another top-5 finish, while teammates Adam Cianciarulo finished ninth and Joey Savatgy 10th.
Moto 2 saw Forkner nearly grab his second holeshot of the season, working hard all race to stay on pace with the race leader. At the checkers Forkner crossed the line second, for his career best finish and first overall podium with a 5-2 for third overall. Teammate Tonus was looking at a 3-4 moto tally, to tie teammate Forkner for third overall, until a crash with three-laps remaining dropped him back to eighth for sixth overall, still a season best. Savatgy went 10-11 for 9th overall while Cianciarulo finished 9-19 for 14th overall.
“Today was really good,” said Forkner. “After setting the fastest lap in qualifying, I got two decent starts in both motos and charged as hard as I could. I was absolutely “sending it” in Moto 2 and it felt great to battle for the lead with the points leader. I feel great with how I performed today and am looking forward in continuing to learn and grow.”
“Today was step in the right direction,” said Tonus. “I felt really comfortable on the bike and rode strong all day. After all the struggle I went through, it feels great to perform at 100% again for myself and the team.”
“Today was tough,” said Cianciarulo. “The track conditions got the best of me today. I felt like I rode well and my lines were good but it didn’t show in the results. We’re still taking each race one at a time and trying to improve. We’ll come back swinging next weekend.”
“The day started off well after qualifying second,” said Savatgy. "Ran up front in the second moto for a bit and made a few strong passes and felt I had the pace to win before going down. I was able to salvage points today and am still in the championship hunt. It’s a long series and anything can happen.”
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