Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac and Red Bull KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings both came into the Glen Helen MX GP of the USA with a bit of a chip on their shoulders. The last time Tomac was at Glen Helen, he went 3-3 on the day for third overall behind Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen. While he did finish third in both motos, he was about 30 seconds behind the winner both times out. And Herlings? Glen Helen was his last MX2 (250cc) race, and Herlings was going to do anything he had to do in order to win his final MX2 race – especially after getting beaten handily in North Carolina only a week earlier.
Eli Tomac Dominates Glen Helen MXGP
The MX2 class was up first. In moto one, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Max Anstie fought over the holeshot while Herlings started the race battling it out for third. But a great line choice in the second turn of the race put Herlings into the lead right away, and that was it. Herlings took the win by 10 seconds over GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin, then Forkner, Anstie’s teammate Thomas Covington and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Mitchell Harrison.
In moto two, Anstie got the start, but Herlings fought his way into the lead by lap two, and once again, he checked out. Forkner was forced to come through the pack after a terrible start, and then crashed out of the race with six laps to go while he was running 11th.
Behind Herlings once again came Martin, about seven seconds behind Herlings, and championship runner-up Jeremy Seewer finished third. Then came Anstie and Harrison.
Herlings took the overall in front of Martin (2-2), Harrison (5-5), Anstie (8-4) and Seewer (11-3).
In the MXGP (450cc) class, Tomac was forced to chase down the leaders in both motos. In moto one, Glenn Coldenhoff grabbed the holeshot over 8-time world champion Antonio Cairoli (Red Bull KTM). Then came Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Max Nagl, Yamaha’s Jeremy van Horebeek, and then Tomac. Tomac worked his way into second in the first couple laps, but had more work in store to get around Cairoli, who had moved into the lead. It took Tomac four full laps to get around Cairoli, but he eventually made a pass stick through the Glen Helen rhythm section.
Tomac went on to win the moto by over 15 seconds over Cairoli. Then came Nagl, newly crowned world champion Tim Gajser, and van Horebeek.
In moto two, Tomac started even worse. Nagl got the holeshot over Cairoli, who went to the lead in less than a lap and began to pull away. With Cairoli out front, Tomac struggled to get into the groove behind Arnaud Tonus back in eighth place. It took him almost a third of the race just to get up to fourth place, but then something clicked. Tomac found some lines and started going around the lead racers, and in the course of four laps, he caught and passed Nagl, Gajser, and then Cairoli. Once he took the lead, Tomac took off yet again, winning by over 16 seconds over Cairoli and Gajser.
Overall, Tomac took the win over Cairoli (2-2), Gajser (4-3), Nagl (3-4) and Honda’s Gautier Paulin (10-5). Tomac, amazingly, finishes the world championship 22nd in points with 100 points after winning all of the four motos in which he competed.
BY STEVE COX
Glen Helen Raceway
2016 FIM Motocross World Championship
San Bernardino, California
Results: September 11, 2016
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