Photo courtesy Hoppenworld.com
Eli Tomac made it three wins in a row Saturday night at the Indy Supercross in front of a national television audience on Fox. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider took over the lead on the third lap and never looked back, riding away to a 5.850-second margin of victory. The win not only marked the first time in his career that Tomac has won three consecutive Monster Energy Supercross races, but perhaps even more importantly it narrowed the gap between him and series leader Ryan Dungey to just 12 points with six rounds remaining.
Ironically it was Dungey’s own Red Bull KTM teammate Marvin Musquin who helped Tomac tonight. Showing that there are obviously no team orders at this point in the season, Musquin chased down and passed Dungey with around five minutes to go in the race to take over second place. Dungey was relegated to third.
Blake Baggett scored his second holeshot of the season on his Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM, and was the early leader. He held it for a couple of laps before Tomac made a smooth inside move to take over the point. Dungey quickly followed his rival and ran second.
It seemed like a perfect scenario for Dungey try to put a stop to his rival’s momentum, but a couple of mistakes five minutes into the 20-minute, plus one by Dungey and Tomac had breathing room.
Not only was Dungey unable to respond, but then his teammate Musquin came up and passed him late in the race, again helped by riding errors from Dungey.
That’s the way they finished with Tomac winning, Musquin recovering from illness to score his first podium in four races and Dungey taking the final podium spot.
His second put Musquin into a tie with Cole Seely for third in the standings. Seely finished fifth.
Tomac’s solid run is setting up a great showdown between him and Dungey in the closing rounds.
“This is everything you dream of other than winning the championship,” said a smiling Tomac after the race. “Right now we’re winning races, so it’s pretty cool. We’re rolling right now and I love it. This is good for us. We’re doing what we need to do and we’ve just got to keep doing it.
Musquin was thrilled to be back on the rostrum after losing fitness due to an extended flu.
“It was a great day,” Musquin commented. “Right before the main event I was thinking about the whole day – fastest qualifying, first time winning a heat race. I was thinking it would be cool if I could win the main event. It would make it a perfect day. Anyway, I got second tonight. I got a decent start and that’s what I need to be in the top three or four at the beginning. Then I can fight with those guys. I didn’t have the good lines at the beginning and I was losing time fighting with the bike. And then I got into my groove and I was behind Baggett and he went down and as soon as I got third I pushed really hard to catch Ryan. Then I passed him, so I’m really happy. Eli was gone, it was too late.”
Dungey, who had to come through a Semi to earn his gate, seemed grasping at straws to find answers after again losing ground in the championship chase in spite of having a strong start.
“It was a little rough for us today,” he explained. “That’s just the way it goes. I can’t explain why at times it’s harder than not, but we did our best. In the practices everything was good, the times were right, not too bad, not too far off. The heat races bumped us back. In the main even we had the inside gate and I was able to get out good and sneak through there and came right up with the guys. I put a little pressure on them a bit, but then I just fell off the pace. It’s just plain and simple. I was giving it my all, that’s all I can ask. Considering where we were and how things started, I’m happy with day. It’s good to be up here. We’ve got to remember it’s just a dirt bike race. There’s bigger things in life.”
Baggett parlayed his excellent start into fourth, giving him his third top-five finish in the last four rounds. The strong result also moved him past Chad Reed to seventh in the points.
Honda’s Cole Seely rallied from a middling start to round out the top five. He still stands third in the standings, but now shares that spot with Musquin.
Jason Anderson continued his up and down 2017 campaign, taking ninth in Indy, but holding on to fifth in the series.
Next up is Detroit next Saturday. The race will be televised on Fox Sports 1.