Eli Tomac celebrates his second-moto win with the Utah fans. He ended up sewing up the 250cc outdoor title. Photography by Kit Palmer.
Ryan Villopoto wasn’t the only rider who clinched a title at the Utah AMA Pro National Motocross Saturday, so did Eli Tomac. While Villopoto’s early championship didn’t come as much of a surprise – Tomac’s did. Tomac needed to gain 11 points on series rival Ken Roczen to secure the title, which didn’t seem likely. But when all was said and done, Tomac, who won both motos today at Miller Motorsports Park, pulled 12 points on the former MX2 World Champion and left the facility with the 250cc number-one plate in hand. But it wasn’t confirmed until the last few seconds of the final moto.
After winning the first moto with Roczen taking fourth (behind Tomac, Blake Baggett and Adam Cianciarulo), Tomac needed another win in the second moto with Roczen finishing third or worse to secure his first 250 outdoor title.
After Roczen passed fast starter Justin Bogle for the lead early in the second moto and with Tomac just inside the top 10, the race for the championship appeared to be going down to the last round next week at Lake Elsinore. But Tomac didn’t want to wait that long.
Tomac put on another one of his come-from-behind charges that carried him right up to Roczen’s rear fender. Tomac, on the GEICO Honda, got around Roczen late in the race and started to pull away, but his championship fate was now out of his hands but in the hands Blake Baggett’s, who was running third and closing in on Roczen.
With Tomac’s championship on the line, Roczen and Baggett battled the last couple of laps. Baggett finally got around Roczen just as they approached the checkered flag. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider nipped the Red Bull KTM rider at the finish line, which clinched the title early for Tomac.
Roczen ended up third but has a lock on second in the championship.
“I didn’t really think it [clinching the title] was going to happen today,” Tomac said. “I didn’t know I had won it until they told me.”
Baggett, the 2012 Champion, finished off the day in second overall after going 2-2, while Roczen got on the podium with a 4-3.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo had his best day since turning pro this year. He ran in second place for much of the first moto before dropping back to third. After a great start in the second moto, he slipped back to ninth, which was still good enough to give him fourth overall.
GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle had his best ride of the year. He led the early part of the second before finishing fourth behind Tomac, Baggett and Roczen. A ninth in the first moto combined to give him fifth overall.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Darryn Durham went 8-5 for sixth overall, followed by Marvin Musquin (5-8), Cooper Webb (7-7), Zach Osborne (6-10) and Justin Hill (10-14).
Besides Tomac clinching the 250cc title, the talk of the race was the wind/dust storm that blew in early in the second 250cc moto and final moto of the day. Dust from the infield made visibility difficult for the racers and the hard wind made it twice as hard to clear many of the track’s gigantic jumps. After the race, Roczen thought it was so bad that he was expecting the red flag to come out to stop the race. Baggett agreed that it was “gnarly” but nothing he’s not used to while testing in the California desert, he said.
One of the races left in the 250cc champion is for third place between Musquin and Baggett. Going into the final round next week, Musquin leads Baggett by 15 points.
Bogle also leads Jeremy Martin by just four points in the race for sixth in the championship
2013 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship
Miller Motorsports Park – Salt Lake City, Utah
Round 11 0f 12
August 17, 2013
1. Eli Tomac (Hon) 1-1
2. Blake Baggett (Kaw) 2-2
3. Ken Roczen (KTM) 4-3
4. Adam Cianciarulo (Kaw) 3-9
5. Justin Bogle (Hon) 9-4
6. Darryn Durham (Kaw) 8-5
7. Marvin Musquin (KTM) 5-8
8. Cooper Webb (Yam) 7-7
9. Zach Osborne (Hon) 6-10
10. Justin Hill (Kaw) 10-14