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Eli Tomac at the 2016 MXGP Of The Americas at Charlotte, NC

Blow by Blow: Monster Energy MXGP of Charlotte

Sep 062016

Don’t Tread on Me! A blow-by-blow account of how Yankees Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb were triumphant at the inaugural Monster Energy MXGP of The Americas at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

- Team Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Austin Forkner went to the starting gate for the opening MX2 moto with the number one timed practice qualifying time, stopping the clocks at 1:45.539. Next fastest was Forkner’s teammate Adam Cianciarulo, exactly.007 seconds behind the rookie. Third fastest on the scoring and timing monitors was Red Bull KTM Factory Jeffrey Herlings with a 1:45.803. Slotting in with the fourth quickest time was recently crowned Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship 250 National Champion Cooper Webb of the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha outfit.


- When the gate dropped sending the 24 rider field into the first corner, the first two riders coming out of it were the two Kawasaki KX250s of Forkner – who aced the holeshot – and Cianciarulo. Cianciarulo’s chase would end coming out of corner number two when he got sideways coming out of a small dip and was sent cartwheeling. AC would exit the race and be scored in P24. One spot behind, Husqvarna rider Max Anstie of Great Britain also bailed, dropping him down the leader board.


- With Austin Forkner out front with a 3.186 second lead over a charging Cooper Webb and Jeffrey Herlings, another American rider, this time Thomas Covington, on a Husqvarna, motored into fourth. Three spots back in seventh was American-born European MX250 Motocross Championship vice champion Darian Sanayei.


- Forkner would carry on up front, leading the race all the way up to the 11-minute mark when the AMA Motocross Rookie of the Year tipped over in a slow corner. Getting caught up in the small crash was Webb, who lost the small gap he had built up over Herlings. A few turns later, the Dutchman put the hammer down and out powered Webb into the lead. From there, it was basically a procession to the finish line of the 30-lap-plus-two-minute moto.


- With a five second lead, Jeffrey Herlings flashed across the finish line in victory, and in doing so, clinched his third FIM MX2 World Championship. “I just don’t know man, it was hyped-up with me against the Americans, but at least I won and I won in style,” said Herlings immediately following the moto. “Second moto will be important, but I don’t care, after all the injuries I finally got it. Thanks to everyone who helped me out. With the heat it was tough. I was nervous, and I have jetlag, but I want to thank KTM for this.”


- Copper Webb, who backed off a bit after being zapped by Herlings, placed second in the moto, crossing the moto with an elapsed time of 35:14.964. Forkner held steady in third, with Thomas Covington in fourth. Darian Sanayei of the Team Bud Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki finished a very credible seventh.


MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1

1 1 84 Herlings, Jeffrey NED KTM 35:14.964

2 2 17 Webb, Cooper USA YAM 35:19.453

3 3 214 Forkner, Austin USA KAW 35:44.182

- Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac exited the parc ferme and motored to the starting gate for the opening MXGP moto as the pole man after posting up the fastest time in qualifying practice with a lap timed at 1:44.820. Second fastest was 2016 MXGP World Champion in waiting Tim Gajser who had clocked a lap at 1:45.783.


- Leading the charge out of the high-speed first corner was Energy/JGR/Yamaha pilot Just Barcia. Immediately behind the America was Eli Tomac and his factory Kawasaki KX450F. In third and fourth ran Tim Gajser and Team Yamaha’s Jeremy Van Horebeek on Belgium.


- Tomac quickly passed Barcia and just plain took off, jetting away to a 15-second lead in the span of just a few laps. All looked well with the world for Tomac, but at the 14-minute mark the American got cross-rutted in a corner and the rear wheel of his KX450F skipped out and sent him to the ground. Tomac wisely kept his hand on the clutch and kept the bike running. Once he got going again - Tomac had given up five seconds to Barcia - he quickly composed himself and took right off to amass an 18-second lead over his fellow American Barcia.


- Antonio Cairoli, the only rider with any sort of chance at spoiling Tim Gajser’s World Championship party, was having a rough go off things, mired all the way back in 15th and not making any forward momentum whatsoever.


- Ultimately, the checkered flag was unfurled and waved, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac tripping the electronic timing and scoring with a winning moto time of 35:10.508. Nearly 23 seconds adrift in second place was runner-up Barcia. The Belgian Horebeek put in a very strong moto to place third.


- “That wasn’t the perfect race,” Tomac said after the moto. “But it was a fun race. I started laying down the laps and then tipped over and kept it together. I am looking forward to the night race, because that sun was brutal. Vision was tough, a lot of ruts and bigger than I thought it would get.”


- The true star of the moto, however, was Tim Gajser who clinched the MXGP world championship with a solid fourth place finish in the moto.


- In clinching the MXGP word title, Tim Gajser completed “the double” by taking both the MX2 and MXGP World Championships in back-to-back years.


- In his rookie season in the MXGP classification, Gajser and his Honda CRF450RW earned an unrivalled seven Grand Prix victories and fifteen moto wins and seventeen fastest laps

-In taking his back-to-back MXGP title, Gajser becomes the first big-class World Champion for Honda in 16 years (Frenchman Fred Bolley triumphed in 2000).


MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1

1 1 3 Tomac, Eli USA KAW 35:10.508

2 2 51 Barcia, Justin USA YAM 35:33.321

3 3 89 Van Horebeek, Jeremy BEL YAM 35:34.781

- It was the America EMX250 ace Darian Sanayei grabbing the holeshot and leading the pack out onto the one-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway “SuperCircuit”. Chasing the Bud Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki KX250F were Austin Forkner and new MX2 World Champion Jeffrey Herlings. Meanwhile, Cooper Webb was WAY back in 19th. In typical Coop fashion, though, he berserked the opening laps and in the blink of an eye was all the way up to seventh and charging like a man possessed.


- Sanayei would make a few minor mistakes, dropping out of the lead and allow Forkner and Herlings to go flying past. Webb kept on pouring the coals to his Yamaha YX250F, taking radical inside and outside lines on the tricky circuit and passing one rider after another.


- With three minutes remaining until the two lap signal was to be given, Forkner still held the point, leading Herlings by 3.406 seconds. Behind the No. 84 KTM of Herlings, Webb, urged on by a roaring Charlotte crowd, was closing like a freight train on the leading duo.


- At the 2.12 second mark, Cooper whizzed right on by Herlings and took after Forkner, who was just 1.8 seconds ahead of him.


- 18 seconds short of the finish line and the two lap signal, Webb dove deep inside a corner and came out of it with the lead over Forkner. The Crowd, backing Charlotte homeboy Webb the whole way through the affair, collectively roared its approval and from there Webb was gone.


- Herlings went after Forkner on the final lap of the moto and looked to have the Missouri native in his sites, but Forkner refused to give in to the three-time MX2 champion and was able to hold on to the well-hard-earned runner-up finish.


- Webb would win the moto with a 3.876 second lead over Forkner, with Herlings 5.424 seconds adrift of the victorious Webb.


- “I had a terrible start,” exclaimed Webb afterwards. “I was way back, and made passes. I was going to settle for third, but the crowd pulled for me, and I couldn’t settle. I gave it everything I had. It was my last 250 race and I had a terrible start and just kept coming and got the win.”


- Said Herlings of the moto: “In the first moto I was faster and in the second moto he was faster and he is at his home GP. But no excuses, he was fast. I lost the fight but won the war today.”


- “I rode as hard as I could as long as I could, but Cooper was just too fast today and I made some mistakes and he passed me,” explained the impressive Forkner. “Then I didn’t want to give it to Jeffrey too easy and he passed me, but I passed him back.”


MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2

1 17 Webb, Cooper USA AMA Yamaha 35:23.073

2 214 Forkner, Austin USA AMA Kawasaki 35:26.949

3 84 Herlings, Jeffrey NED KNMV KTM 35:28.497


- New MXGP World Champion Tim Gajser gave the European way of motocross of life a reason for being when he holeshot the second MXGP, and had fellow Grand Prix tail gunners Glenn Coldenhoff (KTM) and Evgeny Bobryshev (Honda) immediately behind. Opening moto winner Eli Tomac was back in fifth, while fellow AMA rider Justin Barcia was bouncing around way back in 20th place.


- While Gajser motored away up at the sharp end of the filed, Coldenhoff holding station in second, just ahead of a fast closing Tomac. Having displaced the Russian Bobryshev, Tomac was cognizant of the fact that he needed to pass Coldenhoff as soon as possible as Gajser was already four seconds ahead.


- At the 25-minute mark Tomac swung wide in a right hand sweeper and zapped Coldenhoff for second and duly went looking for Gajser who was exactly 3.440 seconds ahead of him.


- On lap number four Justin Barcia, who was still back in 21st place, pulled out of the race on lap four.


- Hitting a triple-double at will and wheel tapping his KX450F around the mile-long circuit, it was only a matter of time before Tomac caught Gajser, and that’s exactly what he did on the sixth lap when he came upon a fallen Gajser who had hit the dirt.


- Tomac sped away to the moto win, crossing the finish line six seconds ahead of the European. Behind came Coldenhoff, Bobryshev, and Van Horebeek.


- “I just tried to keep it on two wheels in that second moto,” smiled Tomac on the podium. “Earlier I said the night might be better, but it was tough. It was hard to read the dirt and then Tim had a good lead and then he slipped over and I got the lead. He kept me honest the whole race and it seemed like the gap was the same. I had a lot of fun today and this is something I look forward to more in the future. It’s been a tough, long season, but this was a lot of fun.”


- “The first moto was tough, I was thinking about the championship,” explained Gajser. “I was fighting with the bike, but after the first heat we were champion and the pressure was off. I took a good start in the second moto and tried to pull away and made a gap and I made a mistake and then I made a good speed and stayed in second place.”


MXGP – Race 2 – Classification

1 3 Tomac, Eli USA AMA Kawasaki 35:21.042

2 243 Gajser, Tim SLO AMZS Honda 35:27.026

3 259 Coldenhoff, Glenn NED KNMV KTM 35:29.746