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Action shots of our athletes at Muddy Creek in Tenessee

Eli Tomac Takes Tennessee

Jun 252017

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac wins the Tennessee MX National and pulls within striking distance of the championship leader.

It seems that Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac has his found his momentum. He’d lost it for most of three rounds after dominating the first two motos of the 2017 AMA 450cc National Motocross Championships, but last weekend in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, at High Point Raceway, Tomac managed to pull down the second-moto win, which was his first moto win since the series opener at Hangtown. He came into round five of the series on Saturday at Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tennessee, feeling like he had something to prove. And by the end of the day, he had not only proven it, but knocked a sizeable chunk out of Blake Baggett’s championship points lead in the process.

450cc Report


Monster Energy/JGR/AutoTrader Suzuki’s Justin Barcia actually snatched the holeshot to start the first moto in front of Justin Bogle, Jason Anderson, Barcia’s teammate Weston Peick, Trey Canard, Monster Energy/Yamalube Yamaha’s local boy Cooper Webb, Ronnie Stewart, Broc Tickle. Anderson and Barcia fought it out for the lead for most of the first lap before Barcia finally gave way. Before long, Tomac joined in behind Canard and Tickle in seventh, and Baggett was hot on Tomac’s tail. Tomac made it through the group up front much quicker than Baggett, though, and fought his way past Barcia in a tight left eight laps into the race. For the rest of the moto, Tomac couldn’t seem to reel Anderson in, but after the moto, Tomac revealed he actually thought he was leading the whole time.


“That was a better moto for us,” Tomac said. “I got off to a decent start and had to make a few passes there, and then at one point, after I got through all those guys, I thought I was leading the race, so I felt like a major dork! I went across the finish line and did a fist-pump and I was just like, ‘Man! That was a good moto!’ Little did I know Jason [Anderson] was gone and smoked us all! So, I need some better race-awareness for next time. Thank you to Monster Energy Kawasaki, and hopefully we get out there at the beginning of moto two and fight for that win.”


Anderson took the win over Tomac, Baggett, and Peick, who has been recovering from a bad wrist injury. On the last lap, three turns from the finish, “BamBam” Barcia lived up to his name when he shoved former points leader Marvin Musquin wide to take fifth, and that also allowed Tickle by for sixth. Even Dean Wilson almost got Musquin at the finish, but had to settle for eighth in front of Webb, Canard, Anderson’s other teammate Martin Davalos, and then Bogle, who slowed dramatically late in the race to finish 12th.


Barcia was amazed with his top-five in the opening moto, considering he had received a concussion seven days earlier.


“I didn’t feel like [I was riding well] out there,” Barcia said. “I had a little concussion last week, and my doctors and everything, we did a lot of work to get me back out here this weekend. But I’m not feeling so good today. I don’t know how I rode that good, because I feel like death right now.”


In moto two, Bogle got the holeshot right alongside Canard with Tomac, Peick, Musquin and Anderson giving chase, while Tickle, Webb and points leader Baggett found themselves on the ground together in the first turn.


Tomac went by Canard early on the first lap, and then Bogle crashed out of the lead a few turns later in a tight left-hander. From there, Tomac was gone.


Bogle got up angry, though, only falling back to fifth, and was in a battle all the way to the finish with Peick and Davalos.


The points leader, Baggett, got to work from nearly dead-last. On lap one, he came across the line in 31st. On lap two, he was 20th. On lap three, he was 16th. On lap four, 14th. And so it went until he sat on Canard’s tail in eighth near the halfway point. With four laps to go, Baggett fought his way through the Peick/Bogle/Davalos battle and took over third. At the finish, it was Tomac with ease over Anderson and Baggett. Tomac took his second overall win of the series and now sits only four points behind Baggett in the championship chase.


“That was a lot better than the first one, and it started with that start,” Tomac said. “I got a really good jump out of the gate and pretty much had it to the first turn, and then Bogle stole it away there, but once I got out front, the bike felt awesome. It was comfortable the whole moto. I’m glad to rebound with the overall. We’ve had a tough couple weeks, so it’s a good week to step forward with the team. I’m excited for next weekend.”


Peick came in fourth again in the second moto, ending up with a 4-4 score for fourth overall despite still in recovery from his broken wrist.


“It hasn’t been an easy injury for me,” Peick said. “It’s been one of the longest injuries I’ve ever had, and it’s been a hard injury to come back from. To ride each week, week-in and week-out, and have the pain, and crashing on it and injuring it while trying to recover, it’s been a huge struggle, but I was able to get out to a good start and I’m stoked to be in fourth place in this one.”


After Peick came Bogle, Davalos, Wilson, Freddie Noren, Webb, Barcia, Canard and Tickle. The series now heads to one of the most legendary tracks on the entire circuit: RedBud Raceway in Buchanan, Michigan, next Saturday, July 1st.

250cc Report


When the gate dropped for 250cc moto one, Aaron Plessinger snared the holeshot over Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/JGR/AutoTrader Suzuki’s Kyle Cunningham, and Cianciarulo’s teammate Austin Forkner, while Forkner’s other teammate Joey Savatgy ended up on the ground with Jeremy Martin and Dylan Ferrandis.


About halfway through lap one, Forkner had a massive save in third place, coming up short on a sharp jump edge and doing a Flying W, but somehow holding on to third anyway.


Plessinger pulled away to win the opening moto over Cianciarulo.


“It was a good race for me,” Cianciarulo said. “The last couple weekends; I had that mechanical at Colorado, unfortunately, that put us back a little bit, and since then I’ve been struggling to find momentum. This weekend was a good place to start. I was able to get a good start, and Aaron made a mistake right off the bat here on the first lap, and I wish I would’ve gotten him there, because we were pretty similar in speed. I just made a couple mistakes and he got away from me. But I felt good about my speed. Hopefully in the second moto we can make something happen.”


Forkner had his hands full in the final laps with Alex Martin, but held off “AMart” for third. 


“I really didn’t have the speed that those guys had early on,” Forkner said. “I fell off the pace a little bit, but got it back about halfway and was just trying to catch those guys and not worry about who was behind me. But I did see Alex back there, so I just tried to focus ahead and not worry about them, and it was good. I got third, so I’m happy.”


In moto two, Plessinger grabbed the holeshot again, this time in front of Forkner, Osborne, Cantrell and Nichols. Early on lap two, Cantrell went down hard when he scrubbed a jump too far and was ejected. He dropped out of the race.


While Plessinger led out front, Osborne began applying pressure, and Plessinger made an error on lap six, giving Osborne the opening he needed to move into the lead. From there, Osborne was gone, but Plessinger hung on to finish all by himself in second while young Forkner again held off Alex Martin for third.


“It was gnarly,” Forkner said. “He was on me both motos. I just had to focus ahead. I was focused on trying to catch Aaron and Zach that moto and just tried not to think about who was behind me, because if I do that I start making mistakes. The track was pretty gnarly, and I’m happy to be up on the box.”


Behind them came Cianciarulo, Jeremy Martin, Savatgy, Nichols, GEICO Honda rookie Chase Sexton, Harrison, McElrath, Hampshire, PC’s Justin Hill, Renzland and Ferrandis, who had another terrible moto on the day.


Now the series moves to RedBud in Buchanan, Michigan, for the halfway point of the series with Osborne leading by 31 points over Alex Martin, with Jeremy Martin five points farther behind, Plessinger another six points behind him, and then Forkner another six points back in fifth.