Tomac’s speed was on display immediately in timed qualifying, where it was clearly evident that the Kawasaki rider we’ve been accustomed to seeing the past two seasons had returned to form. The track inside Ford Field seemed to cater perfectly to Tomac’s style, and he was brimming with confidence entering the Main Events. In addition to Tomac, his rookie Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Joey Savatgy continued to impress with the fourth-fastest lap of the afternoon. Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia was eighth, while his rookie teammate Aaron Plessinger was just outside the top 10 in 11th.
After the first gate drop of the night it was Justin Brayton who surged into the lead, while Tomac was nowhere to be found outside the top 10. Barcia led the way for Monster Energy by starting fifth, with Plessinger and Savatgy sandwiching Tomac in the fight for a spot in the top 10.
Brayton’s early pace allowed him to establish a comfortable lead out front, while all eyes started to focus on Tomac and his mounting charge through the field. He quickly moved into the top 10 and continued to pick off riders before breaking into the top five right about the halfway point. Along the way he surpassed Barcia, who had spent the majority of the Main Event up to that point inside the top four. As time wound down, Tomac picked up the pace even more and soon broke into the top three. He had both Brayton and second-place runner Chad Reed in his sights and made quick work of Reed to move into second. He showed some patience in his attack on Brayton for the lead, but easily took control of the Main Event right before time expired.
Tomac took the opening Main Event win by 2.3 seconds over Brayton, with Reed in third. Savatgy battled his way into eighth, while Barcia held on for 10th. Plessinger followed just a couple spots behind in 12th.
With a win under his belt, Tomac made life much easier on himself in the second Main Event, starting inside the top three behind championship leader Cooper Webb and Savatgy. The Monster Energy duo put heavy pressure on Webb, and Tomac was able to pass both riders over subsequent laps to seize control of the race on Lap 5. Once in front, the Kawasaki rider left the field in his wake and easily captured the second Main Event win by 5.1 seconds over Webb, with Savatgy right behind in third. Barcia and Plessinger put all four Monster Energy riders in the top 10 with finishes of seventh and 10th, respectively.
With back-to-back wins Tomac sat in the catbird seat entering the third and final Main Event. He’d proven what he was capable of with an average start, so barring anything catastrophic he was poised to easily clinch the overall, but the odds of a Main Event sweep were very realistic. When the field converged into the first turn it was Blake Baggett who came out with the lead, with Savatgy and Barcia right on his rear fender. Plessinger started in eighth, while Tomac was buried in 12th.
An aggressive Barcia stormed into second as Savatgy jockeyed for position and settled into fifth. Barcia then hounded Baggett for several laps and successfully moved into the lead on Lap 6. Behind him Tomac was dealing with his first bout of adversity after he was forced off the track and dropped back a couple additional spots. The Kawasaki rider was certainly going to need the additional time to work his way back into contention and ideally reclaim his hold of the overall classification.
That task became more immediate when Webb took over the race lead from Barcia on Lap 11. True to form, Tomac battled his way from as far down as 13th back to the cusp of the top five in seventh. As they ran, Webb and Tomac were tied for first overall, but Webb carried the tiebreaker by leading the way in the Main Event. The battle for victory shifted into Tomac’s favor when Ken Roczen and Dean Wilson came together battling a few spots ahead. Wilson went down and lost several spots, and it moved Tomac up into sixth, good enough the clinch the overall.
With the win in hand, Tomac didn’t force the issue over the waning laps of the race. Webb carried on to take the win, followed by Baggett and Barcia. Tomac claimed sixth, with Plessinger eighth and Savatgy 11th.
Tomac’s fondness of Triple Crown competition carried him to his second win of the season, edging out Webb by a single point. Veteran Chad Reed rounded out the podium in third. Barcia’s stellar effort in the final Main Event moved him up to seventh overall, followed by Savatgy in eighth. Plessinger finished in 12th.
"What really got me in that [final] moto was when I went off the track, like on lap two or three. I almost clipped the tuff blox and had to go around this double. It shuffled me back. I mean, I was back in the beginning, but that really put me in the pressure cooker there and I was like, 'Am I really doing this right now?' So I got my head back in it and made the charge back. I was watching the points gap, and [mechanic] Brian Krantz was doing a good job of giving me the position in that situation. I used up my whole cushion but it paid off. We're at such a better spot than we were and just felt more 'me' tonight."
The victory provided a much-needed rebound for Tomac, who finished outside the top 10 the previous week, and helped regain valuable points in the championship. He remains fourth in the standings, 13 points out of the lead. Barcia sits sixth, with Plessinger in ninth. Savatgy continues his comeback through the standings, now in 12th.
450SX Class Results
1. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki (1-1-6)
2. Cooper Webb, KTM (6-2-1)
3. Chad Reed, Suzuki (3-5-7)
4. Ken Roczen, Honda (5-6-5)
5. Blake Baggett, KTM (4-11-2)
7. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (10-7-3)
8. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki (8-3-11)
12. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing (12-10-8)
450SX Class Standings
1. Cooper Webb, KTM - 173
2. Ken Roczen, Honda - 167
3. Marvin Musquin, KTM - 161
4. Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Kawasaki – 160
5. Dean Wilson, Husqvarna – 122
6. Justin Barcia, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing - 120
9. Aaron Plessinger, Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing - 104
12. Joey Savatgy, Monster Energy Kawasaki - 92