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Action shots of our athletes at High Point National

Tomac Returns at High Point

Jun 192017

Racing can be a tough way to make a living, and if Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac didn’t know that before 2017, he has to know it by now. Although he’s been the fastest guy on the track most of the year, he’s had some misfortunes that may have cost him the 2017 Monster Energy/AMA Supercross Championship, and a couple that have set him back early in the 450cc National Motocross Championship as well.

450 Report

Tomac was dominant at round one of the series a month ago at Hangtown, but since then he hasn’t managed to win a single moto. Between bad starts, front-brake problems, and inopportune crashes, it was a testament to his dogged determination that he left round three of the series in Colorado only down in the championship by 17 points. And just as Tomac hit the skids for a couple of weeks, former 250cc National Champ Blake Baggett caught fire. It was clear coming into Hangtown that Tomac was going to have to put an end to Baggett’s hot streak and start up a new one of his own.

In moto one, Tomac’s Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Josh Grant snared the holeshot and his teammate Tomac moved into second early, only to lose the front end and go down for the second race in a row, forcing him to remount dead-last.


Grant led the first three laps in front of Australian racer Dean Ferris, who took advantage of his weekend off from the national series in Australia to fly to Pennsylvania and take on the Americans. Ferris took the lead momentarily early in the race, but soon lost the spot to Baggett, who sped away with the win in front of Ferris and Grant. Behind them came Broc Tickle, Jason Anderson, and Monster Energy/Yamalube Yamaha’s Cooper Webb.


Tomac could only manage to fight his way up to 12th at the finish, and Grant was happy with third in the first outing, although on Father’s Day weekend his thoughts were with his son, Wyatt, who was back home in California nursing a broken leg.


“We knew that a start was going to be really important for this race,” Grant said. “I was able to get a holeshot and yeah, I feel good. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out at High Point and rode this well. My little man is at home with a broken leg, so it’s tough, but I love him and hope you’re doing well, Wy.”


Tickle got the holeshot to start moto two, but Anderson quickly moved into the lead just in front of Tomac, Tickle, Wilson, Webb, Grant, Davalos, Bogle, Musquin and Baggett at the tail end of the top 10. Tomac quickly focused forward and moved his way into the lead in the opening few laps. Baggett moved into second a few laps later and attempted to chase Tomac down, but Baggett just couldn’t make up any time. Tomac pulled away to win by over 20 seconds, getting the monkey off his back with his first moto win since Hangtown. The 12-1 score was good for fourth overall on the day.


“That first moto was a bummer,” Tomac said. “I lost the front end. I’ve done that a couple of times the past few weeks, so it’s disappointing for sure, but I came back the second moto fired up and got it done the whole way. I rode like myself early on and kind of felt like Hangtown there. Thanks to Monster Energy Kawasaki and we’ll see if we can come out swinging next week.”


Grant was battling with points leader Marvin Musquin in the second moto when he went down with a few laps to go and was forced to settle for 11th, and ended up 6th overall. Webb fought his way up to fifth in the second moto, and his 6-5 scores were good enough for fifth overall on the day. The 31 points Webb scored on the day mark a new high for points at a single 450cc event during this his rookie season in the class.


The good news for Tomac isn’t just that he’s managed to put another moto win in the books, but he narrowed the points gap from 17 down to 11 points as the series heads to round five at Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tennessee, next Saturday.

250cc Report

The all-new track layout at High Point, along with the inclement weather in the lead-up to the event, made things tough on the 250cc field almost from top to bottom. In the first moto, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo found himself at the tail end of five-rider train from eventual winner Zach Osborne to himself in fifth place, and just on the rear wheel of Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis at the finish. His young teammate Austin Forkner finished just behind him despite nursing an ankle injury, and their teammate Joey Savatgy fought his way to an eighth-place finish in the moto.


Being up in the fight with the top guys had Cianciarulo looking hopeful for something positive to come from the second moto in the 95-degree temps and high humidity of Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania.


“Obviously, it’s hot today, but we’re in Florida and it’s humid everyday,” said Florida native Cianciarulo. “Of course you add race intensity into it and it’s just kind of a long day. You’ve got practice and two motos. The intensity is high, like I said. I’d like to pick a little bit better lines there at the end of the moto. I felt like I kind of got stuck and lost my rhythm and then lost touch with the leaders. Dylan got by me there at the end, but all in all, I feel good with how I’m riding. Hopefully, we can bring it through for the second moto.”


Unfortunately for Cianciarulo, he suffered a fall in moto two and could only manage 13th. In the second moto, it was his teammates Forkner and Savatgy who had to face off against the talent up inside the top 10. Consistent as can be, Forkner faired best among his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, landing in sixth place yet again, but this time kind of all by himself, with 20 seconds between him and fifth place, as well as between him and his teammate Savatgy in seventh.


“Overall it wasn’t a bad day,” Forkner said. “I want to be up on the box, but with a track that was gnarly like that, it was better to be safe than sorry. I felt my starts were good and I just have to take it easy to make sure my ankle gets better.” Forkner ended up sixth overall on the day, just in front of Savatgy in seventh, and Cianciarulo in ninth. In the points chase, Savatgy still sits a solid fourth one point in front of Forkner, and Cianciarulo is just a few points back in seventh. And there’s still 16 motos left to run before a champion is crowned.