Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac remains undefeated in the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship after another 1-1 scorecard at the weekend's round at Glen Helen.
For the second week in a row, Christian Craig took his Honda straight to the front of the field by grabbing the Moto 1 holeshot. His teammate Ken Roczen was just behind him in second, and Roczen ended up taking over the lead after Craig went down hard on a first-lap crash. The incident started a mini-pile-up that also claimed Alex Ray, who was making his debut as a Factory Yamaha fill-in, and left Craig looking potentially injured.
Five minutes into the moto, it was Eli Tomac, Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin and Benny Bloss holding down the second through fifth positions behind Roczen. The marquee battle on the track soon became Tomac vs. Roczen for the lead. Tomac was stalking Roczen all throughout the middle portion of the race, frequently keeping the deficit to under a second. With under 12 minutes to go, Tomac closed in and pulled side-by-side with Roczen a few times, but Roczen was able to take his line away and hold onto the lead temporarily. Eventually Tomac found an opportunity to strike, as he was able to get inside of Roczen and blow past him into the top spot.
After taking the lead, Tomac was able to pull away from Roczen en route to the checkered flag. It’s the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider’s third straight moto win to start the season.
As for Roczen, he soon had another challenge on his hands in the form of Musquin. A battle formed, with Musquin pressing hard for several minutes before finally making the pass with under a minute left on the clock. Roczen showed some fight but was unable to re-pass the Frenchman. That allowed Musquin to claim second place, though he finished 12 seconds behind Tomac. Meanwhile, Roczen’s third-place finish was a marked improvement from last week’s 6-16 scores.
Anderson and Blake Baggett rounded out the top five, while Justin Barcia—who was coming off a pair of third-place moto results at Hangtown—was knocking on the door of the top five late in the race but lost a position (and a lot of ground) after going down. He eventually re-passed Bloss to earn sixth in Moto 1.
As for Bloss, he was on track for another solid finish until crashing on one of the final laps. He was seen being looked at by a member of the medical team off to the side of the course.
Among the notable names in the top 10 was local privateer Dylan Merriam, who placed ninth.
The race opened with Jason Anderson taking the holeshot, but just a few turns later, Blake Baggett fell while going up a hill, which triggered a bit of a pile-up behind him. Among the riders who managed to avoid the incident was Justin Barcia, who made an incredible save by getting himself over Baggett’s downed bike. Meanwhile, because of where he was on the hill, Baggett struggled to get going again.
Things calmed down after the opening-lap carnage, but Anderson opened up a decent lead after several laps. As the race neared the midway point, second-place Marvin Musquin was more than six seconds back of Anderson, and third-place Eli Tomac was nearly three seconds back of Musquin.
Tomac kept the pressure on and was eventually able to pass Musquin, which left him with about 11 minutes plus two laps to make up a 9-second deficit behind Anderson. ET slowly chipped away at the lead, and with two laps to go, he finally got close enough to challenge Anderson. As the two riders went up a hill, Tomac was able to blow right by Anderson and cap off an incredible comeback.
And with that, Tomac was able to secure his fourth straight moto win and second straight overall victory to start the season. The defending champion also extended his points lead in the process.
As for Anderson, his 4-2 scores were enough to put him on the overall podium in third place. Musquin (2-3) nabbed second overall for the day.
One rider who missed out on the overall podium was Ken Roczen. After his superb effort in the first moto, he made a stop in the mechanics’ area early in Moto 2 and was only able to finish the moto in eighth place.
1. Eli Tomac (1,1)
2. Marvin Musquin (2,3)
3. Jason Anderson – (4,2)
4. Justin Barcia (6,4)
5. Ken Roczen (3,8)
6. Weston Peick (7,5)
7. Blake Baggett (5,9)
8. Phillip Nicoletti (10,7)
9. Kyle Chisholm (11,11)
10. Cody Cooper (16,10)
Photo: Simon Cudby