Eli Tomac loses series lead after faltering at Red Bud motocross

Monday, July 9, 2018 5:06 PM
After a mechanical issue in the first race at the Red Bud National and a bad gate pick and crash in the second race, Eli Tomac finished 15th overall on Saturday and lost his series lead to rival Marvin Musquin.

Eli Tomac of Cortez surrendered his lead in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross series on Saturday after a mechanical failure and crash at the Red Bud National in Buchanan, Michigan.

Tomac, who had won nine out of 12 motos before starting at the Red Bud, now trails rival Marvin Musquin by three points in the overall standings, 304-301.

In the first moto, Blake Baggett won the holeshot, with Lorenzo Locurcio in second and Tomac in third. Tomac and Phil Nicoletti passed Locurcio, and Baggett flipped over his bike, giving the lead to Tomac.

Once out in front, Tomac pulled away, leading Nicoletti by 2 seconds after Lap 1 and 7.472 seconds by the end of Lap 3. Ken Roczen, meanwhile, charged to the front from a fifth-place start and tucked in behind Tomac in Lap 4.

Tomac continued to widen his lead, and by the end of Lap 11, created a 10.733-second gap in front of Roczen. Musquin and Justin Barcia, who both crashed in the first turn, moved up into fourth and fifth place behind Tomac, Roczen and Benny Bloss.

By the 15th of 17 laps, Tomac appeared headed to another victory, when disaster struck. Racing in front, Tomac stopped abruptly after his rear wheel locked up. He pushed his Kawasaki away from the track, the back wheel dragging in the dirt.

Roczen inherited the lead and rode to the checkered flag. Musquin finished second after crashing early and fighting his way through the crowd. Bloss ended up in third, and Barcia and Baggett rebounded after their early crashes to finish fourth and fifth.

Tomac did not finish the race, and received zero points for Moto 1, which he had led for 14 laps. Musquin’s second-place finish in Moto 1 gave him 22 points, which narrowed Tomac’s series lead to just 10 points before the start of Moto 2.

Because of his DNF in the first race, Tomac started Moto 2 far outside, in the 36th of 40 positions at the gate. After Lap 1, he was in 18th place, but he moved up to 12th in Lap 2, ninth in Lap 3, and seventh in Lap 4.

But in the fifth lap, Tomac again went down, and he pulled into the pits, dropping into 13th place. He returned to race and finished Moto 2 in ninth.

Up front, Musquin, Roczen and Barcia eased into the top three spots. Barcia caught and passed Roczen in the final lap, and Musquin, whose consistent riding has kept him in the hunt for the series lead, grabbed both the moto win and the series lead. It was his fourth moto victory in four weeks and his second straight overall win.

Musquin, who led all 16 laps, was followed by Barcia, Roczen, Justin Hill and Baggett.

Tomac dropped to second place in the overall standings, with 301 points after starting at Red Bud with a 32-point lead over Musquin. At Red Bud, Tomac earned just 12 points – zero points for the first moto, and just 12 for his ninth-place finish in the second.

Musquin gained the series lead, at 304 points, after earning 47 points at Red Bud – 22 points for his second-place finish in Moto 1 and 25 points for the win in Moto 2.

For the first time this season, Tomac trails Musquin as the two rivals enter the eighth round of the 12-round Lucas Oil Motocross series, the Spring Creek National in Millville, Minnesota, on July 21.

Series standings, July 7

1. Marvin Musquin (KTM): 304
2. Eli Tomac (Kawasaki): 301
3. Justin Barcia (Yamaha): 264
4. Ken Roczen (Honda): 246
5. Blake Baggett (KTM): 232
6. Weston Peick (Suzuki): 193
7. Benny Bloss (KTM): 176
8. Phillip Nicoletti (Suzuki): 172
9. Cody Cooper (Honda): 101
10. Kyle Cunningham (Suzuki): 93