Tomac loses tiebreaker in blinding mud at Unadilla motocross

Monday, Aug. 13, 2018 5:01 PM

Eli Tomac of Cortez lost a tiebreaker Saturday to Marvin Musquin as the two raced in blinding rain and mud at the 450cc Unadilla National motocross in New Berlin, New York.

Tomac, who entered the race with a 15-point lead over Musquin in the championship series, won the first moto in a landslide, but bogged down in the second. Musquin picked up the overall Unadilla title after winning the tiebreaking second moto.

Despite losing by a technicality, Tomac managed to have a day in the sun: He was selected to lead Team USA in the 2018 FIM Motocross of Nations in Buchanan, Michigan, in October. He will be joined by 450 rider Justin Barcia and 250 rider Aaron Plessinger.

Rain began falling in Saturday morning’s practice rounds, and by the time the first moto started, the track was a mess.

Musquin grabbed the lead in the first lap after running down privateer Dylan Merriam, who surprised the field by winning the holeshot. Starting Lap 2, Musquin was followed by Blake Baggett, Merriam, Phillip Nicoletti, Benny Bloss, Kailub Russell, Ken Roczen and Tomac.

Tomac moved into fourth place in the fourth lap, but lost a position when he pulled into the pits for a new pair of goggles. Covered head to toe in mud, Tomac re-entered the race in fifth place but moved up to third by the end of Lap 6. In the seventh, he passed Nicoletti for second, then chased down Musquin, who also had goggle problems. As Musquin slowed to enter the pits, Tomac sailed by for the lead.

Racing out in front, Tomac stretched out a 10-second after the seventh lap, and a 25-second lead after the final, 13th lap. Musquin returned from the pits to finish second, followed by Nicoletti, Bloss, Baggett and Russell.

The rain stopped in time for the second moto, but Tomac and Musquin faced caked mud and deep ruts as they raced for the victory.

Nicoletti grabbed the lead early, with Musquin and Tomac slogging it out behind him. Musquin and Tomac overtook Nicoletti in Lap 3, but this time, it was Musquin who ran away, beating Tomac to the wire by almost 35 seconds. Barcia, Cooper Webb and Nicoletti rounded out the Top 5.

Both Musquin and Tomac racked up 47 points with their first- and second-place finishes, although Musquin left Unadilla with the overall victory. Tomac remains atop the series standings with a 15-second lead over Musquin.

Nicoletti joined Musquin and Tomac on the podium after placing third and fifth in the two motos. Barcia (8-3) was fourth, and Baggett (5-6) was fifth.

During qualifying rounds on Saturday, Barcia was fastest with a pace-setting time of 2 minutes, 9.123 seconds. Cooper Webb was second, followed by Tomac, Roczen and Musquin.

The 11th of 12 races in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship series is next Saturday at Budds Creek in Mechanicsville, Maryland.

Series standings, Aug. 11

1. Eli Tomac (Kawasaki): 448
2. Marvin Musquin (KTM): 433
3. Justin Barcia (Yamaha): 363
4. Ken Roczen (Honda): 358
5. Blake Baggett (KTM): 332
6. Weston Peick (Suzuki): 272
7. Benny Bloss (KTM): 253
8. Phillip Nicoletti (Suzuki): 253
9. Kyle Cunningham (Suzuki): 140
10. Cody Cooper (Honda): 137