Rebounding from a disastrous race two weeks ago in Michigan, Eli Tomac of Cortez raced from sixth place to overtake rival Marvin Musquin for the lead and the title with just two laps to go in the second moto Saturday at Millville, Minnesota.
He also won the first 450cc moto at the Spring Creek National and was the fastest qualifier. With the overall victory, he regained the top spot in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross series and leads Musquin by seven points with four races left in the championship series.
Tomac’s victory represents a major turnaround from his previous race, on July 7, when he finished 15th after a mechanical failure and crash that gave the series lead to Musquin.
In the second moto on Saturday, Tomac started slow, leaving him with an uphill climb to the front.
Justin Bogle won the holeshot, but Musquin and Ken Roczen went by him for the lead. Tomac was in sixth after the opening lap, behind Weston Peick and Blake Baggett. Tomac moved up a spot in Lap 2, then ran a fast Lap 3 to move into third behind Roczen and Musquin, who was about 7 seconds ahead.
Charging through the curves in the short early sections and gaining ground in the straights of Section 4, Tomac cut Musquin’s lead to 4.4 seconds and came within a second of Roczen in Lap 7.
As the three leaders distanced themselves from the crowd, Tomac challenged Roczen repeatedly for second place but was repeatedly turned back. In Lap 11, with about five minutes to go, Tomac moved inside as the two went around a downhill corner, then after racing uphill side by side, Tomac again got inside of Roczen in the next turn and made the pass stick.
Trailing Musquin by 4.4 seconds in Lap 11, Tomac cut two seconds off the gap in Lap 13, and charged past Musquin for the lead in Lap 14, with two laps to go.
Racing in clean air, he pulled ahead of Musquin by almost two seconds, and raced to the finish line for a seven-second victory.
In the first moto, fast-starting Roczen sprinted to a four-second lead as Musquin and Tomac dueled for second place. Tomac passed Musquin for second place in Lap 3, and with an open track in front of him, he went to the throttle, running his fastest lap of the race in Lap 5 and cutting Roczen’s lead to less than a second.
Meanwhile, Musquin struggled to chase the leaders but crashed in Lap 6, giving third place to Baggett and falling more than 15 seconds off the lead.
Tomac patiently stalked Roczen for about 15 minutes as the two raced well in front. Then, as Roczen got hung up by lapped riders, Tomac flashed by him in the whoops.
He picked up the pace and stretched out a 4.8-second lead in Lap 13 and crossed the finish line 13 seconds ahead of Roczen in Lap 16.
Baggett was third, 23 seconds off the pace. Musquin and Justin Barcia finished fourth and fifth, respectively, about a minute behind Tomac.
Overall, Tomac racked up two firsts (1-1), for a total of 50 points. Roczen was second (2-3), for 42 points, and Musquin was third (4-2), for 40 points. Baggett (3-4) and Barcia (5-5) rounded out the Top 5.
Earlier Saturday, Tomac was the fastest qualifier, with a lap of 2 minutes, 12.223 seconds. Musquin was second, at 2:13.445, followed by Roczen, Barcia and Baggett.
Tomac has dominated the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 class this year, winning 11 out of 16 motos and finishing on the podium in 14 of 16 motos at eight race venues.
Musquin has won just four motos but has raced consistently, finishing on the podium in 12 out of 16 motos. His consistency paid off after Tomac encountered mechanical problems at Southwick on June 30 and Red Bud on July 7, and he won both titles.
Next Saturday, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series goes west to Washington for the Washougal National.