Eli Tomac of Cortez began his defense of his AMA Motocross title this month with a third-place finish last week and a maddening 16th-place finish Saturday at the Loretta Lynn National after his Kawasaki 450 failed twice in the main event.
Entering the race in third place overall but as the series favorite, Tomac has won the Lucas Oil Motocross championship series three consecutive years. And he is coming off his first championship in the AMA Supercross.
In the first moto, Tomac, who was the seventh-fastest rider in qualifying rounds, was in fifth place after the start. He passed Christian Craig in the fourth lap to tuck in behind leader Justin Barcia, and began his challenge for the lead. But in the 12th lap, he fell into fourth behind Broc Tickle and Fredrik Noren as his bike struggled and slowed. In the 13th of 14 laps, he fell into fifth, and in the final lap, he dropped out of the race as his bike failed. Although he did not finish the race, he was given a ninth-place finish.
Barcia crossed the line in first with a wire-to-wire victory. Tickle was second, followed by Tomac’s teammate, Adam Cianciarulo, who mounted a late charge to the front, Noren and Zachary Osborne.
In the second moto, Tomac crashed in the first turn and dropped to the back of the field of 42 riders. Getting back up, he sailed through the muddy track, passing nearly half the field for 20th place in the first lap, 12th in the second lap, eighth in the third, and seventh in the fourth.
Max Anstie, who took the lead in the first lap, was still in front and was being pursued by Marvin Musquin, Cianciarulo, Craig, Osborne and Jason Anderson.
Tomac closed on Craig, but racing in eighth place with two laps left, Tomac again stopped cold as his bike smoked and failed.
Standing dejected in the mud, he dropped his Kawasaki to the ground and walked away.
Meanwhile, Osborne passed Anstie for the lead in the 12th lap and went on to win. He was followed by Musquin, Anstie, Anderson and Cianciarulo.
Osborne won the overall, with fifth- and first-place finishes, Cianciarulo (3-5) was second, and Musquin (8-2) was third.
Tomac finished 16th, with ninth- and 24th-place finishes. After two of the series’ nine races, he is in seventh place overall.
Last week, Tomac finished seventh in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2, for third place overall.
Next week, the series now goes to Crawfordsville, Indiana, for the Ironman National, where he won last year and clinched three championships.