Tomac Breaks Through At Millville
MILLVILLE, Minn. — The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its annual visit to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” on Saturday with the La Crescent Wine & Spirit Spring Creek National from Spring Creek MX Park in Minnesota’s Mississippi River Valley.
While hometown riders were focal points on the afternoon, it was a rookie who stole the show in the 450 Class as GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac dominated en route to his first career win, sweeping each of the day’s motos to become the fourth different winner in the division this season. In the 250 Class, Millville native Jeremy Martin put his Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha atop the podium for the fourth time this season, extending his points lead with a triumphant effort at the track owned and operated by his parents.
After taking his second overall win of the season one week ago, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey looked for more of the same at his hometown track by capturing the Motosport.com Holeshot Award in the first 450 Class moto. Dungey was closely followed by his Red Bull KTM teammate and main championship rival Ken Roczen, who soon put the pressure on Dungey and took over the top spot on the opening lap. The duo continued to race within mere bike lengths of one another before Roczen slowly started to pull away.
Tomac lurked in third behind the KTM duo and was on a mission to the front. Following a crash by Dungey on lap three, Tomac assumed control of second and set his sights on Roczen. Tomac methodically closed down the gap to the German out front and before long it became a head-to-head showdown between the pair of 450 Class rookies, who also were championship rivals one year ago in the 250 Class. The duo went bar-to-bar for multiple laps, trading positions and using every inch of the Millville track before Tomac made the pass stick on lap 12. Once in control of the moto, the Honda rider checked out and took his first checkered flag in the premier division by over 16 seconds. Roczen finished second, with Dungey third. Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard followed in fourth, with Toyota/Yamaha/N-FAB/JGRMX’s Josh Grant rounding out the top five.
Tomac, who missed the first four rounds and eight motos of the season with an injury, carried the momentum into the second moto by securing the Motosport.com Holeshot Award ahead of Dungey while Roczen battled from a start deep inside the top 10. However, a malfunction with the starting gate was deemed to have resulted in a disadvantage for some riders and brought out the red flag to signify a restart.
As the gate dropped for the second time, Tomac once again emerged at the front, claiming the Motosport.com Holeshot Award again but losing the lead briefly to Toyota/Yamaha/N-FAB/JGRMX’s Justin Brayton. The Yamaha rider’s time out front was short lived, as Tomac reclaimed the position with Dungey soon following suit to take over second. Behind this trio, Canard and Roczen were also making their respective charges to the front and both riders also made their way around Brayton to establish a four-rider breakaway out front.
Tomac and Dungey gradually extended their advantage over Roczen in third to make it a two-rider battle for the moto win. As Dungey looked pressure Tomac for the lead, Roczen fell into the clutches of Canard and dropped off the podium into fourth. Out front, Tomac fended off the pressure from Dungey, who then fell late in the moto after making contact with a lapped rider. Tomac easily took his second career moto win to also earn his first career 1-1 sweep in the 450 Class and become the division’s 62nd different winner all time.
“Today was a tough one the way the track was,” said Tomac, who has finished on the overall podium in each of his four career starts. “Going into the second moto I knew I had to get out there and get a good start. We ended up getting the holeshot then the red flag came out and I thought to myself ‘is this really happening?’ Luckily enough I got another one. Brayton was right there, but after that I was just hitting my marks and I felt really comfortable.”