News 19 Feb 2017

Tomac back in the supercross winner's circle at Minneapolis

Savatgy fires first shot as gates drop on East Coast 250SX series.

Source: Supplied.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac has bounced back to take victory in the Minneapolis round of the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, series.

Following his worst outing of the season one week ago, Tomac rebounded for his third victory of the season within the brand new U.S. Bank Stadium.

To start the 450SX Class main event it was Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely who edged out Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant for his first holeshot of the season.

As riders jockeyed for position through the opening sequence of jumps behind Seely, RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM’s Davi Millsaps emerged from the fray in second, followed closely by Tomac and Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ryan Dungey, the defending champion and current points leader.

Seely then crashed out of the lead prior to the completion of the opening lap, handing the top spot over to Millsaps. The veteran KTM rider held off heavy pressure from Tomac for a short time, but lost the position on lap two. Shortly thereafter, Dungey followed into second, dropping Millsaps to third.

With the hometown crowd behind him, Minnesota native Dungey kept pace with Tomac on one of the toughest track layouts of the season. The lead duo’s early pace allowed them to open a comfortable gap over the rest of the field. Tomac continued to slightly outpace Dungey and soon opened a margin of more than a second.

Tomac’s ability to efficiently get through the tail-end of the field allowed him to extend his lead over Dungey, who started to lose ground to a his hard-charging KTM teammate Marvin Musquin, who earned his first career win one week prior.

After starting sixth, Musquin methodically worked his way forward and moved into podium position past Millsaps on lap four and, as the race wore on, the KTM duo inched closer and closer together until a mistake by Dungey forced him off the track briefly and allowed Musquin to mount a challenge and pass.

Tomac continued to log consistent laps through the remainder of the race and took the checkered flag 6.7 seconds ahead of Musquin for his seventh-career win, lapping all the way up to seventh place in the 22-rider field. Dungey rounded out the overall podium in third.

It was a difficult main event for Australia’s Chad Reed (Monster Energy/Yamalube/Chaparral/Yamaha Financial Services/Yamaha), crashing heavily and then eventually crossing the finish in 16th.

Dungey lost ground to Musquin in the 450SX Class standings and now holds a 16-point lead over his teammate, while Tomac moved from fourth to third, 24 points behind Dungey.

In the opening round of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy took the win to secure the early points lead.

Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Jordon Smith earned the first Holeshot of the championship, just ahead of Savatgy and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Colt Nichols.

Smith was able to pull away on the opening lap after Nichols and KTM rider Dakota Alix came together in mid-air while battling for second, crashing in front of the field.

That moved Savatgy into second and Venex MX/MTF/Yamaha’s Anthony Rodriguez into third, with GEICO Honda’s R.J. Hampshire fourth and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne fifth.

As the opening laps continued, Smith and Savatgy asserted themselves out front, while Rodriguez dropped two positions to both Hampshire and Osborne. The Husqvarna rider then applied pressure on Hampshire for third and moved into podium position on lap five.

Out front, Savatgy closed in on Smith and the two began to battle for the lead as they approached lapped riders. Savatgy was patient for several laps and made an aggressive pass just prior to the track’s lone triple jump on lap nine.

The battle for the lead allowed Osborne to close the deficit in third and soon all three were separated by less than a second. Lapped riders continued to play a role, helping Savatgy maintain his lead while also allowing Osborne to slip past Smith for second on lap 10.

Just a few laps later Osborne tipped over in the track’s sand section and gave up the spot to Smith, remounting in third. The lead trio still was separated by less than two seconds on the final lap, with Savatgy taking his fourth career win and his second in a row dating back to last season.

Smith recorded a career-best finish in second, while Osborne settled for third following his mistake. Savatgy took early control of the East Coast 250SX standings and holds a three-point lead over Smith. Osborne is five points back in third.

The 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season continues next Saturday, 25 February, with the eighth round from Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.