CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. – Eli Tomac capped his championship season in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 class with a victory in the season-ending TACYC Stability Cycle Ironman National from Ironman Raceway on Saturday.
The first 450 class moto saw Ken Roczen and Joey Savatgy battle side-by-side coming to the holeshot, with Savatgy just narrowly getting the advantage. However, Roczen pushed his Honda into the lead immediately and looked to open a gap on the field. Behind the lead pair, newly crowned champion Eli Tomac slotted into third aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki, while Marvin Musquin gave chase from fourth.
The Kawasaki teammates engaged in a battle for second for a couple laps and kept Roczen within reach throughout. Eventually, Tomac made the move around Savatgy, which allowed him to settle into a rhythm to try and close in on the lead. A couple laps later Musquin got by Savatgy for third and began his quest to track down his primary rivals up front.
The leaders found themselves mired in lapped traffic early on, which ultimately played a significant role as the moto continued. Tomac successfully closed in on Roczen and applied heavy pressure for the lead, but lapped riders put some distance between them and also allowed Musquin to close in from third.
Throughout the second half of the moto the top three sat within mere bike lengths of one another in what became the most competitive moto of the entire season. Lapped traffic continued to alter the pace of all three riders, which saw the distance between each of them fluctuate each and every lap.
With mere minutes left in the moto, Musquin was able to take advantage of Tomac’s pass on a lapper to dive to the inside and steal second. He then chased Roczen for a lap before making another impressive pass as they came to take the 2-lap board. Once by, Musquin was able to establish a bit of a gap on Roczen, but the German battled back on the final lap.
He attempted to make a pass on the final turn, but Musquin prevailed with an impressive moto win that saw him move from third to first in a matter of two laps. Roczen finished second, seven tenths back, while Tomac followed in third. Savatgy earned a career-best moto finish in fourth, with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne fifth.
The 24th and final moto for the 450 class began with Savatgy once again claiming the holeshot, followed closely by Osborne and Musquin. As they battled for the position behind Savatgy, Osborne and Musquin came together which caused Musquin to crash. He was unable to return to the race, ending both his hopes of victory and securing the runner-up spot in the final championship standings.
Savatgy carried on out front, and Tomac was able to fight his way up to second. However, all attention was on Roczen as the German stormed his way from fourth to second before the completion of the opening lap. He continued to push and made the pass on Savatgy on the following lap. Tomac gave chase and was able to pass his teammate for second, while Osborne eventually dropped Savatgy off the podium with a pass for third.
Much like the first moto, Tomac closed in on Roczen and the two multi-time champions traded fast laps, separated by just a handful of bike lengths. Osborne stayed close to keep the lead duo honest. With 10 minutes left in the moto Tomac attempted to mount a challenge, trying alternate lines in his search for a way around.
After a few laps Tomac’s persistence paid off and he made the move by the German. That opened the door for Osborne to apply pressure on Roczen from third. The rookie 450 Class rider made the pass happen and gave chase for the lead.
Tomac dropped the hammer in the closing stages of the moto and stormed to his 11th moto win of the season by 8.1 seconds over Osborne. Roczen held on to finish third.
It’s the sixth overall victory of the season for Tomac (3-1), and the 23rd of his career, which gives him sole possession of fourth on the all-time 450 class wins list.
“Even though the title was clinched it was still a fun day. We came in here with the plan to do the same thing. The mindset was to attack,” said Tomac. “The first lap [in Moto 2] was chaos with Marv [Musquin’s crash] and then Kenny [Roczen] got by. He’s just so good in the early laps. I was able to stay on him and then got by. What a day and what a year.”
Roczen finished in the runner-up spot overall (2-3), while Osborne’s strong performance in the final moto landed him third (5-2).