LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, hosted its third round of the season on Saturday and saw Eli Tomac continue his undefeated season.
The True Value Thunder Valley National presented by Toyota took place at the mile-high altitude of Thunder Valley Motocross Park. The 450 Class saw Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tomac take his third consecutive victory to start the season, marking the Colorado native’s first overall win in front of his home crowd in the premier class.
In the 250 Class, Jeremy Martin powered his GEICO Honda to his first overall win of the season and moved into the championship point lead.
As the gate dropped on the first 450 Class moto of the afternoon, it was Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia taking the Motosport.com Holeshot with Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Phil Nicoletti and Tomac in tow.
Tomac made short work of Nicoletti to overtake second on the opening lap and began setting his sights on Barcia. However, after officials made the decision to throw the red flag in an effort to properly attend to a downed rider, the moto restarted with the entire field back on the gate.
When the gate dropped for the restart, RMATV/MC-WPS-KTM’s Blake Baggett led the field into the first turn, followed by Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and Barcia, with Tomac just behind in fourth.
The opening lap saw Roczen waste no time, as he charged past Baggett for the race lead, while Barcia found himself on the ground and allowed Tomac to inherit third. The defending champion then passed Baggett for second on the following lap.
As Roczen rode effortlessly out front, Tomac began mounting a charge and started inching closer with each passing lap. The duo set a blistering pace and Tomac pulled alongside Roczen several times, but the German was able to successfully fend him off.
With just under seven minutes remaining in the moto, Tomac’s efforts finally prevailed as he muscled his way into the lead.
Tomac could not be stopped once out front, as he set the fastest laps of the race and cruised to his fifth moto victory of the season. The battle for second came down to the final lap between Roczen and Baggett, with Roczen narrowly edging out the KTM rider to finish second.
In 450 Class Moto 2, Barcia once again put his Yamaha out front as he stormed to sweep both Motosport.com Holeshots, this time ahead of Baggett and Tomac.
Much like the first moto, Roczen was quick to attack on the opening lap as he took advantage of a top-five start and positioned himself into a pass for second, then pulling alongside Barcia for the lead.
Barcia fended off Roczen’s pressure and maintained his early hold on the lead.
With Barcia on a mission out front, Tomac made the move on Roczen to take over second on lap three. Barcia lost control and crashed out of the lead just moments later, which caused Tomac to come to a complete stop and maneuver his way by. The incident allowed Roczen and Baggett to move into the top two positions, while Tomac eventually resumed in third.
On lap five, Baggett cross-rutted entering a turn and shot off of the track, which allowed Tomac to slip by into the runner-up spot. Tomac once again displayed blistering pace as he set his sights on Roczen and began chipping away at his lead.
Tomac worked tirelessly for a way around Roczen, who used crafty line selection to shut down several pass attempts. With just over 10 minutes left in the moto, Tomac got a strong drive right after the finish line and successfully made the pass for the lead stick.
Tomac continued to charge through to the finish and took his sixth straight moto win of the season by 11.4 seconds.
Roczen backed up his first moto result with another second, followed by Baggett in third.
It’s the first time in his career that Tomac has opened the season with three consecutive overall wins and an undefeated moto record of 6-0.
It was his first 450 Class win at his home race, and the 12th of his career.
Roczen finished second overall (2-2) and landed on the podium for the first time in 14 races. Baggett claimed his first podium finish of the season in third (3-3).
“I’ve had some funky stuff happen here at Thunder Valley, so I just wanted to leave here with a good result,” said Tomac. “The lines were a bit off early in the day in practice, but it developed and really came around as the day progressed. Winning my home race in the 450 Class is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and today we were finally able to get the job done.”
A 2-1 moto score saw Jeremy Martin capture his 14th career win, with Alex Martin in the runner-up spot (3-2) for the second consecutive week.
Opening 250 Class moto winner Justin Cooper rounded things out with his first career overall podium finish in third (1-8).