MECHANICSVILLE, Md. – Eli Tomac made short work of the field during the 30th running of the GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National to lock up his third-straight Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 class championship Saturday afternoon.
Tomac swept both motos aboard his Kawasaki en route to his fifth victory this year and the championship. He is the fourth rider to win three-straight 450 class championships.
In the 250 Class, Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Shane McElrath proved to be unstoppable as he swept both motos for his first win of the season.
The first 450 class moto got underway with Justin Bogle emerging with his second holeshot of the season over Tomac and Zach Osborne. Tomac immediately pushed his way to the front as he blasted around Bogle to lead the opening lap. Ken Roczen once again used incredible speed to start the moto and blitzed his way towards the front into second, followed by Bogle.
Tomac dropped the hammer early in an attempt to break away, however, Roczen refused to let his rival go by upping his pace to keep Tomac in sight. With the leaders well out front, Marvin Musquin was on the move, latching onto the rear fender of Bogle and eventually taking control of third on lap five. Tomac’s pace proved to be too much for Roczen to maintain as the race wore on, and the German lost ground in the second half of the 30-minute-plus-two-lap moto.
There was no stopping Tomac as he disappeared to take a commanding win by 13.9 seconds over Roczen. It marked the ninth moto win of the season for the multi-time defending champion. Musquin completed the podium in a distant third.
As the 450 class field exited the first turn to start moto two it was Osborne who narrowly edged out Tomac for the holeshot, just ahead of Roczen and Musquin. The lead for Osborne was short lived as Tomac powered his way to the front before the second turn. When the 40-rider field completed the opening lap it was Tomac, Roczen and Osborne out front.
Similar to the opening moto, Tomac and Roczen set the pace early and moved out to a comfortable gap on the riders that followed them. On lap two, Osborne’s teammate Jason Anderson found his way by for third, while Musquin dropped Osborne another spot to fifth just moments later. Anderson’s march to the front continued as he began slowly closing in on Roczen, eventually taking control of the runner-up position on lap nine. Roczen continued his charge from third.
Based on the running order in the waning minutes of the moto, Tomac had yet to move into a position to clinch the title. Roczen’s hold on third was enough to keep him within 49 points of Tomac in the championship standings, as the reigning champ needed a lead of 50 points to secure the title a round early.
With the racing closing in on the 30-minute mark, Roczen began to drop off of the pace, which allowed Musquin and several other riders to close in. Roczen’s title hopes were in serious jeopardy when Musquin began a challenge for the position on lap 12. The German didn’t put up much of a fight, and Musquin took over third. Roczen proceeded to lose two more positions on the same lap.
Tomac left his rivals well behind to easily take his 10th moto win of the season by 14.9 seconds. Anderson finished runner-up for his fifth moto podium of the season, followed by Musquin in third. Roczen ended the moto seventh.
“This is such a special way to end the weekend, and not something I really anticipated happening with one round to go,” said Tomac. “I honestly didn’t even know I had the championship until the last lap. I thought that I needed one more spot from the guys behind me, so that was a little bit of a surprise. It was good to get the job done today. It’s tough to beat the first championship, but they’re all special and unique in their own ways.”
McElrath matched the performance by Tomac by sweeping both 250 class motos, marking his second and third moto victories. The KTM rider did not win either moto en route to his first victory last season.
“It’s been a true test to my fate this season,” said McElrath. “The results haven’t been what we wanted, but we never gave up and just kept at it and giving it our best. The conditions were brutal today and this feeling is crazy. It feels really good to get it done and walk away with the overall win today.”