Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac capped off an epic season with a perfect score to claim his fourth-career Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450MX Championship at the season finale at Fox Raceway. His come-from-behind championship victory was hard-fought and well-deserved, scoring an emphatic fifth overall win this season in the brutal heat in Pala, California. Teammate Christian Craig capped off his 2022 season with fourth overall on a 3-4 finish, ending the season fifth overall in the standings.
With extreme heat forecasted for Southern California, the motos were adjusted to 25 minutes plus two laps. The stage was then set for the final showdown of the closest title fight in the series’ history, with Tomac leading by one point heading into the finale. It started off with the Coloradan topping both qualifying sessions to earn the fastest qualifier honors. When the gate dropped in Moto 1, Tomac got an extraordinary start in second and was immediately hunting down the leader. He took his time to let the race come to him and not exert too much energy. On Lap 9, he made a decisive pass and rode on to his 13th moto win of the season.
After extending his championship lead, Tomac played it safe in Moto 2, coming around the first lap in eighth. He quickly moved up to fifth and then steadily picked off riders and was stalking the leader by Lap 6. The 2022 450SX Supercross Champion raced to the lead on Lap 8 and never looked back, securing his 14th moto win of the season, his fifth overall win, and fourth 450MX Championship. Tomac’s fourth Pro Motocross title in the premier class adds another accolade to his already stellar year which saw him take the premier class title in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, as well as earn his first ESPY Award in the Best Athlete, Men’s Action Sports Category.
Tomac’s teammate Craig had a great round of his own. Qualifying seventh, the California native got a great start in Moto 1 in fourth. He raced hard and made his way up to third, where he would finish for his fifth moto podium of the season. Craig had even more confidence as the day wore on and captured the final holeshot of the season in Moto 2. He led the first two laps but was a little spent after the first moto and fell back a few spots, ultimately holding on to fourth in the punishing triple-digit conditions to end the day fourth overall. His consistency paid off, securing fifth in the championship standings.
The next outing for the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team will be in a few weeks at RedBud MX in Buchanan, Michigan, September 23 – 25, with Tomac and Justin Cooper representing Team USA, and Dylan Ferrandis representing Team France.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 Team Manager
“What an awesome day to cap off the year like that! To go 1-1 to win the championship is pretty special. Eli had a phenomenal year, the whole team worked their butts off, and it shows with the championship. Christian ended it with an awesome performance once again. He podiumed the first moto, got the holeshot in the second moto, and led for a pretty respectable amount of time in these conditions. All in all, it was an amazing year and amazing day; I couldn’t be more proud of the team.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“What an awesome day to cap off the year like that, and go 1-1 to win the championship is pretty special. Eli had a phenomenal year, the whole team worked their butts off, and it shows with the championship. Christian ended it with an awesome performance once again. He podiumed the first moto, got the holeshot in the second moto, and led for a pretty respectable amount of time in these conditions. All in all, it was an amazing year and amazing day; I couldn’t be more proud of the team.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“The final round went well, other than the heat. I wanted to finish the year with two good motos, and I was able to do that with a 3-4. It wasn’t quite an overall podium, but to get top five in the points was my goal from the start. It was also my first time finishing all 24 motos, so that was another accomplishment for myself and the team. I had a super fun year with everyone.”