Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac scored his second-consecutive moto win and notched a third-place finish to take second overall in front of the home crowd yesterday in Lakewood, Colorado. His moto scores at the Thunder Valley National made championship gains for the 2022 450 Supercross Champion, moving him to third in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450MX standings. It was a tough day for his teammate Christian Craig who put in a heroic charge back after a couple of crashes to end the day 12th overall with a 10-12 result.
Tomac showed speed straight away, qualifying second at his home Pro Motocross round. He got a good start in the first moto and found himself sixth after the first lap. It didn’t take the multi-time champion long to launch his forward charge, passing two riders in succession on Lap 4 to claim fourth. He then made his way to third at the halfway point and threw down the fastest lap of the race. The Coloradan took the runner-up spot a couple of laps later and chased down the leader, erasing a nearly six-second gap within a couple of laps and taking over the lead, ultimately finishing with a three-second margin of victory.
In the second moto, Tomac got a better start in fourth and advanced to third four laps into the race. He made a couple of attempts to claim the runner-up spot but ultimately crossed the line third and narrowly missed the overall victory when the race leader had a tip-over in the final moments of the moto. Tomac’s second overall finish marked his second-consecutive podium of the outdoor season and closed the gap to the championship leader to 14 points.
Christian Craig got off to a flying start, topping the first qualifying session and ultimately qualifying eighth. Unfortunately, in Moto 1, he had a crash in the first turn and found himself at the back of the field in 32nd. The Californian put his head down and made a heroic charge to break the top 10 with two laps remaining in the moto. Craig got a much better start in the second moto and was battling in the top five before a big crash on Lap 4. He had to pull in the mechanic’s area to get the bike repaired but never gave up and went back out to make his way back to 12th and end the day 12th overall to salvage some points in the championship.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team heads east next weekend for the High Point National, Round 4 of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 18.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 Team Manager
“All in all, it was a good day for the team. Unfortunately, Christian had two get-offs – one in the first moto in the first turn, but he came back to 10th and rode a great race, and then in the second moto, he had a pretty big crash. He was okay, but the bike took a tumble and was pretty tweaked up. We got him back out there, and he was able to salvage a 12th-place finish for 12th overall, so that was a good comeback.
“Eli rode a phenomenal race. He didn’t get a great start in the first moto and was sixth, but he came through to win the moto. In the second moto, it took him a little bit to get going. He battled with Ken Roczen and ended up just kind of settling where he was at. He had the overall all the way until about three corners left when Chase (Sexton) fell. So, that was a little bit of a bummer, but all in all, it was a really good day for the team.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“It was a good weekend. We were really close to getting the overall, but not quite enough. I was really happy with our first moto this weekend. It was our best first moto of the year that we’ve had, and I was able to make passes and push through the guys, so that was nice. Then in the second moto, I was really close to getting that overall. I made a couple of pass attempts on Kenny but couldn’t make anything fully stick. So, like I said, we put up a great fight, but it was just not quite enough this weekend.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“It was a rough day at Thunder Valley. In the first moto, I crashed in the first turn, so I had to come from last and was able to make it back to 10th. In the second moto, I was running with the top guys and had a pretty big crash down the hill. Unfortunately, my bike was all twisted up, and I had to pull into the pits to fix it up. I was only able to get back to 12th, which was disappointing, but we’re going to take the positives and move on to High Point!”