2019 AMA Motocross Champ: Eli Tomac
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its annual visit to Budds Creek Motocross Park in Southern Maryland on Saturday, for the 30th running of the GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National. The penultimate round of the 2019 season saw Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac sweep both motos to clinch his third consecutive 450 Class title, becoming just the fourth rider in history to achieve that impressive feat. The triumph also gave Tomac his class-leading fifth overall victory of the season.
The first 450 Class moto got underway with Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS rider Justin Bogle emerging with his second MotoSport.com Holeshot of the season over Tomac and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne. Tomac immediately pushed his way to the front as he blasted around Bogle to lead the opening lap. Team Honda HRC’s 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 insight. With the leaders well out front, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin was on the move, latching onto the rear fender of Bogle and eventually taking control of third on Lap 5. 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 2 it was Osborne who narrowly edged out Tomac for the MotoSport.com 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 2, Osborne’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing 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 9. 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.
Tomac’s fifth win of 2019 came via his third 1-1 sweep of the season. The 22nd victory of his career moves him into a tie with Rick Johnson for fourth on the all-time 450 Class wins list.
In terms of the championship, Tomac’s win, combined with Musquin’s third-place finish in Moto 2, left Tomac with an exact 50-point advantage over the Frenchman, who overtook Roczen for second in points in the final moto. With a potential season-ending tiebreaker already locked up in his favor, Tomac captured the Edison Dye Cup for the third year in a row, and did so a round early for the first time in his career. He joins Gary Jones, Tony DiStefano, and Ricky Carmichael as the only riders in history to achieve the championship three-peat.
“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.”
Anderson’s 4-2 scores were good enough to finish the day second overall, edging out Musquin in third (3-3).
While Tomac has wrapped up the 2019 title, currently holding a 50-point lead in the standings, the battle for runner-up in the championship will head to the final round, with Musquin and Roczen separated by five points.
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (1-1)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna (4-2)
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (3-3)
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (2-7)
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (5-4)
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (6-5)
- Dean Wilson, Scotland, Husqvarna (8-6)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (9-9)
- Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (7-11)
- Kyle Cunningham, Willow Park, Texas, Honda (11-8)
450 Class Championship Standings
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 476
- Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 426
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 421
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna – 376
- Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 365
- Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 324
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 283
- Fredrik Noren, Sweden, Suzuki – 218
- Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., KTM – 210
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 175