In a dramatic motocross highlighted by a crash involving Eli Tomac of Cortez and Chase Sexton, Tomac lost the overall race Saturday in Washougal, Washington, but maintained his lead in the series standings.
The tight two-man race for the 450cc season title heated up Saturday in Moto 1 at Washougal MX Park as Tomac and Sexton crashed together as the race wound down. They remounted to continue the duel to the finish line, and Tomac finished on top.
Sexton won Moto 2, the tiebreaking race when riders split the two motos.
“Gosh, we were at battle the first moto. I obviously had a little bit more than him, and I was able to make a pass and get in front,” Tomac said. “And then I actually ended up stalling my motorcycle. I got pretty lucky he was so close to me that he ran into me.”
The two struggled to get going again.
“Somehow I came out in front, from the tipover,” Tomac said.
Despite finishing second overall, he maintained his series lead.
“Unfortunately the moto streak was broken, but it was a good day for points, breaking even with Chase,” Tomac said. “Obviously, we’re the two guys right now.”
Tomac entered Washougal MX Park with a five-point lead over Sexton in the series standings and retained that lead 364-359, since both riders earned 47 points for their first- and second-place finishes on Saturday.
For the 10th consecutive moto, the riders finished in the top two. Tomac has won 10 of 16 motos so far this year, and four overall titles. Sexton has won four of 16 motos and two overall titles.
In head-to-head races, Sexton has finished second to Tomac nine times, and has beaten him twice.
Earlier Saturday, Tomac was the fastest qualifier, with a best lap of 2 minutes, 10.926 seconds. Sexton was second, at 2:11.301, and Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Christian Craig rounded out the top five.
Sexton went to the lead in the first lap of Moto 1, ahead of Ryan Dungey, Tomac, Anderson and Roczen. Tomac moved into second in Lap 3, after Dungey left the race with mechanical problems.
As the series’ leaders pulled away from the crowd, Tomac took second place in Lap 6, and the moto again became the Tomac-Sexton show as the top two riders of the season battled for the lead. Roczen followed in a distant third place after benefiting from Anderson’s crash.
In Lap 13, with Sexton in hot pursuit, Tomac crashed, and Sexton hit him, taking both riders down. The two remounted and resumed their duel, but Tomac again held off Sexton for a 1.117-second victory.
He ran his fastest lap in the final, 16th lap, with Sexton still racing for the win.
Anderson battled back for third place, and Roczen and Justin Barcia rounded out the top five.
Sexton went to the early lead in the second moto, with Tomac on his heels. Anderson followed about 5 seconds off the pace, and Aaron Plessinger and Joseph Savatgy fill out the top five.
Tomac tightened up Sexton’s lead in Lap 4 with his fastest lap of the race, 2:12.631, to trail by 1.276 seconds. Sexton and Tomac led Anderson and the rest of the field by more than 10 seconds.
By Lap 9, Tomac was within a half-second of Sexton with six laps to go. Anderson remained in third place more than 25 seconds back, and Dungey and Craig rounded out the top five. Roczen was a close sixth.
Sexton then ran his fastest lap of the race in Lap 14 – 2:12.685 – to pull ahead of Tomac by more than two seconds. Tomac slowed, giving the checkered flag and overall win to Sexton, who finished 8.423 seconds ahead.
“We were both right there one-and-two, neck-and neck, and I couldn’t find a spot to make a real pass at him,” Tomac said. “It got close a couple of times, but I had so much yo-yo going on that I. that was it, man. I kind of sent it home the last two laps, and figured I’d take the fight another day.”
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series next goes to Unadilla National raceway in New Berlin, New York, on Aug. 13 for the ninth race in the 12-round series.
|1. Eli Tomac||Yamaha||364|
|2. Chase Sexton||Honda||359|
|3. Jason Anderson||Kawasaki||285|
|4. Ken Roczen||Honda||274|
|5. Christian Craig||Yamaha||251|
|6. Ryan Dungey||KTM||236|
|7. Justin Barcia||GAS||219|
|8. Aaron Plessinger||KTM||198|
|9. Joseph Savatgy||Kawasaki||170|
|10. Shane McElrath||Husqvarna||157|