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Eli Tomac sweeps Minnesota motos, takes lead in standings

Eli Tomac celebrates his victory Saturday, July 16, at Spring Creek MX Park in Milleville, Minnesota. (Yamaha Motor USA)
Tomac again beats Chase Sexton twice; riders talk about tough competition

Eli Tomac of Cortez on Saturday swept the Spring Creek 450cc motocross in Millville, Minnesota, for his fourth consecutive overall victory and the lead in the 2022 Pro Motocross standings.

The two moto wins gave Tomac the series lead, with 317 points. Sexton, who has finished second to Tomac in the past seven motos, is in second place in the standings with 312 points.

The two victories gave Tomac his seventh consecutive moto win and his ninth win out of the 14 motos raced so far this season. It was his third consecutive sweep of a venue’s two motos – two each at Redbud, Southwick and Spring Creek – and his fourth consecutive win, starting with a tiebreaking win at High Point on June 18.

Eli Tomac celebrates his victory Saturday, July 16, at Spring Creek MX Park in Milleville, Minnesota. (Yamaha Motor USA)
Eli Tomac of Cortez won his fourth consecutive motocross Saturday, July 16, at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota. (Yamaha Motor USA)

The ace from Star Racing Yamaha started the day at Spring Creek MX Park one point behind Honda’s Sexton in the standings, 268-267.

Jason Anderson of Monster Energy Kawasaki was third overall after placing third in Moto 1 and fourth in Moto 2.

“Today was once again a gnarly battle,” Tomac said in the postrace interview. “Felt like I was a little gifted in Moto 1 there you know. Chase went by me and had some better lines and had a little more pace. And then Moto 2, though, (we) made a couple of changes and then I felt like I was you know, the guy that was able to move around and get to the front, so um great work from the team you know between Moto 1 and 2 there.”

Sexton gave Tomac credit for his win, but after chasing him to the finish line, vowed to do better.

“Eli had better lines than I did – obviously got around me – and it was just, uh, who could go faster the rest of the moto. I think we kept dropping lap times, and I want to say one of my best laps was two laps to go, so yeah, it’s gonna be a battle,” Sexton said.

“I’m bummed obviously to lose the red plate, but we still got a lot of racing left, and I gotta get better,” Sexton.

Sexton and Tomac both talked about how the second moto was physically draining. Tomac compared the race to doing 3,000 leg squats, and added that his heart rate peaked in Moto 2.

Sexton also mentioned his higher heart rate and said the race came down to who was mentally tough enough to push through to the end. Again, he gave credit to Tomac.

“I know Eli is in a great shape, so I knew it was going to be all the way down to the end,” Sexton said.

“The pace is hot, and we’re just gonna go down the wire,” Tomac said.

Moto 1

Joseph Savatgy won the hole shot, but Tomac overtook him in Lap 1 for the early lead.

Savatgy was followed by Sexton, Dungey and Anderson to complete the top five.

Savatgy and Roczen crashed early, and as the race approached the halfway mark, Sexton passed Tomac for the lead in Lap 7. Anderson trailed in third and was followed by Dungey and Christian Craig.

Tomac retook the lead in Lap 10 after Sexton fell in a rut and dropped to a distant second place. Tomac crossed the finish line 14.432 seconds ahead, and Anderson was third, 21.490 seconds off the pace. Dungey and Craig filled out the top five, more than 24 seconds off the lead.

Moto 2

Savatgy again won the hole shot and again surrendered the lead, this time to Sexton. Roczen and Tomac then passed Savatgy.

After posting the fastest time in the first lap, Tomac passed Roczen for second place and caught up with Sexton. Roczen was safely in third and was followed by Craig and Anderson. Savatgy dropped to eighth place behind Justin Barcia and Dungey.

In the third lap, Tomac accelerated out of a turn to pass Sexton for the lead and the fastest lap of the race, at 2 minutes, 10.899 seconds.

He held onto a nearly 2-second lead as the race reached its midpoint. Craig, Anderson and Barcia moved up to fill out the top five, and Roczen faded to sixth.

With 5 minutes to go, Sexton mounted a challenge to close to within 1.15 seconds of the leader, but Tomac countered with a fast lap in Lap 12 to stretch his lead to 1.426 seconds. Sexton followed with his fastest lap of the race, but as the white flag came out in Lap 16, Tomac again was faster – 2:11.917 vs. 2:12.563 – to take the checkered flag and his third consecutive sweep in the 2022 series.

Craig was third, and Anderson and Barcia filled out the top five.

Time trials

Tomac was fourth-fastest during timed qualifying rounds Saturday morning, with a best lap of 2 minutes, 8.257 seconds. Sexton led all qualifiers, edging Roczen, 2:06.351 vs. 2:06.513. Anderson was third, at 2:08.220.

What’s next

The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship next goes to Washougal, Washington, on July 23 for the eighth round in the 12-round series.

2022 AMA Motocross standings
1. Eli TomacYamaha317
2. Chase SextonHonda312
3. Jason AndersonKawasaki245
4. Ken RoczenHonda241
5. Christian CraigYamaha220
6. Ryan DungeyKTM218
7. Justin BarciaGAS190
8. Aaron PlessingerKTM177
9. Joseph SavatgyKawasaki142
10. Shane McElrathHusqvarna139