Cortez motocross rider Eli Tomac won the 450MX class championship of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series Saturday in Indiana.
Tomac needed 22 points to secure the title, and he clinched the championship with fifth- and sixth-place finishes in the two motocross races at the Christi Hubler Chevrolet Ironman National in Crawfordsville.
“We went out there and did what we needed to do,” Tomac, 24, told The Louisville Journal and Courier. “This has been a long time coming, and it feels amazing to finally accomplish it.”
Tomac won the 250 class title in 2013. In May, he placed second in the indoor series.
Jeffrey Herlings won the 450 class race on Saturday, winning both moto events.
Tomac finished the season with 470 points, followed by Marvin Musquin of KTM with 453 points, Blake Baggett of KTM with 451, Dean Wilson of Husqvarna with 340, and Cole Seely of Honda with 330.
Tomac, riding a Kawasaki, started the Lucas Oil series by sweeping the two motocross races at Hangtown, in Sacramento, California, on May 20. In the first moto at Hangtown, Tomac started slow and finished the first lap in fourth position, but and the race quickly became a battle between Tomac and Musquin. Tomac passed Musquin in Lap 3, and led the rest of the way. In the second moto, Tomac again fell back early, finishing the first lap in eighth position. He battled back to second in the ninth lap, passed Musquin in the 12th lap, and led the final four laps for the victory.
Tomac followed up his season-opening victory with a ninth-place finish at Glen Helen in San Bernardino, California, on May 27; a fifth-place finish at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colorado, on June 3; and a fourth at High Point in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania, on June 17.
Tomac began his mid-season charge for the title and regained his spot atop the series standings by dominating races at three consecutive venues. He would win five of the six total motos at the Tennessee, RedBud and Southwick nationals.
At the Tennessee National in Blountville on June 24, Tomac went from eighth to second in the first moto, losing to Jason Anderson, of Albuquerque. In the second moto, it was all Tomac, who led all 18 laps to defeat Anderson.At the RedBud National in Buchanan, Michigan, on July 1, Tomac went from sixth to first, passing Musquin in the fifth lap and leading the final 12 laps. In the second moto, Tomac went from third to first, passing Anderson and Justin Barcia and leading the final 10 laps for the win.At the Southwick Red Bull National in Massachusetts on July 8, Tomac again started strong and led for the final 14 of the 16 laps after quickly passing Weston Pieck and Baggett. In the second moto, he went from sixth to first and led the final 10 laps. Baggett again finished second.After winning at Southwick, Tomac sat atop the series standings with 291 points, with five races to go in the 12-round series. Badgett was in second with 272 points, and Musquin, with 219.
Tomac placed third in the Spring Creek National in Millville, Minnesota, on July 22; second in the Washougal National in Washington on July 29; ninth in the Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York, on Aug. 12; and third in the Budds Creek National in Maryland on Aug. 19. He wrapped up his season at the Ironman in Indiana.
He won nine out of 24 total races in the 12-round series.
Kawasaki riders, led by Tomac, finished second in the manufacturer standings, with 488 points. KTM, led by Musquin and Baggett, topped the manufacturers standings with 553 points. Led by Dean Wilson, Husqvarna finished third, with 434 points.
The summer outdoor motocross season gave Tomac his first national title in the 450 class. It also gave him a little redemption after his heartbreaking chase for the title in the indoor championship this spring.
In early May, Tomac completed a thrilling comeback run for the AMA Supercross title, finishing second in the 2017 championship series to rival and fourtime winner Ryan Dungey. Dungey accumulated a total of 359 points to edge Tomac, who ended the indoor season with 354 points. It was Dungey’s fourth title.
During the fiercely fought indoor series, Tomac won nine races to Dungey’s three and led 180 laps to Dungey’s 97. However, Tomac’s average finish for the season was 3.4, to Dungey’s 2.5.
Tomac became the fan favorite during his charge for the Supercross title, in which he won nine out of 12 races, beginning with a win in the fourth race at Phoenix on Jan. 28 and ending with a comeback win in the 15th race, in Salt Lake City on April 22, that gave him his first series lead.