The premier 450 Class saw Eli Tomac take his sixth overall victory of the season and reclaim control of the championship point standings.
The first 450 Class moto of the day began with Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen grabbing the Motosport.com Holeshot ahead previous round winner Marvin Musquin and Tomac. With a clear track ahead, Roczen dropped the hammer and opened a comfortable lead, while Musquin and Tomac completed the opening lap side-by-side.
Roczen pushed hard in the opening laps and stretched his lead to nearly five seconds over Musquin, who remained under attack from his championship rival Tomac. As Musquin crossed the scoring tower to start Lap 3, he grabbed a handful of throttle that caused his rear wheel to break traction, which ultimately allowed Tomac by into second. Once there, Tomac wasted no time pursuing the lead as he set the fastest lap times of the moto and quickly closed the gap on Roczen.
With the race nearing the halfway point, Roczen began to feel the pressure from the defending champion, but refused to surrender as he fended off Tomac’s every move. Every time that Tomac looked to make a run for the lead, Roczen found a way to pull back out. On Lap 6, Musquin made a mistake and went down while running third, which allowed Blake Baggett to move into third. Musquin quickly remounted in fourth.
With six minutes remaining in the moto, the leaders encountered heavy lapped traffic, which allowed Tomac to pull alongside Roczen through the famed sand whoops and take over the lead. Tomac steadily clicked off the final laps and went on to take his 10th moto win of the season by 13.1 seconds over Roczen. The final step of the podium went to Baggett, who scored his first podium result since Round 3 at Thunder Valley. Musquin was fourth.
The final moto of the afternoon saw Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Justin Bogle capture the Motosport.com Holeshot by edging out both Musquin and Roczen. With Bogle leading the way early, Musquin and Roczen were hot on his heels and simultaneously charged past him on the rough downhill, shuffling Bogle back to third. Tomac was credited with sixth place at the end of the opening lap.
Musquin set the pace and continued his charge out front, while Roczen gave chase and kept the distance at just under two seconds throughout the early stages of the moto. Baggett began his push towards the front by overtaking Bogle for third, however, it would be short lived as Tomac was on a tear and took the position from Baggett on Lap 3. Once into third, Tomac was seven seconds behind Musquin for the race lead.
While Musquin rode effortlessly out front, Roczen’s gap to Tomac shrank as the Kawasaki rider applied pressure in a bid for second. On Lap 11 Tomac got a strong drive and made an aggressive move up one of the hills to force his way past Roczen for second. Tomac was relentless in his pursuit of the lead and quickly started closing in on Musquin.
With just three laps remaining, Tomac latched onto the rear fender of Musquin and powered his way by on the uphill to become the new race leader. There was no stopping Tomac as he continued on a tear in the final laps to take his fourth moto sweep of the season by 6.9 seconds over Musquin. Roczen crossed the finish line in third.
The 1-1 moto scores gave Tomac his sixth overall win of the season, edging out Roczen’s (2-3) in second overall. Musquin’s 4-2 moto scores were good enough to take the final step of the overall podium in third.
It’s the 15th 450 Class win of Tomac’s career.
“I always feel comfortable here at Spring Creek and have had a lot of success here in the past,” said Tomac. “The dirt is very similar to what I train on back home in Colorado. I came into today with a lot of motivation following RedBud and I’m glad that we we’re able to apply that to the results here. The second moto was tough with me starting so far behind at the beginning, but I saw an opening with a few laps to go and just went for it.”
The 450 Class saw a change atop the point standings for the second consecutive race as Tomac’s win lifted him back atop the championship. Tomac, who entered the day three points out of the lead, now holds a seven-point advantage over Musquin. Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia is third, 55 points out of the lead.