Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac proved he’s the man to beat in the US Nationals by romping to two moto wins under the sunny Californian skies at Pala. In the first moto he had a sixth place start. But unlike at the Hangtown opener where he went backwards, this time he moved forward.
He caught up to holeshot man and red plate holder Ken Roczen who had been kept busy fending off a tough challenge from Marvin Musquin. Tomac wasted no time in getting by both of them to take the win.
Second time out Tomac quickly overhauled holeshot man Justin Bogle then race leader Musquin to take the lead and clear off to an unchallenged win
Tomac said: “Going through my head, the first moto reminded me of Hangtown All the good guys were at the front and I was hanging out in sixth.I got angry and started pinning it. I rode better ion the second half of the race. I loosened up and found better lines.
“In the second one I had a good feeling and some good lines. I felt better this week, riding better and was able to make my way to the front. It was big for me mentally to do well here.”
The man many expected to win was Roczen. He led the first but lost out to Tomac. Then in moto two he held onto third for most of the race and could do nothing to reel in Musquin who was holding a safe second place.
The pair tied on points, but Musquin was second overall thanks to his better second race score.
Roczen said: “I was fighting the bike a bit. In the beginning you can manage but on a track like today, it gets harder. In the first moto I slid out and almost crashed and Eli was on me.
“I made bike adjustments for moto two. I had a good start but wasn’t feeling ideal on the track. But I’m pretty happy today. It’s a championship mentality and I want to do my thing. I’m totally fine with third and I’m in it for the long run. I want to win but Eli and Marvin were on it and it’s good to be on the podium.”
Musquin was pleased to take second after he crashed hard at Hangtown last week and had to stay off the bike apart from one day riding.
He said: “At Hangtown I had a big crash so I was going to skip one day of riding but pretty much skiped the whole week. I had a rough week with just a little bit of riding so I came with not much expectation. I wanted to get back to my full potential.
“I felt decent and wanted to be consistent all day. I was right there in the first moto, and I was lucky when some guys made some mistakes. I tried to catch Kenny but got third.
“In second moto I was up front and got second. I’m just glad to be back on the podium. I’m pretty sore but as long as I’m good on the bike, that’s OK.”
Former British champ Zach Osborne took a fine fourth place from his Husky team-mate Jason Anderson with Supercross king Cooper Webb sixth. Osborne spent both motos battling with riders like Webb and Anderson and chased Roczen home in the second heat.
Tomac now leads the series on 93 points with Roczen on 89 and Musquin 74.