Foothill Ranch, Calif. (July 22, 2018) – Round 8 of the 2018 AMA Pro Motocross Championship returned to action at the Spring Creek National as Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac regained the series points lead with a perfect day going 1-1 in Millville, Minnesota, while both Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders Austin Forkner and Joey Savatgy captured top 10 finishes for the day.
Tomac came to the 35th annual Spring Creek National determined to redeem his adversity-filled weekend at RedBud and did not skip a beat as he kicked the day off qualifying with the fastest lap time (2:12.2). Focused on keeping the momentum going, Tomac lined up for Moto 1 aboard his KX™450F and blasted off the gate in fourth. Halfway through the moto, Tomac maneuvered his way around two of his contenders into second place while taking different lines on the track as he continued to find time on the front-runners. As he began to chase down the leader and avoid the plethora of lappers, Tomac eventually made his move for the front with five minutes and two laps to go, building a 13-second gap as he reached the checkered flag.
As the 38-rider field came off the gate in the second moto, Tomac was squeezed out from the front as they rounded the first turn. Tomac went straight to work from seventh, quickly making his way into third within minutes. As he charged the rollers with impeccable speeds and clocking the fastest lap of the race at 2:14.4, Tomac began closing in on the 8-second gap he had from the leaders. As the race hit the halfway point, Tomac had caught up to his contender in second and battled for multiple laps before dropping the hammer and making his pass. With the leader now in sight, Tomac proved there was no challenge too great as he powered forward into first place with five minutes and two laps remaining. Tomac went on to sweep the podium with a 1-1 finish and reclaim the coveted red plate with a 7-point lead in the point standings and four rounds remaining in the series.
“I had so much motivation from how the last race went and I carried it into this week,” said Tomac. “The team and I were focused on coming back with a good race and to get back on track. I always have fun here but I was really ready to go this week and happy to get the red plate back. We’re going to keep working hard and looking forward to some good racing at Washougal next week.”
In the 250MX class, both Kawasaki riders Joey Savatgy and Austin Forkner appeared ready to take on the motos after qualifying second and fourth, respectively. As the gate dropped in Moto 1, Savatgy looked to repeat last year's Spring Creek winning results by grabbing the holeshot with Forkner close behind in third. Unfortunately, Savatgy made a critical error halfway through the first lap giving up his lead and forcing him to play catch-up for the remainder of the moto to finish 10th. Forkner competed in a four-way battle throughout the race before clinching second place with seven minutes left on the clock, where he went on to cross the finish line.
As the gate dropped on the second moto, both Kawasaki riders snagged prime positions in front as they avoided the first turn pileup with Forkner in fifth and Savatgy following in sixth. The teammates went on to challenge each other, swapping positions back and forth and passing contenders almost in sync. With 10 minutes remaining, Forkner made yet another pass around Savatgy for fourth but found himself tangled up with another rider on the field shortly after, forcing him to pull off to the mechanics area for a quick fix to his KX™ before returning on the track in 21st position. As he fought to make up the positions lost, Forkner went on to pass three of his opponents before the time ran out, finishing 18th for eighth overall (2-18). Savatgy continued to ride impressively as he held onto his fourth-place position to finish fifth overall on the day (10-4).
“We have to focus on the positives and the fact is I’m feeling good and happy with how I’m riding,” said Forkner. “Taking second in Moto 1 was a great start to the day and I was focused on a podium finish. What happened in Moto 2 is frustrating but it’s all a part of racing. We’re continuing to work on improving every week and I know it will come together soon. We’ll be back at it next week and we expect to have a good finish."
“I was feeling really good in qualifying and expected a good day,” said Savatgy. “Today’s results definitely don’t show where we should have been. After getting out front with the holeshot in Moto 1, I made a mistake that really cost me. I tried staying positive for Moto 2 and ran a good race, but we need to put two good motos together to get back on the podium.”