Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac showed a champion's form securing his first 450MX National Championship at the final round of the 2017 AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday. Proving that persistence pays off, Tomac and the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team proudly wore the No. 1 championship shirts as they celebrated on the podium at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
Tomac lined up this weekend composed and prepared to fight until the checkered flag flew. Tomac jumped out front early by grabbing a commanding holeshot in Moto 1 on his KX™450F, but was victim of an untimely crash in the opening stages of the race. Tomac quickly remounted in sixth place and pushed hard to track down the competition. Unable to bridge the gap before the time ran out, the points leader was able to successfully pass one other rider, finishing in fifth place and keeping a 24-point lead.
As the final moto of the 12th and final round began, the fans lined the fence roaring for the No. 3 Kawasaki. After being wedged out as the gate dropped for Moto 2, Tomac rounded the first lap in 12th. Acknowledging he needed to play it safe and just finish the race in order to achieve his ultimate goal, Tomac rode smooth as he gradually made his way forward to finish sixth. Tomac finished with a 5-6 moto score and sixth overall for the day, securing his first 450MX Pro Motocross Championship and led Kawasaki to secure the Manufacturer of the Year award.
"It's pretty unbelievable," said Tomac. "It's going to take a little more time to sink in, but it has been a long time coming! We have had to overcome a lot together and I just came in ready and fired up to get it done for the entire Kawasaki team."
"This Manufacturer of the Year Award and championship means a lot to all of us," said Kawasaki Senior Manager of Racing, Dan Fahie. "We do a lot of racing over the year and this weekend we got to bring home a championship. We have a lot of guys on the racing team that eat, sleep and breathe motorcycles as well as support from our entire Executive staff at Kawasaki USA including President, Yoshi Tamura and VP of Marketing and Racing, Chris Brull. We could not of accomplished this without everyone at Kawasaki and I'd like to thank everyone for their dedication."
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo finished second overall on the day with a 2-2 score and third overall in the 250MX Championship Standings. Teammate Justin Hill returned for Round 12 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship and went on to finish 11-9 for ninth overall.
Cianciarulo got off to a second place start in Moto 1 and quickly began pressuring for the lead on the opening lap. Before the end of Lap 2, the race leader would go down, allowing Cianciarulo to take over the early lead. The No. 36 KX™250F machine would lead the field around the Ironman Raceway for eight laps before a mistake over the finish line would drop him back to second place. Cianciarulo went on to finish second in Moto 1, with Hill finishing back in 11th place.
The sparks were flying in the opening lap of 250MX Moto 2, as Cianciarulo grabbed the holeshot. The battle would settle after the opening lap and Cianciarulo went on to ride strong for a consistent 2-2 finish for second overall, securing him third overall in the 2017 250MX Championship Standings. Hill rode well to go 11-9 for ninth overall.
"Overall, it was a great weekend and phenomenal season," said Cianciarulo. "I was off at the beginning of the season, but we turned it around near the end and won some motos and an overall. It feels great to finish a full season healthy and in the Top 3 in points. I can't wait for Anaheim 1."
"Today went well," said Hill. "My qualifying times were good and my body felt great all day. I was shooting for a Top 10 finish, but 11th isn't bad at all. I appreciate the whole team for sticking behind me this year and I am looking forward to having some fun next weekend at the MXGP of USA."
"This year was good," said Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Team Manager and Owner, Mitch Payton. "We had some amazing talent under the tent this year and I believe it showed on the track. We picked up a couple wins indoors and outdoors, including a West Coast Supercross Championship and really showcased what the 2017 KX250F is capable of. I'm really looking forward to what the future holds for us and Kawasaki."