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Jul 01, 2014 - 04:18 PM
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Eli Tomac Makes Immediate Impact In 450 Class Debut At Muddy Creek Despite Missing First Month Of Competition
Posted by: newsla on Jul 01, 2014 - 04:14 PM
Tidbits
Eli Tomac Makes Immediate Impact In 450 Class Debut At Muddy Creek Despite Missing First Month Of Competition


The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its anticipated return to the Southeast this past weekend, marking the series' second visit to Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tennessee. Fans once again came out by the thousands to cheer on the world's best at the Red Bull Tennessee National. In the end, great track conditions and temperatures that were milder than expected resulted in great battles and arguably the closest competition of the 2014 season across both classes, with new names ultimately coming to the forefront.

 

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Through partnerships with series sponsors, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will recognize the riders who are able to lay claim to the Oakley Bomb Fastest Lap Program, the MotoSport.com Holeshot Award in each moto, and the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award throughout the 2014 season.

The Oakley Bomb Fastest Lap Program is designed to present a unique challenge for the 2014 season, providing a different twist by recognizing the rider who sets the fastest lap of practice in both the 250 and 450 Classes. Each rider will receive special Oakley Bomb trophy, specially designed by the brand.As the season wears on, the total number of Oakley Bomb awards a rider receives will be tallied into a final season total. The competitor with the most awards at season's end will be presented with an Elite Oakley Time Bomb II Swiss Automatic Watch.

Eli Tomac proved to be worthy of his post-injury return with the Oakley Bomb Fastest Lap Award
Matt Rice / Alli Sports

The track surface early in the day at Muddy Creek was quite slick with rain falling the night prior. As a result, lap times continued to drop as the morning wore on and placed an even greater emphasis on logging one clean, near-perfect lap. In the 450 Class, GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac made his first career start in the 450 Class after missing the first month of action with a broken collarbone. The defending 250 Class Champion made his presence felt immediately by posting the quickest lap in the premier division with a time of 1:57.344 to claim the Oakley Bomb Award. Tomac's time was nearly a full second quicker than Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen in second and showed that Tomac was ready to mix it up at the front of the field.

Christophe Pourcel once again laid down the fastest lap of the 250 Class qualifiers
Photo: Matt Rice / Alli Sports

In the 250 Class, the Frenchman Christophe Pourcel once again topped the charts aboard his Valli Motorsports Yamaha. The former MX2 World Champion has secured the Oakley Bomb Award at four of the five rounds this season and continues to prove that he has a knack for laying down a hot lap. Pourcel's time of 1:58.809 was nearly two seconds quicker than fellow Frenchman and MX2 World Champion Marvin Musquin, who continues to show improvement with each week of action for Red Bull KTM.

The Motosport.com Holeshot Award is brand new to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross this season and it awards $500 to the rider who gets the holeshot of each moto - in both the 450 Class and 250 Class - at every round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. A total of $2,000 will be up for grabs at each event between the two classes, thanks to Motosport.com. For the third time this season, four different riders claimed the holeshots during the four motos.

Eli Tomac kicked off his 450 Class debut with the MotoSport.com Holeshot Award
Photo: Christian Munoz

After setting the bar for the 450 Class field in qualifying, Tomac continued to make an impact on the competition by racing to the Motosport.com Holeshot Award in the first moto and earning the $500 prize. Tomac proceeded to lead half of the moto and looked comfortable with the pace of the class. While he admittedly tightened up in the late stages of the moto and eventually dropped to third at the end, Tomac confirmed that he would be a factor throughout the remainder of the season.

The second 450 Class moto saw Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey race to his second $500 Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season on the heels of a win in the opening moto. Dungey needed to start strong in order to put himself in a position to earn the overall, but gave way to his teammate Roczen on the opening lap and never was able to reclaim the position. Dungey settled for second in the moto and second overall.

Ryan Dungey was the first rider to curve the MotoSport.com Holeshot bend, but he eventually gave way to his teammate Ken Roczen for the second moto win
Photo: Christian Munoz

In the 250 Class, Pourcel used his first gate selection to his advantage to take control of the first moto. It was his third straight Motosport.com Holeshot Award following a sweep at the previous stop at High Point, resulting in an impressive $1,500 in bonus money over the last two rounds for the Frenchman. He ultimately used the momentum to finish third in the moto. As the gate dropped on the final 250 Class moto, GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle edged out Pourcel to prevent another sweep and earn his first Motosport.com Holeshot Award and the $500 bonus. Bogle's lead was short lived, but he stood tough to record a second-place finish in the moto and land third overall.

Justin Bogle captured the MotoSport.com Holeshot Award in the second moto of the 250 Class
Photo: Christian Munoz

The RC Hard Charger Award is entering its sixth season in 2014. Named after Ricky Carmichael, the most winning motocross rider of all time, the award recognizes the one competitor at each of the 12 rounds of the championship who overtakes the highest number of his fellow racers in any of the four championship motos between the 250 and 450 Classes.The award is a testament to "The Greatest of All Time" or "The GOAT" and his never-give-up attitude over the span of a career that warranted 10 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross titles and 102 wins - two feats that will likely never be duplicated. All recipients of the RC Hard Charger Award are given a custom-designed trophy.

After first-turn incidents marred the beginning of both opening motos in the 450 Class and 250 Class, many of the championship's most prominent competitors were forced to battle back from adversity and fight their way through the field. The likes of Team Yoshimura's James Stewart, Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports' Chad Reed, and Troy Lee Designs/MAVTV Honda's Malcolm Stewart were stuck deep in the field in the 450 Class, while Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Jeremy Martin and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Dean Wilson dealt with the same fate in the 250 Class. While each of these riders was able to fight their way forward and salvage solid results, no one was as impressive as Toyota/Yamaha/N-FAB/JGRMX's Josh Grant. The winner of the first moto of the 2014 season and recipient of the RC Hard Charger at Glen Helen overcame a dead-last start in 40th place to claw his way past 29 competitors and finish just outside the top 10 in 11th place. Combined with his sixth-place result in the final moto, Grant's resilient effort helped him finish ninth overall and earn the distinction of this award for the second time in 2014.

2014 Specialty Award Winners

Oakley Bomb Fastest Lap Program

450 Class

Glen Helen - Ryan Dungey
Hangtown - Ken Roczen
Thunder Valley - Canard
High Point - Ken Roczen
Tennessee - Eli Tomac

250 Class

Glen Helen - Christophe Pourcel
Hangtown - Christophe Pourcel
Thunder Valley - Christophe Pourcel
High Point - Jeremy Martin
Tennessee - Christophe Pourcel


Motosport.com Holeshot Award

450 Class

Glen Helen
Moto 1 - Josh Grant
Moto 2 - Ken Roczen

Hangtown
Moto 1 - Ryan Dungey
Moto 2 - Jake Weimer

Thunder Valley
Moto 1 - Josh Grant
Moto 2 - Trey Canard

High Point
Moto 1 - Chad Reed
Moto 2 - Chad Reed

Tennessee
Moto 1 - Eli Tomac
Moto 2 - Ryan Dungey

250 Class

Glen Helen
Moto 1 - Jeremy Martin
Moto 2 - Jeremy Martin

Hangtown
Moto 1 - Zach Bell
Moto 2 - Jeremy Martin

Thunder Valley
Moto 1 - Jessy Nelson
Moto 2 - Zach Bell

High Point
Moto 1 - Christophe Pourcel
Moto 2 - Christophe Pourcel

Tennessee
Moto 1 - Christophe Pourcel
Moto 2 - Justin Bogle

RC Hard Charger Award

Glen Helen - Josh Grant (+22)
Hangtown - Andrew Short (+24)
Thunder Valley - Fredrik Noren (+21)
High Point - Shane Sewell & Zack Williams (+14)
Tennessee - Josh Grant (+29)

Round 6 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship heads to Buchanan, Michigan, for the Red Bull RedBud National on Saturday, July 5.

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