The annual Fourth of July tradition and KTM RedBud National greeted racing fans with perfect weather at Round 5 of the 50th Anniversary of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
The Independence Day weekend welcomed the return of one of American Motocross’ most passionate crowds at the world-renowned RedBud MX Park. Eli Tomac became the first repeat winner of the season by taking his second consecutive 450 class victory. In the 250 Class, Jo Shimoda raced to a first moto win and thrilling second moto charge to emerge victorious for the first time in his career.
As the 450 Class field launched out of the gate it was Tomac who emerged with his first Holeshot of the season over Joey Savatgy and Justin Barcia. Tomac quickly sprinted to a two-second advantage on the opening lap over Savatgy as Barcia engaged in a battle with Ken Roczen and Chase Sexton over third.
Tomac’s early race speed was too much for the competition to match as he steadily pulled away from Savatgy who held a comfortable gap over the rest of the field. The Honda teammates of Roczen and Sexton found their way around Barcia as they continued to fight over a spot on the podium. With just under 10-minutes remaining in the moto, Sexton used an inside line before the famous Larocco’s Leap to take Roczen’s line away and make the pass stick for third.
The push to the front for Sexton continued as he began inching onto the rear wheel of Savatgy for second. He would try the same line he used on Roczen, but Savatgy refused to surrender as he launched back around on Larocco’s Leap. Sexton regrouped and made the pass stick by getting a strong drive through the sand rollers.
Tomac proved to be unstoppable with a wire-to-wire performance that earned him his fourth moto win of the season with 6.3 seconds to spare over Sexton who finished runner-up. Savatgy finished an impressive third, marking his career-best moto result. Roczen followed in fourth, while Christian Craig completed the top five.
The final moto of the afternoon saw Barcia charge to the Holeshot ahead of first moto winner Tomac and Roczen. Using incredible opening lap speed, Roczen made his way around Barcia to take the lead, followed by Tomac, Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson, and Sexton.
As Roczen maintained a clear track out front, Tomac took control of second with a move on Barcia who continued to keep Dungey, Anderson, and Sexton at bay. Just as Anderson and Sexton made their way around Dungey, a mistake saw Anderson go down, collecting Sexton with him in the process.
Tomac began to hit this stride, slowly working his way closer to Roczen with each passing lap. With just under 15-minutes to go, Tomac saw an opening and struck to take the lead from Roczen. Behind the battle up front, Sexton remounted from his early race incident with Anderson to pass Barcia for third.
It was another dominant effort for Tomac, bringing home his fifth moto win of the season by six seconds over Sexton. A late surge by Barcia landed him on the podium for the first time this season in third. Anderson and Dungey would finish fourth and fifth, respectively.
Tomac’s double moto sweep (1-1) carried him to his second victory of the season and the 29th of his career. A pair of consistent moto results (2-2) earned Sexton the runner-up position on the day. Barcia’s strong second moto was enough to give him his first podium of the season (8-3).
“It was an outstanding day for us, going 1-1. It was almost a completely perfect day,” Tomac said. “I had some great starts, and in Moto 1, it was all about the start. I was a little bit buried in that second moto and had a battle with Kenny (Roczen) at the beginning of that race. I was able to make the move to the front somewhere around the halfway point, and that was it. The bike worked awesome in all the conditions today. We just have to keep chipping away at the points.”
“It was a perfect day, perfect crowd, and perfect track,” Tomac added. “I love riding here at RedBud and the track was awesome all day. The team did a great job getting me comfortable out there today and I think it showed by being the quickest qualifier and winning both motos.”
Chase Sexton was left lamenting his starts, “The starts just weren’t there today. I think I rode really well. Super happy with it compared to years past in the softer conditions here at RedBud. The crowd was awesome all day. It’s pretty close to home for me and I could feel the support from the fans all day,” Sexton said.
Justin Barcia had his best round so far and was happy to be back on the podium, “It was an amazing day. The team did a great job. My bars were super bent from the crash in the first moto, I don’t even know how I managed to do what I did. Overall, just super stoked to be back up here on the podium,” Barcia said.
The opening 250 Class moto saw Hunter Lawrence take the Holeshot, followed by Jo Shimoda and teammate Jett Lawrence. As the field navigated the opening lap, the top three positions remain unchanged with Stilez Robertson and Seth Hammaker just behind.
Hunter continued to control the race out front as Shimoda began to feel the pressure from Jett who started searching for a way around. Jett would muscle his way around Shimoda and quickly set his sights on Hunter in an attempt to make a bid for the race lead. Shimoda refused to settle as he latched onto the rear wheel of Jett to make it a three-way battle up front.
Lap-after-lap Hunter fended off Jett’s pass attempts before Jett eventually made his pass stick with an aggressive downhill move just prior to the halfway point of the 30-minutes-plus-two-lap moto. As Jett continued to hold a narrow lead over Hunter, disaster struck when his bike began smoking and it eventually came to a stop with just 10-minutes remaining in the moto. Jett’s misfortune allowed Hunter to retake the lead with Shimoda hot on his heels. Robertson would move into third.
Shimoda was determined to find his way to the front, taking the lead from Hunter with less than five minutes remaining. He pushed hard to the checkered flag to take his first career moto win by 21.6 seconds over Hunter. Robertson took his first career podium result in third, followed by RJ Hampshire in fourth. Hammaker completed the top five. Jett was scored in 35th after retiring early with a mechanical issue.
The second 250 Class moto kicked off with Ryder Difrancesco taking the holeshot in his pro debut over Hammaker and Ty Masterpool. A mistake by Difrancesco allowed Hammaker to slip by, however, it was short-lived as he grabbed a handful of throttle and crashed just moments later. As the field came around to complete the opening lap, it was Masterpool out front, followed by Hunter Lawrence, Difrancesco, and Robertson. Jett Lawrence circulated the first lap in eighth, while first moto winner Shimoda found himself near the tail end of the field following a crash.
Hunter would make quick work of Masterpool, who continued to run at an impressive pace, taking the race lead. With damage control on his mind, Jett put his head down and began picking off one rider after another and eventually made his way around Masterpool for second. Jett didn’t stop there as he set after Hunter for the race win.
In a league of their own, Hunter and Jett continued to pull away from the 40-rider field. With 10-minutes left, Jett used an aggressive move as he nearly collided with Hunter to take the race lead. There was no looking back for Jett as he quickly pulled away. The battle for the final podium position began to heat up during the final minutes of the moto with Levi Kitchen and Shimoda finding their way around Masterpool. Shimoda’s unbelievable ride through the field saw him get around Kitchen for third with three laps to go.
Jett won in convincing fashion by more than 16.9 seconds over Hunter. After starting the race outside the top 20, Shimoda rode to a hard-fought third. Kitchen held on for fourth, followed by Robertson in fifth.
The second moto efforts by Shimoda awarded him with the overall victory (1-3), marking the first of his young career and the first for a Japanese rider. Hunter Lawrence was second overall (2-2), followed by Stilez Robertson taking his first career podium in third (3-5). Championship point leader Jett ended the day ninth overall (35-1) following his first moto mechanical, surrendering the championship lead to Hunter.
Jo Shimoda was happy to become the first Japanese rider to win and AMA National, “Honestly, I just realized I won the overall. I went down and didn’t even know I was in third at the end. I hope that I can keep this momentum going. I was rushing it after the crash and had a lot of moments, but I am glad I kept going. I will take this win!”
Hunter Lawrence was happy to take the championship lead off his brother, “The red plate doesn’t always come as fast as you want it or how you want it, but I will take it. Jo [Shimoda] rode incredibly today, so congrats to him. It’s always a special weekend racing here,” Lawrence said.
Stilez Robertson was also happy to be up on the podium, “I love RedBud,” Robertson said. “The fans were insane. It’s definitely my favorite track after getting this podium today. It’s such a crazy race to finally put myself up here on the podium outdoors.”
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)
1 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-1 // 50)
2 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-2 // 44)
3 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (8-3 // 33)
4 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (7-4 // 32)
5 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (4-7 // 32)
6 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki (3-9 // 32)
7 Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (6-5 // 31)
8 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (5-6 // 31)
9 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (9-8 // 25)
10 Marshal Weltin, Ubli, Mich., Suzuki (10-12 // 20)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 5 of 12)
1 Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 224 Points
2 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 217 Points
3 Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 194 Points
4 Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 179 Points
5 Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 153 Points
6 Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 151 Points
7 Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 139 Points
8 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 115 Points
9 Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 108 Points
10 Shane McElrath, Canton, NC., Husqvarna – 102 Points
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)
1 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (1-3 // 45)
2 Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2 // 44)
3 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (3-5 // 36)
4 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (4-6 // 33)
5 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (9-4 //30)
6 Ty Masterpool, Paradise, Texas, KTM (8-8 //26)
7 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (7-9 // 26)
8 Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS (6-10 // 26)
9 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (35-1 // 25)
10 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (10-7 // 25)
250 Class Championship Standings (Round 5 of 12)
1 HunterLawrence, Australia, Honda – 218 Points
2 Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 211 Points
3 Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 182 Points
4 Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 159 Points
5 Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 145 Points
6 Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS – 141 Points
7 Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki – 132 Points
8 Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 130 Points
9 Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 110 Points
10 RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 98 Points