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Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac Earns Runner-Up Finish at Spring Creek
The 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship hosted Round 6 of the 2021 season at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota where Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac secured second overall for the second time this season. Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Adam Cianciarulo had an excellent performance in Moto 1, battling for the lead before going down and ending his day early. In the 250 class, Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda fought hard from back in the pack both motos to finish the day seventh overall. Fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Austin Forkner rebounded after a tough first moto to earn a season-best fourth-place finish in Moto 2, resulting in eighth overall.
The riders and fans in Minnesota were greeted to immaculate race conditions with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80s as the riders took on the infamous Spring Creek sand whoops and elevation changes. Qualifying began with the Monster Energy Kawasaki teammates putting in the fastest laps of the field and once complete found themselves in the top five with Cianciarulo qualifying in third with a 2:07.860 lap time and Tomac in fifth after recording a fast lap of 2:08.875.
When the gate dropped on the first 450 Class moto, Cianciarulo rounded the first turn in second and immediately pressured the lead rider. After studying the leader’s lines during the opening laps, the No.9 KX™450 of Cianciarulo began utilizing alternate lines to close the gap and momentarily take the lead before dropping back to second. Cianciarulo continued to apply heavy pressure to the lead rider throughout the moto, but a costly mistake resulted in a crash and forced Cianciarulo to retire from the race. Tomac was buried off the start in Moto 1 but mastered the back sand section to catch the riders in front of him and ultimately move up the field. By the fifth lap of the race, Tomac had advanced up to seventh and continued to move forward. With eight minutes left in the race the past champion set the fastest lap time of the race to catch the top five riders. Once Tomac caught up to the top five group, he made quick passes to move into third, where he would finish the race.
The final 450 Class moto began with Tomac launching off the line in ninth. Two laps into the race, the No.3 KX450 of Tomac made his way up to seventh and began to catch the rider in sixth soon after. Continuing to charge through the field, Tomac advanced up to fourth in the latter half of the race. Despite his best efforts to catch the rider in third in hopes to clinch his second moto podium of the day, Tomac would cross the line in fourth, where his consistency earned him second overall on the day. Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Cianciarulo was unable to line up for Moto 2.
“This weekend went pretty well. I had to fight my way from the back of the field in Moto 1, but I had the back sand section dialed and made up a lot of time in that part of the track, which helped a lot. I made my way up to third in that moto but spent all my energy at that point and couldn’t catch the front two riders. I had a little better position off the start in Moto 2, but I no longer had the advantage in the back since I couldn’t make it over the wall. I still managed to work my way up to fourth in the race and tried to put on a charge for third. The team and I plan to work on starts this week, so I can put on a battle for the lead without having to use too much energy.”
– Eli Tomac
“I had a really positive weekend going early in Moto 1. I was sitting in second and battling for the lead before my crash. After the accident, I noticed there was something wrong and I had to pull off. Unfortunately, I couldn’t line up for Moto 2. I never like ending my weekend early, but we’re looking at the bigger picture.”
– Adam Cianciarulo
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Shimoda continued his impressive qualifying performances after setting the sixth fastest lap time with a 2:11.647, while Forkner placed 10th fastest after recording a 2:12.459 fast lap.
At the start of Moto 1 for the 250 Class, both Shimoda and Forkner entered the first turn in the middle of the pack. Forkner quickly caught up to his teammate on the first lap before a mistake in the back section of the track forced him to battle back up through the field. Never one to settle, Forkner made his way from 37th up to 17th by the end of the moto. Shimoda sat in 13th after the opening laps and began making his way around the competition. The No.30 KX™250 advanced to 10th halfway through the moto and continued to push until the final lap. When the checkered flag came out, he crossed the line in eighth.
The second 250 Class moto saw Forkner blast out of the gate and came into the first turn in third place. After the opening lap, Forkner found himself in fourth and would soon be pressured by the riders behind him. Forkner found his flow early in the race, and despite the competition’s constant pressure, he pushed forward to pull a respectable gap on the riders behind to cross the line in fourth. With his best moto result this season, Forkner secured eighth overall. A poor start by Shimoda in Moto 2 saw him cross the finish line 35th after lap one. Determined to make the most of the race, he put his head down and in typical Shimoda fashion, charged hard for the entire 30 minutes plus two laps to finish the race in ninth for a hard-earned seventh overall on the day.
“I think this weekend went okay. I went out for the second qualifying session and set the sixth fastest lap, which was solid. It proves I have the speed to be up near the front; all I need now is to be more consistent with my starts. Overall, we finished seventh with 8-9 moto scores. It’s a good result, but I know I can do better. The team and I will regroup this week and come back ready for Washougal.”
– Jo Shimoda
“I didn’t get the best start in Moto 1 and made some small mistakes which made for a tough race. In Moto 2 I got off to a much better start and ran with the top three riders for the first lap. Racing with those guys up front forced me to pick up my pace as well, and around the 10-minute mark, I really started to find my flow, which helped me fight off pressure from riders behind me. It felt great being up near the front again. I know that’s where I belong, and the second moto proved that. I’m pumped on the performance today and will carry this momentum into next week.”
– Austin Forkner