NEW BERLIN, N.Y. (Aug. 10) – GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac emphatically showed he won’t try to coast to the 2013 AMA Pro Motocross Championship in the 250cc class, scoring another dominating victory in Saturday’s Built Ford Tough Unadilla National.
“If you try to play it safe and points race, that’s actually when you make more mistakes,” said Tomac, who won both motos at Unadilla Valley Sports Center. “I’ve learned that from past experiences. When you try to conserve, a lot of times you make mistakes. We’re going to race these last two races like we raced everywhere else.”
Teammates Zach Osborne (fourth overall), Justin Bogle (sixth) and Wil Hahn (seventh) joined Tomac in the top 10, while newly minted pro Matt Bisceglia completed his first professional race in 20th.
Adding to the day’s festivities, Hahn clinched the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Holeshot Championship for 2013, earning the $15,000 first prize in 250cc. It was a remarkable feat for the young Texan, who missed the first four races of the year with an injury.
In the overall title battle, Tomac pushed his lead to 39 points over Ken Roczen and can clinch the 250 championship next weekend if he leaves Salt Lake City with a 51-point edge over his German rival.
But Tomac , who has now swept three straight events, isn’t thinking about that just yet.
“It is always in the back of your mind when you’re the points leader,” Tomac said, “but I try my best to just ride like I did in the previous races I won.”
Tomac certainly raced like a champion Saturday, scoring an 18.7-second victory in Moto 1 and winning by 9.1 seconds in Moto 2 after a stirring battle with Roczen.
“Moto 1, the dirt was sticky and heavy because we had a lot of rain yesterday,” Tomac said. “It made the track super rutted and deep, so you almost had to ride easy to go faster because if you tried to override it, it would bite you. That’s what I did in the first moto; I rode smooth and was able to make my way to the front.”
Likewise, Tomac was sixth after the first lap of Moto 2 but quickly moved to second, challenging Roczen for three laps before getting past with six laps to go.
“My starts aren’t awesome, but they’re good enough right now,” Tomac said. “I did have to chase Roczen down, and we did have a good battle there for several laps. That was a lot of fun, kind of cat-and-mouse with each other, and I was finally able to make the pass and take her home.”
Osborne brought home a podium finish in Moto 1, ending a first-moto slump that has plagued him this year. His third-place result was the first time all season he finished better in Moto 1, as he came home sixth in the second moto.
“Today was really good,” Osborne said. “I got that first-moto monkey off my back. I didn’t get on the overall podium, but it was a really positive day with my first moto going a lot better. I’m really happy with it.”
Bogle was happy with his sixth-place overall, as it came with a fourth-place result in Moto 2.
“The track was very difficult today,” Bogle said. “I struggled all day until the second moto. I qualified 15th and ended up 10th in the first moto. But I closed it off with a pretty good second moto, so I can’t really complain too much. The track definitely kept you on your toes. It was a hairy one.”
Hahn has made holeshots look easy this year, as he earned another in Moto 1 that allowed him to clinch that championship in only six races.
“It was just confidence in my bike and my program,” Hahn said of the holeshot title. “Everything’s clicking. We had a good Supercross season, so coming off of that, you’re going to have a lot of confidence. It all goes back to the team. They deserve the credit.
“It’s the only championship I can get out here, so I’ll take it. I’ve got to be happy with it. It was progress this weekend. I led some more laps, and that’s a positive thing. And now I’ve got $15,000 to go take my parents (Karl and Amy Hahn) out to dinner.”
Bisceglia, making his pro debut after winning two titles at Loretta Lynn’s, was running 13th when he went down in Moto 1, but he made progress from starting 24th to finish 18th in the second moto.
“A big learning experience, for sure,” Bisceglia said. “These races are tough, and these guys are gnarly fast. The intensity surprised me. It’s a learning curve, but I’m going to keep an open mind into next week and go out there and do what I can do.”