Eli Tomac out for rest of Pro Motocross season after Thunder Valley crash

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A season that began in dominant fashion for Eli Tomac has come to an abrupt end.

After suffering injuries to both shoulders as a result of a brutal crash last weekend at Thunder Valley, Tomac is out for the remainder of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, the GEICO Honda team has announced. His right shoulder was dislocated in last weekend’s crash (although the medical team put it back into place at the track), his left shoulder suffered a rotator cuff tear, and he will likely need surgery on both.

Prior to the crash, Tomac had looked unstoppable. He won the first five motos of the season without facing much of a challenge – his smallest margin of victory was 14.5 seconds. Everything was coming together for a rider who was always full of vast potential.

Tomac looked like he was on his way to a sixth straight moto win on Saturday, leading the second 450 Class moto by a comfortable margin, when the crash occurred. He made no attempt to reenter the race, instead getting checked out by the medical staff immediately after. Just like that, the unbeaten streak, the points lead, the overall win at Thunder Valley – it all disappeared, and he will instead have to shift his focus to 2016.

With Tomac out of the running, the always-consistent Ryan Dungey has inherited the 450 Class points lead, and the rest of the field will be chasing him when the series resumes this Saturday at Muddy Creek Raceway. 450 Class rookie Blake Baggett is currently third in the standings, 29 points back of Dungey, and last year’s champion Ken Roczen is next in line, 35 points back. Roczen struggled early in the season because of a back injury, but has looked much better with each passing week and should be the biggest remaining threat to Dungey.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).