Championship battle could tighten at Budds Creek
1 Comment

Just when it seemed inevitable that Eli Tomac would not only win the 2019 championship, but that he would do so before the final race, the two-time defending champion rode to one of his worst finishes of the year last week in the Unadilla MX Nationals. He has another opportunity to gain enough points this week to allow him to rest completely easy in the finale as the series heads into its penultimate venue at Budds Creek.

Finishing seventh in Moto 1, Tomac matched his worst performance of the season from WW Ranch this June while his principal rival for the championship finished second. Marvin Musquin briefly saw a window of opportunity open with that runner-up finish, but when he looked over his shoulder in Moto 2, Tomac was threatening once again to climb through. In Moto 2, Musquin finished second; Tomac was third.

That has been Tomac’s trademark all season. He never has two bad races in an event and with eight moto wins, he has controlled the pace of the championship.

Tomac will enter Budds Creek with a 40-point advantage over Musquin and given the strength of the Frenchman during the past six weeks, it seems unlikely that he will gain the 10 markers over his rival needed to be crowned champion. Still, the title is Tomac’s for the taking – unless he finishes poorly in both motos this week.

Tomac is the defending winner of last year’s race on this track.

If Tomac can win this week, he will become only the fifth rider to win more than one premier class race on this track, joining superstars Ricky Carmichael (with eight wins), Ryan Dungey (four), Jeremy McGrath and Chad Reed (two each).

The winner of this race has gone on to take the title more than two-thirds of the time (68%). Kawasaki riders have five total victories at Budds Creek and each time they have gone on to win the championship.

First time winners have showcased the 250 class for the past three seasons. Zach Osborne won in 2016, Adam Cianciarulo in 2017 and RJ Hampshire last year. And while Budds Creek has been predictive of who will win the championship in the 450 class, the last time that occurred in this division was in 2012 when Blake Baggett performed the feat.

MORE: Cooper Webb sidelined with knee injury
MORE: 10 Amatuers to win Supercross license this October


Qualifiers: 9:15 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold
Race: Live, 12 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold, Moto 2 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold, (Moto 2, re-airs at 3 p.m. on NBC).

August 10 – 2019; Unadilla

450: Ken Roczen (1-1) won over Marvin Musquin (2-2) and Zach Osborne (4-4)
250: Dylan Ferrandis (2-1) won over Adam Cianciarulo (1-2) and Chase Sexton (3-3)

August 18 – 2018; Budds Creek 

450: Eli Tomac (3-1) won over Ken Roczen (1-3) and Marvin Musquin (2-4)
250: RJ Hampshire (2-1) won over Chase Sexton (7-2) and Aaron Plessinger (1-11)

Overall Wins

[4] Eli Tomac (Pala, High Point, RedBud, Washougal)
[3] Ken Roczen (Hangtown, Thunder Valley, Unadilla)
[2] Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch, Southwick)
[1] Cooper Webb (Spring Creek)

[6] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown, Pala, Thunder Valley, High Point, Southwick, Spring Creek)
[3] Dylan Ferrandis (RedBud, Washougal, Unadilla)
[1] Justin Cooper (WW Ranch)

Moto Wins

[8] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & II, Thunder Valley II, WW Ranch I, RedBud I, Washougal I & II)
[5] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II, Unadilla I & II)
[3] Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch I, Southwick I, RedBud II)
[2] Cooper Webb (Spring Creek I & II)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)
[1] Zach Osborne (Southwick II)

[7] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley II, High Point II, Southwick I, Spring Creek II, Unadilla II)
[7] Dylan Ferrandis (WW Ranch II, Southwick II, RedBud I & II, Washougal I & II, Unadilla I)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[2] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I, Spring Creek II)
[1] Chase Sexton (WW Ranch I)

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter