Defending champion Eli Tomac wins home-state Pro Motocross national

0 Comments

Eli Tomac nipped Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo to win the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship 450 division at Thunder Valley Motocross Park in Lakewood, Colorado.

Tomac, the reigning Supercross champion and three-time defending 450 motocross champion from Cortez, Colorado, won’t be defending his title after a disappointing season, but Saturday’s victory provided a lift.

Tomac finished third in the first moto and won the second while Cianciarulo won the first and finished third in the second. The tiebreaker went to the second moto winner.

“Such a cool day here in Colorado,” Tomac said in a release after his second victory this season and the 25th of his career. “So glad we were able to get back here this season. I finally had a race where I felt like myself.

“In the first moto I was out of touch (from the leaders) early on, but in the second moto I was much closer to the front. I had a bit of a clutch hang up, but it fixed itself. We really needed this. I’ve kind of been searching lately, so it feels good to have a day like this and get back on top.”

In the championship battle, Cianciarulo gained five points and trails by 24 points to Zach Osborne entering the Oct. 10 season finale in Southern California.

“In the first moto I got slammed by another rider in the second turn and my foot got jammed really bad. The more I went the more I could feel it,” Osborne said after finishing third at Lakewood. “I got it massaged before the second moto and then adrenaline carried me from there.

“I had a midrace lull there in the second moto but was able to finish strong and get a good result. I wasn’t in my comfort zone today so I did a little bit of point racing. We’ll look forward to next week.”

250 winner Justin Cooper (Align Media)

In the 250 class, Justin Cooper won the overall with a second and first in the motos.

Points leader Dylan Ferrnadis won the first moto and placed second overall. He leads by 18 points over Jeremy Martin entering the finale.

“I was in a bad position (in the second moto),” Ferrandis said. “I wanted to get as many points as possible, so I rode as hard as I could.

“I got a bad start and then I got caught up in an incident. There was nothing I could do. I just put my head down and gave it my all. We still were able to get on the podium so that’s good for the championship.”

NEXT: The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will conclude its season Oct. 10 with the The MX vs ATV Fox Raceway National at Fox Raceway in Pala, just outside of San Diego. Live coverage of the second motos will begin at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.


RESULTS

WPS/FLY Racing Thunder Valley National (Thunder Valley Motocross Park – Lakewood, Colorado)

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (3-1)
  2. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (1-3)
  3. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-2)
  4. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-5)Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (6-2)
  5. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (7-4)
  6. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (6-8)
  7. Max Anstie, England, Suzuki (9-6)
  8. Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., Husqvarna (14-7)
  9. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., KTM (12-9)
  10. Jake Masterpool, Paradise, Texas, Husqvarna (13-10)

450 Class Championship Standings

  1. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 325
  2. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 301
  3. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 283
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 278
  5. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 245
  6. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 234
  7. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 232
  8. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 195
  9. Max Anstie, England, Suzuki – 166
  10. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Suzuki – 147

250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)

  1. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (2-1)
  2. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-3)
  3. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (4-2)
  4. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Yamaha (3-5)
  5. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (5-4)
  6. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (6-6)
  7. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Honda (7-8)
  8. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki (8-9)
  9. Jarrett Frye, Mechanicsville, Md., Yamaha (9-10)
  10. Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., Honda (13-11)

250 Class Championship Standings

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 352
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 334
  3. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Yamaha – 254
  4. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 251
  5. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki – 242
  6. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 230
  7. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 217
  8. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki – 165
  9. Mitchell Harrison, Brighton, Mich., Kawasaki – 163
  10. Brandon Hartranft, Brick, N.J., KTM – 148
Align Media

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
0 Comments

More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”