Eli Tomac wins Motocross Round 5 at RedBud, Jo Shimoda breaks Lawrence brothers’ 250 domination

Tomac Motocross Round 5
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A pair of strong starts gave Eli Tomac the track position needed to dominate both motos at RedBud MX in Buchanan, Mich. as he became the first rider this season to win multiple Lucas Oil Pro Motocross races in Round 5.

Tomac is not known as a strong starter and regularly comes from mid pack to win. On Saturday, he grabbed the holeshot in Moto 1 and led until the checkered flag. He almost repeated the feat in the second race, but was edged at the line by Justin Barcia. Ken Roczen was close behind and rocketed from third to first to lead seven laps before falling to Tomac, who led the final 10 laps of the race.

With his 29th career win, Tomac gained six points on Chase Sexton, who finished 2-2 in his races.

“It was a great day for us,” Tomac said. “From practice, we had super good starts in both motos, the first moto start especially.

“Second one I was close and then Justin obviously came out of the inside in that second one. Just a good day. … The whoops were harder, the sand whoops. It was nice to do the Leap this year. There’s been a couple years where there’s only one guy jumping it or two guys jumping it, so we got to do that. Yeah, not much to say. It was just a great day for us.”

With a finish of second in the overall, Sexton maintained his points lead by seven over Tomac as the two begin slowly pulling away from third-place Roczen and the field. Roczen is now 23 points behind Tomac and 30 out of the lead.

“My starts [today] weren’t horrible, but they definitely weren’t great, especially when Eli is starting in second-place or getting holeshots,” Sexton said. “So, that was tough. My starts weren’t horrible, it just made my life difficult. The 450 class is so stacked that you have to go through some good riders.

“The first moto, it took me a while to get going and kind of halfway through my tear offs broke. So, I was just like bobbling out there a little bit but finally got some groove going and got into second, but Eli was long gone by that point. Second moto, it wasn’t a bad start but not a great start. I was riding pretty good.”

Sexton’s second-place finish in Moto 2 did not come without a challenge. Midway through the race, he tipped over after contact with Jason Anderson, but picked up his bike and continued.

“I think that actually made me a little bit mad, so I clicked up a gear and really put in a good charge, I felt like,” Sexton continued. “That’s probably the best I’ve felt all year was that second moto so that’s a positive.”

Barcia also experienced hardship in the second race. After getting the holeshot, he crashed on an uphill roller and bent his handlebars. Even with the damage, he finished third in the moto. Combined with an eight-place finish in Moto 1, that was enough to give him the final step of the overall podium.

Anderson hit the dirt in both motos.  After his Moto 2 accident, he regrouped to finish one position behind Barcia in fourth. He was not as fortunate in Moto 1, but a 7-4 gave him fourth overall.

Roczen’s 4-7 dropped him to fifth with the tiebreaker, which goes to the best second moto.

450 results (moto finish)

  1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-1)
  2. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-2)
  3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas, (8-3)
  4. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (7-4)
  5. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (4-7)
  6. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga. Kawasaki (3-9)
  7. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM (6-5)
  8. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (5-6)
  9. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (9-8)
  10. Marshal Weltin, Ubly, Mich., Suzuki, (10-12)

450 points standings

  1. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 224
  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 217
  3. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 194
  4. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 179
  5. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM – 153
  6. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha – 151
  7. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas – 139
  8. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 115
  9. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 108
  10. Shane McElrath, Cantaon, NC, Husqvarna – 102
  11. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha – 102

In the 250 class, Jo Shimoda found a chink in the Jett Lawrence’s armor.

Jett grabbed the early lead in Motocross Round 5 over his brother, Hunter Lawrence, in the first race. Ten laps into the race, Lawrence’s bike shut off and he coasted off the track, handing the lead to Hunter.

Unfortunately, Hunter thought he might be experiencing the same trouble. As he backed off to nurse his engine, Jo Shimoda pounced to take the lead. He rode away from the field and won by more than 21 seconds. Along with his third-place finish in Moto 2, Shimoda grabbed his maiden victory in Motocross.

“I had a good start [in Moto 1],” Shimoda said. “That’s all I was looking for at first. And after that, I think I was behind Hunter for a little bit and Jett passed me but his bike obviously broke. I wanted to battle with him too, but you can’t do much about it. But I never gave up and kept pushing and pushing and I’m happy to take my first win.”

Jett’s DNF gave the points lead to Hunter, but he still had something to prove. So, he simply went out and won Moto 2.

Winning the second moto was not enough to elevate him over Hunter, but the two Lawrence’s remain close in the standings with a seven-point gap to one another and a 29-point deficit from second to third-place Shimoda.

Hunter was able to baby his bike home in second and with a 2-2, finished second overall.

Stilez Robertson finished third with a 3-5.

Making his debut, Ryder DiFrancesco made a little noise in the second moto. He earned the holeshot in that race before getting shuffled to 12th at the checkers. His 14-12 was enough to land 13th overall.

250 results (moto finish)

  1. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (1-3)
  2. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2)
  3. Stilez Roberston, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (3-5)
  4. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (4-6)
  5. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (9-4)
  6. Ty Masterpool, Paradise, Texas, KTM (8-8)
  7. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, Yamaha (7-9)
  8. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas (6-10)
  9. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (35-1)
  10. Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (10-7)

250 points standings

  1. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 218
  2. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 211
  3. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 182
  4. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY – 159
  5. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 145
  6. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas – 141
  7. Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Penn., Kawasaki – 132
  8. Stilez Roberston, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 130
  9. Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 110
  10. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 98

Round 1, Fox Raceway: Chase Sexton takes early lead in the championship hunt
Round 2, Hangtown: After 12 years of trying, Jason Anderson wins a Motocross race
Round 3, Thunder Valley: Three races, three winners as Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Round 4, High Point: Now four-for-four, Eli Tomac takes the trophy

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.