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

Tomac Motocross Round 5
Align Media / ProMotocross.com

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

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.