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Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Rider Jo Shimoda Makes History as He Captures First 250SX Victory
The penultimate round of the Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship returned to Salt Lake City, Utah where Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Jo Shimoda captured his first ever 250SX victory, making history as the first Japanese rider to win a Monster Energy Supercross race. The defending 450SX champion, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac overcame his own challenges throughout the main event to earn a 10th place finish.
As the solo Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider on Saturday, Shimoda, came back refreshed after the long, 10-week break for the 250SX Western Regional series and was ready to improve upon his consistent results as he qualified fifth with his 48.332 lap time.
With the scenic, snow-capped mountains in the background, Shimoda lined up for 250SX Heat 2 where he wasted no time rocketing out the gate in second place. The teenage rider from Japan held his steady pace throughout the entire heat race to transfer directly to the main event.
As the 250SX Main Event gate dropped, the No. 30 KX™250 of Shimoda shot out the gate to grab the holeshot but was quickly met with pressure from his rivals. Despite intense challenges from behind, Shimoda battled to the very end, fending off three separate contenders at different times of the race as he led all 19 laps to capture the victory for Kawasaki. Saturday night marked Shimoda’s first professional 250SX race win, making him the third rider to capture their first win this season from the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team, joining Cameron McAdoo and Seth Hammaker climbing to the top step of the podium for the first time.
Shimoda now sits second in the 250SX Eastern Regional Championship, 23 points behind the leader heading into the final round of the supercross season. Shimoda will be joined by his Western Regional teammates, Cameron McAdoo and Seth Hammaker for the 250SX East/West Showdown, who sit third (-22 points) and fourth (-38 points), respectively in the Western Regional standings.
“I want to thank my Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team for setting me up with the best bike and helping me get the win tonight. I also want to thank my family who is actually here from Japan tonight, it makes it even more special to get this win with them here watching. I moved out to the U.S. from Japan without most of my family and it’s been such a great opportunity racing here, but to get a win, it’s a dream come true. I went out there and rode my best all day long and I’m already looking forward to our last race next weekend for the East/West showdown.”
- Jo Shimoda
Picking up where he left off last year after earning his first 450SX title at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Tomac set the fastest time of the day in qualifying with a blistering time of 46.980, the only rider with a sub-47 second lap time.
As the gate dropped on 450SX Heat 2, Tomac shot out the gate guns blazing as he grabbed the holeshot aboard his KX™450. Unlike many riders on the track, the Colorado native seemed unbothered by the elevation as he continued to lay down fast laps and grab the checkers.
The 450SX Main Event saw Tomac in eighth as the green flag waved, but on the third lap, he tipped over while pushing forward into the top-5. Quickly remounting in 10th place, Tomac continued to push forward and make up lost ground, eventually making a pass into ninth by Lap 7. Just as he began to gain momentum and make a pass for eighth, the reigning champion made another mistake that dropped him to 10th once again, where he would finish the race.
“Man, I was feeling so good on the bike all day long and I’ve been looking forward to coming back to Salt Lake City. I always enjoy riding here and felt confident heading into the main, especially after qualifying fastest and winning my heat race. Unfortunately, I made a few mistakes and ran out of time. I’m looking forward to coming back next weekend to finish out the season strong.”
- Eli Tomac