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Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac Continues Second Moto Dominance at Southwick
The 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship hosted Round 5 of the 2021 season at The Wick 338 in Southwick, Massachusetts where Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac dominated the second moto en route to securing his third moto win in three races. Tomac’s 8-1 moto results placed him fourth overall on the day and moved him into third in the 450 Class Championship standings. Fellow Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo showed impressive speed from the first qualifying session and carried that form throughout the day, finishing sixth overall after 5-6 moto results. In the 250 class, Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda proved he’s a threat to the front runners, scoring his first-ever overall podium result in second with 3-4 moto scores. Teammate Austin Forkner finished 17th overall after mistakes forced him to fight back in both motos, resulting in 14-25 moto finishes.
Rain from Tropical Storm Elsa covered “America’s Sandbox” with moisture in the days before Round 5, creating a challenging racetrack that called for an afternoon of close, physical racing. Once morning qualifying sessions were completed, Cianciarulo proved to have the best feel for the track, clocking in the fastest lap time at 2:12.659. Heavy traffic prevented Tomac from reaching his potential in qualifying, placing him 12th fastest overall with a 2:17.214 lap time.
When the gate dropped on the 40-rider field, both Cianciarulo and Tomac rocketed out the gate to top 10 starts aboard their KX™450 machines. Sitting fourth, Cianciarulo matched the pace of the top three riders and was catching the front pack halfway through the moto. Despite his best efforts, Cianciarulo couldn’t catch the lead riders but still finished in fifth after dropping one position late in the moto. Tomac, who was in eighth out the gate, was pushed wide in the first corner, dropping him back to 13th. However, the No. 3 made quick work of the first three riders in front of him and advanced into 10th within the opening laps. As the race progressed, Tomac continued picking off those in front of him, eventually finishing in eighth.
The final 450 class moto of the day kicked off with Cianciarulo and Tomac once again with great starts off the gate. The Monster Energy Kawasaki duo both made quick work of the riders in front of them, with Cianciarulo riding in third and Tomac in sixth during the opening laps. With 20 minutes to go in the race, Cianciarulo made his move into second place, and not long after, Tomac capitalized on a mistake from the rider in front of him to advance into fifth. After making the pass, Tomac began to find his flow and moved into third before passing his teammate for second. Only halfway through the 30-minute moto, Tomac was on the hunt and was catching the leader. The three-time champion began clocking the fastest laps of the race to reel in the leader, and in classic Tomac fashion, he erased the leader’s six-second gap in the span of two laps before making the pass for the lead. With a clear track ahead of him, Tomac used the clean air to gap the competition. When the checkered flag came out, it was Tomac who took the win by over 16 seconds, with Cianciarulo crossing the line in sixth.
“First, I want to thank the Monster Energy Kawasaki team for all their hard work. We’ve tried a few different setups this year, but today was the most comfortable I’ve felt on the bike, as you can tell by my second moto performance. We didn’t change much from last week, other than slightly dropping the forks, but that seemed to make all the difference and I felt like a completely different rider during Moto 2. We’re in a good spot and will look to carry this momentum forward to be upfront in both motos moving forward."
– Eli Tomac
“I have a lot of positives to take away from today. I was first in 450 qualifying, I got good starts in both motos and I rode with the top three guys for as long as I could. The track was a bit rougher than I excepted, which meant some bike changes were needed. Thankfully, I have an amazing crew at Monster Energy Kawasaki looking out for me, and the bike was dialed. I’m going to spend some extra time this week training in rough conditions similar to Southwick so that I can adapt to these conditions a lot quicker next time.”
– Adam Cianciarulo
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Shimoda entered the weekend with no experience in the Southwick sand but showed he could quickly adapt his KX™250 to the physical conditions, showing consistent improvement in both practice sessions qualifying in 12th, while teammate Forkner qualified 16th.
As the gate dropped on the first 250 class moto of the day, both Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders got out to good starts, with Shimoda in the top five and Forkner inside the top 10. After a physical back-and-forth battle with other riders during the first part of the race, Shimoda was able to take advantage of mistakes from the competition and ended the moto in third, matching his career-best moto finish. Forkner faced adversity early Moto 1 after going down. The tip-over left the No. 38 nearly in last place, but he was determined to make the most of the race and was racing inside the top 20 within one lap. As the race continued and the track got rougher, Forkner blew past slower opposition to finish the race in 14th.
The second 250 moto saw Shimoda launch out the gate in third place, with Forkner also getting a good jump and starting inside the top 10. The track was rough and rutted by the time the second motos were underway, forcing the Kawasaki riders to pick their lines wisely or risk making a mistake. Forkner fell victim to the challenging conditions and was slow to get up after a big get-off, but the No. 38 remained relentless and pushed past the pain to finish the race in 25th. Shimoda had a solid race after starting in third and ran as high as second for a few laps before dropping to fourth, where he remained until the end of the race. Shimoda’s consistent riding led to a career milestone as he secured his first Pro Motocross overall podium with a second overall on the day.
“Wow, today was great! Getting my first overall podium is a big accomplishment. These 30 minutes motos are so long and challenging anything can happen, making it feel like I earned it a lot more. I really wanted to podium in both motos, but I gave it everything I had out there and I’m proud to get the team on the podium. Now it’s time to focus on Spring Creek and keep this momentum going.”
– Jo Shimoda
“It was another tough weekend for me, but I’m not giving up. I had good starts in both motos, and despite going down, I still got up and finished the races. No one enjoys having to push through the field from far back, but I believe the fact I came back from almost last place to top 20 in one lap proves my speed and riding abilities are still some of the best in the class. We’re going to continue training on my starts this week, so we can show up ready to battle for the lead next weekend at Spring Creek.”
– Austin Forkner