main content of page
Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac Takes Second Overall in Washington
The seventh round of the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship pulled racers back out west to Washougal MX Park in Washougal, Washington where Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac charged his way through the field to claim second overall for the third time this season. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders Austin Forkner and Jo Shimoda faced adversity to bring home respectable results finishing ninth and 13th overall.
The 40th running of the Washougal MX National, a favorite of many riders over the years, offered a picturesque view of motocross in the Pacific Northwest, challenging riders with its dramatic elevation changes, deceiving soil conditions, and dark shadows cast from the fir tree forest that envelops the course. Qualifying began with Tomac setting a fast pace right from the drop of the green flag but, in typical Washougal fashion, the tacky morning conditions made for a rapidly changing leader board. When the qualifying sessions ended, Tomac had recorded the eighth fastest lap with a 2:12:760. Tomac would be the lone Monster Energy Kawasaki as his teammate Adam Cianciarulo announced leading into the event that he would sit out the remainder of the 2021 season to recover from reoccurring issues that have hindered his results.
The start of the first 450 Class moto would see Tomac just inside the top-10 before a small mistake while attempting to pass for eighth on lap one led to him falling back several positions. Unwilling to be held back in the pack, Tomac then began a crowd-livening charge through the premier competitors of the 450 Class. Tomac steadily climbed his way up the running order, passing multiple riders at a time, to reach second place with just three laps remaining. While his blistering pace in the late stages of the race allowed Tomac to shrink down the leader’s gap to under four seconds, the checkered flag would ultimately fly before he could make his way to the top spot and finished out Moto 1 with a second place result.
The final 450 Class moto began with Tomac in seventh position and he swiftly started marching to the front of the field once again. Three laps into the race, the No.3 KX™450 of Tomac was already up to fourth place and rapidly closing the distance to the rider in third. For the duration of the moto Tomac continued to fight his way closer to the lead. With six laps remaining in the race, making use of creative line selection on the bottom side of the track, Tomac squared a corner to the inside of the rider in second to make the pass and set his sights on the leader. In the waning stages of the second moto, Tomac stepped up the pace to yet another level by setting the fastest lap of the afternoon at 2:13:597 on the second to last lap. When the race came to an end, Tomac’s rocketing performance was strong enough to score him 2-2 moto results for second overall, the third runner-up result of his championship run.
“In the first moto I started a little bit behind, maybe around eighth place or so, but felt really solid and was able to keep passing guys through the whole race. I got myself up to third and was there for a while before Marvin (Musquin) ended up falling and handing me second place, which was key going into Moto 2. I was happy, confident, feeling good energy-wise after Moto 1. In Moto 2 I had a better start going down the first straightaway, but then the wrong line choice in Turn 2 shuffled me back. At that point, the guys that I needed to be in front of were in front of me, so I started pushing and gave it everything I had. I left everything on the track today, literally everything. It’s a frustrating day to get second overall because I made such a strong push, but I’m really happy with the riding and our whole effort today, I just needed a couple more positions in the first few turns.”
- Eli Tomac
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Forkner was poised to carry the momentum from his fourth place finish in Moto 2 last weekend as he started the day by qualifying third with a fastest lap time of 2:13.928. Meanwhile Shimoda, in his first appearance at Washougal, logged the 10th fastest time with a 2:15.730.
At the start of Moto 1 for the 250 Class, both Shimoda and Forkner were collected in a multi-rider collision heading into the first turn which left them at the very bottom of the running order. While Forkner was quick to begin his race through the pack, the No.30 KX™250 of Shimoda pulled into the mechanic’s area to assess for damage. By the time Shimoda returned to the race he was a full lap behind the front group. Shimoda proceeded to race on pace with the leaders for the entirety of the moto but, was only able to pass his way up to 24th position by the end of the race. Meanwhile, his teammate Forkner put together an impressive come from behind performance to make his way from 29th up to 12th place.
In the second 250 Class moto Forkner shot out of the gate in fifth position and quickly passed his way into fourth. For the first 15 minutes of the moto Forkner ran at the tail end of a tight four-man lead group. While pressuring for third, Forkner made a mistake in a rutted corner which would prove costly as he could not regain his previous pace and faded back to ninth. Forkner’s 12-9 moto scores gave him ninth overall on the day. Shimoda was forced to take a less than ideal starting position on the outside after his difficulties in Moto 1 and, consequently, came out of the first turn in 15th. Shimoda harnessed his focus on catching and passing anyone in sight to climb to fifth place in the moto and earned 13th overall.
“I felt really good going into Moto 1 with the speed I showed in practice, unfortunately my result in the race was hampered by my involvement in the first turn pile up. After the crash I just did my best to keep charging forward and found myself in 12th at the finish of the first moto. In the second moto I had a much better start, in the top 5, and made my way to fourth early in the race. I felt strong and held my own there for about 15 minutes until I stuck my foot down in a rut and tweaked my ankle. I was in a lot of pain for about five laps which caused my speed to fall off and I was consequently shuffled back to around ninth or 10th. In the later stages, a couple of guys made mistakes and I was able to capitalize but, it was only good enough for ninth. Truthfully, while I’m bummed about the end result today, I am happy with how I was performing in the beginning and we still look forward to more progress this season.”
– Austin Forkner
“First moto I was in a bad spot coming into the first turn which led to being caught up in the crash. Unfortunately, the crash defined my first moto result because, despite my fast pace, I couldn’t overcome the deficit to get back into the points. The second moto, I was outside on the gate, had a pretty good jump, but didn’t feel like I had enough of a wheel to cut across to the inside so I came out around 15th. I worked to find the best lines on the track and attack each corner with a clear focus on catching and passing anyone I could see. A lot of the guys were making mistakes because of how challenging it was to navigate the dark shadows covering up an already narrow and rutted track. I am happy with my focus and speed so that’s what I will take going forward. In the future I will continue to work on improving my starts.”
– Jo Shimoda