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Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac Earns Overall Win at Ironman
Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac secured his fourth moto win during Round 10 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship when 2-1 moto scores earned him his first overall victory of the season at Ironman Raceway. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy®/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Jo Shimoda gained valuable experience leading the field and finished an impressive second overall (2-2) with teammate Austin Forkner putting in two consistent motos to finish fifth overall (5-5).
Sitting in the shadows of the motorsports racing mecca of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ironman Raceway offers race fans a stunning natural spectacle with its sudden elevation change and features some of the series’ steepest jumps. With massive uphill sections like Godzilla, Ironman Raceway is a true gem of the series. This year’s late summer date produced warmer temperatures with some humidity, leaving the track in pristine race conditions. As expected, last year’s winner, Tomac was one of the fastest in Saturday morning qualifying and recorded the second fastest lap with a time of 1:59.313.
When the gate dropped on 450 Moto 1, Tomac launched into the first turn aboard his KX™450 running in third place. Caught in a four-way battle for second, Tomac and the others swapped positions numerous times halfway through the first lap before securing third place. Separated by only a handful of seconds, Tomac closely followed the two riders ahead as he planned his attack. Just before the halfway mark, the Coloradan set that plan into motion. Showing exceptional pace using the outside of the corners, Tomac quickly caught the rear wheel of the rider ahead and utilized a spectacular square up pass to secure second place, where he would go on to finish out Moto 1.
In the second 450 moto, Tomac once again jumped out the gate near the front of the pack. Running in fifth after the first turn, Tomac quickly made the move up to third before the end of Lap 1. Now eyeing the rider in second, the No.3 KX450 charged past the rider ahead within one lap and set his sights on the leader. Tomac pushed to catch the lead rider by Lap 4 before he charged around the outside of a corner to pass for the lead. With the win in his hands, Tomac utilized the clean air to build a comfortable 9.2-second lead and set the fastest lap of the race at 1:59.380 on his way to securing his first overall win of the season.
“In both motos today I gave myself good track position at the start and really jelled with the track well which led to a great overall result. In the second moto, I came around the first turn near the front and made some critical moves right away to get myself closer to the lead. Once I was up into second I knew it was go time for me and I was determined to get the job done. It’s awesome to celebrate this first win of the championship with the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team!”
- Eli Tomac
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team rode into Ironman Raceway ready to close out the east coast slate of rounds on a strong note before the series heads back west for the final two stops. Hungry for another podium finish, Shimoda led the charge for Kawasaki in the 250 Class practice after qualifying fourth with a 2:02.059. His teammate Forkner qualified close behind in sixth after logging in a 2:02.920 lap time.
In 250 Moto 1, Shimoda started the race inside the top-10 only to make quick work of the competition and move himself up to fifth place before the end of the first lap. As the race progressed, Shimoda advanced into third but still faced slight pressure from the competition behind as he tried to hold onto a podium finish. Meanwhile, the battle for the lead had resulted in a downed rider and granted Shimoda second place with five minutes plus two laps left in the race. Shimoda held off the pressure from behind to finish the moto in second, his best moto finish of the season. After a challenging start to the race, Forkner made his way through the field from outside the top-15 on Lap 1 to ninth by the time the moto countdown clock was at halfway. With the minutes winding down, Forkner continued to push past his competition and battled for each position down to the final lap when he crossed the finish line in fifth.
When the gate dropped on the second 250 Class moto, it was the No.30 KX™250 of Shimoda with the holeshot, his first of the season. Finally, with a perfect start, Shimoda was able to earn valuable experience leading the field for the first lap before settling into second. However, it wasn’t long before he was once again pressured from the competition behind and forced to defend. After a brief battle, Shimoda dropped to third place but refused to give up the position without a fight. With less than five laps left in the race, Shimoda secured the pass to regain second place and ended the day finishing a career-best second overall with 2-2 moto scores. The No.38 KX250 of Forkner started Moto 2 inside the top-10 and was running in seventh by the time the clock reached the halfway mark. Riding consistently all day, Forkner advanced up to fifth by the time he saw the checkered flag and ended the day with a strong fifth overall on 5-5 moto finishes.
“My fitness and my speed have been really strong for a while, but I have been fighting my way through the pack. Today my starts were much better, and I was happy to ride in the top-3 both motos. I have been doing lots of practice starts to improve, so it felt really great to grab the holeshot in Moto 2 on my way to second overall.”
- Jo Shimoda
“Overall today was another building day for me. I have been talking for several weeks about my focus on putting together consistent motos in the top-5 and today I accomplished just that. I definitely want to continue moving closer to the front, but my riding was solid enough to bring me through the pack in both motos today and I’m still progressing at this stage in the series.”
- Austin Forkner