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Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac Victorious Again at Fox Raceway II National
The 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship returned to Fox Raceway in Pala, California for the second time this season to kick off the penultimate round of the series, where Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac claimed his second consecutive overall victory with 2-1 moto finishes. In the 250 Class, Jo Shimoda led the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team with two consistent efforts to finish fourth overall (4-3), while teammate Austin Forkner overcame adversity on his way to 10th overall (15-5).
As the teams prepared for morning qualifying, the Southern California heat brought on dry and dusty track conditions. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tomac came into Fox Raceway with momentum from his overall victory the previous weekend and wasted no time recording the fastest lap in the first 450 Class qualifying session with a 2:09.542. Tomac improved on his previous time in the second qualifying session by logging in a 2:07.895 lap, good enough for fourth fastest overall.
The first 450 Class moto began with Tomac launching his KX™450 off the line in sixth place. As the field began to settle in during the opening laps, Tomac quickly made his way around the riders ahead and advanced up to fourth by the end of Lap 4. With his sight set on a podium finish, Tomac continued his determined ride through the pack by setting the fastest lap time of the race with a 2:08.034 on Lap 5. This impressive display of mid-moto speed brought the No.3 KX450 race machine within striking distance of the rider in third as the countdown clock reached the halfway mark. In classic Tomac fashion, the No. 3 overtook third place and then used the clean air to set out on a late-moto charge that cut the gap to the rider ahead in half within one lap before taking over the position and finishing the race in second place.
In 450 Moto 2, Tomac again put himself in contention to battle with the lead riders. Running in 10th off the start, Tomac used crafty line choices to maneuver past multiple competitors at once and promptly push through the top five by the end of the first lap. Unphased by the warm temperature, the No. 3 KX450 of Tomac methodically charged through the pack to second place by Lap 4 turning lap times more than two seconds faster than anyone. With his blistering pace and plenty of race left Tomac would quickly catch and easily fly past his final opponent to secure the lead. With a clear track, Tomac immediately gave himself a comfortable gap ahead of the field and went on to take the Moto 2 win in dominating fashion with a 40 second lead for his second overall victory (2-1) of the 2021 Pro Motocross Championship.
“I felt great in Moto 2! I started around 10th but was able to make passes quick by using some secondary lines around the track. It is just so much fun when I get into the zone like that and I’m able to click off laps out front. Also, winning the race by over 40 seconds was amazing and it feels good to be coming on strong right now.”
- Eli Tomac
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team returned to Fox Raceway ready to continue the team’s steady rise in performances over the last couple of rounds and sporting special Fox Racing gear commemorating Ricky Carmichael’s last year aboard the legendary Pro Circuit team in 1999. In qualifying, the No. 30 KX™250 of Shimoda led the Kawasaki duo with a 2:07.710 lap time, placing him third overall, while teammate Forkner followed close behind as the sixth-fastest rider after clocking in a respectable 2:07.944 lap time.
As the gate dropped on the first 250 Class moto, it was Shimoda with another strong start entering the first turn running sixth. Using clever line choices, Shimoda advanced into fifth early in the moto. Sitting firmly in fifth, Shimoda caught up to the riders ahead to create a three-man battle for third which resulted in the No. 30 taking hold of third momentarily before slipping to fourth where he would finish the race. Meanwhile, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Forkner found himself having to overcome adversity after coming together with another rider off the line. A determined Forkner executed an impressive charge the remainder of the moto climbing his way from 29th place on Lap 1 to 15th by the time the checkered flag flew.
The second 250 Class moto began with Forkner leading the Kawasaki duo after a sixth-place start while Shimoda was left buried in the pack after coming together with another rider. Forkner momentarily fought for fifth place before having to regroup and mount another charge. Meanwhile, Shimoda was carving his way through the field and caught the rear fender of Forkner in sixth before the halfway point. The teammates briefly battled over the position before Shimoda completed the pass on Lap 8. With his goal of securing another podium finish still within reach, the Japanese rider put on a relentless charge for the remainder of the race that saw the No.30 KX250 of Shimoda advance into fourth and secured a late-race pass on the inside of a corner for third to finish the moto on the podium and secure fourth overall (4-3) on the day. Forkner continued his strong second moto performance crossing the finishing line in fifth earning him 10th overall (15-5).
“In the second moto, I came together with another rider right away off the start. I’m happy I didn’t crash there, but it put me at the very back of the pack. The race was hard with a lot of heat and a rough track, so I never stopped pushing and made my way to third by the finish. I want another overall podium, so we’ll have to keep working and put our focus towards next weekend.”
- Jo Shimoda
“The first moto I was caught up in a crash on the start that set me back, but I made a hard push to come back through the pack. Despite a few other mistakes during the race, I made my way back into the points. In Moto 2, I was hungry to get back on track with the consistent rides I’ve been logging over the last couple of weeks. I had a much better start and put in solid laps to finish fifth.”
- Austin Forkner