Thunder Valley, the scenic motocross track sitting 6,108 feet above sea level, hosted Round 3 of the 2019 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship with Kawasaki racers grabbing podium finishes in both classes as Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo captured his third consecutive overall victory (2-1) and Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac finished second overall (5-1) in their respective classes.
What started out as a sunny day quickly shifted with a brief, heavy thunderstorm just before the gate dropped on 250MX Moto 1, creating many challenges for the 40-rider field. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki trio didn't let that intimidate them as they lined up their KX™250 motorcycles and prepared to battle the rain, deep ruts and other rivals. Cianciarulo came out of the first turn in second, while Martin Davalos and Garrett Marchbanks followed in 10 th and 17th, respectively. After battling for the lead for more than 20 minutes and only six minutes remaining in the moto, the race was forced to be cut short due to lightning nearby, resulting in both the red and checkered flags to be flown simultaneously with Cianciarulo finishing second, Marchbanks 12th and Davalos 19 th.
As the gate dropped on Moto 2, Cianciarulo shot out of the gate in second once again, while Marchbanks and Davalos found themselves buried outside of the top-10. As the halfway point of the race approached, the race leader made a costly mistake, allowing Cianciarulo to capitalize and take over the lead and go on and take the checkers with 2-1 moto finishes for first overall. Marchbanks and Davalos were not able to make up many positions in the moto, ultimately finishing overall in 11th (12-9) and 19th (19-18), respectively.
Cianciarulo captured his third straight overall win and maintains his lead in the 250MX Point Standings, along with the highly sought after series points leading red plate.
"I'm so pumped on this overall today, and it wasn't an easy one by any means. From the crazy weather in Moto 1 to some mistakes and sketchy moments in Moto 2, today was just wild. I'm so happy that we get to carry this red plate to High Point. This team has been working so hard week after week and I think it's showing in these results."
"This weekend wasn't my best result, but an overall good learning experience. I was pumped and ready to ride after posting my best finish so far in the 250MX class last weekend, but the bad weather in the first moto gave me some problems and my results suffered a little bit. We'll get back to work this week, I'm ready to be back in the top-10."
"I'm pretty disappointed in our results this weekend. I haven't been to this track in a couple of years and my ribs are still a little sore from my crash at Hangtown, which I feel is hindering my performance right now. I know what I'm capable of and we'll keep putting in the work. It will be nice to have this week off from racing to fully heal and get us back up where we belong."
After qualifying with the fastest lap time of a 2:02.5, Tomac was ready to impress his home state crowd as he lined up for 450MX Moto 1. As the gate dropped, Tomac got a good jump but got caught behind a down rider in the second corner. Immersed in the pack outside of the top-10, the series points leader immediately started having issues with his goggles due to the rain and mud, hindering his vision. After a quick pit stop to swap out his goggles, Tomac charged the field once again. Despite the challenges faced throughout the race, Tomac continued to relentlessly push forward and managed to race to an impressive fifth place finish.
Determined to recover from his first moto and land on the podium, Tomac positioned himself in fifth place off the gate in Moto 2. He made quick work of his competition as he began passing his contenders one-by-one, eventually catching up to the leader by Lap 4. Tomac made his move to takeover the lead halfway into the moto, and then he began creating a gap on the rest of the field. Tomac went on to earn his fourth moto win of the season with a nine-second margin of victory, finishing 5-1 in his motos for second overall.
450MX Rookie, Joey Savatgy made his first appearance in the series after taking time off to recover from lingering injuries and he looked to have a promising return after kicking the day off qualifying sixth. Although he managed to grab seventh position off the gate in the first moto and put forth tremendous effort to make his comeback successful, Savatgy is still recovering and was unable to complete both motos.
"It's always great to come home to Colorado and put my KX™ on the podium for my hometown fans. That first moto ended up being a little tougher than anticipated after a bad start and running into vision issues, but we were able to regroup and get back on top in Moto 2. We'll take a second place finish for now, but expect to see us back up front making the charge in two weeks and taking that red plate back."
"Today was rough, man. I was really looking forward to this weekend since it was my first race back, but things just didn't come together like I hoped they would. The entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team and I will work on some things during the off week, I'll continue to rehab and I just know we will be ready to go for High Point."