Tomac second overall in Southwick to lead GEICO Honda effort
SOUTHWICK, Mass. (August 11) - GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac finished second overall on Saturday at the Moto-X 338 Nationals, but left wondering what could have been had a couple of things fallen his way in the second moto.
Tomac won the first moto of the day easily, but got mired in the pack and had to work his way forward on the loose sandy surface in the second race. Even so, with a few minutes left in the 30-minute moto, Tomac had then-leader Ken Roczen and second-place Blake Baggett directly in his sights.
"I had to fight for some positions and make up some ground in that second moto, it was crazy," Tomac said. "I ended up catching the tree (a unique obstacle in the middle of the course) trying to make a pass on Baggett. I was trying to catch him off guard, but it just didn't quite happen for me. In the end, I probably should have waited."
Despite getting thrown off his bike, Tomac still held on to third place. Baggett, who was third in the first moto, got around Roczen to win the moto and get the tie-breaker for the overall win on the day.
"Overall it was a decent day," Tomac said. "It's the best finish I've ever had here."
Justin Barcia, who has been chasing Baggett for the 250cc championship lead, got caught up in a couple of messes during both motos, clipped the same tree as Tomac and finished fifth overall on the day.
"The day started so well being second in practice to Eli, but it wound up being a day of a lot of crashes," Barcia said. "I thought I was going to do big things in that first moto, but got caught in the second turn and went down. After that, I had to work my way through the pack and finished seventh.
"The second moto was much of the same. I worked my way into third then clipped the tree and had to work my way through the pack again to finish fourth."
Barcia lost a little ground to Baggett in the championship chase. Baggett leaves Southwick with a 24-point lead over Barcia and a 32-point edge of Tomac, who is in third.
Justin Bogle was 11th overall with finishes of 11th and 13th.
"Today didn't go so well," Bogle said. "The first moto I didn't ride well. The second one was actually a better ride, it just didn't appear that way on paper."
Wil Hahn had a 13th-place finish after a scary first moto tip-over where the bike wound up on top of him.
"I would love to forget that first moto," Hahn said. "I had someone crash right in front of me in that second turn, I hit his bike and went down hard, got stuck under my bike and got hit by a few dudes.
"Luckily, Mike Maude was nice enough to drop his bike and get my bike off of me otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get out. It was a long moto after that."
Hahn finished the first moto in 27th but rebounded in the second to finish ninth.
"It's been a long time since I had a first moto as bad as that one," Hahn said. "I can't let it bother me. We'll just go on and head to the next race."
Zach Bell made his pro debut at the race and his day was brilliant for a while but ultimately too short for his liking. Bell got the holeshot in the first moto and led a big chunk of the race. But he had a tip-over at the end of the moto and had to pull off the track. Bell was held out of the second moto as a precautionary measure.
"It was a great start," Bell said. "But I had a little bobble and fell off the bike and hit my head. We're ready to get healed up and head to Unadilla next week."
The championship chase for the GEICO Honda team resumes on August 18 at the Unadilla National at New Berlin, N.Y.