Tomac talks Glen Helen and MXGP!
The US wild card entry and his team built their weekend gradually as they sought the perfect settings for the rugged Glen Helen raceway in southern California and, after as sombre Saturday, they were dominant in both GP motos. He advanced from an initial fifth to take the lead on the eighth of fifteen laps in the first moto to race to a secure fifteen second victory. An incident on the opening lap of the second moto as another rider clipped him and her lost momentum on a long uphill section seemed to have cost the American any chance of victory as it pushed him down to fourteenth, but Eli was in devastating form as he put in a series of phenomenal passes; racing up to four seconds a lap faster than his immediate rivals, he took the lead on lap nine of fifteen for another sixteen second win.
Swiss rider Arnaud Tonus of Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki, normally a 250cc rider in the USA, made his debut on a KX450F at Glen Helen and came away with flying colours. He raced just outside the top ten throughout the opening moto to finish thirteenth and maintained seventh place throughout race two to finish ninth overall.
Jordi Tixier made some late passes in the opening moto to advance to fifteenth at the chequered flag despite two crashes in unusual racing conditions, and stuck to it in race two as he made several late passes to advance from fifteenth to tenth. Despite missing the first seven rounds or the series he completed the season ranked fourteenth in the world.
Tommy Searle of Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki finally put his lap speed into race pace as he made better starts. The British rider controlled seventh place throughout the first moto and was running an early sixth in race two until he attempted an overenthusiastic pass and was temporarily relegated outside the top ten. Another crash after he had recovered to eighth put an end to his day’s racing as the bike was damaged. He completed the world series in twelfth position.
Clement Desalle was unable to contest the final GP of the year after hurting his knee during qualification but the Belgian rider maintained eighth place in the series standings.
Eli Tomac: “I just ate too much dirt this week after bad starts. I didn’t feel so good yesterday, but we made some good changes on the suspension; every weekend we have to keep an open mind but we found some really good settings for the balance today. I had to make a few passes for the win in the first race, but I had to come a lot further in race two. Glen Helen is a tough track, but it had good options inside or outside on the finish straight and through the rollers. I didn’t crash on the first lap of race two, but it got a little hairy up the long hill with some guys out of shape; I got clipped on the step-up and that cost me some places. Everyone in MXGP is very fast and they race clean and respect each other; I want to come back and race some more.”
Arnaud Tonus: “It was a good weekend for me; my speed was good even if I just rode the bike twice before coming here. In the first race I struggled to find a good rhythm, but the second one was easier with a better start and physically I felt OK even if I didn’t ride a two day event for a while. It was a good training for the MX of Nations, as the track was pretty rough and it will be great to ride for team Switzerland in Maggiora.”
Jordi Tixier: “This track is really different to what we are used in Europe, but it’s the same for everybody. I had some fun riding here with huge downhill’s and uphill’s, but there were also some muddy sections where it was easy to make mistakes. My riding was not so bad, but in the first race I crashed twice and then in the second one I couldn’t find where to make some passes. We learned a lot again this weekend, and we will be stronger in the future.”
Tommy Searle: “It could have been a very good weekend if I didn’t crash in the second race. I felt good all weekend, got top five results in the practice session and was the fastest during the warm up session. In the first race I had a good feeling and finished seventh which was good and then in the second race I was sixth behind Paulin when I tried to make a silly pass but came too fast in a downhill and crashed. Then I came back from tenth to eighth but crashed and damaged the bike. But overall I’m very happy with the weekend; this season I had some decent races and some bad starts but I struggled in some races and now we need to work hard this winter with the team to prepare for next season.”
Clement Desalle: “For sure I would have preferred to race the GP, but during the qualifying race I hit the ground pretty hard with my foot and had pain in my knee. This morning we decided with the team not to race as my knee was still painful; now we are all focused on next season, and of course I expect to enjoy more podiums.”
Credits: Stanley Leroux / Pascal Haudiquert