News From Monster Energy
After almost five months, seventeen races in eighteen weeks and a grand total of 425 points on offer, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac lost out on the 2017 AMA Supercross championship by just 5 to Ryan Dungey at a tense season finale at the Sam Boyd Stadium and watched by a capacity 30,000 crowd in Las Vegas.
Heroics that led to nine victories this term and a thrilling comeback ride at Salt Lake City in April, the red plate and the reduction of a deficit nearing 30 points in the standings was heartbreakingly undone by two mistakes in New Jersey last week that left the twenty-three year old staring at a gap of 9 to Dungey; the reigning champ having won four times in the past at the Sam Boyd and having missed a Supercross podium only five times in three seasons.
Tomac had to go ‘all-out’ with a last throw of the dice in the gambling mecca and did his best to draw up the 450SX field from the front and force Dungey into an error or position where the Kawasaki man would be able to sniff some chance of late title success. Contact between the protagonists occurred on several occasions and Jason Anderson and Monster Yamaha’s Chad Reed were also part of the pursuing bunch along with Tomac’s teammate Josh Grant.
“That was a season of never give up. It was tough from the get go, but we did it,” said Dungey, who is Monster Energy Supercross Champion for the third year in a row and in the closest showdown since 2011. “In the last race [of the season] I didn’t expect it to be like that. But, we survived it and we got through it. It’s [more gratifying]. We didn’t win the most races [this season], but the points are what matter at the end.”
“In my position I could sprint away or maybe try to bunch up the pack a little bit and wait for a mistake; to see what could happen. When the pack tightens up then the nerves come because the guys are battling and there’s bumping and that was all I could do at that point: I was not going to just lay over for this thing and give it away,” said Tomac, who firmly cemented his status as the most exciting talent in the high-profile racing contest this year and will now look ahead to the twelve-round Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series. “I did what I could and at the end of the day people are not going to remember the race wins from myself but Ryan’s championship and he was the better man this year.”
There was drama also in the 250SX class. Joey Savatgy was one of three riders split by just a single point in the finale for the East Region Championship and the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki ace was two corners from sealing the crown until an aggressive overtake by rival Zach Osborne put the rider on the ground, out of seventh and down to fourteenth place; meaning third position in the category for the season. Savatgy was relegated in the final classification by teammate Adam Cianciarulo who claimed victory at the East/West shootout in Vegas.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do [win the east/west shootout],” said 2017 runner-up Cianciarulo, who had returned to the top of the podium back in March. “I am going to have to go back and watch the whole race to see all the action that happened behind me but I was in a groove and just tried to keep pace the entire race. It feels amazing to end the season like this.”
“It was a rollercoaster season to say the least,” offered Savatgy. “What happened on the last lap I didn’t see coming and should have. I would have probably done the same thing in that situation, but it hurts being on the losing end of a take out.”
West region champion Justin Hill made the box behind Cianciarulo to bookend what was an authentic tour de force return to form for the Pro Circuit squad this year.