450MX: Eli Tomac sweeps Southwick for third consecutive win

By Shawn Smith

July 8, 2017

Tomac and Baggett go 1-2, Musquin DNFs, and Wilson gets his first podium.

Eli Tomac won both motos by a combined 37 seconds. (Photo: Jeff Kardas / Racer X Online)

SOUTHWICK, Mass. — Eli Tomac entered today with momentum in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, and he is showing no signs of relinquishing it any time soon. He swept both motos at Southwick, giving him five straight moto wins and three consecutive overall wins.

Tomac now has four overall wins in total, including three 1-1 sweeps. He also extended his points lead to 19 in the process.

With Jason Anderson out of action at Southwick, the field of top contenders was thinned out a bit. But he still had to contend with Marvin Musquin (who seems to be much healthier after struggling with a knee injury for a few weeks) and Blake Baggett (who says that he's being bothered by a thumb injury he just picked up). In both motos, Tomac would have to chase down and pass at least one of those two riders, and that's exactly what he did.

Baggett secured a pair of second-place finishes to take second overall and lose just six points to Tomac, but Musquin was less fortunate. The Red Bull KTM rider spent the first moto salvaging as many positions as possible after going down on the opening lap, then dropped out of the second moto after a big crash.

The series will take a week off before resuming for Spring Creek, and the break comes at a good time for Baggett. He's headed for an MRI on Monday but says that early indications point to a ligament tear in his thumb.

Joining Tomac and Baggett on the podium was a newcomer, Dean Wilson. The Rockstar Husqvarna rider has been remarkably consistent all season (top 10 in every moto) but 6-3 moto finishes for third overall marks the best race of his career.

That podium spot nearly went to Cooper Webb though. The 450MX rookie, who won at this track on a 250 last year, finished third in Moto 1 (a career-best moto result) but went down while running third in Moto 2. Although he finished tied with Wilson in points for the day, the tiebreaker (best Moto 2 result) kept Webb off what could have been his first career 450MX podium.

Davalos (7-4) took fifth overall, while Cole Seely (5-5) rode a pair of top-five finishes to sixth overall.

One of the most head-turning results came courtesy of a privateer from Minnesota, Henry Miller. Miller, who rides the No. 81, finished an incredible ninth overall thanks to 13-9 moto scores.

Meanwhile Justin Barcia (12-12) had one of the most deceiving scores of the day. He was on his way to a top-five finish in Moto 1 before his bike started having problems on the last lap of the race. He had another great shot at a top-five (possibly even top-three) result in Moto 2 but crashed early in the race and lost a lot of spots.

One of the stars of practice in the morning was Ryan Dowd, who came out of the B Group to qualify seventh overall. Ryan is, of course, the son of local legend John Dowd. In his second-ever race at Southwick, Dowd (18-16) earned the first AMA points of his career and finished 18th overall.

For more specifics on what happened in each moto, read on below.

Southwick 450 Moto 1
The first 450 race began with Blake Baggett powering his way to a holeshot and opening up a gap on the rest of the field. Weston Peick, Fredrik Noren and Isaac Teasdale (a privateer from North Carolina) all got strong starts to put themselves up near the front, while Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin were lurking not far behind.

But Musquin ran into trouble on the opening lap, as he was part of a pileup several turns into the race. Struggling to get his bike loose, Musquin ended up falling back to about 18th place, and he would spend the rest of the moto trying to tear his way through the field and reclaim as many positions as possible.

Meanwhile Tomac marched to the front. He got around Peick to take second place, then tracked down Baggett. After making the pass on Baggett on Lap 3, Tomac quickly opened up a gap. With the fastest lap times by far, Tomac was untouchable, and he refused to let his foot off the gas (metaphorically speaking), building up a 15-second lead over Baggett by the time the checkered flag came out. Baggett was basically able to ride his own race after getting passed by Tomac, as no one really ever came close to challenging him.

Cooper Webb set a new career-high with a third-place finish. The factory Yamaha rider was fourth fastest in qualifying and won at this track last year aboard a 250, so it seems to favor him well. Like Baggett, Webb was essentially on an island throughout the rest of this race once he got into third. He finished 25 seconds behind Baggett and 5 seconds ahead of the next rider.

Cooper Webb hit the 450 podium for the first time in Moto 1. (Photo: Jeff Kardas / Racer X Online)

It's been a promising turnaround for the JGR Suzuki squad over the past two weeks, as Justin Barcia and Weston Peick have finally started to turn in solid results. Peick entered the day with fourth-place finishes in three of the last four motos, and he looked like he might be on his way to a top-five finish at the very least until he started experiencing bike problems on Lap 9 and was forced to pull out of the race.

His teammate, Barcia, was also riding well in fourth place, even withstanding a late charge from Musquin, who had climbed his way back into the top five. But on the final lap of the race, Barcia started having bike problems of his own and could not finish. If there was any silver lining in that misfortune, it's that enough riders were a lap down that a last-lap DNF only slid him down to 12th place.

Musquin ended up fourth, and Cole Seely rounded out the top five. Dean Wilson kept his streak of top 10s alive with a sixth-place result, Martin Davalos was seventh and Noren took advantage of his strong start to finish eighth. Justin Bogle and Christian Craig, who both had first-lap issues of their own in this race, bounced back to round out the top ten.

Henry Miller was one of the biggest movers in the race, moving from 35th to 13th over the course of the moto.

1. Eli Tomac

2. Blake Baggett
3. Cooper Webb
4. Marvin Musquin
5. Cole Seely
6. Dean Wilson
7. Martin Davalos
8. Fredrik Noren
9. Justin Bogle
10. Christian Craig
11. Josh Grant
12. Justin Barcia
13. Henry Miller
14. Brandon Scharer
15. John Short
16. Heath Harrison
17. Dakota Alix
18. Ryan Dowd
19. Josh Mosiman
20. Chris Canning
36. Weston Peick

Southwick 450 Moto 2
Baggett got another strong start in Moto 2 but lost out on the holeshot to Musquin. The two KTMs led the pack for awhile, but Tomac continued picking off riders until he worked his way up to third.

First, Tomac got around Baggett on Lap 5. The next few minutes saw Tomac and Musquin going all-out in a battle for the lead. Finally, on Lap 7, Tomac made a move as they went uphill into a corner and emerged with the lead, which he would once again never come close to relinquishing.

Musquin was positioned for a second-place finish but crashed hard shortly after losing the top spot. The incident required him to head to the pits, and he would not finish the race.

That left Baggett to cruise to an easy second-place finish, but what about the final spot on the podium?

Barcia was running third early in the race but fell on a downhill section of the course and was shuffled back. He ended up finishing 12th — his same result from Moto 1 when he had bike problems on the final lap.

After Musquin's crash, Webb was running in third for a bit. After finishing third in Moto 1, he could have landed on the overall podium if that result held up, but alas, he went down as well.

Dean Wilson, who was once a 250MX champion, broke through for a podium at Southwick. (Photo: Jeff Kardas / Racer X Online)

That meant that the third-place spot would be inherited by… Dean Wilson! The Husky rider has finished top-10 in every single moto this year but had no podiums and just one top-five finish before this moto. He locked down the third-place finish, finishing 15 seconds ahead of fourth-place Davalos. That result landed him on the overall 450 podium for the first time, as he tied with Webb but held the tiebreaking advantage (better Moto 2 finish).

Cole Seely rounded out the top five in the moto, while Webb managed to take sixth after his crash. Craig, Peick, Miller and Noren made up the rest of the top ten. Dakota Alix finished just outside in 11th after getting a good start that had him running up around the top five.

1. Eli Tomac
2. Blake Baggett
3. Dean Wilson
4. Martin Davalos
5. Cole Seely
6. Cooper Webb
7. Christian Craig
8. Weston Peick
9. Henry Miller
10. Fredrik Noren
11. Dakota Alix
12. Justin Barcia
13. Justin Bogle
14. John Short
15. Ronnie Stewart
16. Ryan Dowd
17. Brandon Scharer
18. Josh Mosiman
19. Chris Canning
20. Toshiki Tomita

38. Marvin Musquin
39. Josh Grant

Southwick 450 Class Overall Results
1. Eli Tomac (1-1)
2. Blake Baggett (2-2)
3. Dean Wilson (6-3)
4. Cooper Webb (3-6)
5. Martin Davalos (7-4)
6. Cole Seely (5-5)
7. Christian Craig (10-7)
8. Fredrik Noren (8-10)
9. Henry Miller (13-9)
10. Justin Bogle (9-13)
11. Justin Barcia (12-12)
12. Marvin Musquin (4-38)
13. Dakota Alix (17-11)
14. Weston Peick (36-8)
15. John Short (15-14)
16. Brandon Scharer (14-17)
17. Josh Grant (11-40)
18. Ryan Dowd (18-16)
19. Ronnie Stewart (33-15)
20. Josh Mosiman (19-18)