Eli Tomac overcame a poor start in the 450 AMA Supercross in Salt Lake City on Saturday to finish second to Marvin Musquin.
It was a rough trip for the rider from Cortez, Colorado, who was returning west after placing second to Musquin during a fierce duel in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Tomac fans looking for a little payback on Saturday didn’t get it.
Blake Baggett got the jump on the field and grabbed the lead at the first turn, with Musquin just behind him. Series-leading Jason Anderson went down in the first turn, and retreated to the mechanic’s area, where his crew worked on his front tire.
Tomac was in 10th.
By the end of the second lap, Tomac had climbed into seventh. He passed Justin Brayton in the fifth lap, but was stuck behind Justin Barcia for three laps before passing him in the 10th
Once past Barcia, Tomac picked up speed and challenged Christan Craig for third. Racing side-by-side, Tomac passed Craig in the 14th lap, but as he challenged Baggett for second in the 15th lap, he clipped a block on the track and went down, dropping to a distant fourth.
Again he charged back, passing Craig in the 19th lap with seven to go. He passed Baggett in the 23rd lap, to come within 9 seconds of race leader Musquin with three laps go. Tomac kept coming, and knocked a few seconds off Musquin’s lead. He finished second by 6.06 seconds.
Baggett, Craig and Barcia rounded out the Top 5.
Anderson, who could have clinched a series title on Saturday, finished 17th. With the win, Musquin picked up 26 points to Anderson’s 6, and now trails Anderson by just 14 points for the series title.
Tomac sits in third place overall, 46 points behind Anderson and 32 points behind Musquin. With a comfortable 28-point lead over fourth-place Brayton and Baggett, Tomac has clinched a podium finish in the series, which wraps up next weekend in Las Vegas. He can’t catch Musquin, who gained six points over Tomac with the victories in Foxborough and Salt Lake City.
Last week, Musquin won the 450SX in Foxborough after passing and hitting Tomac for the lead in the last lap. Tomac crashed, but got up for second. In a sometimes-tense news conference after the race, Tomac called it a “cheap shot.” Musquin defended the pass by stating that the inside line appeared to be open, so he took it.
Tomac leads all riders with seven victories. Musquin and Anderson each have four, and Brayton has one. Tomac has battled back from last place after crashing in the first race and sitting out the second with an injury.
Earlier Saturday, Tomac was the fastest qualifier at Salt Lake City’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, with a 46.618-second lap. He was followed by Musquin, at 47.272 seconds, and Weston Peick, Dean Wilson and Barcia.
He placed second in his heat, about 1.88 seconds behind Peick. Tomac was seventh after the first two laps, but charged to second and challenged Peick for the final three of nine laps. Anderson was in third, followed by Barcia and Craig. Musquin won the first heat, leading all but the first lap. He was followed by Baggett, Malcolm Stewart, Benny Bloss and Dean Wilson.
The Monster Energy AMA Supercross season wraps up next Saturday in Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.