Eli Tomac of Cortez wrapped up his motocross season with a second-place finish Saturday at Fox Raceway in a late-season charge that took him from a distant fourth place in the standings to third overall.
Zachary Osborne won the AMA Motocross title after opening the short outdoor series with two wins, then winning two more and making six trips to the podium. It was his first 450cc motocross crown and at age 31, he won it just fourth months after finishing sixth in the Supercross and considering retirement.
“It’s been the longest nine weeks of my life honestly, and this last one’s been really tough,” Osborne told racerXonline. “I considered retiring in March after I broke my back, and my wife kind of gave me a pep talk, and we decided against it,” he said. “Dream big is the moral of the story, and don’t ever give up. Find people who believe in you, even when you don’t, and just keep pressing on.”
Tomac’s Kawasaki teammate, Adam Cianciarulo, finished the season in second.
Tomac entered the season finale in Pala, California, on the heels of his second victory of the season and in fourth place overall, just five points behind longtime rival Marvin Musquin.
He was looking for another win.
“I need something,” he said after winning victory last week. “That’s what I’ve got in my head right now, is just try to get a win or two here to finish off the season. It’s been a weird year.”
Saturday, he came close, ultimately giving way to Chase Sexton, who picked up his first 450cc win in the motocross series.
In the day’s first moto, Tomac finished the first lap in seventh place, but steadily gained ground after the third lap. By the eighth lap, he was in fourth behind Cianciarulo, Osborne and Sexton.
Tomac went on the attack in the 11th lap and passed Sexton for second place, starting a battle to the finish with Cianciarulo. Closing the gap for the lead, Tomac pushed Cianciarulo hard, until with two laps to go, Tomac slipped by. Cianciarulo countered with a rush to the finish, but Tomac held off the junior team rider to win by 3.4 seconds. Sexton, Craig and Osborne rounded out the top five.
In the second moto, Tomac finished the first lap in ninth place but raced to fifth place in Lap 5, behind Cianciarulo, Christian Craig, Sexton and Musquin. He picked off Musquin in the 15th of 18 laps to finish fourth. Sexton won the first moto after passing Cianciarulo for the lead in Lap 12. Craig finished third.
Sexton won the overall race with third- and first-place finishes. Tomac was second (1-4), and Cianciarulo was third (2-3).
Tomac remained gracious after the tough season and congratulated Osborne.
“It was a good finish for what it was,” Tomac told racerXonline. “I just want to congratulate Zach on the championship, very well earned this year. Going back to the race, I just didn’t quite have that end finish that I had in the first moto. I gave them too much time in the beginning of the race. It was a good fight though today.”
The pandemic-shortened AMA Supercross and Motocross seasons this year presented a mixed bag for Tomac. Although winning his first Supercross title in June, the three-time and defending motocross champion won just two moto races. By comparison, he won six races during his championship run in 2019 and finished on the podium in 11 of the 12 races.
Tomac began his late-season charge with a third-place finish at Florida’s WW Ranch on Sept. 22. The following week – 22 points behind Musquin for third place – he went home to Colorado’s Thunder Valley. Triumphing in front of a home crowd, Tomac closed to within five points of Musquin and a spot on the podium. He clinched that position Saturday with the second-place finish at Fox Raceway.