As the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season reaches its halfway point with this weekend’s Kubota Southwick National, there’s still one rider that the entire field is chasing: Eli Tomac.
The defending 450 champion, Tomac’s start to the 2018 season has been the stuff of legend. Winner of eight of the first 10 motos of the season and all five rounds overall, the Monster Energy Kawasaki team rider boasts a 32-point lead over Red Bull KTM rider and rival Marvin Musquin—the man who knocked him out of the lead in the Monster Energy Supercross round from Gillette Stadium elsewhere in Massachusetts in the spring.
Even so, Tomac has plenty of reason to feel pretty comfortable heading into this weekend’s event at The Wick 338. After a two-year hiatus, the iconic track returned to the Pro Motocross schedule in 2016 and Tomac won. Deja vu last year, as it served as one of his four wins and seven podiums on the way to the 2017 title.
Despite injuries to 2018 Supercross champion Jason Anderson and up-and-comer Christian Craig, among others, the 450 class gets a little deeper this weekend with the season debuts of both Cooper Webb at Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing and Justin Bogle at AutoTrader/Yoshimura Suzuki. Bogle will join Weston Peick and Justin Hill, last year’s 250SX West champion whose temporary promotion to the 450 for select rounds this season has become a permanent gig from here on out. (Hill was already set to move up to the 450 class full-time in 2019.)
They’ll also take on a host of top riders including Justin Barcia, who comes off his strongest outing of the season with a 2-2 result last weekend at Muddy Creek, and Ken Roczen, whose return from injury has seen a gradual ascent to the front of the pack. They sit third and fourth in points right now, respectively; rounding out the top five is Blake Baggett, who has only missed the top five in three of 10 motos so far in 2018.
The 250 class, meanwhile, can fairly be classified as wide open. While top riders Adam Cianciarulo and Martin Davalos were ruled out before the season, former champions Zach Osborne and Jeremy Martin have each been ruled out in recent weeks after hard crashes, guaranteeing that this year’s title winner will be taking their first crown. It also means that Osborne, last year’s title winner, won’t have a chance to defend his victory in this race.
Aaron Plessinger currently leads the standings with 199 points, with Alex Martin in third at 170 (Jeremy Martin remains second for the moment). Justin Cooper, the top qualified at Muddy Creek, remains fourth in the standings, with Austin Forkner and Muddy Creek overall winner Shane McElrath behind him in fifth and sixth. All five will be threats to win, as they attempt to join a list of past class winners that includes current 450 stars Tomac, Barcia, Baggett, and Webb.
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Kubota Southwick National airs on Saturday, June 30 at 1PM ET/10AM PT on MAVTV and at 8PM ET/5PM PT on the NBC Sports Network. In addition, fans with the NBC Sports Gold Pro Motocross Pass can stream the entire event live and commercial free; qualifiers begin at 10:10AM ET/7:10AM PT, while all motos will be aired beginning at 1PM ET/10AM PT. Stay tuned to DownAndDirtyShow.com and our Instagram @DownAndDirtyShow for updates from the event!