250 Words: Las VegasTuesday, May 10, 2011 | 3:15 PM
Was lap seven of the Lites West main event from Las Vegas not the craziest lap of racing you will ever see? With a championship hanging in the balance, and one more race win on the line, a ridiculous seven riders were in the action at the same moment.
Tomac, Hansen, and Cunningham were just three of the seven riders battling for the lead.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Up front, Cole Seely led the race until he cased a jump and went over the bars allowing Ken Roczen to slip back into the lead. Behind that, Eli Tomac was trying to push through a train created by Josh Hansen, who had slowed his pace, allowing his teammate Tickle to tighten up on Tomac. This created an incredible scenario, with Tomac passing Hansen, but then opening the door to allow Kyle Cunningham through, before Hansen retaliated, and Tickle got into the mix, even Tyla Rattray was up there showing everyone a wheel. That’s seven riders who got to be a factor in the outcome of the race and championship.
Unfortunately, none of them were there to help Tomac, which is understandable in the case of Hansen and Rattray, who are teammates with Tickle, but less so with Seely and Cunningham. We’ll never know for sure what went down for Tomac—was Seely holding him up to help his friend Tickle, or just riding his own race and fighting for position? Seely says no, Tomac fans will say yes, but either way, Tickle was able to ride through the mess of riders while under pressure to get into second and lock down the title. And that’s what counts.
Tomac and Seely would battle for position all night.
Photo: Simon Cudby
What it really comes down to is this: when the season began with a Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki sweep at Anaheim, there were talks of a weak field out west. But as the series went on, a new crop of riders found their rhythm and stepped up, including Tomac, Seely, Cunningham, and the Vegas race winner, Roczen. What started out looking like a shallow field turned into one of the deepest packs we’ve ever seen heading into a final round, and the spoilers were fast enough to battle the title contenders and play a major factor in the championship. With this much talent coming through the ranks, expect more great races like the one we saw in Las Vegas.
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