Sign of the (Lap) Times: Salt Lake City

Sign of the (Lap) Times Salt Lake City

Eli Tomac's ride in Salt Lake City was as clutch as they come. Going into the race tied in points with Ryan Dungey meant that whoever finished better would walk away with the points lead and a lot of momentum to finish out the season. Tomac got a terrible start, rounding the first turn very near to the back of the pack, and with Dungey getting into the lead early, it looked like it was going to be a damage control type of night for the #3.

Instead, he hammered his way through the pack and on the 18th lap of the main event he had passed Ryan Dungey for the lead in the race and the championship. 

Let’s dive into the lap data to figure out how this race was won and lost with this week’s Sign of the Lap Times. First, our traditional lap time charts.

450SX Class Lap Times

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap On Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 1st 45.478 14 46.490 Eil Tomac
2 2nd 46.021 2 46.892 Ryan Dungey
3 3rd 46.121 4 47.142 Jason Anderson
4 4th 46.161 12 47.177 Marvin Musquin
5 8th 46.229 6 47.998 Blake Baggett
6 5th 46.231 5 47.367 Josh Grant
7 7th 46.454 6 47.834 Davi Millsaps
8 9th 46.649 9 48.056 Cooper Webb
9 21st 46.660 5 48.136 Justin Bogle
10 12th 46.703 6 47.929 Broc Tickle
11 11th 47.076 6 48.664 Christian Craig
12 10th 47.148 7 48.106 Dean Wilson
13 13th 47.171 7 48.968 Justin Brayton
14 15th 47.179 9 48.807 Malcolm Stewart
15 16th 47.384 5 50.297 Justin Barcia
16 6th 46.468 11 47.398 Chad Reed
17 14th 47.573 5 49.355 Jake Weimer
18 17th 47.979 5 52.667 Vince Friese
19 18th 49.946 6 54.376 Alex Ray
20 20th 49.959 3 53.350 Nick Schmidt
21 22nd 50.745 3 51.640 Angelo Pellegrini
22 19th 50.813 4 53.530 Adam Enticknap

250SX Class Lap Times

Lap Rank Finish Best Lap On Lap Avg Lap Time Rider
1 22nd 46.931 4 47.410 Aaron Plessinger
2 1st 47.527 4 48.743 Shane McElrath
3 3rd 47.643 6 48.970 Justin Hill
4 6th 47.731 3 49.451 Austin Forkner
5 2nd 47.811 11 48.877 Mitchell Oldenburg
6 4th 47.929 9 48.839 Martin Davalos
7 5th 48.046 4 49.739 Jimmy Decotis
8 7th 48.281 7 50.009 Dan Reardon
9 8th 48.645 4 49.991 Hayden Mellross
10 9th 49.326 5 50.886 Kyle Chisholm
11 15th 49.588 6 52.759 Justin Starling
12 21st 49.773 5 50.676 Justin Hoeft
13 10th 49.969 7 51.129 Tyler Bowers
14 12th 50.195 10 51.476 Cole Martinez
15 13th 50.315 5 51.733 Cade Autenrieth
16 11th 50.323 3 55.953 Jon Ames
17 14th 50.402 7 52.397 Ryan Surratt
18 16th 50.632 7 53.144 AJ Catanzaro
19 17th 50.684 5 53.291 Heath Harrison
20 19th 51.478 3 54.022 Stone Edler
21 20th 52.002 2 57.164 Scott Champion
22 18th 52.332 3 55.953 Zac Commans

The big talk after the race was all about Tomac's whoop speed. It was mentioned on our Fly Racing Racer X Review Podcast that Tomac's average time through the whoops was 2.5 seconds faster than any one else through the segment, because that's what the AMA stated. Our own Steve Matthes even tweeted about it. 

A few people, including David Vuillemin, replied to Steve's tweet saying something was suspicious about Tomac's segment time, so I decided to do a little amateur investigating. 

Below you'll find the segment in question (segment two) highlighted in green. There are transponder receivers buried in the sides of the jumps at the beginning and end of the section. 

According to the AMA, Tomac made it through this section within four seconds a total of eight times. And if you look at the clip below, I think he registered in the four second range because he was getting so close to the edge of the track near the end of the whoop pad, that he triggered the transponder early, right in that four second range. (Note: I know this method of timing I'm using isn't completely accurate, but it'll do.)

Here's how long it actually took Tomac to get through the entire section. 

And here's how fast he would have to go to complete the section in the fastest time registered by the AMA—4.246 seconds. 

If you dive into the segment times you'll notice that the time Tomac saved in segment two by clipping the transponder early can be found in segment three. I've highlighted the instances where this happened and whenever the second segment was finished early, his third segment is significantly longer. 

This isn't saying that Tomac wasn't wickedly fast through the whoops. He was. If you go back and remove the times in the four second range, you end up with an average of 6.72 which is still .347 seconds faster than the second fastest rider Marvin Musquin's time of 7.067. 

Top 10 Average Segment Two Times 

Rider Segment 2
Eli Tomac 6.72 (Adjusted)
Marvin Musquin 7.067
Chad Reed 7.071
Davi Millsaps 7.135
Blake Baggett 7.165
Josh Grant 7.209
Dean Wilson 7.227
Ryan Dungey 7.236
Jason Anderson 7.259
Justin Brayton 7.283

Even though the difference might not be as pronounced as we once thought, it's still pretty clear that this section played a huge part in Tomac winning this race. It gave him a perfect spot to pass while working his way to the front and he was still a half-second faster than Ryan Dungey in a seven-second segment. That's HUGE.

If you look at segments one and four (the rhythm sections before the finish and two turns after the finish) Dungey was actually a hair faster than Tomac, but again, he lost all that time in whoops. To finish out, take a look at the top 10 average times for segments one and four. (Segment three isn't included due to Tomac's times not being accurate.)

Segment one

Rider Segment
Ryan Dungey 7.562
Eli Tomac 7.57
Jason Anderson 7.602
Marvin Musquin 7.634
Josh Grant 7.667
Cooper Webb 7.686
Christian Craig 7.758
Broc Tickle 7.79
Chad Reed 7.803
Blake Baggett 7.818

Segment Four

Rider Segment 4
Ryan Dungey 16.333
Eli Tomac 16.502
Justin Bogle 16.664
Josh Grant 16.685
Jason Anderson 16.698
Chad Reed 16.708
Blake Baggett 16.763
Marvin Musquin 16.782
Broc Tickle 16.841
Davi Millsaps 16.875