News 2 Jul 2024

The problems that cost Vialle second moto victory

An opportunity for an important moto win ended with a last lap crash.

Late in the second 250MX moto at Southwick, Red Bull KTM’s Tom Vialle saw a comfortable lead disappear quickly before eventually being shuffled back to P3. After the race, Vialle admitted that he battled lapped traffic in some bad spots and once he was caught for the lead, he was out of rhythm.

The loss not only cost Vialle the moto victory, but potentially his first overall win of the season as well. Instead of a 2-1 day at The Wick 338, Vialle ended up second overall with 2-3 scores as Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan continued to grow his lead in the championship.

Image: Octopi Media.

“I had a good first moto,” said Vialle. “I struggled a little bit to pass Chance [Hymas]. I was like a little bit behind him for like 15 minutes and when I got to second, Haiden was obviously like seven seconds [ahead].

“I was pretty good in the second moto. I was leading almost the whole moto. I got stuck a little bit in the lappers, like three or four laps to go and Jo [Shimoda] and Haiden caught me really quick, and I fell. I really wanted to pass Jo again and obviously fight for the win, but I crashed on the last lap. I gave everything. The last three laps we were all pushing really hard, so it was a nice race.”

While Southwick was a clear step in the right direction for Vialle after a pair of crashes left him off the podium all day at the fourth round at High Point, it’s still not quite what many expected of the multi-time MX2 champion. Especially given that Southwick was the only race he won last year, and this time Deegan got the better of him.

But as Vialle put it, things would likely have been a fair bit different had a few situations with lapped traffic gone another way. Particularly, Vialle got roosted by the lapped traffic and caught a bunch of sand in his goggles. The subsequent moment of having to slow down to fix the issue ended up being a large time loss.

Image: Octopi Media.

“I mean in the first moto, there was maybe five or six minutes to go, and we came through lappers,” said Vialle. “I actually caught him a little bit, but there was a lot of lappers, and he lost some time. Once I was in the lappers, I had to pass them, and I lost some time too. It’s pretty tough and the second moto I lost a lot.

“I think my race, I was pretty comfortable in front and then I almost hit one lapper and I couldn’t see from the sand in my goggles for a little bit. I almost had to stop and pull a tear off out and I lost like three or four seconds I think that lap. They both caught me super quick and once they caught me, it was pretty tough to get back in the rhythm.”

Vialle lost the lead with a few laps to go to Team Honda HRC’s Jo Shimoda, but the battle continued. Shimoda fended off Vialle’s attacks all while Haiden Deegan was right on both of them. Deegan was in a position to win the overall no matter what unless Vialle could go get Shimoda for the moto victory.

Try as he might, Vialle’s attempt for the win ended in a crash as he slid out on the final lap in a right-handed sweeper. The crash perhaps proved a point of frustration as Vialle threw everything he had and still couldn’t quite convert at a track he was perhaps favored the most to win.

Image: Octopi Media.

Coming off winning the 250SX East Championship in Monster Energy Supercross, Vialle hasn’t looked the part of motocross expert. Uncharacteristic crashes and now some untimely mistakes trying to get through lappers have left Vialle still with just one moto win and zero overalls through the first five rounds.

While the championship is perhaps already out of reach with Deegan holding a 43-point advantage over the Frenchman, Vialle’s focus is now turning to just righting the ship. At least with the performance at Southwick to get back on the podium, things are once again trending in the right direction for Vialle to land back on the top step of the podium soon.