When you are fast enough that even a crash can’t stop you from winning, you have served notice to the competition that they better find another gear, or else the championship could be over as fast as it began. Just like Zach Osborne in the 250 Class (see 250 Class MX recap), this was the message Eli Tomac shouted loud and clear Saturday (May 19); a message to his fellow riders that he has no intention of making this year’s contest a close one. He ran away with the first moto, and even a poor start and a fall in the second didn’t keep him from blasting the rest of the field.

On the lap he overtook Marvin Musquin for the lead, he was four seconds faster than any other rider on the track. At the end of the day, the other riders simply had no answer, and they'll need to make some quick adjustments, not to mention, find a lot more speed if this year’s outdoor season is going to be an actual contest; otherwise, they'll just be racing for second place.

Here is a breakdown of the contenders and how they fared.

Finishing order

1. Eli Tomac (finished 1/1) handily won both motos. He came in looking fast and determined (the only rider to put up a 2:19 best lap time). His dominating performance matched pre-season predictions, and he remains the clear favorite in his chase to repeat last year’s title.

However, we’ve seen Tomac dominate a series, but ultimately lose the championship. He is fast, but he is also riding the edge more often than his challengers. He had at least one close call Saturday. One bad fall can end a season (and championship hopes) in a second. Tomac must exercise some caution and keep the big picture in mind each weekend.

Motocross champions navigate a fine line between speed and disaster, maximizing the former while avoiding the latter. They are willing to give up a win in an individual race to keep their bikes on the starting grid each week to gain consistent points every moto. Tomac needs to balance speed and risk so that injury doesn’t derail him.

He needs to break these streaks of having the most wins in seasons where he fails to take home the big prize, giving it up instead, to arguably slower riders.

2. Marvin Musquin (finished 2/2) was the only rider that slowed Tomac down (his 2:20 best lap was two seconds faster than anyone other than Tomac). Clearly the next best rider on the track for the day, he blasted past the rest of the field almost as well as Tomac, and did it without error. Marvin may be the most consistent rider. He seldom goes down and therefore seldom deals with the kind of injuries that often sideline the competition. In the second moto, with Tomac on his rear tire applying intense pressure, Marvin fended him off while navigating traffic and making multiple passes to push himself into the race lead.

Tomac laid the bike over in a corner, but got up quickly and reeled Marvin back in to make the pass, but it was a solid result for Marvin. Just a little more speed might have given him the win and the overall. Next week, he needs a good start to get out ahead of Tomac early and create separation. This could force Tomac to ride considerably faster to catch him, while navigating slower race traffic. If Tomac is at or near the front on the start, however, it doesn’t look like anything is going to stop him, so Marvin needs to hope for some help, or else, he has to be a good deal faster.

3. Justin Barcia (finished 3/3) put in a fantastic result, and it was fun to see “Bam Bam” ride to a podium finish and be upfront with the leaders.

Barcia rode very well, and led two laps of the race in the second moto. Musquin and Tomac would catch him, but Barcia never faded. This sets up an interesting follow-up race for Barcia. This should boost his confidence, and fans love seeing him run with the front-runners.

4. Jason Anderson (finished 4/6) kept the pace. There was some speculation that Anderson might have a championship hangover from his Supercross win just two weeks ago. Training for outdoors is quite different, and the mental switch from point's leader to full points reset in a new series has proven to be a slight hurdle. It was not unexpected, therefore, to see Anderson come out of the gate with a little less speed than we’ve come to expect from him.

This isn’t to say he was slow, by any means. He actually led more laps on the day than any rider other than Tomac. The surprise is that after leading so many laps, he gave back so many positions. Anderson is known for finishing strong and picking off positions late as other riders wear down, so seeing him be the guy getting picked off late was unusual. Still, he had a solid run and stayed near the front. He missed the podium by only one position, but expect that to fire him up and push him harder in the next round.

5. Blake Baggett (finished 4/7) being in the fifth spot is not a bad start to the season, but it was a bit of a disappointment with the high expectations for Baggett coming in. He was in the title chase last season, and after a strong Supercross season, is expected to challenge for the lead each week.

Instead, he was relegated to fighting to finish inside the top five. A fourth in the second moto was an improvement over the first, but he worked hard to get there and was never in camera shot of the lead groups. Expect to see a stronger run in the next round. It’s a long season, and Baggett has time to find the next gear and get into the title chase, but it will take a big step up.

Best of the rest

One of the fastest riders in the sport over the past several years is Ken Roczen (finished 6/16), so despite facing difficult injuries in back-to-back Supercross seasons, high expectations will always follow him. He had a respectable finish in the first moto, but in the second, despite starting near the front (he was fourth in the opening laps), he slid a good distance and finished the day out of the top ten overall.

That's an early deficit that will take some effort to overcome.

Weston Peick (finished 5/7) had a solid day with a sixth overall, just missing out on the top five. Very consistent rides in both motos. Also solid and consistent was Christian Craig (finished 8/8). Craig actually led a lap in the first moto.

However, the surprise rider of the day had to be Benny Bloss (finished 10/5). Bloss was only one of four riders on the day to run a 2:22 best lap time. A seventh overall on the day is a great start to his season, and his fifth-place finish in the second moto was an eye-opener. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain that pace in week two and build on this strong performance.

Watch the race recap

Looking forward

Round two is shaping up to be a critical round early. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out. Can Anderson shake off the sluggish start and bring the type of effort that won him the Supercross championship? Can Marvin find that extra ounce of speed to challenge Tomac? Can Baggett regain the form of last season that gave him the points lead for a time? Can Barcia claim another podium and continue to shake up the standings? Can Tomac keep it on two wheels both motos and dominate two weeks in a row, or for that matter, 11 weeks in a row and runaway with his second outdoor national championship? Tune in this coming Saturday (May 26) to find out! Check your television guide. Motocross airs on MAVTV and NBCSN on Saturday.