Phoenix SX

PHOENIX (Jan. 11) — GEICO Motorcycle Honda 250SX rider Zach Osborne continued his torrid start to the 2014 season with his second straight podium finish Saturday night at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Just as he did a week ago in Anaheim, Calif., Osborne battled Scotland’s Dean Wilson for the third spot and once again managed to pass his rival and take the position behind winner Jason Anderson and runner-up Cole Seely.

“Reaching the podium is good and I’m happy to get the points, but at the same time I’m not going to be content with third-place finishes,” Osborne said. “I need to be up front with (Anderson and Seely). I can run the pace, my fitness is there; I just need better starts. I’m just not putting myself in the right position to challenge for the win.

“Don’t get me wrong, podiums are great and I’m happy to get another 20 points, especially because I really wasn’t feeling the track in the first two sessions. But as the day went on I got better and better and made some good passes in the main to get a third. If I put this kind of riding together with a better start, I’ll be there. It’s just that with the level everyone is on right now the starts are so crucial.”

Wil Hahn overcame a sluggish start and a Lap 3 crash to finish 10th overall in the 450SX class main event. He was 18th after the first lap and made a few great passes before being taken down by another rider. He quickly remounted and got back in the fight, passing at least 10 riders to earn his top-10 result.

“I need to get better,” Hahn said. “Right now it’s all on me. I’m getting used to the bike and the competition, and I need to get my head in it a little more. It’s easy to point to the starts and say those need to get better, and that’s true because if I had started better I wouldn’t be back in the riffraff where you get taken out at times, but it’s more about believing in myself and riding like I know how to ride.

“Things are already getting better and I expect a big jump up next weekend. The good thing about Supercross is you don’t have long to wait until you get to race again.”

Superstar rider Eli Tomac, who sustained a shoulder contusion last weekend, attempted to ride in today’s first practice session but didn’t feel he had the necessary strength to compete at a top level. He subsequently pulled out of the race and announced he will not ride next weekend at Anaheim 2 either as he continues to heal.

“If I was able to ride tonight I would have been able to hopefully earn some points and keep any championship hopes alive, but it wasn’t even close,” Tomac said. “I need to let this thing heal, and I need to ride before I race again to get my fitness back. I couldn’t ride at all during the week. Today was the first time I got on the bike. Now when I come back I’ll be at full strength.”

The news was more dramatic for Zach Bell, who fractured his clavicle in practice. The injury will sideline him for the entire 250SX West season.