The finals are upon us.


5/2/2019

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We were back in the Meadowlands of New Jersey last week, returning after a one year hiatus to Foxborough, Mass. It was Round 16 of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, and a do-or-die situation for several riders if they wanted to keep their championship hopes reasonably alive. Some results were predictable, others were not. That's why we go racing. 

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Eli Tomac was in a situation where he really needed to make up some points on Cooper Webb if he wanted a realistic shot at the 450 title. If Webb won, Tomac needed to get at least a seventh place to not be mathematically eliminated from the title which Webb would've been crowned had he managed to keep Tomac back that far. What happened was somewhere in between what either rider could've hoped for, with Tomac leading for a while after a battle with Webb. It would've been a great result if he could've gone to Las Vegas down 15 points. Instead, he left MetLife Stadium losing even more points to the KTM rider. Now 23 points down, Tomac needs a win and a disastrous night for Webb to have a shot.

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450SX class rookie Zach Osborne had a great night - the best of his 450 career - with a podium finish. Osborne was one of three 450SX main event leaders throughout the 20 minute plus a lap race, but a mishap in a banked turn ruined his chances when Webb snuck back by him. Regardless, Osborne is clearly starting to get his racing mojo back and should be right up front in Las Vegas, a venue he's had a lot of success at in the past.

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As Marvin Musquin picked his factory KTM up in the first turn of the 450SX main event, he shook his head in disgust at how his season has ended up. After a great day of qualifying and a heat race that he won by 6 seconds over his teammate Webb, things were looking good for the Frenchman. It really is a shame, as he rode like a maniac to come from dead last to fifth, passing Roczen in the process. It's likely Musquin will be looking to make a statement in Las Vegas and, after having won the Monster Cup Million previously. He'll be one of the fastest on the track no doubt. 

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This season has been all about Cooper Webb. He's had all of the speed he's needed as well as all of the good fortune he could have ever hoped for. There will be no "asterisk" next to his title though, as all of the major contenders (except for Jason Anderson) were in every round and he beat them all several times. Webb will be safe and calculated in Vegas, but his mentality will likely still keep him in the front pack, sniffing out one final win for what must be a dream-like end to the biggest season of his career.

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The drama in the 250SX East class was high as well, with the return of Austin Forkner after blowing out his knee in Nashville several weeks ago. The shark in the water was Chase Sexton, who wanted to not only gain as many points as possible but to score his first career AMA Supercross win. He managed to do both. 

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Forkner rode gingerly all day prior to the main event, where his old aggression got the best of him. With only a 3-point lead on Sexton he knew he needed to leave Metlife Stadium with at least a podium to have any shot in Vegas. He did not, as he got frisky with Sexton and over-jumped just a bit in a rhythm section, popping his damaged knee out and forcing a DNF to not only the night, but to a championship that was certainly his to lose. 

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Sexton, meanwhile, ran off to his first career win and with it the points lead heading into the finale this weekend. With a 9-point lead over Justin Cooper, he just needs a podium finish to secure his title. However, the East/West Showdown format could definitely throw a wrench in everyone's night as adding West region title favorites Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis into the mix could easily spread Sexton out far enough in points from Cooper to make up for the difference in the title. Cianciarulo seems a lock on the west region with simply a solid finish. He's now 8 points up on Ferrandis but proves that he can fairly easily outpace the Frenchman in nearly every condition and situation.

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This year's track at Sam Boyd Stadium differs a fair bit from usual in that it'll actually run clockwise for the first time in history. As usual, it also looks extremely fast and, will likely be hard-packed and dry throughout the day while becoming slick in the evening as the moisture leaches out with the dropping temperatures. It will be a grand finale, no doubt, as all three titles have come down to this final round and the fireworks will be sweeter than ever for three new champions of Monster Energy AMA Supercross!


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