One point between Roczen, Tomac as we head to Tampa


2/14/2020

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San Diego never fails to deliver in the surprise and drama department. Last year it was the torrential downpours that switched things up for the AMA Supercross field of riders. This year, it was aggressive, tight racing and the fourth different 450SX class winner in just six rounds, which adds to the season’s uncertainty. As the series heads to Tampa this weekend, we get different dirt, different weather, and a whole new cast with the 250SX East Regional class making their debut.

 

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Everyone knew defending 450SX champion Cooper Webb had it in him to win races this season. Last year, Webb was sneaky good many times as he was rattling off wins, and just plain the fastest rider on the track many other times. In San Diego, he was both. He hounded new blood Adam Cianciarulo for the duration of the main event before finally putting the moves on him and riding away with just a few laps to go.  This was a huge race for Webb, and really for the rest of the competitors as well. They know how he won the title last year--he was always right where he needed to be, rarely made mistakes, and was typically just as fast or faster than anyone else when he needed to be. He built points toward the championship, never took a big hit and won. It appears that ball is once again rolling with just as much momentum for him as in 2019.

 

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Adam Cianciarulo also had another break-out moment as he took the second podium of his 450SX career.  It’d been awhile (five rounds) since his first appearance at A1 and he hadn’t been able to put his KX450 up front long enough to stay at the front (while not crashing). With his holeshot in San Diego and leading all but a few laps to a very insistent Webb, Cianciarulo proved he had the consistency to once again beat almost everyone on the track. His perfect record of pole positions still stands though. So, in addition to regaining race confidence, he has that going for him as well. Back home in Florida for this weekend, half the stands will be full of family and friends of his so he’ll be a threat for the win once again.

 

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Points leader Ken Roczen had a forgettable night that, in all honesty, could’ve been worse. It certainly wasn’t good though, as Webb made up nine points on him in the points chase. Tomac’s finish two spots ahead of Roczen allowed Tomac to move within a single point as we head to Tampa. Roczen just never had the pace nor the starts to get a sniff of the podium. So far this season, that’s been a rarity. Does he need a great start to finish up front? Maybe, but then again that’s generally true of everyone except for possibly Tomac. Roczen goes into Tampa with the red plate once again, one point ahead of Tomac and Webb’s now just 9 behind.

 

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Speaking of Tomac, we can’t do that without also mentioning Justin Barcia. These two had a battle royale in the main event after Tomac ran smack dab into the road block of Barcia during his march to the front. Barcia also was busy moving forward through a very capable pack of superstars, and the battle was unusual, intense and probably overdue actually. It brought out a side of Tomac that he rarely shows. He was frustrated with Barcia, and “BamBam” thrives on that--he worked it, and Tomac, hard for a few laps and it was amazing to watch. Did it hold up Tomac’s run at Webb and Cianciarulo? Probably, but that’s why we have races. Barcia ended up finishing right behind first and second place in the points race, and you can’t take anything away from him for that. It was a great battle for a top position in the world’s premier motorcycle racing series.

 

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The two had strong words after the race, so this newfound rivalry is far from over. It will no doubt be fresh on both of their minds in Tampa this weekend.

 

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Then there’s Blake Baggett. It wasn’t hard to predict that a podium result was in his near future, and he pulled it off in San Diego. Baggett was absolutely on the pace of Cianciarulo and Webb, but he wasn’t faster and couldn’t make up any ground on them. Baggett is for real, folks, and the Tampa area and it’s dirt has been his new ‘home town’ for quite a while now. He’ll be going for a win this weekend, no doubt.

 

Since Round 7 in Tampa is the opener for the 250SX East regional title chase, we’ll summarize quickly what happened in San Diego for the west racers.

 

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In a word, it was all about Dylan Ferrandis. The defending champ and points leader absolutely would not be beat in San Diego, and his fevered push to the front was an amazing sight to behold. He simply out maneuvered Austin Forkner and ran away from teammate Justin Cooper in a performance that puts him solidly in the lead out west. It’s a lead both in points and in mental superiority. Forkner was humbled, and Cooper’s far enough behind now that it’s not an issue. The west championship defense is as sure as done now as the series heads east and Ferrandis can relax for a weekend. Round 8 in Arlington (Dallas) is an East/West Shootout!

 

One of the best parts of AMA Supercross is finally getting to see the other half of amazingly talented 250SX racers hit the track for the first time in a season. That’s where we’re at now with Tampa and Round 7 of the 2020 championship series. Let’s have a peak at who we have to look forward to.

 

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Defending East champion Chase Sexton, Jeremy Martin, and rookie Joe Shimoda on the Geico Hondas.

Shane McElrath (making his debut on blue) and Colt Nichols on Star Racing Yamahas.

Jordon Smith (his first race on a Kawasaki) and Garrett Marchbanks on Monster/Pro Circuit Kawasakis.

RJ Hampshire (debut on Husky) and Jalek Swoll (AMA Horizon Award winner) on Rockstar Husqvarna.

French newcomer and rookie Brian Moreau and Pierce Brown on TLD/KTM.

 

Add to this list a host of others that could easily round out the podium at any round: Jimmy Decotis, Arenacross champ Jace Owen, former factory Yamaha star Josh Hill, European and French SX champ Cedric Soubeyras and rookies Brock Papi and Lance Kobusch.

 

It’s a great lineup no doubt. We’ll go out on a limb and predict Sexton, McElrath, Hampshire, Smith and Martin in the top five.

 

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There will be a few ways to find out what’s really going on at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa this weekend. Either be there, or check out the TV coverage with the NBC Sports Gold package, watch our live timing and scoring right here on AMASupercross.com, and/or keep up with photo updates on our social feeds on Facebook and Instagram.


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