Intensity Increases As 450cc Supercross Battle Rages On


6/10/2020

As AMA Supercross rolls through a hyper-concentrated, coronavirus-conflicted conclusion to its 2020 season, the spectator-less racing held exclusively at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City somehow manages to get better with each passing round.


In fact, despite the predicted cold, wet conditions, Round 13 on Sunday was one of the best 450cc main events of the year.


“I’ve got to start with saying that was a freaking sweet race,” premier-class points leader Eli Tomac exclaimed at the post-race press conference. “It’s easy for me to say because I won, but it was really fun.”

 

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What made it so fun for Tomac, aside from the victory and additional points gained on Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who are second and third overall, respectively, is that he loves racing.


“I was scrappin’ to the end,” Tomac said. “The second-to-last turn I was dabbing and pinning it and hanging off the back. As a competitor, [I] just felt like everything was right.”


Now, with seven wins and a 26-point advantage over Roczen, Tomac can enjoy himself without feeling he has to stand atop the podium every race. 

 

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Tomac didn’t have to race Webb on Sunday, but he did. The two battled as if the world championship were on the line and their careers depended on the outcome.


“Overall, it was an incredible race,” Webb said. “He was all over me. He led, and then I led. From my end, I know I left it all out there.”

 

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Tomac and Webb were head and shoulders above their competition, lapping up to third place, Jason Anderson.


“I knew Zach [Osborne] was up there on the start,” Webb said, “and we lapped him late [in the race.] Normally, we maybe [lap up] to 12th or something like that, so it was pretty cool to push hard and get that far forward.”

 

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Fast all day and winner of his heat race, Anderson was no match for Tomac and Webb in the main event. 


“Those two seemed to have a pretty good battle up front,” he said. “I kind of got waxed by them.”


Anderson is one of a number of riders who clearly prefers the concentrated format, finding solace not only in the compressed schedule but also in the venue.


 “Honestly, it’s kind of nice knocking them all out,” Anderson said. “We’re three rounds in, yet we’ve only been racing for a week.”


“Sometimes,” he added, “if you have six days between races, you can get distracted or drive yourself a little crazy, especially if you’re in the championship chase.” 


Echoing Husqvarna teammate Zach Osborne’s comments from the previous weekend, Anderson went on to say, “I’m enjoying it so far. At least we’re in Salt Lake. It’s beautiful here.”

 

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Defending series champ Webb perhaps summarized the situation best by stating the obvious: “My favorite part of the sport is racing,” he said. “Less practice, less risk ... and it’s the most money I’ve made in a week, so I’m pretty happy about that.”


Roczen was once again absent from the podium. After placing fifth in Round 12, the 26-year-old German revealed that he’s struggling with a cardiovascular issue.

 

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On Sunday, Roczen finished second in his heat race, but he was nearly 13 seconds behind Webb. It later was revealed that a flat rear tire was partly to blame for the factory Honda rider’s heat race performance.


In the main event on Sunday, Roczen was lapped twice by the front-runners and was 10th at the checkers, leaving a wake of uncertainty surrounding this great talent.

 

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In the 250cc East class, defending champion Chase Sexton took advantage of mistakes made by the winner of the previous two rounds and co-points leader, Shane McElrath, to ride away with not only the main event win but also the points lead.


On Wednesday for Round 14, TV viewers will see the return of the 250cc West Region. French star Dylan Ferrandis is expected to battle the Lawrence brothers from Down Under, Hunter and Jett, as they return from injury.

 


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