Eli Tomac of Cortez came back from a bumpy start to place sixth in the Minneapolis 450 Supercross on Saturday.
Tomac started in the third gate, with Justin Brayton to his left and Justin Barcia to his right.
As the gate dropped, Joey Savatgy, Tomac’s teammate on Monster Energy, was first to the turn and grabbed the lead in front of Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen.
For Savatgy, who moved up from the 250SX this year, it was his first lead in the 450SX class.
For Tomac, who entered the race atop the series standings, it would be a long race. He banged bars with Dean Wilson at the start and dropped to 16th.
As Webb chased Savatgy, Tomac slowly began to make his way through the crowd at the back, and by the race’s midpoint had climbed to 10th place behind Justin Barcia. He was almost 16 seconds off the lead.
Webb took the lead from Savatgy in the 15th lap, and Savatgy ran a defensive race, holding off Roczen for six laps and slowing down the trailers.
Tomac, meanwhile, slowly moved up. He finished Lap 13 in ninth place, Lap 18 in eighth place and Lap 22 in sixth place. He crossed the finish line 22 seconds off the lead.
Cooper came away with his third win of the season. He was followed by Roczen, Marvin Musquin, Savatgy and Brayton.
Tomac’s sixth-place finish was good enough for 17 points and third place in the series standings. After seven races in the 17-race series, Tomac is two points off Roczen’s lead, and just one point from No. 2 Webb.
His day at U.S. Bank Stadium began brightly, with promising performances in qualifying rounds and his heat.
In Saturday evening’s first heat race, Webb and Tomac followed Roczen into the first turn. Webb and Tomac went by Roczen in the first lap, and the three quickly outdistanced the rest of the field. Late in the nine-lap race, Tomac attempted to pass Webb for the lead but couldn’t get through. Webb took the checkered flag, with Tomac in tow about a second behind. Roczen was a close third, and Aaron Plessinger and Wilson were about 12 seconds off the pace in fourth and fifth. Cooper ran the fastest lap of the race, at 47.390 seconds.
In the second heat, Brayton and Musquin passed Justin Bogle after the first turn and moved to the front of the pack. Barcia and Savatgy then passed Bogle midway through the race for third and fourth. In the final two laps, Musquin went down twice and dropped to eighth place. Brayton held on for the win, followed by Barcia, Savatgy, Bogle and Blake Baggett. Bogle ran the fastest lap, at 47.894 seconds.
In qualifying rounds, Tomac was second to Savatgy, his teammate on Monster Energy Kawasaki, with a time of 46.824 seconds. Savatgy ran a fast lap of 46.767. Musquin was third, and Webb and Baggett filled out the Top 5.
Next Saturday, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross goes to Arlington, Texas, for the seventh of 17 races in the series.