Eli Tomac of Cortez on Sunday won the third of seven series races at Salt Lake City’s Rice-Eccles Stadium after a battle in the mud with defending champion Cooper Webb.
With four races to go in the AMA Supercross championship series, Tomac widened his series lead over Ken Roczen, 301 to 275 points. Tomac now has won six races – including five of the past seven – to Roczen’s three.
Opening the main event on a deeply muddy track, Tomac got off to a fast start and was in third at the turn. In the second lap, a triple jump catapulted him into second place and a tight race for the lead with Webb. The second tier – Zach Osborne, Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Malcolm Stewart – was about 8 seconds back.
The rain had stopped, but Tomac poured it on.
He grabbed the lead in the ninth lap and stretched out a two-second lead over Webb. Anderson was 14 seconds off the pace in third place, and Roczen, Tomac’s closest rival for the series crown, was a distant sixth.
In the 16th lap, as Tomac got hung up behind the lapped Roczen, Webb aggressively executed triple jumps to gain ground and pass Tomac. Tomac counter-attacked, but was again slowed by a lapped rider, Benny Bloss.
Tomac then resumed his triple jumps to catch Webb, and as the two raced side by side in the 20th, he slipped by for the lead. Webb made a run for the front, but Tomac held him off for a 1.2-second victory.
Anderson was third, and Osborne and Stewart filled out the top five. Roczen was 10th.
Earlier Sunday, Tomac was the fastest in the qualifying rounds, shortened to one round per rider because of a rain delay and muddy track. He posted a fastest lap of 57.629 seconds and was the only one of 39 riders to break the 58-second barrier. Dean Wilson was second, at 58.076 seconds, and was followed by Jason Anderson at 58.192 seconds, Cooper Webb at 58.531, and Osborne at 59.678. By comparison, 32 riders came in over 1 minute – from Roczen’s 1:00.855 to Jake Hogan’s 1:25.994.
Tomac struggled in his timed heat, but managed third place behind Anderson and Osborne. After one lap, Tomac was 10th out of 20 riders. He moved up two positions in the second lap, and three positions in the third to settle into fifth place midway through the eight-lap heat.
After a bumpy duel with Justin Barcia and a slip by Aaron Plessinger, Tomac moved into third place in the seventh lap, where he remained until the end. Barcia and Plessinger rounded out the top five.
Webb won the first heat, passing Roczen for the lead in the seventh lap. Justin Brayton, Dean Wilson and Bloss filled out the top five.
Had an idea of how this trip was going to go, and its safe to say it didn’t turn out that way. Sometimes that’s life though. All you can do is wake up everyday and try to be the best you can be. I know I do that, so… https://t.co/CJdSyWCffP— Adam Cianciarulo (@AdamCianciarulo) June 6, 2020
Race day began on a sad note for Tomac and the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. Teammate Adam Cianciarulo, who crashed badly twice during his debut season in the 450cc class, announced he would miss the rest of the season with a back injury.
“Unfortunately, I got my CT scan results back yesterday,” Cianciarulo said in an Instagram post. “Obviously, you guys know, last Sunday I had a crash, got ran over and my back’s been bothering me. Turns out I do have four acute fractures on the transverse processes from my L1 to my L4 on the right side of my lower back.”
“It’s only going to be a couple weeks off the bike and no brace, no surgery, nothing like that,” he said. “So, I’m feeling like I got really lucky. But unfortunately, that means no more supercross for me.”
Chase Sexton won the 250 class race, going from seventh to first place after a crash in the mud caused a red flag delay. Slower racers frustrated the front-runners, who began lapping riders in the fourth lap. By the final, 17th lap, four lapped riders stood between Sexton and runner-up Shane McElrath, with four others between McElrath and Cole Nichols, who finished third. Garrett Marchbanks and Pierce Brown, both from Utah, rounded out the top five.
The Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship series was cast into limbo in March, when sports events were canceled nationwide because of coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
As the nation opened up, race organizers talked with five states about resuming the Supercross season and decided on Utah.